Is Fear Really a Good Marketing Tactic?

How many times have you seen an infomercial that told you your family is vulnerable to burglars without this new, high-end security system? Or that your wrinkles are off-putting to everyone around you and the only way to remove them is with this miracle cream. The truth is, those companies are tapping into two of our innate fears, crime and self-image, in order to sell you their product.

Fear has been used as a marketing tactic for as long as marketing has existed. If you look at ads from the last two centuries you’ll find a common thread: words and images that provoke fear in the viewer.

It’s not the type of fear that you get from watching a horror movie or from encountering a specific phobia, but a fear of missing out on something special. That’s the type of fear you should be using in your marketing.

But how can you do it effectively?

Know your audience.

We are not all afraid of the same things, and what one person thinks of as an incredible opportunity another person might have no problem passing up. When you target your prospects, you should always be thinking about what is important to them, and the type of language to use that will really resonate. Why should this person be terrified to miss the opportunity to work with you? Make them feel that urgency.

It’s now or never.

Speaking of urgency, making your pitch direct and clear is essential, but delivering a sense of necessity is equally important. If your prospect thinks that have weeks or even months to make a decision, what’s to stop them from brushing you off every time you speak to them? They should walk away from your discussion knowing that if they don’t take action on your offer today, it might be gone tomorrow.

The solution to their fear.

You are the only thing standing in between your prospect and their fear. When this becomes clear to them, they have no choice but to take advantage of your services. To them, you should be the only clear path to avoiding their fear and making sure it doesn’t affect them, no matter what you’re selling.

Inspire action.

Most important, your fear-based marketing shouldn’t be easily recognizable as fear. If your prospects and clients can’t trust you, and you’re using false information to get them to draw specific conclusions, they’ll never want to work with you. Instead, think of this tactic as inspiring, not fear-instilling. The relationship you build in return will be much more genuine.

Written by Alexa Bricker

Creative writer who believes in the power of a well-told story and helpful content.