If you’ve ever logged onto Instagram during a quiet night in, only to see pictures that make you suddenly overwhelmed with anxiety that you’re missing out on all the fun, then you’ve likely experienced FOMO.
FOMO, which stands for fear of missing out, is an anxiety that stems from humans experiencing feelings of “other” or of being out of the loop. 69% of millennials say they’ve experienced FOMO at one point, and 33% admit that they’ve tried to elicit the feeling in their peers.
While FOMO is most popularly associated with millennials, this desire to be connected goes back to the earliest days of humankind, when scarcity played a role in survival. To be left out in the early days of mankind meant probable death — which may help explain why FOMO can be such a triggering emotion for many.
Despite the negative emotions associated with FOMO, this phenomenon is actually a big opportunity for small businesses — especially in their marketing departments. After all, the goal of marketing is to influence consumer decisions, and learning how to elicit psychological responses that drive consumers into action will help make your marketing efforts more targeted and powerful. Jump to our infographic below for tips on how to use FOMO anxiety to spring customers into action, or keep reading to learn 27 ways FOMO marketing can help increase your brand awareness and drive sales.
What is FOMO Marketing?
If it feels like FOMO is becoming more common, that’s because it is: our information-rich society is also more anxiety-filled. Ironically, the digital era that connects us with friends, followers, and content from across the globe can also make us feel disconnected. 90% of people who have experienced FOMO report heightened feelings of jealousy, envy, and sadness.
FOMO in marketing means tapping into consumer anxiety and getting customers to react as a result. Whether you are trying to get people to attend your event, engage with your content online, or make a purchase on your website, know that FOMO can play a big role in grabbing consumers in today’s “attention economy.”
The three main ways consumers react to this fear of missing out include:
- They spend money based on societal pressure
- They make purchases out of fear of missing a deal
- They feel discontent after missing out on a shared experience
Below, we’ve mapped out 27 FOMO marketing techniques you can start using in your strategy today. We’ve divided these tips up into three categories, so whether you are trying to get people to attend and enjoy your event, engage with your brand online, or make a sale on your website, we’ve got you covered.
FOMO Marketing At An Event
You can engage and excite your audiences with experiential marketing techniques that inspire FOMO. Experiential marketing is when audiences can interact with a business in a real-world setting, such as an event. How does FOMO come into play? Well, in order to get people in the door, you’ll have to make them feel like they’ll miss out if they don’t come — and once they’re inside, you’ll want to inspire them to share their experience online so everyone at home will be green with envy.
Here’s 9 sure-fire ways to inspire FOMO when marketing your next event:
Limit the RSVP’s
Cultivate exclusivity at your event by limiting the number of attendees, and mention the limited ticket supply in your marketing copy. The best events are the ones with high demand and low supply, so cap the tickets and remind people during your sales period that tickets can and will run out.
Determine your WOW factor
Before you go live with your marketing announcements, decide what makes your event unique. This WOW factor is what will drive people to attend your experience. Once you’ve decided what will make your event standout, you can draft the copy of your promotional campaign around this to make sure the right message is being marketed to attendees.
Tease the event
Rather than coming right out and telling everyone exactly what your event will entail, you can tease them to inspire curiosity and a sense of the unknown. Having a “surprise guest speaker” or “secret giveaway” are two great ways to tease event perks without giving it all away — while also buying you some time to get all of the logistics in order.
Offer early bird perks
You don’t want to wait around until the last minute to try to sell tickets to your event. Have people purchase early and offer perks such as cheaper prices to inspire them to bite the bullet and stop procrastinating — if not, they’ll miss out on a great deal. You can also encourage attendees to show up early by offering incentives such as prize packages to the first arrivals to make sure your event kicks off strong.
Release last minute tickets
Another great way to drum up some last-minute buzz right before the event is to release a limited supply of tickets in the days leading up to the event. Anyone who was feeling left out of the experience and sees a limited supply suddenly become available will quickly jump at the chance to purchase.
Encourage attendees to bring their phones
Once your event begins, you’ll want to utilize FOMO to make everyone at home wish they were there. Social media plays a huge role in this, so you’ll want to make sure your attendees share their event experience in real time. Working mobile entrance into your strategy by allowing people to download tickets to their digital wallets or scan tickets via email at the door is a great way to make sure your guests bring their phones along (as if they would forget!)
Go live online
Show all of your followers exactly what they’re missing by going live during your event on your social media platforms. Make sure you showcase the coolest part of your event during this live experience, such as special guests, giveaways, and photo opps. You can engage with people at home in the comments section.
Create an Instagram-worthy moment
Experiential marketing is all about creating something worth sharing. Whether it’s a unique pop up display, photo wall, photo booth, or celebrity appearance, you want to make sure your event has one or multiple Instagram-worthy moments worth sharing.
Give away valuable prizes
Remember when Oprah gave away cars on national television? Everyone watching at home wanted to be in that audience. While you may not have Oprah’s budget, you can raffle or give away valuable prizes to your attendees (or at least a lucky few of them!) You can share the winners on social later to show everyone who didn’t come what could have happened if they did.
FOMO Marketing Tips For Social Media
The relationship between FOMO and social media is undeniable. Because social media lets users share their life highlights, many people feel less than their peers after a quick look on their feed. In addition, people have become addicted to consuming their online content, with 56% of social media users admitting feeling dread at the thought of missing online updates.
Because of the role social media plays in the resurgence of FOMO, it’s imperative to have a digital strategy if you plan to use fear of missing out as a marketing tactic.
Here’s 9 ways to use your social media accounts to inspire fear of missing out — in a good way:
Tease a release
If you have a new product or offering on the horizon, take a page from Apple’s marketing playbook and tease the arrival everywhere, especially on social media. The buzz you make about a product before its launch will have people experiencing FOMO before they even have a chance to get their hands on your product.
Create a hashtag
Create buzz around your brand or product by using a hashtag and encouraging your followers to do the same. You can peak consumer interest by using a hashtag to accompany your online promotions, as this will mean all of your promotional posts on a given subject have a unified message. Hashtags also allow you to track your engagements and see who is talking about your brand or offering.
Let your content expire
Not all content should live forever. Snapchat built their entire brand on the idea that exclusive content that disappears will capture people’s attention, and they were right. Use Snapchat and Instagram Stories to promote special offers that only people watching during the limited time period can have access to.
Tap into influencer marketing
70% of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities, as they see influencers as more honest and relatable. You can harness the power of influencers in your FOMO strategy by having them promote special product offerings, as their loyal followers will likely want to join in on the fun.
Create a private Facebook group
Once a customer has made a purchase or engaged with your brand, encourage them to join a private Facebook group where they can get early offers and insider information. This lets them both connect with your brand and with other customers who have similar buying patterns.
Start a user-generated content contest
You don’t always have to create new content in-house. Since social proof is the most trusted form of advertising, ask your users to submit user-generated content. A great way to get the content rolling in is to tie it back to a contest, which gives your customers an incentive to participate.
Post your special offers
Any sales, specials, and limited time offers that you are offering in store or online should also be promoted on your social media pages. You never know who may engage with your content to make it live longer, go farther, and show up in more feeds.
Offer limited product samples
You can gain more followers and cultivate the feeling of exclusivity around your product by offering samples to a limited amount of customers. You can post the purchase code or password to your social media pages, so users will have to engage with one of your accounts before they gain access to the exclusive product offering.
Promote your loyalty program offerings
You can constantly remind your followers what they’re missing out on by promoting your loyalty program offerings on social media. While they may have passed on your loyalty program last time they made a purchase with you, you never know when a social post will catch their eye and convert them.
FOMO Marketing Tips For Your Website
You can get customers to make purchases, and even convince them to stop abandoning their shopping cart, with FOMO marketing tips for your website that inspire quick decisions from your consumers. Most purchasers would rather make a purchase now than regret not making one later. Capitalize on this fear of regret with tactics such as countdown timers, limited time offers, and more.
Here are some of our favorite FOMO marketing tips to add to your website today:
If your product is in high demand, say so! As consumers, we want what other people have as a way to feel like we belong. Show people how many other customers have visited that particular product page that day to remind them that supply is limited and to act fast.
Add countdown timers
Urgency is a surefire way to grab your customers’ attention, and one of the key ingredients to FOMO. You can add urgency timers to your website to show when an offer is expiring on your product page. This will encourage consumers to make a purchase sooner rather than later, as they won’t want to miss out.
Consumers trust other consumers, which is why reviews of your product and brand are so important. Highlight positive reviews on your homepage and on your product pages to show your customers that others have used your product and been happy with their purchase.
Show stock levels
If a product is limited in availability or running low, display this on the product page to get your customers competitive spirit going. After all, if they don’t make the purchase now, someone else will – and they could miss out on their chance forever.
Highlight missed opportunities
If your customer missed out on a deal, let them know it by sending them an email. You can then curb that feeling of anxiety by telling them when their next chance is to make a similar purchase will be.
Set up a paywall
While this doesn’t make sense for every industry, if you are providing valuable content users can’t get anywhere else on your website, you may want to consider charging for it. News organizations such as the New York Times have done a great job with this: they let their article summaries be shared across the web, but in order to read the full piece on their website you must pay to subscribe.
Limit free shipping
Free shipping is the number one reason that 90% of customers shop online versus in-store. Make your shoppers feel like they are missing out by not receiving free shipping. A great way to do this is to set a budget for free shipping, such as free shipping on orders of $50 or more.
Make a last minute offer
If your customer is exiting a product page or deleting an item from their shopping cart before they click purchase, try giving them an offer they won’t want to refuse. Exit-intent pop ups give consumers a deal if they make the purchase right then, for example by offering 20% off their purchase, but if they don’t act now, they lose the offer forever.
Track your conversions
The best way to understand the value of FOMO marketing is to track how many leads were generated as a result of it. Whenever you are using a FOMO tactic on your site, track the analytics and compare to a time when you didn’t use said strategy. Watch and be amazed at the results.
While fear of missing out is accompanied by feelings of anxiety, many millennials are looking at the bright side of this phenomenon. Rather than wallowing at home, millennials use FOMO to inspire them to get out and experience more. This is great news for your brand, because it means that even if a customer doesn’t engage with you this time around, they may take you up on your next offer.
Check out our visual below for a deep dive into FOMO or access more small business marketing tips here.