There are three kinds of people in the world.
People who get VIP access, people who want to get VIP access, and people who don’t know there is a party going on.
Every normal person wants to come in at the top of the pick.
If you are protesting that generalization, think if you’ve ever wondered whether a competing business makes more sales than you.
You have. And that’s fine. You are normal. You are human. And there is a name for this state of things – FOMO, also known as Fear of Missing Out.
It’s the concern that you might be missing out on something more interesting happening somewhere else or to other people.
This concept is not new. Just a new name for an anxiety humans have felt since the beginning of time. Psychotherapist, Philippa Perry described FOMO as “a modern take on the grass being greener on the other side.”
The fear of missing out is hard-wired into our DNA. In 2013, a mylife.com survey found that 56% of social media users “are afraid of missing out on events, news and important status updates if they are away from social networks.”
Odds are, this is true for you too. It’s why you will likely check your phone for notifications more than 1440 times today.
You can’t afford to miss out some important information whose form or shape, you don’t even know yet.
For a business, this is good news. Building on this crack in people’s psychological DNA could help you increase your sales by oodles. In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that.
The quick and dirty on FOMO
The fear of missing out is triggered by doing either of these two things or both:
1: Adding a scarcity principle: when brands stress urgency by timing a promotion or offer a limited-stock offer, customers are more likely to take action.
This trick works like charm on millennials of which 68% say they make purchases after experiencing FOMO.
Whether true or not, the scarcity principle forces people to place higher value on what you offer.
2: Showing other people who have taken an action: this is especially effective if they are friends with those you are trying to reach.
If people that your visitors can relate to are already doing what you are asking them to do, then they’d go ahead and do it.
It’s the plain old, peer pressure. Or, “hey, familiar faces, it’s safe here. Let’s take the plunge.”
All the ways you can grow your business through FOMO
Now that we understand the quick and dirty on FOMO, let’s see how you can begin to exploit this fear of missing out in your business;
1: Run a limited time offer
Deadlines move people to take action more than anything else. If you run an e-commerce website, a limited time offer will draw attention to your site and improve conversion.
Try it at the next holiday with a non-missable timer on your landing page announcing a sale that will end after a certain hour.
E.g. “Our world famous earwax-flavored ice cream is selling at 15% – 50% off for the next 23 hours. Shop Now”
2: Launch a product to a limited audience
Do this to give off an impression of exclusivity. When people think something is exclusive, whether or not it’s truly so, they become more interested in it and desire it more.
Limited edition smartphones are way more expensive than standard issues.
There is no improves specs, other than the individuality that comes with them. But people shell out oodles of money to get them.
People want to feel like they belong to the top 1%. And if you play on this well, you can turn your visitors any which way.
E.g. You can limit access to some content on your website to customers who are subscribed to your newsletter. Or, launch your new line of earwax-flavorured ice-cream with a side of habanero pepper to only your Facebook fans.
Get creative, the general idea is to increase the value of what you offer by limiting the number of people that have access to it.
3: Promote a rare version of your product
This is building up on the idea shared earlier on launching for a limited audience. People often want to try their hands on a “new” or “limited” version of their favorite brand. This is a good way to bring traffic to your new product. To make this even more effective, combine it with a limited timeline of availability.
E.g. Our earwax-flavoured ice cream with a side of habanero pepper is only sale for the first four days of a certain month.
4: Use FOMO in your titles and headlines
In the content marketing business, headlines are everything. It’s the first thing people see when they see your content and it determines if they’d go ahead and read or our their backs. If titles are not constructed right, then the rest of the content becomes useless.
To get more people to read your content, craft FOMO into your titles and headlines. Do this by emphasizing what they might lose if they don’t read the content or tickle their curiosity with cryptic titles.
E.g. 50% off our jumbo cup of vitamin water – Today Only!
We are about to sell the last cone of our earwax-habanero ice cream – Don’t Miss Out!
Be 20% more awesome – let’s teach how to build a mailing list like a pro
Claire, what are you doing today?
Don’t forward this email!”
5: Craft FOMO into your product pages and CTAs
Most people are already using FOMO in their call to action. One of the most popular is “limited time offer” we see splayed on pages on the internet. But to get the best out of our a product, it helps to specific.
Rather than say “limited time offer” or “while stocks last,” state how long the offer will run. For example, as part of the product page at Amazon, they show how long a discount will run (usually short) along with how much stock is left on a product (usually low).
Other ways to build FOMO into your product page include placing a time on how long an offer will last.
For MADE, a UK furniture retailer, they use a timer (bottom right corner) to show shoppers how long before their basket resets. This pushes people to make purchase on time with little time to change their minds.
The only FOMO rule
The general idea behind capitalizing on the fear of missing is to make people think they are missing out on something potentially valuable. There are really no rules, except this one – keeping your copy concise.
Nothing dampens FOMO like too much information. Don’t write pages and pages of information on your product page or about the product. This only gives your visitors enough time to decide they are not interested. Use easy-to-read copy with relevant imagery. Then seal if off with a strong CTA.
If you do this well, FOMO can be used to not only get more sales, but build loyal customers.
If you want to learn how to launch and run a scalable, profitable business, you should apply to attend Side Hustle Bootcamp.