Why FOMO Is Problematic For Your Online Business

24 May, 2021 By Bobby Klinck
Why FOMO Is Problematic for Your Online Business

Fear of missing out (or FOMO) is one of the most common online marketing strategies. Many online entrepreneurs use FOMO to pressure their customers into purchasing their product even though they don’t need it right now or they’re not ready to buy it.

But the truth is, if you have to use FOMO to sell your digital product(s), then you’re doing it wrong. 

Now I realize that we’re told to use scarcity, launches, and limited cart open periods because that’s the only way to sell a digital product.

I’m here to tell you that’s nonsense. It’s actually gonna be hazardous to your business.

Let’s delve deeper into why FOMO is problematic.

You Create A Product That Your Customer Doesn’t Want

When you use FOMO, you’re creating an artificial demand for a product that people don’t want. Some gurus who teach about FOMO will tell you that no one wants your digital product, be it a course or a membership, so the only way to sell it is to use FOMO.

I think we have a bigger problem if that’s true.

Instead of trying to convince people to buy your digital products that they don’t need, why not just create a product that they do want?

Crazy idea, I know. But a real marketer would say that what you ought to do is to figure out what product people need and want, instead of trying to create demand with FOMO.

You Put Your Needs As A Seller Above Your Customers

Another problem with FOMO is that you’re putting your needs as a seller over the needs of your customers as buyers. You’re trying to make them buy based on your timeline. You want to make sales by a particular period, so you’re creating a demand for it and forcing them to buy when it’s available.

If you look at what real marketing professionals say, you’ll know that marketing is fundamentally about the needs of the buyer, while selling is about you as a seller putting your needs first.

When you market right, you don’t have to sell. When you create the right product and serve people, you’re able to understand them and offer a product that they want and they’re gonna buy for sure. You don’t have to do more. That’s what true marketing is.

It’s Harder To Build Trust

When you’re using FOMO, you’re using negative emotion to get people to buy. That makes it more difficult to create trust.

You’re also forced to play on negative emotions to make people act. You make them feel ashamed, afraid, and other sorts of negative emotions, and when that happens over and over, they start to tune out. When you make them feel like crap, they’re gonna stop trusting you.

But when you stop relying on negative emotions and focus on inspiring them and doing good things, people want to follow you. Over time, you’ll build your influence, and it will be easier for them to listen to you and buy what you offer.

People Who Buy Out Of Fomo Don’t Tend To Succeed

People who purchase your product just because you have a limited-time offer and they’re afraid to miss the chance don’t tend to succeed. Because they’re not on the right timeline and they’re not ready for your product, they might still find themselves in the same spot six months later. They’re gonna doubt if your product actually works and that will hurt them and your reputation.

When you don’t use FOMO, they’re gonna buy when it’s the right time for them. When that happens, they’ll have a higher chance at success, and they’re more likely to become a brand advocate. They’ll be eager to tell other people about your product, and word-of-mouth marketing is powerful.

Fomo Generates More Sales (But Only In The Short Run)

Will FOMO help you make more money? You’ll probably see more sales quickly when you use FOMO, but that tends to be short-lived. In the long run, FOMO is going to reduce the lifetime customer value, your sales over the long term, customer loyalty, brand advocates, and so on. Those, by the way, are the things those real businesses are built on.

It Damages Brand Equity Over Long Term

Aside from it not being good for your customers, FOMO can damage your business equity over the long term. That’s because FOMO is usually tied to a limited open cart period. I know this is what we’re being taught in the online space, that you should launch and only let people buy your product for a week or two, but this is risky for your business because it limits your ability to make money.

When your business’s revenue all comes in chunks or from sales made in a very limited period of the year, it devalues your business. If something happens that impacts your open cart period, the financial health of your business could be in serious trouble.

Moving Beyond FOMO

Going back to my original proposition, if you have to rely upon the fear of missing out to sell your products, you’re doing it wrong. You should create a product that sells itself and that you can sell every day of the year. Then you wouldn’t have to do a fancy launch or resort to high pressure tactics and negative emotions to get people to buy. That’s what real businesses do and that’s what you should do if you want to build a real business in the online space.

If you’d like help building a real online business, be sure to join my training program, BADA$$ Online Marketing University. It’s totally free. No upsells, no gimmicks, and no tricks. It’s my way of serving online entrepreneurs and helping them take the fundamental principles of marketing and apply them in the online space.

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Bobby Klinck

Harvard Lawyer and Online Entrepreneur