Seven Ways to Create a Sense of Urgency

Urgency Lifts Response – In Direct Response Advertising, “Later is Never!”

Urgency is a stressful state from which a person seeks to remove him or herself from. Urgency is its own driving force. Therefore, a consumer may respond to the stress of urgency, as well to a motivating factor related to the product or service. In effect, urgency can compound motivation.


Different Psychological Bases for Urgency:

  1. Emergency Urgency – A crisis that threatens life or property. Individuals for who the threat is serious and consequential will feel the stress of urgency. The person senses that inaction will lead to damage or loss, and that some action on their part can avoid, halt or mitigate the threat to such life or property. The sense of urgency and the desire to take action is greater the more urgent and relevant the sense of crisis.
  2.  Ego Urgency – The person’s ego is either directly or indirectly linked to the need for something else. At stake are such feelings as shame, embarrassment, prestige or status, sexual attractiveness, etc. To the extent that the desires in these “ego areas” are strong, impatience will drive the person to take actions that they perceive to satisfy them. The stress of impatience creates the sense of urgency.
  3. Competitive Urgency – Humans are naturally competitive. Competitiveness, like survival, is a constant threat and has its own built in urgency. Situations linked to competitiveness therefore have built in urgency. The greater the competitive threat, the more pronounced the feeling of urgency.
  4. Scarcity Urgency – This is the feeling of scarcity of supply. It is the sense that inaction will lead to loss of an opportunity. The greater the sense of scarcity and the more rapidly the person senses that the supply is diminishing the greater will be their sense of urgency.
  5. Enough Is Enough Urgency – Related closely to reciprocal altruism. It is the sense of guilt that it is our turn to reciprocate. The more out of balance we are, the larger our sense of “indebtedness,” the greater our guilt and the more we feel compelled to get out of “debt” or even the  score. Based on someone’s personal threshold for guilt over nonreturned reciprocal altruism, they can come to feel obligated to reciprocate before we can accept any further altruism. Since we really want to be able to accept more altruism, we feel additional stress and urgency to take some action.
  6. The Rules Say So Urgency – In this situation, a higher authority has established the time frame for when specified actions must take place. The more powerful, removed and inflexible the rule maker, the more we recognize the need to comply. Our desire for something that is subject to the rules is the catalyst for our sense of urgency. The greater our desire and the more urgent the time frame, the greater will be our sense of urgency.
  7. Linked Independent Urgency – Some entirely independent need or desire is somehow linked to another situation. While the situation in and of itself may present no urgency, the persons own independent urgency may transfer over to the situation at hand, creating a linked sense of urgency.

As urgency diminishes, so does the power of your call-to-action.