Every marketeer in the last decade has used fear of missing out or FOMO to their advantage. It’s a tried and sometimes tired process of using the possibility of missing out to leverage the sale of a product or service. It can be a really powerful tool when used correctly. But, how do you use fear of missing out correctly?
Why Does FOMO Work?
A simple answer to why the fear of missing out works… loss aversion. We feel a loss heavier than a gain. If you gain £100 for winning a sweepstake you’d feel good, but if you then lost £100 through dropping your wallet on the street, that loss would affect you greater than the previous victory. Not just because you were one reward token away from a free one either. Losing something makes you feel careless and your reputation will be damaged in the meantime. Through missing an opportunity you can feel this loss and the subsequent loss of the product or service the opportunity granted.
Understand Your Audience
Generations and generations of people have read the phrase “buy now before it’s too late”. We all know that it’s a greatly embellished phrase. Calling up to your local toy shop and asking for the latest toy and hearing “ooh we’ve only got a few left” may lead you to sprint to the shops to secure it. But, reading it isn’t just enough anymore. You understand how many times this phrase in a magazine has been printed to sell as many toys as possible. So, you need to understand what your audience sees every day. You have to be different an instil a real sense of urgency.
Fake fear can damage your reputation. If you’re setting a deadline for your offer, make sure that the deadline is a deadline. All of your marketing messages will be damped if your words hold no weight. If there is a discount available and you mention there are only a few days left, you have to remove that discount in a few days. Otherwise, when that potential client or customer checks your site again and the same offer appears it can harm your reputation. Why should they act fast if they know that the deal will be there for months and months to come?
Make the Fear a Reality
In order for the FOMO to take hold you really need a reason for your audience to fear missing out. Today influencers and brands collaborate and design products that have a limited release. Making sure that pre-orders and limited editions mean something. This doesn’t only work as a marketing tool, but a great way of testing a market and limiting mass production of a product so you’re not sat on thousands of stock waiting to be sold. Within services this real fear could come as a special partition of your service, a free trial with a real deadline or a referral code with a couple uses at a time.
Fear of missing out can be a tired word in the marketing world, but it still holds a lot of meaning and weight when you make it work and stand by your guns. There are many ways to make it work, but the key is establishing authenticity, creating real FOMO and having your marketing messages hold real weight.