Urgency Words: 14 Ways How You Can Use Them To Boost Conversions

Did you know that creating a perceived scarcity for your products and services can help you sell more? Want to learn how to use urgency words to improve your website conversion rate?

Using scarcity in your marketing not only helps you skyrocket your conversion rate. It also lets you position your products and services as unique, highly sought-after, and premium.

The simplest way to leverage the scarcity principle is to use urgency words in your marketing content.

In this post, I’m going to show how you can use urgency words in your marketing so that you can boost website traffic, conversions, and sales.

Why Urgency Works

If you’re looking for a quick and easy trick to optimize your conversion rates, urgency is a great place to start.

The reason we feel a strong urge to grab urgent deals is psychological. There are 2 factors at play.

First, urgent situations push us to act fast, either to prolong positive emotions or reduce negative ones. It’s just the way we’re wired.

A consumer research experiment showed that people are more likely to perform less important tasks over more important tasks if the former have an illusion of urgency.

Second: Urgency also evokes loss aversion, more commonly known as the fear of missing out (FOMO) in marketing.

FOMO says that we don’t want to miss a great opportunity, especially if others around us are grabbing it. You’ll see plenty of examples that exemplify this finding in the sections below.

Related Content: 25+ Powerful FOMO Statistics to Skyrocket Sales (2020)

The bottom line is that creating a sense of urgency (even when it’s not truly urgent) encourages people to make decisions they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Besides the psychological factors, there’s one very important caveat to consider.

When applying urgency in marketing, the product or service has to be relevant, useful, or valuable for the customers. If people don’t want what you have to offer, no amount of urgency will convert them.

Ways To Use Urgency Words in Your Marketing

Now, let’s get down to the ways to use and optimize urgency words in your marketing.

  1. Use the Right Language
  2. Contextualize Your CTA Copy
  3. Personalize Your Offer
  4. Say It Twice in the Subject Line and Preheader
  5. Use Numbers to Increase Urgency
  6. Make Your Offers Exclusive
  7. Create Urgency Through Scarcity
  8. Trigger Social Proof with FOMO
  9. Intensify Urgency with Countdown Timers
  10. Offer Extra Benefits
  11. Use ‘Pre-Suasion’ to Make Matters Urgent
  12. Gate Your Content
  13. Use Discounts to Recover Cart Abandonments
  14. Use Urgency Words in Moderation

1. Use the Right Language

Using the right language in your marketing copy helps you create urgency without being pushy.

The right phrases and expressions can create an atmosphere of urgency and scarcity. These are words that you see around you every day when businesses are offering a sale.

Most urgency words are related to 3 factors that are important for consumers: time, speed, and feelings of scarcity.

Here are common urgency words related to those factors:

  • Time: limited time, last time, now, today only
  • Speed: hurry, act now, don’t delay, instant, offer expires soon
  • Scarcity: once in a lifetime, one day left, last chance, prices go up tonight, limited seats, while supplies last, clearance sale, going out of business

Some of these words overlap, but they all call for speedy action.

Using the right words can improve your conversion rate by up to 12.7%. For more examples and inspiration, check out our ultimate list of power words to use in your copywriting.

2. Contextualize Your CTA Copy

Calls to action (CTAs) are another integral part of your overall marketing language. Many businesses make the mistake of using the standard CTA copy that is done-to-death.

Here are a few examples of the most cliched, overused CTA button copy:

  • Buy
  • Join
  • Sign In
  • Submit
  • Continue
  • Subscribe
  • Click Here
  • Create an Account

While these words are good enough to convey a message, they don’t evoke any emotion. They are bland and unimaginative.

A good CTA will inspire visitors to take action and click to take up your offer. One way to create urgency with your CTA is to pair active words with urgent words.

For example, can use phrases like:

  • Act Now
  • Buy Today
  • Get Instant Access
  • Claim Your Discount Today

A better way to improve your CTA’s appeal is to contextualize it to your offer.

For instance, if you’re offering a free lead magnet to website visitors, don’t just say ‘sign up.’ Make it more urgent by saying ‘get free access now.’

urgency words in marketing

If you have a 30-day free trial, your CTA can read ‘claim your free trial.’ It’s much better than saying ‘sign up.’

use urgency words in marketing

Here’s another great example from Growth Marketing Conference’s marketing email. It uses a descriptive CTA that offers value and creates a sense of urgency.

