We’ve all heard it before.

It doesn’t matter whether it is coming from the teenage girl squealing into her cell phone about the party she is missing in order to attend her little brother’s baseball game, or if it is typed in a text that was sent from your best friend who has tragically taken a leave of absence as you stand in line at a cash register with hands full of loot at the best sale Macy’s has all year.

It all references the same psychological experience.

It is called FOMO, or fear of missing out, and it’s more than a pop culture buzzword.


You have probably experienced it before. It is that feeling of anxiety you get when you aren’t participating in an opportunity that might benefit you, like a fun experience or a great sale.

If you have experienced this sensation, you probably also know that FOMO is an extremely powerful feeling and can entice almost anyone to act.

The best part about all of this is, for marketers anyway, is the action that this feeling elicits.

People don’t want to miss out on any good thing. Marketers can tap into that, and get more out of their campaigns.

The fear of missing out can be a the secret ingredient that takes your customer engagement to new heights.

Let’s break it down.

The fear of missing out is best utilized in marketing by taking an upcoming opportunity and parading it in front of a customer.

You need to present the message in a way that makes your customers feel that they would regret not acting on your offer.

Show your customers that “everyone is doing it.”

This component of FOMO most closely resembles the reasoning behind your failed teenage attempts to convince your mom to let you go to the party that all your friends will be at.

This hits on our need to belong and feel included. No one wants to be left out, even if it is just from a killer sale.

The most effective form of communication, in general, is direct.

One way to approach FOMO in a marketing campaign is by being painfully straightforward.

All you really have to do with this tactic is tell your customers they are going to miss out.

Their brains and emotions take care of the rest. This tugs on their consumer heart strings and makes them wonder, “What if…”

Look at this ad from retailer RuLaLa:

A teaser is enough.

Alluding to an opportunity is usually enough to get the FOMO train started.

Promoting things like a sale or a new product line without giving too many details can create that valuable anxiety you need to get your audience to act on your efforts.

Just give your customers a taste and hide the rest.

Their curiosity and FOMO will take care of the rest. Marketing superstars can kill two birds with one stone here by using reveal marketing.

Reveal marketing is a marketing tactic that requires the recipient of a message to act in order to uncover a hidden portion of that message.

It leans on FOMO, in addition to curiosity and other psychological principles, heavily to achieve positive results. But that is an entirely different story.

One that you can dig deeper into if you are interested.

In addition to alluding to an opportunity and being direct with your language, creating urgency can also have an impact when it comes to instilling (the good kind of) fear in your customers.

By putting a time limit on offers or giving your customers a date to look forward to, you are creating

Amazon does a great job at this with their “lightning deals.” These deals tick down a timer, to create a sense of urgency. In short, they get buyers to buy, now.

In addition to the clock, it shows available inventory. As inventory dwindles, those that are on the fence, topple over and make a purchase.
fomoUsing psychological principles in your marketing campaigns is clearly the path of least resistance. There are innate structures in our mind that will us to act.

The marketers that figure out how to tap into those have more success with less work.

Make your customer’s mind work for you. Do you realize how many successful conversion opportunities you are missing out on if you don’t? (See what I did there?)

Author Bio: Sophorn is the marketing guy at Trumpia, the most complete SMS software with mass text messaging, smart targeting and automation. He specializes in influencer marketing via Inboundo.