Have you ever binge watched the Home Shopping Network (HSN)? If so, did you experience the excitement and energy that is generated when the host points out the segment clock is nearing the end, the limited quantity is continuing to deplete, and the purchase ticker is rising? Were you one of the thousands of viewers who felt like you were missing out on something great if you didn’t buy now?
Media giants like HSN, QVC, and ShopHQ are direct response strategy pros. Not only does the editorial television commerce format and lively host keep us mildly entertained, but they also excel at leveraging our natural Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) to generate mad sales at a rapid pace.
No one wants to miss out, whether it’s a purchase bargain or an exclusive event invite. Our #HumbleBrag filled social feeds have caused more than half of social media users to experience FOMO. And it’s not just social FOMO. TruePulse reports FOMO inspires 60% of people to make purchases, mostly within 24 hours.
Other direct response channels can tap into the power of FOMO, including direct mail.
How to use FOMO in Direct Mail
Deadlines & Urgency
Four out of five Americans say finding a great offer or discount is on their mind throughout the entire purchase journey – i.e., consumers do not want to pay full price. Therefore, use your offer to give the consumer peace of mind that they are getting the best deal, while leveraging the power of a deadline to speed up conversion. Encourage your audience to act now with messaging focused on “flash sales,” “limited time offer,” or “this month only.” You could even offer a special discount to early purchasers. Labeling something with “while stock lasts” will also intensify FOMO as consumers will perceive your product to be scarce and inherently increase its value.
FOMO is also associated with the need to belong or feel popular. Consider how you can use your mail piece to create a VIP community that your audience wants to be a part of and is not available to everyone. Simply tell your recipients they are part of an exclusive, pre-selected group, or offer a private invitation to join the club. Sharing metrics on how many customers are using your service or product is another effective way to leverage FOMO. You can also consider kicking up the personalization by stating how many people in their neighborhood, city or state have already joined. This community strategy especially resonates with eco-friendly brands and sustainability-focused audiences.
Customer testimonials are a tried-and-true, must-have element in most direct mail campaigns, and it all comes down to FOMO. Ninety-five percent of people say that reviews – whether positive or negative – influence their purchasing decisions. Using testimonials on your mail piece taps into human nature and our innate herd mentality which inspires us to live the same experience. If your product or service is having a meaningful impact on the lives of your customers, then your prospects will want to have that same positive experience, too.
Fifty percent of our brain’s resources are dedicated to visual processing, making us capable of analyzing and experiencing visceral emotions at a rapid pace. Placing achievable, aspirational imagery of people enjoying your product immediately triggers a strong connection and feeling of FOMO. Use images that will express or reflect the message you want to convey. For example, family products should feature family lifestyle imagery, and health and beauty products should feature product use imagery. Some mailers even use influencer imagery to enhance FOMO on the endorsed products.
Incentives & Rewards
The prior examples play a role in acquiring new customers, but this strategy impacts FOMO mindsets for customer retention. Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman’s acclaimed behavioral economics research found a consumer’s fear of losing something can be twice as powerful as the desire to gain. Consumers also love to feel special. The feeling of receiving swanky perks for being a loyal brand member also implies those perks could be lost if we moved our business elsewhere. Offering enhanced membership benefits, free gifts, or extra reward points are opportunities to use loyalty incentives to incite FOMO.
FOMO in direct mail can be very effective, as long as the dosage is just right. Overuse of FOMO can cause jealousy or disappointment. Follow these tips to refine your FOMO direct mail strategy and your audience won’t even realize they’ve just experienced it.