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If you are the parent of a teenager, you've probably seen FOMO in action.

FOMO stands for "Fear Of Missing Out."

It's not a new idea, but it's changing. When the Bs were teenagers (we won't bore you with how long ago that was), we might have been aware that we'd been excluded from a party, but aside from some twinges of jealousy, we could distract ourselves and move on. Today, if a teen is left out of a gathering, she can be there virtually. She can go on myriad social media sites and vicariously participate. "Oh look, there's the birthday boy blowing out his candles!" "Oh look, there's my crush with his arm around another girl!" "Oh look, there are five of my closest BFFs having a blast and not giving my absence a second thought!"

With social media, you're a digital fly on the wall. 24/7. Kinda creepy, isn't it?

FOMO's not just for teens either. Most people these days worry that they might be missing something. So, they check social media incessantly. And — guess what? — they're always going to be missing something. Someone will always have a better job, a bigger house. And all that envy is exhausting. So, they weave better, bigger versions of themselves to post.

"Hey. If we're going to suffer from FOMO, we're going to make damn sure that other people do too. Right?" And so the vicious circle continues.

The idea that you might miss out on something is also a super powerful marketing motivator.

Direct marketers have used FOMO-flavored language for decades — long before the current acronym was developed. "Don't miss your chance ..." "Thousands of satisfied customers have already tried ...""This offer expires soon ..." "Supplies won't last ..."

Even the simplest call-to-action: "Act now!" implies that if they don't, they will miss out.

Today, with digital and social media marketing, there are more ways than ever to put FOMO to work for your product or solution. For example ...

• Don't just cite a deadline, include a countdown clock in your digital ad, email or on your website

• Try showing how many items are left in stock

• Scroll or pop-up recent purchasers (just with first name and location for privacy)

• Limit a discount or free shipping to the first 50 people who order

• Warn them that they may miss out — "The last time we made an offer this great, it sold out in two hours!"

• Include testimonials from happy customers

• Position the offer as "Exclusive" — imply that others are missing out but they don't have to

Bottom line: FOMO, which is an extension of FUD, "Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt," can help you sell more, to more customers, more quickly.

So, don't miss out! Find new ways to use FOMO today.


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