Fear-based Marketing (FOMO): Can Fear of Missing Out Help my Business?

FOMO, fear of missing out concept. Female hand holding smartphone

We all want to belong. The drive to “fit in” has kept our species evolving and thriving for millennia. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) made us hunt for big game, stay together with our clans, grab the best land for farming and settling, and find strength in numbers. 

FOMO marketing leverages this primal drive of belonging to increase traffic and conversions in today’s digital landscape. Here, hunting and capturing good customers, not mammoths, is the key to business survival.

Romain Berg is a full-service digital marketing agency using the most effective marketing strategies to lift your search rank, generate more traffic, and increase conversions online and at your doorstep. 

Contact us today to schedule a talk about how FOMO marketing can drive more customers to your website or brick-and-mortar. We can help you use fear-based marketing wisely and effectively to make your brand irresistible.

What is FOMO marketing?

FOMO marketing must accomplish several tasks to be effective. Here’s what that looks like:

  1. Choose a fear angle
  2. Leverage an “everyone’s doing it” message–there’s a group, and your customer should be a member of that group.
  3. Provide an incentive to join the group
  4. Outline the payoff
  5. Create urgency with a deadline

Here’s a recent example: A large, small business bookkeeping software company just sent out an email with the headline: “Hurry! Don’t miss the W-2 & 1099 deadline. Order today and save 30% plus free shipping.”

Let’s break down their FOMO tactics:

  1. Fear: We all dread filing our taxes
  2. Everyone’s doing it: Filing taxes is the law, and we all want to save money and stress on filing each year.
  3. Incentive: Save 30% on our software
  4. Payoff: An easy-to-use software that makes doing taxes and sending out W-2’s and 1099’s more manageable and less stressful
  5. Deadline: The W-2 and 1099 deadline, which is January 31st each year

Wait, isn’t using fear in sales kind of underhanded?

Young african american woman wearing denim shirt standing over isolated yellow background covering eyes with hands and doing stop gesture with sad and fear expression. Embarrassed and negative concept.Well, yes. Fear used for dark purposes can be a force for evil more than good. And, many millennial-aged consumers can feel real FOMO anxiety as a result of our always-connected, never-unplugged culture today.

The key to responsibly wielding the power of fear is intent. If you have a product or service that will improve the lives of your users, there’s no harm in advertising a seasonal sale with a deadline and some witty ad copy to entice people to benefit from what you offer and be part of the “in” crowd.

A mortgage lending company recently launched a TV ad campaign and used the term FOMO blatantly in their commercials. They took a humorous spin by creating “Not You” characters that had missed out on a home buying opportunity, but with hilarious and emotive role play.

These ads brilliantly used FOMO by calling out the tactic directly and using humor to appeal to their audience while still communicating urgency and the lighter side of fear. The result was an ad campaign this author remembers at least a year after the campaign finished.

Broadcast your metrics and deadlines to build urgency

Expressive man in formal outfit holding alarm clock and pointing at it in surprise being busy

One way to add urgency to your FOMO marketing campaign is to offer finite quantities and to have a visible count-down to being sold out.

On your landing page or Instagram ad, you can list how many items have sold and how many remain, as well as your sale price deadline.

As the quantity of your product visibly dips and the end of the sale looms, user FOMO goes up. With this type of fear/urgency strategy, clicks to your purchase page can also rise dramatically.

If you know you won’t sell out of the product you’re advertising, you can also schedule a pop-up notice on your landing page whenever an item sells, with a timestamp. 

You’ll lend credibility to your wares and group solidarity this way, as site visitors will be able to see that others are buying your products and this can motivate a new customer to finally click the “buy” button.

Use seasonal motivation to drive FOMO

Gyms, Yoga studios, and other wellness hubs know that January through March is THE time to go big or go home with their FOMO marketing. 

The new year puts pressure on consumers to make lifestyle changes, improve their appearance, and in general, seize the chance to get their act together on many levels.

This sector leverages the pressure of the “new you in the New Year” message to drive FOMO. They know that most consumers will hit it hard in the first months of the year (whatever “it” is) and likely lose steam after April.

It’s much easier to sell a gym membership to a person scared to live another year in the same miserable mediocrity in January than to a fit person rocking a bikini on a beach in the summertime.

If you have a seasonal business, use that to your advantage and pour on the FOMO in your next campaign. 

For example, if you own an HVAC company, step up your fear-based marketing in the fall before winter hits. You can create a healthy sense of fear around a homeowner’s furnace going out in January.

If they haven’t had their furnace inspected and adequately maintained in the fall, they could literally be left in the cold with long wait times during the busiest season of the year for repairs. 

You can leverage this fear, provide a special price for a fall inspection, broadcast all the other customers in the area who’ve taken advantage of your offer, and boom, you have a reliable FOMO strategy for driving seasonal sales.

Outsource your FOMO marketing with Romain Berg

Let’s face it. FOMO marketing is an effective sales conversion strategy when used responsibly. However, creating a customized FOMO campaign and applying it to all your desired marketing channels takes time and energy you may not have as an owner. 

Outsourcing your FOMO marketing to the digital marketing experts at Romain Berg means you’ll nail FOMO on your first try. Fill out our contact form today to begin constructing the FOMO marketing strategy that converts.

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