More sales due to shortage – the “Fear-Of-Missing-Out” effect Sales Psychology Meets Email Marketing Part 4

Susanne Eberl
Online Redakteurin

The "Fear-Of-Missing-Out" effect

The fear of missing something, also called FOMO in marketing (from “Fear Of Missing Out”), is a strong motive for action. People immediately respond to this (negative) stimulus. After all, nobody likes to be the taillight when it comes to hip trends, important news, attractive events and limited offers. Millennials, the social media generation, are particularly interested in FOMO. 69% know the feeling and 60% react immediately if they think they are missing a great offer. The FOMO trigger is artificial shortage.

There are many techniques for creating artificial shortages. We have put together the most profitable ones for you here.


Technique 1 – Make the clock tick

Subject lines with “only today”, “only 48 hours” or “exclusive this weekend” increase the opening rate, as time-limited offers create urgency. The purchase button is also clicked faster.

Install a countdown in the mail or on the landing page which shows the remaining time.

Let customers look at this watch to make sure they buy sooner rather than too late.

Technology 2 – Limit the offer

“Only as long as stocks last” or “In limited edition”: these subject elements also ensure urgency and increase the opening rate. In addition, they stimulate competition among customers. Who is able to strike on time?

Limitation is even more important if you communicate very concrete, low unit numbers. Airlines, hotel platforms and tour operators in particular are speeding up sales by indicating small remaining quantities of rooms and tickets. Onlineshops can also show the scarcity of products offered in a sale to sell them faster:

Amazon & Co., on the other hand, motivate with low stock levels. The appeal of clicking the buy button because there is “Only 1 left in stock” or “Only 3 places left” to read is great

Technology 3 – Make it exclusive

Nothing triggers the fear of missing something more than exclusivity. People love to have access to products that not everyone can have. Status icons serve this need as do first class and premium customer programs.

Amazon Prime has 80 million members. Members who are promised supposed benefits and exclusive offers to which other Amazon customers have no access. Consider whether a VIP customer program is right for your business model and what the content of this program could be.

Offering products in “limited editions” as “special editions” or “exclusive this summer” also stimulates buying. For example, brands regularly publish special editions: Langnese celebrates a special Magnum ice cream every summer and McDonald’s offer a monthly special menu. Market your products exclusively as a “seasonal highlight”, a “special offer” or a “premium edition”!

Technology 4 – Communicate popularity

Indicate when a product is in demand! High sales figures are an effective FOMO trigger. They illustrate the popularity most credibly. Interested parties learn that a product goes away like hot cakes. And they ask themselves, “If all access, how long do I have still time to use the offer? So popularity also triggers urgency and the pressure to act.

In your mail, just like in the shop, indicate the sales figures: “134 units already sold” or “one call every hour”!

Technology 5 – Take advantage of missed offers is a perfect example of this FOMO tactic. When a hotel is fully booked at the desired time, it says: “Sorry, we are fully booked. The booking period you want is very much in demand. Would you be flexible? The fear of not being able to use a desired hotel is countered by the demand to be flexible – and not an alternative hotel!

For your e-mail marketing, this means: Don’t hesitate to offer incomplete product lines. It doesn’t matter if not every size of a fashion item is available in every colour. Then give prospective customers the opportunity to order at a later date with a button: “Notify me when the item is available again”. This is your chance to secure email addresses for your database and at the same time buyers for returns.

Technique 6 – Reward Flash Orderers

Offerieren Sie den ersten 100 Kunden ein Gratis-Geschenk, ein Ausstattungs-Extra oder eine Zugabe, damit Ihre Umsätze von 0 auf 100 beschleunigen.

The attractiveness of your bonus is crucial. However, don’t convince with “expensive”, but with “suitable”! Trendy rhinestones for fashion articles offer the possibility of individual design. An attractive mobile phone cover sells the Smartphone. A salad cutlery completes the salad bowl, and the decorative cushion in the same pattern as the curtain tempts you to buy lightning fast.

Think about how you can reward your first 100 customers so that everyone else doesn’t want to miss your offer at any price.

Technique 7 – Limit free shipping

In addition to gifts, free shipping is an attractive incentive to buy. 90% of all online customers state that they have decided to buy a product because it is shipped free of charge.

If you limit the free shipping time to the first 10 days or a promotion month, your customers will not want to miss this offer – especially if the shipping costs are otherwise high.

Whatever scarcity technology you use for your business: They are all successful!

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