Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO, is a genuine phenomenon that has been around for as long as humans have. It's the fear of not being a part of something, and it drives people to do all sorts of things they may not normally do. In recent years, brands have learned how to leverage this fear to their advantage, thanks to the internet and social media. The result has been a good jump in sales for businesses.
Here are just a few examples.
Some brands use FOMO to create a sense of urgency. They'll run a sale for a limited time or release a new product in high demand. Unfortunately, this sales strategy creates a situation where people must act fast before it's too late. And as we all know, humans are notoriously bad at making decisions under pressure. So we often get induced into impulsive buying, which is excellent for businesses.
Many large and small businesses across the globe have successfully used this tactic. It's become so commonplace that some consumers have started to catch on. They're now wise to the fact that a sale won't last forever and that there's always another one around the corner. As a result, this tactic is becoming less and less effective.
Scarcity is another powerful tool that brands can use to drive sales. If people believe a product is in short supply, they're more likely to buy it, even if they don't need it. But, again, this is because we hate missing out on something, and we'll do whatever it takes to avoid it.
Brands can create scarcity by limiting the number of items available or by releasing products in small batches. They can also use waiting lists, which create exclusivity and make people feel like they need to act fast. Apple is a master of this tactic, and they often use it to drive up sales of their new products.
The "limited edition" product might not be so limited.
Social proof is another way that brands can leverage FOMO. People want to experience the experiences that others are having. It can be anything from an international holiday to having a cake from some brand. It's a powerful psychological phenomenon, and it's often used in marketing and advertising.
One of the most effective ways to use social proof is to show people that many others are doing something. A social endorsement could be in customer reviews, social media posts, or celebrity endorsements. For example, if people see that others are buying a product, they're more likely to do the same.
Now you know why every business asks you to review and rate its product and services.
Making your customers feel special is another excellent way to leverage FOMO. People who feel part of an exclusive group are more likely to buy your product. One of the reasons can be to use the benefits of being a member.
Brands can make their customers feel special in several ways. For example, they can offer exclusive deals and discounts or give them early access to new products. They can also create loyalty programs, allowing people to accumulate points and unlock rewards.
While this tactic benefits customers, they often purchase things they don't need. FOMO and the feeling of being special drive them to do so.
Celebrities and influencers are two more groups that brands can use to their advantage. If a celebrity or influencer is seen using a product, it can get people talking. And as we all know, word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools.
When it comes to celebrities, brands will often pay them to endorse their product. Paid promotion is a very effective way to increase sales.
Influencers, on the other hand, usually promote products for free. They leverage their followership and be seen as credible and trustworthy and not to be accused of selling out.
People go out and buy products endorsed or used by their favorite celebrity or influencer. Look at Khaby Lame, for example. The social media star collaborated with major brands like Hugo Boss, Dream 11, and Meta. This kind of collaboration benefitted the businesses as it exposed them to his massive followers on social media. You can also use social listening to connect with influencers in your industry.
Brands can drive sales by offering complementary products. A customer buys one product, and the brand upsells them on another. For example, if someone buys a phone, the brand might try to sell them a case or a screen protector.
This tactic works because people are more likely to buy something if they need it. And if the product is complementary to something they've already bought, they're even more likely to be interested.
Many businesses use phrases like "You'll miss this offer," "Last few seats left," or "This deal won't last" to drive sales, and there's a good reason for that. These phrases create a sense of urgency, making people feel like they need to act fast.
Action phrases are a great way to leverage FOMO and can effectively drive sales. However, it would be best if you carefully use them sparingly. If you do, people will start to ignore them.
For instance, many hotel websites use action phrases like "Only a few rooms left" or "Hurry, this offer won't last." This push can be effective in getting people to book a room quickly and at a higher price, even if there are plenty of rooms available, all thanks to FOMO.
Another way to leverage FOMO is to show people what they missed out on through a post on social media or an email campaign. For instance, a brand might post a picture of a sold-out product with the caption, "You missed out on this wonderful deal. Follow us, so you don't miss the next one."
Showing people what they missed is a great way to create FOMO and drive sales. It's also an excellent way to build brand awareness and loyalty. Electronic and technology brands, for example, may post such messages on e-commerce sites.
The result is that people feel FOMO and are more likely to make hasty decisions to take advantage of other opportunities.
A great way of creating FOMO among customers is to show them that other people, too, are looking at the offer and may buy it before them. In addition, it will compel the customer to make a buying decision quickly to take advantage of the request.
An effective way to do this is by using a "stock count" or showing how many other people are interested in the product. It creates a sense of urgency and drives sales.
For example, the popular online hotel booking site booking.com mentions the most popular destinations among other travelers. They encourage travelers to book their stay quickly at those same destinations to ensure they get all the benefits.
Countdown timers are another great way to leverage FOMO to drive sales. They create a sense of urgency and make people feel like they need to act fast. Countdown timers are often used in e-commerce but can also be used in email marketing and social media.
For example, a brand might post a message on social media with a countdown timer. The message might say, "Only 10 minutes left to get 20% off your purchase." It creates a sense of urgency and makes people more likely to buy.
Social media is a great way to generate FOMO. All you need to do is show people what they need to include, like a photo of a delicious meal to a video of a fun party. Then, people who see others having a good time will want to join in. And if they can't, they'll feel left out, and FOMO will set in.
Many businesses use social media significantly, and it's an excellent way to drive sales. However, it's essential to use it in a way that feels organic and authentic. They'll quickly tune out if people feel like they're being sold to instead of communication.
FOMO is a natural phenomenon, and brands have learned how to leverage it. If you want to drive sales, consider using some of the above mentioned tactics. But be sure to do it sparingly, or people will catch on, and you'll lose customers.
Amit is a tech enthusiast and loves writing about it. He is a senior developer with good hands-on experience in digital marketing.
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