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10 Ways Marketers Can Use FOMO to Their Advantage

FOMO – fear of missing out – is one of the most powerful forces guiding consumer behavior today.

FOMO has always existed in one form or another, but today’s media environment concentrates it like nothing else. People are constantly bombarded by information about new opportunities. That forces them to choose which ones they’ll invest their limited time and attention into.

FOMO isn’t limited to household consumers. If you’re working with B2B clients, however, you’ll need to be more creative in how you implement it.

In a general sense, you can think of FOMO as similar to one of the core concepts that should be driving your landing pages.

That potent driving force is scarcity.

Turning on Your FOMO Mindset: The Relationship Between Scarcity and FOMO

Scarcity, of course, is the idea that there are limited quantities of something that will soon run out. Just about everything in a modern economy is built on the idea of scarcity: It’s the reason we all have to get up every day and go to work, after all.

But if you want to truly understand FOMO, you can focus on this one idea:

Whenever we talk about scarcity, what we’re actually talking about is time.

Scarcity of time is the real driver behind everything else people find challenging in their work lives. After all, if we could work 24 hours in a day, we could make three times more money. But each of us is limited to about eight hours of energetic, focused time every day.

Every time you think about how FOMO fits into your marketing plans, remember this: The choice you’re actually presenting people with is about where they’ll spend their time.

They can’t be everywhere at once, so your offer has to be compelling enough to beat all the competition.

Not just other work concerns. Not just other business strategy worries. Everything else.

Up to and including sleep!

Before we dive into the tips, let’s recap:

  • All FOMO-based campaigns, projects, and initiatives are really about scarcity.
  • All scarcity-based marketing is actually about a customer’s time commitments.
  • If customers are losing sleep over your FOMO marketing, you’re right on target.

10 Keys to Tap the Power of FOMO in Your Marketing

1. Use Countdown Timers

Countdown timers have become all the rage in modern offer pages, and for good reason. When you use one, you’re giving your customers a can’t-miss visual representation of exactly when they need to take action, reinforcing what they stand to lose if they don’t.

There’s a catch, of course: These timers are most effective when there’s 24 hours to go or less.

2. Use Diminishing “Supplies”

If you have a physical product in relatively small numbers, using your inventory system to count down the remaining stocks makes a lot of sense. Again, be judicious about how you implement this.

Some unscrupulous marketers have made fake countdowns that thoughtful customers easily catch onto. Manually updating the total is better than using a widget you’re not sure is suitable.

3. Showcase Testimonials

If your offer is one that recurs every once in a while, testimonials are a powerful way to tap into your customers’ deeper drives.

No one wants to lose the chance to try out something that’s worked for others “like them” – that’s the whole idea behind social proof. The more believable and influential the speaker is, the more likely the testimonial is to spark action.

4. Emphasize “One Time Only” Offers

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, Disney advertised VHS sets of its classic animated films by claiming they would “go back into the vault” after a limited run. This prompted thousands of sales at the time, as there were few other ways to get quality copies.

If you have an offer that authentically won’t happen again, you are in touch with the true heart of missing out. Use it!

5. Play Up Ambiguity

Of course, relatively few offers will truly never happen again. Most are cyclical: Products or services may be limited, but they’ll be reintroduced when it makes sense for the business. Of course, the timing might be unpredictable.

If you’re just not sure when an offer will reappear, it’s perfectly ethical to emphasize that uncertainty in your copy. Headlines, CTAs, and P.S. copy should all reflect it.

6. Implement Lightboxes (Responsibly)

Google is cracking down on the most egregious implementations of pop-up windows. The Big G especially seems to dislike exit intent pop-ups that use JavaScript to issue an “error message”-style warning.

Exit intent lightboxes can still be used, though, and they’re an emphatic way to raise the stakes or sweeten the deal so prospects don’t run off.

7. Be Consistent in Time-Limited Offers

Lots of smaller businesses (especially here in digital marketing) are inconsistent about how they use scarcity and FOMO. They may claim that something is limited, even though it makes no sense (why should “a training video” time out?) or may claim offers will expire when they never really do.

This will sink your credibility and is the true opposite of FOMO. Don’t succumb to the temptation.

8. Build Hype Well in Advance


For people to worry about missing out, they need to know what they’re missing out on. If a new concept isn’t on their radar very long, they won’t care much about it.

Many brands try to bring out offers with great fanfare, but the ticker tape parade is really only going on in their office. Cultivating an offer for a month or even two lets you raise the stakes (and the FOMO) as your launch date gets closer.

9.Use Social Media, Especially Twitter

Social media is the native home of FOMO, so it’s no surprise you should be using it to the utmost when you want to make a lasting mark.

Twitter in particular is great at giving you a platform where you can stir up a constant drumbeat of titillating updates about a time-sensitive offer without driving people up the wall about being too self-promotional. Facebook can work well for existing customers in Groups.

10. Let People Know They Missed Out

This is easiest in enterprises that focus on account-based marketing. With persistence and good marketing automation, however, any digital marketing team can do it.

Got customers you’re sure would benefit from your offer, but they didn’t bite? Send them a quick note to let them know what they’re missing out on (literally) and get them on-side for next time.

These ten tips will help you actualize FOMO and make it part of your marketing and communication strategies faster.

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Rob Steffens

Rob Steffens

I am the Director of Marketing here at Bluleadz. I'm a huge baseball fan (Go Yankees!). I love spending time with friends and getting some exercise on the Racquetball court.