12 FOMO Marketing Techniques to Boost Your Email Conversions

We’ve all heard of FOMO*, right?

(*Just in case, FOMO is the ‘fear of missing out’.)

It can range from checking your social media every 10 minutes to chronic anxiety at the thought of missing the hottest party in town.

Maybe you’re wondering right now if everyone else has discovered another post on FOMO marketing that you should be reading instead?

Chill out! You’ve come to the right place and you’re not going to miss a thing.

First up, we’re going to look at why FOMO marketing works. Then we’re going to give you 12 techniques you can implement today; plus a bonus tip you’re going to love.

Ready?

Is FOMO a Real Thing?

It’s hardly a technical term and it’s not a medical condition. But it’s certainly real.

At its core, FOMO is a fear of regret about making the wrong decision, which can make us quite compulsive.

Clever marketers take advantage of this fear by persuading customers they need to act now before the opportunity disappears forever. Worst still, they might miss out while everyone around them makes the right decision, which is a FOMO sufferer’s ultimate nightmare.

So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use FOMO in your email campaigns.

12 FOMO Marketing Techniques You Can Use Right Now

1. Build the Tension With a Countdown Timer

Nothing cranks up FOMO like a deadline. And nothing says deadline more than a countdown timer.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Countdown timers build the excitement towards the launch of a new product or encourage registrations for an event. And they work equally well to build the tension as a sale draws to a close, like this one:

How to incorporate a countdown timer into your emails:

  • If you know how to code, you can build your own timer using HTML
  • Alternatively, you can use tools such as Sendric to create your timer. With Sendtric, for instance, you simply choose your time zone, when you want your timer to end, your language and the colors you want to utilize on your timer. And it’s free.

Read more about how to build countdown times into your email campaigns here.

2. Use the Fear of Limited or Diminishing Supplies

Scarcity works the same way as countdown timers because it prods customers into making a more urgent decision.

How many times have you seen the words ‘limited stock’ in a sales email?

J. Crew uses this technique to great effect – without sounding ‘salesy’ – by tantalizing customers with the notion that their limited-edition range is available only for a short time.

Other ways to incorporate scarcity into your emails:

  • Tell people the actual quantity of your remaining product as it diminishes. Think of emails you’ve received that tell you there are only 5 seats left for a special event or conference, or only 6 widgets left in stock.
  • If you can’t be specific, use phrases like ‘while stocks last’.
  • Similarly, you can tell people how many you’ve sold. Hotels.com does this to great effect when it tells you “In high demand! Booked 12 times in the last 24 hours.”

3. Make it Elite or Exclusive

Everyone loves to feel special. We all want to belong to an elite club, be the first to hear about new arrivals and member-only discounts. Enjoying access to opportunities that others don’t have is a FOMO characteristic.

Here’s a great example from Levi offering special perks, just for signing up to their email list.

Here’s another clever example which uses the words ‘just for you’, to make the email recipient feel special. You secretly know the offer’s not just for you, but it still manages to push that FOMO button by urging you to take action before the offer is withdrawn.

Other ways to trigger FOMO by making people feel special:

  • Offer a coupon to use as a discount on their first purchase.
  • Offer exclusive perks only available to members/contacts, such as free shipping or sales previews.
  • Show two prices, one for ‘regular’ people and a discounted price for members only.

Don’t forget to heighten their sense of belonging to an exclusive club by using Sendlane’s dynamic behavior-based workflows that allow you to automate all your emails depending on the actions of each customer on your list.

So, when Jane from Wisconsin responds to your offer, you can make her feel personally welcomed within minutes.

4. Make Your Offer Come and Go in a Flash

Don’t give them time to think!

Make your offer valid for a day, or just a few hours. This is a great FOMO technique because it instills a sense of panic. No-one wants to let a great deal slip through their fingers. What if it’s never offered again?

And if you add a countdown clock to your flash sale email, you’re really giving yourself an unfair FOMO advantage.

How to make your flash sale more effective:

  • Segment your list to your most loyal clients. It’s a great way of saying thank you and encouraging repeat purchases as you reduce unwanted stock.
  • Keep the offer simple and relevant to your audience.
  • Keep the offer as juicy as possible. You want to make the incentive appealing enough for them to jump before they miss out.
  • Make your flash sale email stand out by adding a gif. Here’s how.

5. Be mysterious or secretive – make them feel silly for not clicking

Everyone loves a secret surprise. But what if you don’t click through and you miss out on something amazing? How silly would you feel then?

This FOMO technique works particularly well with loyalty programs, such as this one from Woolworths. Members are more likely to join in the fun and click through because they know and trust the sender.

And they don’t want to miss out on their secret offer.

Other ways to tempt them with secret offers:

  • Travel and accommodation sites do this well by offering great deals on mystery destinations or hotels. Until you make the booking, you don’t know where you’re going to end up. Do you have a product or service that might suit this technique?
  • Offer them an incentive for correctly solving a puzzle or riddle, the implication being that only the smartest will be rewarded.
  • Tease them with a mysterious ‘coming soon’ series of emails to whet their appetite for the main event. In each email, reveal one thing about the main event you know they’re going to lust after.
  • Make your email interactive so they have to ‘scratch’ or ‘unwrap’ an image to reveal the surprise. Take a look at some great examples of interactive emails in this post.

6. Make it a Last Chance, Act-Now Offer

Nothing triggers FOMO as much as the pressure to make a decision. That’s why countdown timers and flash sales work so well.

Another similar technique is the ‘last chance’ email. Send this one out with hours to go, and up the pressure even more by throwing in a free gift, like this one from Birchbox.

