FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in Marketing vs. Respect For Your Audience

“There are only TWO spots left in the program. Sign up now!”

This is the kind of email we might receive from a conventional marketer.

They have not taken the care to consider how this makes the audience feel. They’re doing this because it “works” to get those openings filled.

When they say there are 2 spots left, and yet the campaign is being sent to thousands of people, what are the rest of the people supposed to do?

“Feel left out” is the unfortunate answer.

This is the biggest problem in marketing today — doing things that are expedient, that “work” to achieve a short-term result for profits, without caring how the audience feels (i.e. the majority who can’t buy at the moment), and therefore how this affects the marketer’s own brand (i.e. reputation and relationship with audience) in the long-term.

Sometimes, this is even consciously done by the marketer. Maybe they want the audience to feel like they must do what the marketer says ASAP, or otherwise feel left out…

I, too, have to become more aware of how my own promotions might make you feel. If it ever feels less than good, please do let me know.

Conventional marketing works to exacerbate:

* Anxiety / scarcity / limitation
* Fear of missing out / being excluded
* Guru-ship (believe their authority more than your own inner authority)

When I have only a few spots left for something, I don’t email my list. I don’t post it on social media. I reach out specifically to a few people that I believe would be grateful to know about those few spots. (I will ask them to kindly respond by tomorrow if they are interested, because otherwise I need to share the opportunity with others.)

If you have something that is timely, e.g. a course or workshop, or the start of a program, then let people know the start date, and if they can’t do it this time, when you might be doing it again. Respect people enough to make the choice. The ones who are excited about the offer will want to do it sooner rather than later. They won’t want to wait.

Recently, I decided not to post a “Last Chance” type of ad on Facebook, because I felt my audience already saw it enough. I had sent 2 emails to my list, and had already done a Facebook ad. I noticed the sales was initially good, but had trickled to a halt.

I could “squeeze” out a few more sales by doing more promotions. Or, I could prioritize the feeling of connection and friendship with my audience.

When an offer is right for the audience, the sales come in strong at the beginning, and then, kind of like cooking popcorn, the sales slow down, and then, if most of the audience has seen it enough times, one or two more might sign up.

When cooking popcorn, you need to pay attention. It’s not worth popping 2 more kernels, yet burning 20 of them. Stop promoting your offer to try to get 2 more sales, at the risk of burning 20 people. Don’t annoy your list by sending too many promotional emails.

This is how so many email lists become useless over time… they were not conscious of how their messages made the audience feel.

I limit promotions to 2–3 emails about any one offer — and this is only to my promotions email list (those who specifically want to hear about my promotions.)

For example, to promote an upcoming course, 1 email is sent announcing that it is now available for registration, and the 2nd email is sent one day before the course starts.

If it is a unique or new type of course that my audience isn’t used to seeing from me, I might send a 3rd email in between the 1st and 2nd, to give them more information about it. You can see my actual promotional emails here. (As always, I continue to learn, so feel free to give me your honest feedback and suggestions, dear audience!)

On social media (particularly my Facebook business page) I post 2–3 times about the offer (1 link post, 1 event, and maybe 1 text-only post), boosting one or two of those into Ads. That’s it.

In regards to my weekly/monthly content email list, I do not send promotional emails. I only mention the upcoming offer at the bottom of each content email. I don’t enjoy the content emails I get where they promote their thing first, before giving the content we came for. To see examples of my emails, check out my monthly content emails.

The exception — if I notice that sales are strong and steady with each post or promotion, then I might keep going a bit longer than usual, but again, you can tell when the popcorn is slowing down its popping.

It’s always good to remind ourselves of the Golden Rule:

Do unto others what you’d like done unto you.

Or vice versa: Don’t do unto others what you don’t enjoy being done to you.

Apply this to your marketing. What feels “off” to you? Look at your own process and be sure not to do it. Also, what feels great, and earns your respect or friendship? Do that kind of marketing to others as well.

We can move our audience out of love and respect, and the right ones will respond.

Perhaps most importantly, ​let us return to our spiritual practices to remind ourselves that we will always be taken care of and therefore, doing the right thing is always the right thing.

Originally published at

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity"

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