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Limited-time offers, a great way to sell

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Have you ever been the victim of an offer too good to pass up? We can assure you that you have, and it’s not your fault, there are psychological underpinnings behind this situation. Limited time offers are one of the most used gimmicks in the marketing people’s handbook, and it’s simple: they work and they work excellently. Limited-time offers, in fact, play on two very primitive parts of our emotions, the FOMO (fear of missing out) and our sense of preservation, observable through the reactance theory.

Limited-time offers and the pressure of the moment

FOMO is a popular term among millennials. FOMO is what drives a person to do something, buy something or be a part of something. An instinctive part of our social behavior comes from fear of rejection and the need to belong, which we’ll talk about next. Being part of a group and not being rejected is essential to the human experience, it is a matter of survival, it is in our genetics. On the other hand, there is an unprecedented appreciation of experiences and even more so when they are unique. The fear of missing out on something that might not happen again drives an almost uncomfortable sense of urgency in our brains.

On the other hand, the active resistance theory tells us about a feeling of preservation, wanting to acquire something before it disappears; in a way, we feel forced to preserve something that would otherwise disappear forever. This can be seen not only in limited-time offers, but in scarce quantities of a product or in the banning of a product. The feeling that there will be something we will never have again or will not be able to access exponentially increases the desire generated in our minds to acquire it. Limited time offers, then, make us feel that we are, in a way, taking advantage of an offer and save it from fading away in time and on the other hand it is important to consider a digital marketing agency that understands the feeling of audiences at this point.

Of course, as marketing people, it’s not enough for us to just put up limited time offers and hope that people will magically get to it. While limited time offers are powerful and aggressive sales strategies, as with everything else, they are not a panacea for sales.

Here are some tips, so that you can design the best strategy to take advantage of limited time offers.

  • Add a counter: time is a very curious thing, we don’t notice its passing until we are aware of it. Adding a counter not only serves to see the passage of time in an analogous way, but also creates an unusual sense of urgency. Internet users tend to be procrastinators by nature; if they think they have more time to do something, they will procrastinate, but if they see time spilling through their fingers, then they will act with haste. In fact, to put some hard numbers on it, limited-time offers with a counter convert 8% more than those without one.
  • Set a defined period of time: it’s not the same to say “run, because they’re running out” as it is to say “there’s only one left”. Similarly, saying “for a limited time” is not the same as saying “you have until tomorrow to do it”. Setting a time frame will help people feel even more pressured by your limited-time offers. By going from something vague to something concrete, you make it real and make consumers feel pressure to buy.
  • Be honest: as in everything, honesty is key to generate a good perception by buyers, as well as trust in the brand, so, instead of creating an inflated offer only embellished by a temporary constriction, offer them real limited time offers.
  • As in everything, timing and opportunity are essential: schedule your limited-time offers according to important dates. We know, for example, the offers that occur around the world in the summer or digital events such as Cybermonday or the Hot Sale. Take advantage of holidays and peak consumption dates, such as the end of the year, so that you have a higher conversion

Do you want to continue learning about this and other sales techniques? Come to LDM and, together, we will design your digital marketing strategy.

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Alberto Alvarez
Alberto Alvarez
CEO - Fundador
After working for almost a decade in marketing in Procter & Gamble, Alberto envisions the power of changes in the digital era and decides to focus in the entrepreneurship world in Latam. In 2012 he founds his first start-up,, changing the way to engage with real estate in the region. Alberto served as Marketing VP for Agora Technologies at Silicon Valley, a company finance by Guy Kawasaki & Nolan Bushnell, where he developed the main concept of Startup Icon. Today, Alberto is the CEO of the holding company that conforms Latam Digital Marketing, and its subsidiaries in Latin America.
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