The image of a clock next to the copy adds to the entire messaging:

how to use urgency words in marketing

Pro-tip: Besides creating urgency, the best CTAs use action-oriented language, communicate your offer’s benefit to customers, and are visually appealing.

Want tips on how to master the art of crafting irresistible CTAs? Read our guide on how to create the perfect call to action.

3. Personalize Your Offer

Personalization in marketing goes way beyond using your subscriber’s first name in email marketing.

Sure, people pay attention to their own names. But you’ll convert more people if you offer them suggestions tailored to their interests and behaviors.

Online retailers do this all the time. Amazon shows you products similar to what you’ve viewed or bought in the past.

urgency in marketing

Once you click on any of the recommendations, Amazon uses urgency words like ‘Buy Now’ to make the offer more compelling.

urgency words in marketing

You don’t have to be an eCommerce expert to personalize your offers like Amazon.

If you have an email list, you can use OptinMonster’s Smart Tags feature to personalize your marketing campaigns based on a customer’s:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you run a free travel blog site with an email list of 2000 subscribers. And you may have an option for readers to subscribe to your monthly paid newsletter.

Now, suppose some of your free subscribers have shown interest in traveling to South Africa.

To convert them into paid subscribers, all you need to do is create a page that offers a deal for a trip to South Africa. Include a link to that page in one of your free email newsletters.

Then you can combine OptinMonster’s Smart Tags and page-level targeting to create an urgent offer tailored to those visitors.

The next time subscribers click on the page linked in your email, you can trigger a popup campaign personalized to their interest. The campaign can look something like this:

urgency words in copywriting

Here’s a quick overview of how to use page-level targeting with OptinMonster:

Step 1: After you log in to your OptinMonster account, you’ll first need to create a campaign. With our 100+ pre-made templates, you can have a campaign ready in just a few minutes.

use urgency words

Step 2: Next, navigate to Display Rules and click on Edit.

add urgency words in marketing

Step 3: Under the If condition, pair the current URL path with exactly matches. In the far-left text box, enter the URL page where you want the offer to appear.

urgency words

Step 4: Save your campaign and click on Publish to enable the page-level targeting.

add urgency words

For more information on personalizing your marketing offers on a website, learn how to use Smart Tags in OptinMonster.

After you create an offer, use urgency words in your copywriting and CTAs to improve conversions.

4. Say It Twice in the Subject Line and Preheader

Research shows that using urgency in email subject lines can improve open rates by 14% and transaction rates by 16%.

If you’re marketing your offer via an email newsletter, there are 2 key areas you should pay attention to.

First is the subject line, which tells people what your email is about. Ideally, when you’re using urgency words in email marketing, the email subject line should mention a sale or special offer.

In this screenshot, all the subject lines use Black Friday messaging.

use urgency words

Since most people are already primed for great, holiday-specific deals during November, mentioning Black Friday is enough to get people to open the emails.

But some people need more convincing, and that’s where the preheader text comes in. Preheader text is the copy that appears in your inbox next to the subject line. A good preheader summarizes what’s in the email or adds more context so people want to read it.

It’s another opportunity for you to use urgency words and convert subscribers into customers. In the examples below, the common urgency theme is ‘last chance.’ But in case that doesn’t work, they have equally appealing preheaders to make matters more urgent:

use scarcity principle

Repeating the urgency words in your subject line and preheader text can improve your email open rates and possibly your click-through rates. These fields are valuable real estate that you shouldn’t overlook in your email marketing.

Pro-tip: Want to know what makes an email click? Go through these best-performing email subject lines to improve your email marketing conversions.

5. Use Numbers to Increase Urgency

In one of their articles, Marketing Land offers compelling reasons why most customers respond favorably to data-driven language. In other words, you can convert more if you use (and back up) claims like #1, top-rated, or high-ranked.

Using numbers in your offer is yet another way to apply urgency to your marketing. For instance, you can use numbers as a form of social proof to establish trust and boost conversions.

Social proof is a marketing tactic to win customers’ trust and improve conversions by showing that other buyers trust you.

Walmart displays numbers above certain products to show their high demand:

use scarcity in marketing

Similarly, Justin Welsh uses numbers and statistics on his homepage to build credibility and social proof:

  • Join 40+ LinkedIn Top Voices
  • Join 20,000+ students
  • Go from 2K to 500K followers
  • Go from 5.2 million in income
  • 4.98/5 ratings

leverage scarcity in marketing

Notice the website CTA. ‘Get instant access’ makes the offer sound more urgent than a simple CTA like ‘join’ or ‘subscribe.’

