Do your emails compel subscribers to act? If your emails create a sense of urgency, you’re more likely to convert subscribers into paying customers.

When subscribers feel a sense of urgency, they’re more likely to make decisions quickly. It’s not just a marketing tactic; it’s actually supported by human psychology. Urgent situations force the human brain to make decisions instantly, which can be extremely helpful when a subscriber reads your email.

So, how do you create a sense of urgency in your email marketing? It’s all about how you present information to your subscribers. In this post, we’ll walk you through the process and provide examples for your email copy, subject lines, preheader text, and calls to actions. Hurry! Let’s go!

Create a sense of urgency in your email copy

Let’s start by focusing on your email copy. Here are three ways to create a sense of urgency in the body of your emails:

Set a deadline

One of the most common ways to create a sense of urgency in your email copy is to set a deadline. Whether you’re offering a hot deal, giving away tickets to an event or asking subscribers to RSVP for a webinar, you’ll get more conversions by setting a deadline.

Your copy should reward subscribers for taking advantage of the offer within the allotted time. For example, give subscribers an extra 10% off if they make a purchase within 24 hours, or offer a discount on event tickets like Campaign Monitor customer, SXSW, does in the example below:

SXSW set a deadline for discounted tickets and sent subscribers a reminder email on the day the deadline was about to expire. Now that’s a sense of urgency.

Don’t make the deadline too long. A week-long sale may not create the sense of urgency you’re looking for. You may want to try a 2-day sale, a 24-hour period like SXSW did or a flash sale that only lasts for a few hours.

Solve an unpleasant problem

When you’re facing a problem, you want a solution fast. After all, who likes to deal with conflict? If your brand can offer a solution to a common problem, a subscriber’s need to find resolution kicks in and urgency takes over.

For example, let’s say your company offers a relationship management course for corporate employees. It’s not exactly a glitzy service to market via email, but watch what happens when you offer the service as a solution.

Here’s what a potential email could say: “Tired of fighting with unproductive employees? Stop bickering and start communicating today. Our 1-day relationship management course will mend your relationship and increase your bottom line.”

After reading this, any subscriber with a broken business relationship is going to feel a sense of urgency to take this course.

Try pitching your product or service as a solution to a problem to urge your subscribers to act quickly.

Offer something scarce

If your subscribers have the opportunity to get their hands on something scarce, they’ll act. Have a limited-quantity of a popular video game? Is a hot item back in stock? Are you selling a limited-edition item?

If you’re offering an item that’s scarce, or hard to get – use that to create a sense of urgency. Birchbox offered its members a limited-edition beauty box and made sure the words “Limited Edition” were in the body of the email.

Tell customers how difficult it is to get the product in your copy. Say something like, “These won’t last long,” “We only have 10 left in stock” or “Act now before they sell out – again.”

Create a sense of urgency in subject lines and preheaders

Every component of your email should have a sense of urgency, and that includes your subject line and preheader. The secret to creating a sense of urgency here is word choice. Here’s the rule of thumb to follow:

Use urgent language to promote what’s inside

Use urgent language to promote what’s inside your email.

You likely used one of the urgent techniques mentioned above, so mimic those tactics in your subject line and preheader with urgent words.

For example, if your email focuses on a flash sale that offers subscribers a sweet deal on a pair of shoes, your subject line and preheader should tease the reader with that information.

A subject line could read, “Time-sensitive offer on our hottest shoes.” The preheader could read, “Act fast and save 20% on sneakers.” Both the subject line and the preheader use urgent words like “time-sensitive,” “act” and “fast.”

Here’s an example of a Leap Year offer from Birchbox. Both the subject line and preheader have urgent wording. Notice the words “Hurry” in the subject line and the word “Limited-time” in the preheader.

 Birchbox Urgency Email Subject Line

Here’s a list of urgent words you can add to your subject line or preheader to create a sense of urgency:

· Hurry
· Act Now
· Limited-time offer
· Instant savings
· Save today
· Deadline approaching
· Limited number available
· Time sensitive
· Don’t miss this

Also, check out this post of 80+ words to improve your email campaigns.

Create a sense of urgency in your CTA

Space is limited in your subject line and preheader, but it’s even more limited in your call to action or CTA. Again, word choice is huge. In about 2-5 words you need to create a sense of urgency.

Pair an active and urgent word

Now you need to break out active words. Words like “Shop” and “Act” are examples of active words that motivate subscribers. Now, pair that active word with an urgent one. For example, “Show Now” or “Act Fast.”

You can use more than two words, but make sure you use a combination of active and urgent words for your call to action.

Here’s a list of active/urgent CTAs that you can use:
· Claim your coupon now
· Book today
· Quick! Reserve your seat
· Start saving today
· Save now
· Book your appointment now
· Enter now
· See your offer now
· Buy [product name] now
· See what’s on sale instantly
· Reveal your offer today

Wrap up

As you craft your email, go through and reread it. Look for areas where you can change or enhance your wording to create a sense of urgency. Take the time to go through each component: the body, subject line, preheader and CTA. Once you’re happy with your urgent email, send it to your target audience and see what kind of response you get, and remember, hurry! Act fast!

  • Execute Hosting

    Great article Samantha – awesome examples of urgent words and active words!

  • NiftyImages

    Samantha, another way to create urgency is to use an animated countdown timer. There is an integration that does this already with CampaignMonitor:

    https://www.campaignmonitor.com/integrations/niftyimages

    It can adjust to the proper time each time it is opened, can be set in any language or timezone and has an option for an expiration image after the time is up. Thought this really goes with your blog and is already available for CampaignMonitor clients.

  • Pete Austin

    Countdown timers are great, of course. Fresh Relevance integrates with CampaignMonitor – with personalization, standard HTML, CSS and javascript layouts, and advanced animation not just a clock.

    https://www.freshrelevance.com/blog/how-to-put-an-animated-countdown-timer-in-your-emails

    You can change the content at any time, even after your emails have been sent. E.g. when the countdown is complete you aren’t stuck displaying your expiration image but can replace the countdown with any other dynamic content – for example a twitter feed or the countdown to your next offer.

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