What is one emotion built deep into our DNA as humans?
And, why is that?
Mostly it motivates us to keep gaining resources, status, and other items.
Fear drives many of our actions on a daily basis, as well.
Remember that time you got nervous before speaking in front of a crowd?
Or, how about that time you got scared of being rejected?
Those are both typical instances of fear.
It can also drive us to do things we normally wouldn’t.
This is precisely why you need to use FOMO in your copywriting.
Let me explain.
What is FOMO?
Fear of missing out, or FOMO short, is the phenomenon of being afraid that you’ll miss out on something exciting if you don’t take immediate action.
We see it everywhere.
Everybody posts the good side of their life, leaving out the bad.
This can easily make people log on, see other’s “awesome” lifestyle, and feel like they’re not doing enough.
That can be translated into writing to push people to take action like purchasing a product, as well.
Gary Hennerberg, digital marketer and author, put it best by stating:
This particular fear isn’t just of missing out on social media posts, it extends to checking email, phone calls, and more. More importantly to direct marketers, the driving emotion of the FOMO is powerful and when properly used, you can write copy and create messaging to leverage this basic human fear.
Next, let’s talk about how you can begin using FOMO in your copy to boost performance.
FOMO copywriting techniques
There are many ways a copywriter can create fear, urgency, and scarcity to push customers to take out their credit cards and swipe.
Try these following strategies and see for yourself. 👇
Add a hint of exclusivity to what you’re writing about
If everybody can get it, why bother?
Think about luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Mercedes Benz.
They’re some of the best marketers globally.
This is because they charge a massive premium for a product because it’s rare, scarce, and puts customers into a clubhouse.
After all, everybody wants to feel special, right?
Copywriters can take advantage of exclusivity to make customers fear they’re missing out.
Look at this advertisement from the World Wildlife Fund:
It’s a mock/satire advertisement for a luxury coat with the title “Limited Edition” and “Only 60 left in stock.”
However, the campaign message was to not treat animals as a luxury good. Despite this, they wrote incredible copy and it serves as a great example of what many luxury companies do to instill FOMO.
You can do the same by:
- Focusing on the high-quality materials or process used to create a product.
- Emphasizing the price if the product expensive as higher pricing is associated with value.
- Show images of customers wearing or using the product.
Another technique is to emphasize member-only sections of a website.
This can make users feel left out and eager to sign up to be involved.
Otherwise, it’s like being the last kid being picked for dodgeball.
Look how this digital marketing conference does this on their registration page:
“Members Only” is included directly in the headline, so no matter where it’s advertised, users will know they can only attend by registering with the organization.
This only brings me to my next point of gated content or special offers.
Backlinko does this perfectly on their blog.
Some articles are locked and labeled as “Exclusive Content for Backlinko Subscribers.”
That’s enough to make any reader scream “Gimme!”
Clicking the “Unlock Now” button prompts a window where you need to enter your email for access.
Maximize the effectiveness of this strategy by using copy like:
- “Members only”
- “Only available for registered users”
- “Unlock now”
- “Special offer for subscribers”
- “Exclusive content”
That brings me to the next FOMO copywriting strategy.
You’re in a store. There are a few hours left before it closes.
Needless to say, you wouldn’t feel much of a rush to get what you needed.
On the flip-side, imagine it closed in 15 minutes! 😱
You’d be running around the store like Usain Bolt to grab everything, right?
That’s also why time-restricted offers are so effective.
The customer only has a certain window of time to take action, making them fear they’ll miss out otherwise.
Best Buy does this by highlighting cost savings in red.
Clicking onto the product page, you can see that it clearly states when the sale ends.
Furthermore, they advertise additional “special offers” as upsells. Take notes, fellas. 😎
Low inventory—oh no!
Everybody wants what they can’t have.
If a product is in low stock, the demand for it tends to increase.
Unless you were napping in your sophomore economics class (Don’t worry, I’m guilty too), you should remember the supply and demand curve.
Think about it like this:
- As inventory goes up, demand decreases or remains the same.
- If inventory goes down, demand increases.
This happens because low inventory implies that customers may not be able to purchase the product if others do before them.