6. Make Your Offers Exclusive

Making your customers feel that they have access to something not everyone has makes your offer even more appealing and urgent.

Exclusivity adds more urgency to your marketing and helps you drive more sales. It’s a great way to trigger FOMO, and it works. When you make your customers feel special, you get more sales.

Consider the example of Amazon Prime, which now has 200+ million subscribers. For an annual subscription, Amazon Prime offers exclusive deals, free shipping, and faster deliveries:

how to use scarcity in marketing

Here’s another example from Foto App which offers a waitlist for people to join its private beta group:

use scarcity in marketing

The copy right before the CTA button reminds people of the last round of private beta launch, adding a sense of urgency in users.

7. Create Urgency Through Scarcity

Author Robert Cialdini once famously said:

“Whatever is rare, uncommon or dwindling in availability — this idea of scarcity — confers value on objects, or even relationships.”

This idea lends itself to our daily lives. We place a higher value on objects that are scarce and have less desire for objects that are found in abundance. For instance, diamonds are way more valuable than rocks, and meteor showers are more spectacular than a starry sky.

In marketing, showing products that are depleting fast makes them that much more desirable. Many eCommerce websites use this technique to get people to buy from them.

Amazon highlights out-of-stock products or items running out of supply in red to trigger scarcity:

the scarcity principle

What if you have a surplus of products that you can’t market as scarce?

You can still make a product look scarce by adding the scarcity of time. For instance, you can add a countdown timer or bundle it with other perks to make it more desirable.

I’ll talk about countdown timers in just a bit. For now, let’s look at examples that create artificial scarcity even when the products aren’t scarce.

Costco has ‘online only’ and ‘members only’ products on its site. It helps them increase their online sales and drive up memberships.

use scarcity in copywriting

Sam’s Club takes it a step further with its members-only price and free shipping for Plus members:

use urgency in ads

8. Trigger Social Proof With FOMO

FOMO is one of the best urgency triggers. It pushes people to act because humans are hardwired to be mimetic. FOMO works because, according to the Mimetic Theory, our desires are based on the desires of others.

One way to use FOMO marketing is to lace your marketing with social proof. Here’s an example from TrustPulse, the #1 social proof app that lets you show real-time user activity on your website to help you convert more and sell more.

the power of urgency in marketing

When customers see others using your products and services, and getting a great deal, it makes them want to do the same. Statistically speaking, 69% of millennials make a purchase to overcome their FOMO.

Several brands use FOMO in their marketing to drive sales. Booking.com uses FOMO in its hotels listing page to encourage more bookings.

scarcity in advertisement

Basecamp features several customer testimonials on its homepage to showcase social proof and trigger FOMO:

scarcity in ads

Pro-tip: Want to leverage social proof to boost conversions? Check out TrustPulse. Use the social proof notification app to increase conversions by up to 15%!

9. Intensify Urgency With Countdown Timers

countdown timer is a virtual clock that appears on a page either as a popup or a notification bar. Once you set up the countdown timer, the clock starts counting down from a specific date or time.

Using a countdown timer adds a deadline to your offer, which gives it meaning and value. As Professor Todd May puts it:

“When there is always time for everything, there is no urgency for anything. A life without limits would lose the beauty of its moments, and it would become boring.”

A countdown timer makes your offer a lot more urgent and visual, like in this example from one of Wix’s marketing emails:

use urgency in marketing copy

Countdown timers are proven ways to get people to act urgently. Cracku, an online coaching website, used countdown timers on its homepage and increased conversions by 300%.

Similarly, LifterLMS used a dynamic countdown timer on its pricing page and increased its revenue by $23,700 in just 5 months.

Do you want to add a countdown timer on your site? Learn how to use OptinMonster to create one in 5 easy steps and improve your website conversion rate.

10. Offer Extra Benefits

You can add additional benefits to your offer to make it seem more urgent and attractive. This sweetens the deal and helps customers feel that they are getting more bang for their buck.

The added perks may include a free gift, faster shipping, or convenient pickup.

Best Buy offers an additional gift on many products to make them a no-brainer for customers:

use scarcity words in marketing

Decathlon highlights faster delivery time on its products to entice its customers:

FOMO marketing

Home Depot offers free deliveries or the option for customers to pick up an order from their nearest store:

fear of missing out in marketing

11. Use ‘Pre-Suasion’ to Make Matters Urgent

Robert Cialdini coined the term ‘pre-suasion’ in his book by the same name. The book is so helpful that we listed it in our best marketing books roundup. Pre-suasion is about priming people’s attention to be receptive to your offer.

