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Trick for Treats: How to Capitalise on Fear

It’s nearly Hallowe’en and we’re going to give you the spookiest trick of all! In this article, we’re going to show you how to convince your customers to part with that sweet, sweet candy using fear.

People are not always ready and willing to give over their hard-earned money. That’s why you’ve got to try and persuade them that they should. However, doing that is often much easier said than done. Hallowe’en is the only time of the year when people can walk up to strangers and ask for something for nothing. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t really work in marketing. But worry not, if you can learn to manage people’s fears, then you can get pretty close, all year round.

Since it’s Hallowe’en, let’s start with something a little spooky! One of the best tactics to get people to do what you want them to do is through fear.

Fear is one of the most powerful sales tools there is and it can cause people to do things which are completely out of character.

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)

Using fear doesn’t mean that you have to show people pictures of spiders or make threats, instead, it’s about using the narrative of what might happen if they don’t buy your product. The most common example is FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Incorporating FOMO into your campaigns is easy. Rather than driving your copy at the benefits of what your customer will receive when they purchase your product, tell them what they won’t be able to do without it. You can also create limited availability and limited time offers. This entices people to act more on instinct so that they don’t miss the deal.

Another way to introduce fear into your campaign is to think about the things you worry about. Most people have common fears like not being able to pay the bills, what will happen to their families when they die, whether or not they turned the oven on before they went out etc. These are not frightening in the traditional sense, but they can all lead to real fear and these ‘what ifs’ enable you to capitalise.

Remind People Why They Should Be Afraid

The best way to use fear in marketing is to remind people what they are afraid of and why and then offer them the chance to have peace of mind. This is how most insurance companies advertise. However, it can be applied to other products and services too. Take a watch for example. Where is the fear in that? Well, without one, you may miss some important life events.

Imagine this scenario:

You may be late to work one day and you get fired by your boss. That night you drive home, but you get stuck in traffic. Your wife calls. You were supposed to pick the kids up at 4:30 and it’s now 5! She’s screaming at you and saying how useless you are and she tells you not to bother coming home. The next day is Saturday and you promised you’d be at little Timmy’s football match by 1 but, oh no, did the radio just say it was 2? Damn! You rush down there just as the match finishes and Timmy’s team won but Timmy doesn’t look as happy as the other kids. You walk over to try to congratulate and console him but he just looks up at you, with tears in his eyes and says “You said you’d be here.”. In the end, you are left standing there, facing your disappointed son and you have no excuse other than the fact you didn’t have a watch.

This thought pattern can be drilled into your consumers. All you really need to do is hint at it. You can do this in a number of ways. Firstly, you could ask a question because questions get people thinking. For Example:

“When was the last time you were late for someone you loved?”

Or you could choose a slogan like:

“Take time before time takes you.”

Or you could introduce a scenario similar to the one above:

It’s easy to let time pass you by but wouldn’t you rather be in control? Don’t keep your loved ones waiting. Buy this watch!

By instilling fear into your customers in this way, you create more than just a desire to buy your product, you create a need. And if you can create a sense of need then you’ll generate far higher sales.

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