Marketing is about understanding how people behave. When you know what makes your customers tick, it’s much easier to create compelling messages. One of the easiest ways to do this is by leveraging FOMO marketing.
In fact, FOMO, or fear of missing out can be leveraged in lots of different ways. In sales for example, FOMO can be used to make leads feel they may fall behind their competitors without your product.
Then there’s social FOMO. We see more of our peers lives than ever before. This might be something as mundane as what our friends have for breakfast on Instagram. The point is that we see the shiny highlights of other people’s lives and feel like we’re missing out on all the fun they’re having.
But there’s more to FOMO than just Instagram envy.
What is FOMO Marketing
FOMO marketing is anything which makes your audience feel like they’re missing out. Since this is a fear we all hold, it makes potential customers more likely to take action.
We’re social creatures, so we never want to fall behind the latest trend. This is especially true with trends that mark you out as part of some group or another. Social FOMO takes advantage of this fact.
Then we have marketing FOMO.
Marketing FOMO has much more to do with accessing products or services that you desire. As we’ll see, businesses use techniques like offering special offers or restricting access to a product to create marketing FOMO.
More than 50% of people admit that they’ve made a purchase because of FOMO. This figure climbs to closer to 70% for millenials, who spend much more time on social media than their parents.
As such, you’ll see the majority of big brands using FOMO in one way or another.
Enough of the theory. Let’s look at nine concrete FOMO marketing techniques you can start using today to boost your sales.
1. Use Social Proof to Generate FOMO
More than any other marketing technique, social proof depends on FOMO. While social proof comes in a number of flavours, the best tools offer you a number of options. These include displaying sales in real time, or how many viewers a product has.
This engages your customers’ FOMO by emphasizing your product’s popularity. When would-be customers see the sales pouring in, they’re more inclined to make a purchase themselves. This is the same effect as a long line outside a busy restaurant.
UseProof is an example of a tool that can generate this busy restaurant effect on your eCommerce store. This allows you to display popups with individual or bulk sales, with only a couple of minutes of setup time.
Check out LawnStarter who use this tool to build FOMO, proving that FOMO marketing isn’t only open to adventure travel or extreme sports brands.
2. Highlight Missed Opportunities
If there’s one surefire way to build FOMO, it’s highlighting missed opportunities. Think about it, if a customer has felt the pain of missing out once, they’ll go to greater efforts to prevent this next time. You can even grab an email to let them know next time your product is available.
Of course, this strategy works best if you’re planning to make your product or offer available again in the future. This might include a further short production run, or a second release of tickets for your event.
Nobody does this better than Glastonbury.
Every year, tens of thousands of Glastonbury tickets sell out in minutes, long before the acts are even announced. People log onto the booking platform knowing full well there’s a chance they’ll miss out.
The festival then offer a second run of tickets to get rid of any that have been returned. Knowing that they’ve missed out once already gives festival goers an extra incentive to try again in this second run.
3. Make Your Offer Time Sensitive
One of the most common FOMO marketing techniques is making offers time sensitive. This is when you create a limited offer, encouraging your customers to commit to a purchase before the price goes back up.
Your email inbox is probably already full of these offers, but here’s one example.
Flash sales like this are a really popular and easy way to leverage FOMO. Most people are pretty price-conscious, so this type of messaging works by engaging our fear of paying more than we have to.
The best thing is that your offer doesn’t have to be all that time sensitive. That is, you can present it as if it’s a once in a lifetime deal, but you might still run multiple very similar discounts throughout the year.
Realistically, I probably get this same email a couple of times a month.
4. Create FOMO by Limiting the Number of Sales
A related way to leverage FOMO marketing is limiting the number of sales. The classic example of this is creating a short run of special products or discounts. SkillShare use FOMO in this way when partnering with YouTubers.
Think of how many times you’ve been told that the first 100 people to use sign up using a discount code will receive two months of SkillShare for free.
However, the classic example of limiting the number of sales is much easier to implement. All you need to do is display the stock levels on your product pages. You’ll often see this on Amazon.
Somewhat retro, but you’ll notice on this iPod Classic listing that there are only 10 left. Displaying limited stock levels like this gives people an incentive to commit to buying, because they’re afraid they won’t be able to get the product in the future.
If you don’t have limited stock, you can use the same technique by being a little more vague. Simply adding while stocks last to your product listings can produce a similar, though less pressing, FOMO effect.
5. Use FOMO to Emphasize Cost Savings
Again, it’s easy to tap into your customers’ natural fear of missing a bargain by emphasizing the saving they’ll get by purchasing right away. This can be used to tip hesitant buyers over the edge and make them convert.
