We’ve all seen FOMO in action online.
You’ve booked your vacation flight and are about to book a hotel room. A message pops up on the hotel’s website: “Hurry! Only 2 rooms left for these dates.”
What do you do? You book the hotel to secure one of the remaining rooms, stat.
The longer someone ponders over whether to buy a product or service, the more likely it is that they’ll talk themselves out of it.
Making people feel as if they’re about to miss out on or lose a great opportunity — triggering that fear of missing out (FOMO) — is a powerful way to drive conversions and sales.
Dial up your sense of urgency with these 10 tried-and-true tips.
1. Offer Something People Want
Urgency only works if your product or service is something that people actively want to begin with.
If someone isn’t interested in your product, all the limited-time offers in the world won’t make them want it.
Urgency amplifies already-present feelings of wanting something. It doesn’t create them.
This is important to keep in mind as you’re driving traffic to your site, too.
Sending traffic on broad keywords that don’t speak to intent is a waste of time — and a waste of money if you’re using paid sources to get them to an offer for something they don’t want.
2. Set a Deadline
If potential customers know there’s no rush to buy your product or service, they’re more likely to put off buying it to weigh the pros and cons.
They may just forget about it forever.
Create an incentive to take action by running your sales and offers for a limited time.
One effective way to create time pressure is to use a countdown timer on your site. Show viewers how many days, hours, and minutes they have to decide.
Check out how Amazon uses the power of a limited-time offer. On many of their product pages, the ecommerce giant highlights how soon you’ll have to order something to get it by a specific date.
Amazon tells customers how quickly they have to order an item to get quick delivery, right down to the minute.
3. Create Scarcity
The scarcer a product or service is, the more people want it.
If you can highlight how scarce your product or service is – or at least create the illusion that it’s about to run out – you can drive people to click the Buy button before someone else does.
For ecommerce businesses, one common way to do this is to announce that you only have a certain number of an item left in stock.
If you sell a service, you can make the same principle work for you by only taking on a certain number of clients every month, for example.
Once again, Amazon knows how to put on the pressure when their stock of an item is running low.
Another way to make your product or service seem scarce is to create a sense of competition.
Booking.com does this well by showing viewers how many other people are looking at a certain hotel and how many rooms are left.
Booking.com ramps up their sense of urgency by making visitors feel as if someone else could book the room they want at any moment.
4. Use the Right Words
Strong ad copy and a compelling call to action can make all the difference between whether your visitors make a purchase or click away.
Time-related words are particularly useful for creating a sense of urgency.
Try incorporating some of these words into your copy:
- One time only.
- Last chance.
- Before it’s gone.
- Today only.
- Limited time.
- Don’t miss out.
5. Offer a Bonus Incentive
In addition to your main offer, give people an extra incentive to act fast.
For instance, you might offer free shipping for a limited time, or give your first 10 buyers a free surprise gift.
This technique works well when layered with other limited-time or FOMO tactics.
6. Write Powerful Subject Lines for Your Emails
Use your marketing email subject line to establish a sense of scarcity or urgency. Time-related words, like the ones listed above, or vivid action verbs get people’s attention best.
The more clearly you get your message across, the more likely subscribers are to open the email (and then visit your site).
7. Use Numbers
Numbers are a great way to get people’s attention and make an offer more attractive.
Use numbers to push a sense of scarcity – for instance, “Just 3 more in stock!”
Or, try boosting your social proof with numbers by telling customers how many other people have bought your product or service.
8. Use Warm Colors
Colors and psychology are deeply linked. Research from HubSpot supports the idea that using warm colors (red, yellow, and orange) for your CTA buttons can create a sense of urgency that drives action.
Cool colors like blue and green, on the other hand, aren’t as effective at getting visitors to click.
Whatever color you decide to use for your buttons, make sure they stand out from the rest of your page.
9. Customize Your Offers
Make your urgency-driven offers even more compelling by personalizing them.
For instance, track the pages or items that visitors view on your site and offer discounts relevant to their interests.
Alternatively, if you want to recapture a lead who abandoned their shopping cart, send an email reminding them that they have only a limited time to return and buy the items they were considering.
10. Keep the Pressure On
Take a look at your sales funnel and see where you lose the most leads. From there, try to figure out how you can increase the urgency of your marketing at these critical points.
For instance, if people tend to leave your site after putting a few things in their cart, you could add a countdown timer to your shopping cart page to remind people that your sale ends soon.
If you want to sell more, boosting the sense of urgency in your marketing is the way to go.
Making people feel as if they’re about to miss out on or lose a great opportunity is a powerful way to drive conversions.
As with many other techniques, urgency is best used in moderation.
Don’t try to put pressure on your potential customers all the time, or they’ll stop taking your offers seriously.
Instead, focus on periodically offering great deals that really are limited.
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- 101 Tips & Tricks That Will Boost Your Conversion Rates
- How to Use User Behavior Analytics to Increase Your Conversions: 5 Tips
All screenshots taken by author, March 2021
Image 4: Hubspot