FOMO–Fear of Missing Out—is a potent motivator, but you need to be mindful about how you use it. Cheap FOMO tactics can cause an audience to quickly turn on you. And yet, FOMO is essential to most online marketing.
The truth is, all FOMO is artificial in the sense that the scarcity is pretty much always contrived.
Consider the most common FOMO scheme we see in sales:
“This weekend only! 50% off! Our biggest sale yet—time is running out!”
Why is there a sale this weekend?
Because we decided we wanted to increase sales this weekend. 🤷
It just works. You run a sale, you get a boost in sales.
This is a tactic that I avoided for years. I didn’t want to create artificial scarcity because it felt like cheap manipulation to me.
And yet, I would find myself acting on this-weekend-only sales that others would run all the time, and I’d think yeah but this is different, this is something I actually want/need so I’m glad I can get a good deal.
After the lukewarm initial release of my first ebook in 2018, I decided to run an experiment: despite my better judgement, I’d just try doing a this-weekend-only sale and see what happens.
I got more sales that weekend than I had in the first month after the release.
It’s silly, I know. But I’m telling you, it works.
Our brains are silly, and you have to poke them in the just right way to get them to act.
I’ve done these sales a few times a year ever since then, and the results are always the same.
FOMO can also take the form of exclusive content, exclusive membership in a community, access to a limited-capacity event, and so on.
Returning to the object lesson of my newsletter—
I want you to be afraid of missing out on the exclusive content that I only publish here.
So I state that pretty clearly in many of my CTAs at the ends of Twitter threads:
“If you enjoy my work, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for exclusive content that I don’t share anywhere else!”