Some brands put this at the heart of their messaging. Check out AppSumo, who run exclusive discounts on software packages. Their whole USP is saving you money.
Who could argue with a message like that?
This strategy also works well when utilized towards the end of your sales funnel. In particular, emphasizing the savings from an immediate purchase works well in exit intent pop-ups. The downside is that you’ll have to offer an additional discount to get these sales over the line.
This works because hesitant buyers in these situations are likely planning on making a purchase at some point. All you need to do is convince them that it’s better to buy now, otherwise they’ll be spending more money for no reason.
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6. Add Time-Sensitive Bonuses
Another excellent way to boost sales with FOMO marketing is by offering time-sensitive bonuses. This works just like a time-sensitive discount, except you offer freebies instead of money off. This can be for a limited number of early purchases, or in a fixed time frame.
You see this utilized a lot in the affiliate marketing niche. Bonuses are added to offers to help convince a warm lead to convert into a sale. You see this all the time on offers hosted on sites like Warrior Forum and JV Zoo. Below is an example from a software offer.
The idea is simply to offer an added incentive to push you over the line and buy straight away.
Apple also use time-sensitive with their back to school offer. On top of their generous education discount, if you buy a new Mac between August and October, you’ll receive free AppleCare and a pair of Beats.
However, don’t think that you need to be a multi-billion dollar brand to use this FOMO marketing technique. In fact, there are other bonuses you can offer which are as effective without breaking the bank.
For instance, you might offer free postage to your first 100 customers, or a free extended warranty.
You might also offer a bonus which doesn’t have any reproduction costs. For example, if you run an SaaS brand, you might give early subscribers a free eBook or whitepaper to help them make the most of your product.
7. Leverage the Credibility of Influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the most cost effective channels there is. The effect of influencers on your customers can’t be separated from FOMO. As such, working with influencers is one of the most direct ways to tap into your customers’ fear of missing out.
Let’s take Instagram as an example. When we see our friends’ lives on such a visual platform, we can’t help but compare them to our own lives. The trouble is, we only get the highlights, so we’re always aspiring to be more like the images we see.
With professional influencers, this effect is turbocharged. While influencers present themselves like any other person on social media, their followers only see carefully crafted snapshots to emphasise your brand.
This is crucial. Over 90% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers. Fashion, beauty and fitness brands are the main users of influencer marketing. This makes sense, since it’s easy for them to work their brands into very un-salesy social media posts.
The influencer only needs to say what brands they’re using.
These days you have to be careful when choosing which influencers to work with though. Increasingly, wannabe influencers simply buy their followers from bot networks. To avoid this, you might consider setting other criteria for who to work with, or else offering affiliate commissions.
8. Utilize Multiple Marketing Channels
FOMO marketing isn’t just a way to grow sales. It’s also an effective way to cross-pollinate your audience and grow your influence across different marketing channels. In turn, this will lead to more sales down the line.
The core of multi-channel FOMO marketing is using your existing audience on one platform to grow another. This could be by promoting an exclusive Facebook Live stream on your Twitter or Instagram.
First, you’ll need to create special discounts or content which are exclusive to one channel. The goal is to convince your audience to follow you on each of your channels to avoid missing out on these.
The same technique can be used to grow your email list using your social media followers, and vice versa. This example is using an existing Facebook audience to build an SMS list with exclusive offers.
When adopting any kind of multi-channel approach, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First of all, you need to maintain consistent messaging across all channels, so that you’re audience don’t become confused.
At the same time, you need to optimise your content for each of the channels you’ll promote it on.
9. Send Multiple Marketing Emails
Email remains one of the most effective and easy to use marketing channels around. For the majority of people, we check our emails first thing in the morning, before doing anything online. As such, email is pretty much the best place to reach your audience.
This means it’s also one of the easiest places to leverage FOMO marketing. The core of this is sending multiple marketing emails which are designed to instill a fear of missing out. You can use email series that utilize sales subject lines to get opens, and emphasize the urgency to get clicks to your offer.
The obvious example is using your email list to tell subscribers about your latest deals or products, as well as exclusive rewards. As we’ve already seen, cart abandonment emails can also be used to great effect to leverage FOMO and boost sales.
I also like to use emails to spread customer success stories. This builds on FOMO by presenting the great results that others have had with a product. This naturally tells your audience that your product can help them achieve the same.
Boosting Sales with FOMO Marketing
You could start using any of these FOMO marketing techniques today. Even better, you could use a number of them in combination to truly send your sales figures through the roof. Some require extra tools, while others take a little more than a little bit of thought.
As we said earlier, there are basically three kinds of FOMO marketing. In the majority of cases, you’ll see great success using a combination of the first two. That is, by fostering FOMO and fighting it too.
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