The term “FOMO” stands for “fear of missing out.” It’s the fear of missing out on opportunities if you don’t act upon them now.
This is an inherent fear that we all possess and you can use this fear to your advantage to promote your products and services. This fear can compel your potential buyers to take action and that’s why this form of marketing is termed as FOMO marketing.
But how can you leverage FOMO marketing?
If you want to leverage FOMO marketing, you need to change the way you communicate with your audience. You need to change your approach to ensure that you instill fear in their minds.
This includes presenting your offers in a way that your audience feels like they are going to miss out on the offer if they don’t act now. This can encourage them to buy from you.
To understand how to leverage the FOMO technique to your advantage, you need to first understand what it exactly is.
As humans, we’re hardwired to avoid taking risks. When it comes to purchases, avoiding risk means that we won’t purchase unless we feel that the product is worth our money. However, we also run a risk of missing out on a good product or offer.
That’s where FOMO marketing steps in. It aims to make people realize that they are going to miss out on a good product or offer so that they end up purchasing it.
However, marketers need to frame their promotional messages in a way that they can instill this fear in the minds of their target audience.
For example, let’s say that you want to purchase a pair of headphones and have an idea of how they must be. When you suddenly see an ad on a social media platform or website that shows similar headphones, you are likely to be inclined to purchase them.
If that headphones ad includes a limited time discount offer, you are likely to experience the fear of missing out. The panic that this message creates might push you to purchase the headphones right away. That’s how FOMO marketing works.
Now that you know what FOMO marketing is, how you can leverage it to boost your sales?
At first, it can be difficult to convince people to trust your brand. Unless they start believing in your brand, it’d be challenging to get them to purchase from you. Providing social proof can help you build trust.
However, you need to be strategic about when to give your consumers this little push. The best time to do so, in many cases, is when the person is about to make a purchase. At this point, you can show them testimonials or reviews from your happy customers. This can increase their trust in your brand.
Good reviews and testimonials can make them feel like they’ll miss out on a good product if they don’t make the purchase.
You can trigger FOMO even more if you use social proof notifications using apps such as TrustPulse. This app helps you display the name of the person and their location so that your potential buyers know that the review is coming from a real person.
These notifications usually pop up at the bottom of the screen and show that people are buying from you. When people see that others are buying from you, they’ll be inclined to purchase.
Businesses like SeedProd use this FOMO marketing technique to increase their sales. They display social proof notifications on their website to highlight purchases. You can see a pop-up notification everytime someone purchases their product along with the buyer’s name.
Time is one factor that you can always use to your advantage to trigger FOMO. By limiting the time of an offer or giveaway, you create a sense of urgency in the minds of your audience.
How can you do this?
When you launch an offer or give a discount, you can add a time limit for the same. If your consumers realize that they can earn better rewards if they act fast, this can compel them to buy instantly.
For instance, you can launch a limited time discount offer where the discount amount reduces with every passing day. This is likely to make people rush their purchasing decision so that they can get the highest possible discount rate.
Similarly, you can also limit the number of freebies or offer coupons that you are going to distribute.
For example, Huawei put up an offer where they promised to giveaway a free gift to their first 100 purchasers. Such an offer can trigger FOMO in your potential buyers and make them purchase your products quickly so that they can win the free gifts.
Just the way you can reward people for taking early decisions, you can also set a deadline to use FOMO marketing to boost sales.
How does setting deadlines set off FOMO?
When your audience sees a deadline on an offer or deal that you’ve put up, a mental clock will start ticking away in their minds. This can push them to make impulsive buying decisions.
A deadline would mean that they would need to take some action before the time runs out, or else they’d miss out on the deal.
However, there is a catch:
When you use this FOMO marketing technique, your deadlines should be absolute. If you keep extending your deadline, it can kill the urgency factor that FOMO is all about. It can also hurt your brand image as you didn’t follow what you had stated earlier.
One of the best examples of this is Amazon’s Deal of the Day section. All of the offers displayed in this section are associated with limited time and limited number of products. Both of these factors help Amazon to push people to purchase their products before the deal expires.
Yet another way to leverage FOMO marketing is to use user-generated content to make your potential buyers want your products.
You should encourage customers to share their experiences with your brand. You can then showcase stories and pictures of how your customers are using your products or services to attract potential buyers. In-context product images, videos, and stories can help you push your audience to want your products as well.
This is, in a way, an extension of social proof and it vouches for the authenticity of your brand and products. At the same time, when you use real photos of people using your products, others would aspire to live that life as well. This can lay a foundation of a compelling FOMO marketing campaign.