Other ideas to utilize the ‘last chance’ technique in your emails:

  • If you’re running an event or competition, tell them it’s their last chance to book, attend or enter.
  • Send them a series of reminder emails: ‘expires next week’, ‘expires tomorrow’, ‘expires at midnight’.
  • If your message or sale is tied to an event or holiday like Christmas, let them know when it’s their last chance to use express shipping to receive their order in time.

7. Tempt them with New or ‘Must-Have’ Items

Who says you must have a sale or even a special offer to stir up the FOMO in your contacts?

Commanding words like ‘must-have’ and ’new’ are sometimes all it takes. A ‘must-have’ conjures up something so desirable, it almost becomes an essential purchase.

And ‘new’ is a power word well known for triggering an emotional response, especially in FOMO suffers. Just ask Apple.

Additional words and phrases to stir up the ‘must-have’ FOMO in your email contacts:

  • Just released
  • Limited
  • In demand
  • Latest
  • All the rage
  • This season’s
  • Essential
  • Coming soon
  • Current
  • Hot off the press
  • State of the art
  • Winning
  • Red hot
  • Irresistible

8. Remind them of Their Abandoned Shopping Cart

We’ve all received emails about our abandoned shopping cart. But not many marketers use this opportunity as well as Reebok when it comes to employing FOMO techniques.

This one starts with some good old-fashioned flattery and then makes an offer of free shipping, all of which is hard to resist for a FOMO sufferer.

Want some more hot tips and examples of great abandoned shopping cart emails? This blog post has got it all. And if you sell on Shopify, you can connect your shop to Sendlane to design and automate abandoned shopping cart emails directly from your Sendlane account.

9. Throw in a Tantalizing Free Gift

No-one wants to miss out on a free gift, especially when you can select your own color and get free delivery.

The sense of urgency and temptation in this email from Bobbi Brown, with buttons that say ‘PICK NOW’ and beautiful product shots, is designed to hit a FOMO sufferer right between the eyes.

More ways to ramp up the FOMO using free gifts:

  • Send them an email reminding them it’s their last chance to claim their free gift.
  • If you sell a product or service by subscription, offer new contacts a free month if they sign up by a certain date.
  • Turn your email into a coupon by offering a free gift or discount when they present the email on their phone or printed out in your shop.

Don’t forget to add a deadline and make sure your terms of reference are clear in all cases.

10. Show Them No mercy

Jon Morrow from Smart Blogger is the king of persuasive copywriting, especially when it comes to FOMO.

Take a look at these emails he sent to promote a training program (they’re the last 2 in a sequence of 5).

We’ve highlighted the sections where he really ramps up the FOMO and, boy, is he merciless!

We can’t all write as persuasively as Jon Morrow (he’s been doing it for years.) But there are some tried and tested techniques you can start using today to make you a more compelling email writer. This post is a great starting point.

11. Don’t forget your subject line

So far, we’ve focused on FOMO techniques in the body of the email. But, did you know at least 35% of people open an email based on the subject line alone?

Take a look at these subject lines in emails that all came from the same online store in less than a month. Check out how they use FOMO techniques such as exclusivity, new product lines, increased discounts, and ‘last-chance’ sales to get people to open their emails.

Here are a few more FOMO-driven subject line ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Your $500 discount expires today
  • Should I give up your spot?
  • A sneak peek inside our new program
  • You’re going to kick yourself if you don’t jump now
  • The new designer trends you need in your wardrobe
  • Free download for the first 100 contacts
  • New stock just arrived
  • Further reductions

12. Give them a Subscribers’ Only Preview

When you reward your contacts for their loyalty with special offers and preview events, you’re giving them the opportunity to get the jump on everyone else, which is particularly important to FOMO sufferers.

Look at how well Factory First does it in this email. They offer 24-hour early access, plus 30% off new arrivals, plus free shipping, all through a ‘private link’.

Here are some additional words and phrases you can use to help induce FOMO:

  • Skip the queue
  • Early-bird access
  • Members only
  • Pre-release prices
  • Members’ exclusive prices
  • Here’s what we’ve got for you
  • Get in before the general public
  • 24 hour special preview

13. Bonus: Let people know they’ve missed out

We promised you a bonus technique, and here it is. Play to a FOMO sufferer’s great fear – making the wrong decision.

Let them know they missed out and it might convince them to move faster next time around.

It also gives you the opportunity to take a second bite at the cherry by making them a different offer, like this email from Home Depot.

There You Have It!

13 FOMO marketing techniques that you can start using right away, together with some hot tips, additional words and phrases and other resources to help you become an instant FOMO marketing expert.

Remember, the key ingredients are deadlines and scarcity, exclusivity and an air of mystery, persuasive language and the temptation of getting something for free.

Remember, all of these techniques can be implemented at the click of a button with email automation platforms like Sendlane. Plus, you can make your email designs leap off the page with our easy-to-use drag and drop visual email builder.

So, what are you waiting for? Give Sendlane a try and next time you compose an email, aim for your contacts’ FOMO funnybone to watch your conversion rate soar.

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Caitlin Hutchinson

Caitlin Hutchinson

A native of San Diego, California, Caitlin has a passion for developing creative and engaging marketing content. She is primarily responsible for overseeing the development, execution and delivery of digital content across all of Sendlane’s channels as well as maintaining an online presence of Sendlane's team culture. She has enjoyed being a part of a powerhouse team where she has had the opportunity to wear a variety of hats and take her knowledge and creativity to the next level. When not focusing on increasing Sendlane's online presence you'll find Caitlin playing music on her guitar or piano and spending time with her Husband and their rescue dog, Piper.
Caitlin Hutchinson