Customers can be fickle creatures. They take their time, get easily distracted and often, simply change their minds.

It can be an all-too frustrating scenario for the impatient marketer. You want them to decide now, buy your product and see the results today.

We take a look at how marketers can cut-to-the-chase. How they can use a sense of urgency that influences the customer, prompts action and speeds-up the sales process.

Here are our top tips on how to secure a sale today.

1. Create a deadline

Promotions should always have deadlines – ideally the shorter the better. Create flash events which are only for a week, a day or even a few hours. Send an email promoting these and give a clear and specific deadline so consumers know they need to take action ASAP.

2. Make it simple

Don’t give people lots of choices or complicate things with complex offers. When it comes to prompting fast decisions people need to clearly understand what you’re asking them to do. Make offers simple by using big percentage discounts or money off. If you opt for more complex multi-buy promotions, the customer has to spend more time making decisions which increases the likelihood of them getting distracted or losing interest.

3. Limit stock

If you’ve only got limited stock of an item then let your customer know. This increases urgency so they won’t want to miss out, and a scarcity mindset often propels a purchasing decision. People won’t feel they need to purchase now if they think there are plenty items left.

4. Use countdowns

Remind customers how long they have to redeem the offer to encourage them to buy. Use a simple animated GIF to create a ticking countdown clock to reinforce the fact customers need to act now.

5. Send last chance emails

Always send a ‘last chance’ email 24 hours before a promotion expires, specifically to people who’ve not yet purchased. You’ll often see an uplift in sales as a result of this simple, last chance alert.

6. Open with urgency

We love a bit of urgency in subject lines – ‘eeek – I expire at midnight’, ‘24 hrs left to redeem’ or even ‘your last chance to redeem…’ all prompt intrigue and high open rates.

7. Emotive language

Use emotive language which directs and prompts behaviour such as ‘hurry’, ‘shop now’ and ‘don’t miss out!’. For instance don’t use ‘click here’ – it’s bland and boring and doesn’t inspire action (especially when over half your audience have nothing to click as they’ll be on their phones!)

8. Bulletin design

If you’re trying to make an impact make sure your design is clear and to-the-point. Bulletin style alerts are easy to scan, grab attention and give you enough room to get a brief message across. Remember when it comes to prompting urgency less really is more!

So there you go – eight ways to get people clicking and buying quickly. Tactics you can use to turn-up the heat and trigger sales now.

These are great tips to use during your January sales period when most retailers want to ramp-up sales in just a few weeks and keep up the momentum of their promotional messaging.

And remember – with today’s busy lifestyles customers are often forced to prioritise decisions. Make sure they can’t justify putting off what you’re asking them to do until tomorrow.

Download the Sector Series: Email Marketing for Retailers guide