I’m a perpetual procrastinator.
I’m horrible about it.
When I was in college, I perfected the art of the overnight paper. That is, at about 8 PM, the night before a paper was due, I’d wander to the campus computer lab to both start and complete my paper.
After an hour or two of just playing around, doing whatever, I’d finally get down to work.
And over the course of the following 10 hours or so, I’d just put the pedal to the metal.
I’d write, and write, and write.
First a few sentences. Then a few paragraphs. Then a few pages.
Others would come and go through the computer lab.
Usually I’d have my headphones on, and barely pay them any attention.
By about 3 AM, I was usually alone, or nearly alone.
And I’d just keep writing.
By 5 or 6 AM, other students would start to trickle in, ahead of their AM classes. Printing, checking email, whatever.
I’d still be writing.
As my deadline approached ever-closer, I’d work ever-faster.
And invariably, in just enough time to print, grab a bite to eat, and run across campus to class, I’d finish.
Done by the deadline, but barely.
I got REALLY good at it.
Always just barely finishing my work before the deadline.
Relying on that deadline to get done.
Here’s a little secret: We ALL have some of this procrastinator in us.
Superstar copywriter John Carlton has repeatedly taught the deadline was modern man’s first invention. Because without it, we wouldn’t have gotten anything else done.
Some of us get really good at motivating ourselves. But fundamentally, it’s ingrained to put off until tomorrow what doesn’t have to be done today.
I see it with my kids all the time.
The house is a mess. Toys everywhere. It’s time to pick up.
So we set what we call the “Animal timer.”
It’s an iPhone app that hides a picture of an animal under a bunch of leaves, which slowly blow away as the clock counts down. There’s also a pie chart on the screen showing what percentage of the time has passed. And music.
Let’s say we give them 10 minutes…
At first, they ooh and ah over the timer. As the first leaves blow away, they sneak a peek at what the animal might be that’s hiding underneath. Hardly any picking up happens.
Then they look at the pie chart. “It’s already a pizza slice,” they’ll say.
And they start to pick up.
Then, as more leaves blow away, they start to check it less, and pick up faster. When the pie chart is more than half gone, they get very focused.
As the timer ticks away, the race to the finish ensues.
The closer the deadline, the greater the speed and focus.
Until they finally beat it!
Again, a deadline at work.
As a marketer, this is something you should pay special attention to.
If you want to maximize response, you need a deadline.
In fact, you hardly have an offer unless you have a deadline.
That’s a secret many of the greatest marketers in the world know.
Sometimes, it has to be manufactured.
“Respond today.” “Please reply within 10 days.” These bastions of mail order are likely familiar. With rolling mail dates, long lead times on printing, variable delivery dates of standard postage, and similar factors, it’s about the best we can do. Or for an evergreen offer online you may seek to infuse a little urgency with similar language, even though you have every intention of leaving the offer up indefinitely.
This is not an ideal scenario. And should be avoided where possible.
Even better though if you’re able to create a real deadline.
One of the types of campaigns I’ve become known for is a high-level version of a webinar campaign. With plenty of credit due to the giants whose shoulders I stood on, not the least of which was Clayton Makepeace, I can confidently say I’m really dang good at these things.
Here’s the crux of it.
You announce an upcoming online “event” or broadcast you’ll be hosting. The event date itself is the deadline for registration — if not the day before. You spend a significant amount of communication space pushing registrations for the event. Driving home the need to register before the deadline to get the content.
This is the first deadline, and a real one too, because it is based on the day the event is being broadcast. It establishes urgency around what you’re doing.
Then after the event, you make a special offer to event attendees and registrants. This, too, has a deadline, based on the date of the event. Maybe attendees have 7 days to respond to take advantage of the special offer. Maybe less. Certainly no more than two weeks. As the deadline approaches, you build urgency into your communications.
Then you can do it all over again, offering a stepped-down offer to folks who didn’t respond to the first one. This almost-as-good offer lasts maybe another week, and gives everything at a slightly higher price, or gives slightly less for the same price. Either way, it’s a great offer, but there is clear advantage to having responded before the previous deadline.
The beauty of this is it creates a sense of urgency, and establishes multiple deadlines for response around your campaign.
This is a believable, realistic way to infuse urgency into your marketing.
And it works like gangbusters!
This style of urgency also takes place as part of Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula process.
It’s built into the system. The timely nature of a launch is such that you’re only making this deal available for a limited time. There’s a real deadline that must be adhered to, to get in on the offer.
Also, any real event that’s being sold… A teleseminar or series of teleseminars. A webinar. A live conference or workshop. Whatever. These events all represent real and urgent deadlines that can be leveraged in marketing.
You can also use the “musical chairs” phenomenon to increase urgency…
You do remember the game of musical chairs, don’t you?
If 10 people are playing, 9 chairs are put in a circle in the middle of the room. Music is started, and as long as the music plays, the participants must walk in a circle around the chairs. As soon as the music stops, there’s a mad rush to plant your butt in a chair.
There’s always someone who doesn’t get a chair.
They’re out, and the players are down to 9. The chairs are down to 8 — always one less than the number of players. And so it goes until there’s one butt in one seat — and a winner is decided.
Whenever you have a limited quantity of something, there’s increased urgency to get it.
A limited “test run” of products.
Limited seats for a seminar or an event.
Limited time available to deliver services.
When it can be made clear that there are more folks who want something than there are things available, there will be increased urgency to get the wares on hand.
Here’s one more example of urgency at work…
Next Friday, August 15th, 2014, is your absolute deadline to save a full $900 with the “Early, Early Bird” discount to my Advanced Direct Response Copywriting Workshop in November.
Seats are limited, yet I’m not sure if it will sell out with this deadline. But I am sure there will be a rush of folks coming in, grabbing many of the seats that remain. There’s no sense in waiting.
Even if you’ve read my letter before, you’ll want to scan it again… Because I’ve just added TWO incredible bonuses to what you get. (I’m spoiling at least part of my announcement for tomorrow’s teleseminar, but I can’t contain myself!)
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets