This month, I want to talk about a super easy way to make your advertisements to drive new patients to your practice more effective than ever before.

But first, I want to share a concept with you, and a quick story about the concept.

Here’s the concept I want you to think about while reading this: Scarcity & Urgency drives sales.

Did you catch the January 7, 2014 announcement made by Velveeta Cheese (Kraft Foods) executives that there may in fact me a shortage of the wonder-food for Super Bowl? WHY would Kraft pull such a stunt? Simple: it drives awareness and sales. Period.

The great thing about this is you can use this very same approach in your own marketing. After all, there are only so many people you can help in your city with dental care, right? You don’t have an appointment for everyone who might want to take advantage of your special offer, nor do you have an operatory to put ‘em in. Scarcity for a professional practice like yours is absolutely a valid tactic to do exactly what Kraft did with Velveeta: create awareness and drive more sales.

Could there have been a shortage? Yes. In fact, there could have been. After all, their factories do have a legitimate capacity that cannot be overcome no matter how great the demand. Their goal with making the obvious statement was to simply remind folks about Velveeta so we wouldn’t forget to use it in our overly delicious Super Bowl snack fests!

How can you use this to your advantage? Nearly every marketing campaign and individual ad that we create for Members of my ClearPath Society® has a couple of important components intertwined to take advantage of this big lever called “scarcity” which motivates people to take action now vs. later.

For example, we use expire dates that are generally no more than 14 days from the drop date of the ad and we use another tactic: “Limited number of _____ available.” We fill that _______ with something like, “Call now. Just 12 new patient appointments available at this time. And, this special new patient offer absolutely ends January 31, 2014.”

If you want what we have to offer, can you see how that might motivates you to take action today vs. tomorrow, or worse, never?

One of the goals when using great direct response advertising is to have the reader/prospect 1.) take advantage of our offers and, 2.) take action now.

Leaving out either or both components to your ad will dramatically affect the overall profitability of the campaign.

I’ll often get requests to change expire dates to a month or more out from the anticipated drop dates and frankly, there’s no better way to kill an otherwise great ad, than taking that approach. Why should a reader/prospect respond now? They’ll wait. Put it aside, eventually burying it under a pile of paper, or, worse, chucking it in the round file.

If you’re skeptical about my “claim,” and I’d always encourage you to question what you don’t understand, just test it. See for yourself exactly what happens. Drop two ads. One with an expire date of 14 days and one with 30 days. See for yourself which one pulls better and faster and provides you with a bigger ROI.

Something not generally discussed in marketing is how a far-out expire date or lack of urgency or scarcity included in an ad will affect your cash flow. Simple question: When you invest $1000 in advertising, do you want it back in 6 months or 6 weeks? If you understand cash flow and deployment of assets (money), then you’ll agree, 6 weeks or less is always better. That speedy ROI will increase the overall ROI when you look at it on an annualized basis.