A lineup outside of the famous 1970s club Studio 54. Image via biography.com

A lineup outside of the famous 1970s club Studio 54. Image via biography.com

People want what they can’t have; it’s the great paradox of marketing. We want to push our products and services, but we also want to demonstrate their value.

Exclusivity is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of today’s brands.

  • Exclusivity seals the deal for skeptical buyers.
  • Exclusivity helps build loyalty to your brand and product, creating brand evangelists for your company.
  • Exclusivity sets your business apart from its competition.

A sense of exclusivity is not the easiest element to create from a marketing perspective. Yes, we all want our brand to have some sort of allure. Yes, we want our buyers to stick with us and only us. But how do we attain that status?

“Members only”

Exclusivity often concerns barriers to entry. When we see someone step into a “members only” area offline, people naturally want to know what’s behind the door. Why are they allowed in and not me?

The same rules apply to digital marketing as we want to turn visitors into members and members into buyers.

Creating a “members only” functionality to your service and content can be tricky. Putting up barriers for visitors is a potentially dangerous game, but exclusivity can only be created if access and functionality are limited.

From Apple to Zynga, most software and applications today require a sign-up or membership to get you through the door. By providing something of potential value, you provide the incentive for people to join your club.


Give them a taste

Let’s say you have members. What’s next? You need to provide them with a taste of your product and what you have to offer as a business.

Spotify does this by offering people a free membership with unlimited access to its music library. But the free membership area is laden with occasional ads and no mobile functionality.

Spotify’s premium membership ($10 per month) is ad-free and allows for mobile usage. Spotify seals the deal through a 30-day trial period, during which time the user becomes accustomed to unlimited music with full functionality and no ads.

After taking full advantage of Spotify, users might find competitors such as Pandora, Grooveshark or even iTunes much less appealing.

A similar model is being pushed in the mobile landscape through applications such as the puzzle game Candy Crush, the highest grossing mobile app in both the Apple and Google stores. The twist? It’s free.

The game capitalizes on players’ desire to keep up with their neighbours, offering additional in-game moves in exchange for cash. This sort of “keep up with the Jones’” approach keeps users playing the game and spending money.

It all starts by giving users a taste. Once they’ve had it and they’re impressed, they’ll want to stick around.

It’s up to your business to meet and exceed their expectations.