For instance, most supermarkets stock dairy products at the very back of the store to prime their customers. Since milk and eggs are food items most buyers look for, they have to walk past a lot of aisles to get to the dairy section.

This arrangement primes them to pick other products they might not have considered buying originally.

The pre-suasion technique works online too, especially if you use the right combination of words or design.

For customers who are looking for a mechanical keyboard, Amazon shows products that are frequently bought together with it. This helps Amazon increase their average order value.

urgency words in ads

Etsy recommends recently viewed items and pairs them with similar other products to pique customers’ interest:

create urgency

A few weeks before February 14, Myntra uses motifs on its website to evoke feelings associated with Valentine’s Day:

create urgency in ads

Notice that Myntra doesn’t mention ‘Valentine’ anywhere in the copy. But the whole packaging of the design has a very obvious Valentine’s-Day feel to it.

The offer also expires 2 days before Valentine’s Day. That, and the 50-80% discount offer, adds to the sense of urgency.

Priming is a strong psychological trigger that helps you convert buyers before they actually see your offer. It helps you prepare your customers to buy from you on time when they encounter the offer.

12. Gate Your Content

Sometimes, the best way to make people convert fast is by withholding your offer from them. For example, you can gate a valuable piece of content to make people more interested in getting it.

Gated content is an online asset, such as blogs, infographics, webinars, or downloadable templates that you can only access after taking a specific action.

Neil Patel offers advanced guides and courses on SEO, digital marketing, and social media. But you first need to sign up with the website to access the content for free.

create urgency in advertising

Digital Marketer has training videos on various marketing strategies, such as the best converting subject lines. Each course is hidden behind a content gate that you can unlock only after sharing your email address:

convert through urgency

Want to use gating to skyrocket your website conversion rate? You can turn any piece of content into gated content with OptinMonster’s Content Locker feature.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to using the content lock feature in OptinMonster:

Step 1: To create urgency with content locking, start by creating an inline campaign.

use urgency

Step 2: In the search bar, look for ‘gated content’ and choose the Unlock Gated Content template.

urgency words

Step 3: Once you have finished designing the campaign, go to Display Rules and click on the Done? Go To Actions button.

urgency words

Step 4: Here, you can toggle the Content Locking option to enable it. You can also click on the dropdown menu to choose whether you want to blur your locked content or remove it.

use scarcity words

Applying a content lock can be a game-changer for your website’s conversions if you have lots of high-quality content on your website.

In fact, Whole Whale used OptinMonster to gate its content behind the subscription wall and increased its conversions by 100%.

13. Use Discounts to Recover Cart Abandonments

Shopping cart abandonment is a big problem for most eCommerce businesses. Here are a few key statistics:

Thankfully, you can use urgency words to recover sales from cart abandonment. Dollar Shave Club sends this quirky and relevant abandoned cart email.

The copy pulls people’s interest with an emotional hook (‘Chuck is bumming pretty hard’) and offers a relevant CTA (‘join the club’) to persuade users to subscribe to their offer.

use scarcity

On sends this minimalist email to remind subscribers that the product they are interested in is flying off the shelves:

on running apparels

Pro-tip: Want to know how to minimize the chances of cart abandonments? You can use exit-intent popups, personalize your offer, or offer an incentive to stop them from happening. Learn about the proven ways to reduce shopping cart abandonments.

14. Use Urgency Words in Moderation

Studies show that when people see urgency as a manipulative tactic, it’s much less effective.

If everything is always on sale and about to run out, pretty soon your visitors will stop believing your urgent claims. You’ll lose their trust, which will make it even harder to market to them in the future.

Offering year-round discounts or creating urgency also belittles your brand perception.

Instead, keep it real and use urgency words judiciously. It’ll help you earn your customers’ trust and get them excited about your next offer.

Start Using Urgency Words in Your Marketing Today

And that’s it! Now you know how to use urgency words and tactics to improve conversions. Go ahead and use the ideas in this post in your next marketing campaign.

If you liked this post, you’ll enjoy the following resources, too:

Want to see how content gating can improve your site conversion? Get started with OptinMonster today!

Hi, I'm a writer and content marketer with 10+ years of experience. Over the years, I have helped several B2B SaaS brands grow their online presence and get more customers. At OptinMonster, I write about all things marketing — ranging from how-to guides to the best-of tools to help you improve your email marketing, lead generation, and website conversion campaigns.

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