You can take advantage of this as a copywriter by writing low-stock warnings on appropriate pages.
Check out Canada Computers. (Shout out to my fellow Canucks.)
They highlight how much of a product is left in stock at any physical location you choose.
In the case of the above keyboard, there’s only three left!
I’d be running faster than Road Runner if I wanted to buy it.
Additionally, pair it with a call to action like:
- Buy now
- Add to cart
- Secure yours now
- Call today
You’ll see how this relates to the next FOMO strategy.
Display recent customer purchases
Copywriters and marketers can amplify the previous technique further by clearly displaying recent purchases.
For instance, have you ever been on a website and in the corner it said: “John Doe just purchased X product?”
That’s real-time FOMO.
Paired with the other techniques in today’s article, it could easily increase conversion rates and revenue.
Don’t believe me? Listen to this.
Marcus Taylor, the founder of Venture Harbour, invested in a music campaign. He called it a “Groupon deal for musicians.”
He obsessed with increasing the conversion rate because the campaign was going to reach millions.
A small bump in conversions would make it rain money.
Taylor ultimately increased the conversion rate of the campaign from 2.5%–10.8%!
Do you know how?
He listed six strategies that helped him achieve this:
- Make your offer as clear as possible so customers know what they’re getting. (And missing out on.)
- The offer must be hyper-relevant to the target audience to maximize engagement and impact.
- A clear value proposition needs to be advertised.
- Increase trust with money-back guarantees, FAQs, and testimonials.
- Keep the landing page as simple as possible to reduce distractions.
- Create FOMO by displaying how many products have been purchased.
Note how it clearly says the number of bundles that were ordered on the split tested variation of the sales page.
That alone ramped up conversions from 3.5%–10%. 🔥
This works so well because of social proof. If others are buying it, the product must be awesome.
Hit them with an exit-intent offer
What if you have the perfect copy, offer, and funnel, but they still don’t convert?
Hit em’ before they leave!
Exit-intent offers are the perfect way to instill last-minute FOMO.
Neuro’s case study on optimizing exit-intent popups is a prime example of this.
Buyers were exiting the client’s website during various stages of the buyer journey, and not converting.
Neuro created pop-ups for different buyer personas and pages; they contained a unique copy and offers.
You can see in the above image that the pop-ups were optimized to address a specific problem, customer anxiety, and provide a solution.
Conversion rates increased by 21.94% and revenue by 41.9% thanks to these changes.
You can achieve similar results by adding exit-intent offers to your website, and segmenting the copy based on customer behavior.
Let them in on a secret
Who doesn’t love a nice juicy secret?
People will scurry to hear about one in many cases.
This is because it implies there’s something they don’t know—and uncovering it—may benefit them.
Look at the headline for this article about selling on Amazon:
Wouldn’t you want to know the secrets of getting ahead on Amazon if you sold on their marketplace?
Anyone interested in increasing sales will click this article in a heartbeat. Otherwise, they may never know the “secrets.”
You can produce this same sense of fear through mystery, as well.
John Caples, one of the world’s best marketers, created the legendary ad titled “They laughed when I sat down at the piano but when I started to play!”
This instantly gets you wondering why people were laughing at the character and what happened after.
The headline, as you can see with the two previous examples, is one of the best places to use this technique.
It seduces readers into reading the rest of the copy or clicking through on a webpage.
Try using some of the following power words when creating headlines to achieve these effects:
- Don’t miss out
- Behind the scenes
- Top secret
- Trade secret
- Under the table
- Unheard of
Final thoughts on FOMO copywriting
Fear may be the most powerful motivator for taking action.
Learning how to use it as a copywriter will make your writing produce exceptional engagement and ROI.
Despite that, mountains of writers forget to do so.
Don’t be one of them anymore.
Apply the following takeaways and you’ll become the master of FOMO writing.
- Position a product or promotion as exclusive. Luxury brands and members-only websites are prime examples.
- Use time-restricted offers to send customers in a panic.
- Display the amount of stock left for particular products low in inventory.
- Show how many customers have purchased a product or in real-time.
- Add exit-intent offers with urgent copy as a final effort to engage customers.
- Offer secret or mysterious information to increase readers interest.