Wayfair, for example, uses this FOMO marketing technique to promote their products by encouraging their customers to post images using the hashtag, #wayfairathome. People have created over 30K posts using this hashtag.
Brands usually use product bundles to upsell their products. When a customer is about to purchase something, you can offer them other complementary products and give them a discount on the total order.
And now you are thinking: how does this fall under FOMO marketing?
While this doesn’t come under FOMO marketing, it can, if you add a clock to the offer. You can give users a massive discount on your bundle pack but make it time-bound so that they start acting on impulses.
Design Cuts is a website that sells fonts, graphics, and templates. They use this marketing method to sell their product bundles at exceptionally cheap prices. As all of these offers are time-based, their audience becomes inclined to purchase them.
Exclusivity triggers FOMO better than anything else, and that’s why creating exclusive offers can help you use FOMO marketing effectively.
We love the thought of being offered something special and get preferential treatment. You can offer this exclusivity to your potential customers at a price.
For example, Amazon came up with the idea of Amazon Prime, where their Prime members could get access to exclusive deals. This strategy worked miracles for them.
People are willing to pay a premium price if they get access to exclusive content or deals. This is proved by the fact that Amazon Prime managed to get over 100 million U.S. subscribers.
The FOMO rises if we realize that there’s someone else who’s also looking at the same thing as you. This becomes especially pronounced if the product or service that you seek is available in limited quantity.
You can leverage the FOMO caused due to limited availability of products and competition to push people to buy from you.
How can you do this?
One way to do so is to show your audience how many other people are looking at the same product as them. You can also include the number of products left in stock to further push the message that they might miss out on the product if they don’t buy soon.
And the good news?
Doing this not only creates competition, it also adds credibility through social proof as there are several others who want to buy that product.
Booking.com uses this FOMO marketing method to push people to book hotels. They show how many people booked the same hotel in the past few hours and the number of rooms left. In addition, they also show how many people are looking to book the hotel at present. This helps them create a sense of urgency.
Images and videos work extremely well when you want to create an impact on your audience. They can, therefore, be used in FOMO marketing as well.
Strong visuals can instill FOMO in your audience. However, you must ensure that the visuals are designed well and the elements that create FOMO are highlighted well.
But, how do you instill the fear of missing out with visuals?
Try to include words like “Don’t Miss Out,” “Limited Stocks Left,” and “Offer Ends Soon” for maximum impact.
Express.com uses this method of marketing to promote their EXPRESS NEXT rewards program. In the image below, they’ve highlighted “Don’t Miss Out” in a way that it is instantly visible and it creates a strong impact on their audience.
When you show people great opportunities that they’ve missed, their FOMO will rise even further. This FOMO marketing technique aims to push people to buy by showing them what they’ve lost because they were late. Seeing missed opportunities creates anxiety and FOMO for other opportunities.
This FOMO can push people over the edge and convince them to purchase from you. This is especially true if they wanted to buy the item that became a missed opportunity.
This is yet another form of FOMO marketing where Booking.com excels.
When you search for hotels, it also shows all of the hotels that are already booked with a clear message in bold letters that “You missed it!.” This creates FOMO in their audience for the hotels that are available currently as well.
To reach your target audience, you need to take an omnichannel approach. People may communicate with your brand on one channel at one point and move to another later. Your messaging needs to be consistent throughout channels if you want to hold their attention.
You can use FOMO marketing to push your audience on one channel to subscribe to your other channels as well.
For this, you can create special offers that can only be found on the other channel. The audience that’s interested in the offers will instantly move to the other channel and start engaging with you there. Google map marketing also helps you a lot to attract customers.
You can then engage your audience on multiple channels to grow your business and sales.
Amazon uses this method to convince people to download their app. They do so by coming up with app-only deals and competitions.
FOMO marketing is real, and you can use it to push your audience to make them instinctively purchase from you.
You can effectively use social proof to get people to trust your brand, roducts, and services. You can then promote limited-time offers and display the number of products left in stock to further push your audience.
What does this do for your business?
This can help you stir up some competition among your audience to enhance their fear of missing out. You should give your audience a chance to feel special by offering them exclusive discounts and content. This can push them to pay you for this special service.
Lastly, you shouldn’t miss out on using powerful words that can convince your users that they’re going to miss out on the products, services, or offers if they don’t act instantly.
What are the other ways through which you can leverage FOMO marketing? Let me know in the comments.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the Co-Founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.