There are several ways of tempting potential customers to take the plunge and make a purchase. The “fear of missing out” (FOMO, for short) is one of the most effective. I don’t think that there’s someone in the world who hasn’t regretted losing something they had their eyes on after pondering for too long on whether or not to buy.

Personally, I’ve gone through that with many pieces of jewelry, several books I ended up getting at a higher price, and one emerald-green dress back in high school.

People are genetically wired to avoid loss because, in the early days of humankind, this specifically referred to the loss of life due to natural predators). This impulse can work to the marketers’ advantage.

Here are a few tips on how to make this work in your campaigns to promote and sell your online courses:

1. Set a time limit and stick to it

Deadlines are highly effective. We are taught from an early age that if we don’t respect them (for our school projects, for our taxes), there will be unpleasant consequences. If you set up a promotional campaign that’s supposed to only last three days, it’s important to keep it that way and don’t “bring it back by popular demand” a week later.

The key to FOMO marketing working in the long term is that if customers don’t make their move in time, they really end up missing out on something. The other important aspects you need to consider is making the promotion worthwhile (offer a consistent discount, an appealing bundle, or a valuable extra) and making it known. One of the reasons Black Friday is so successful is that people are familiar with the event.


Read more: Masterfully using deadlines to sell more courses


2. Social proof is a big seller

We live in the age of reviews. Customers can share their opinions so that their peers can make informed decisions. Therefore, it’s essential to have as many good client testimonials and recommendations on your website as possible.


Read more: 8 Amazing social proof tips to boost online course sales


It’s all right to ask your customers to leave reviews and offer some incentives in exchange for this – a discount for other products, some promotional swag, or any other extras you have to give away.

If you get influencers in your niche to show support and appreciation for what you are selling, you can easily hit the jackpot. The superpower of online influencers is that their followers want to look and feel like them, so your business gets a boost by association.


Read more: 4 Tips on how to approach influencers in your niche


3. Use the right language

Everybody is a marketer these days, and people’s inboxes and social media pages are filled with clever advertising. It’s really too much for a lot of individuals. That’s why you mustn’t add to the overflowing spam. Your messages should hit the mark instead of labeled as “oh, another one” and deleted without a second thought.

To be successful, you need to know your target audience very well and speak directly to them, tapping into the imagery, values, and vernacular that feel most familiar to them. Try to avoid clichés like “biggest sale,” “prices are dropping,” or “limited supplies,” and instead go for personal messages such as “you don’t want to miss this,” “make sure you are not left out,” or “time is almost up.”

4. Cross-marketing on various channels

To grow your audience, your brand reputation and your sales, you need to be in several places simultaneously. Luckily, social media not only allows but encourages this. There are even several pieces of highly effective software that you can use to have a constant presence without actually having to keep logging in several times a day.

You can employ FOMO by letting your audience from one venue know that you will be posting something interesting and valuable on another platform – so they should check that out as well.

It’s fine to post your core content on all accounts, but you should also have different pieces for each platform to lure your audience. You might think it’s the same crowd anyway, but if you get more followers, your profile becomes more visible and draw in more people. It’s like in the case of restaurants in a food court – people will generally go where the queue is, where most customers go.


Read more: “Would you like fries with that?” Or 4 tips on cross-selling your online courses


5. Put an exit-intent popup on your landing page

If a potential learner made it to your landing page, it means that there is genuine interest even if they press the exit button. Building in an exit-intent pop-up that offers a one-time (and limited time) discount code, bundle offer, or whatever else you find fitting is an excellent way of encouraging a favorable decision.

This is the time to “hit” with everything you have – suggestive imagery, powerful language, bold brand promises. An almost sure win is if your offer is within easy reach by leaving an e-mail address or signing up for a newsletter. It’s a great way of getting great leads that have a real chance of turning from prospects to customers.

Closing thoughts

There is a lot of FOMO marketing done these days, and most of it is done wrong – I’ve been informed of the same “only for 24 hours” offer from an online learning business at least twenty times in the past year, and they lost all credibility. If you take this technique and employ it genuinely, you have every chance of growing your business beautifully.

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