When you hear the word “marketing,” what type of advertising come to mind?
Print or television ads that your target market can visually see? Maybe you envision a radio ad or some other type of audio ad that reaches your potential patients and makes them want to come in based on what they hear?
While sight and sound are two very important components to an effective marketing campaign, if you’re not engaging all five senses in your marketing plan, you could be missing out. This is called sensory branding (or sensory marketing) and involves the use of marketing options directed toward sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.
Why sensory branding works
Harvard Business Review shares that the reason this type of marketing works so well is because of something called “embodied cognition.” This is when what we see, hear, taste, feel, or smell contributes to the decision-making process. For instance, one piece of research published in the journal Judgment and Decision Making found that the longer subjects viewed an object, the more they were willing to pay for it.
Additionally, research published in Social and Behavioral Sciences shares that a “highly scented environment might reduce risk perceptions,” ultimately causing consumers to want to spend more. So what can you do at your chiropractic practice sensory-wise to build a stronger business?
Keep retail products within customer sight
Since research shows that the average consumer is willing to pay more the longer they look at an object for sale, one way to increase your revenues—especially on higher priced items—using the sense of sight is to put your retail products on display someplace where your patients will have maximum viewing time. Somewhere in the waiting room would likely be the best, with the exam room being a close second.
Play slow tempo music
The University of Nevada, Reno reports that music with a slow tempo (which is defined as approximately 60 beats per minute) helps relieve stress and tension. Therefore, playing this type of melody in your waiting and exam rooms can add to the patients’ experience, enabling them to enter their appointment less tense (allowing for a better adjustment) and leave it feeling better not only physically, but mentally too.
The types of music that tend to provide the best results, according to the university, include “Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums, and flutes,” even if they’re played at a higher volume. Music which mixes nature sounds with classical or light jazz is relaxing too.
Satisfy your patient’s sweet tooth
Most people like sweets, so one way to satisfy their sense of taste without negatively affecting their waistline is to keep a candy dish on your reception counter at all times. Buy in bulk and this is one “extra” you can offer for very little cost.
In research conducted by the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, you can make your candy dish more appealing by keeping it within easy reach and making the candy itself more visible by using a see-through dish. Individually wrapped pieces are also the most sanitary (no dirty hands reaching in and contaminating all of the other candies), and keep the dish full so no one has to feel bad taking the last piece.
Let patients touch the merchandise
According to Harvard Business Review, “physically holding products can create a sense of psychological ownership, driving must-have purchase decisions.” Thus, letting your patients handle your retail products can increase their desire to buy.
One way to do this is to have an open display where patients can easily grab whatever items they’re most interested in. Or, if you’re recommending a product for their particular condition, hand it to them directly so they can feel the compelling effects of the touch.
Incorporate scents in your marketing plan
Some businesses have a natural scent advantage. Case in point: Walk into a bakery and your mouth will water for a sugary treat. Put one foot in a pizzeria and you can almost taste the tangy sauce and stringy cheese as it enters your mouth.
The sense of smell can also be used advantageously in non-food establishments by choosing aromas that elicit the type of response you want in your patients. For example, the scent solutions company Air Aroma shares for healthcare practices include orange and lavender (eases anxiety and improves mood) or lavender and eucalyptus (reduces stress).
Effective marketing requires more than just connecting with potential patients via ads based on sight and sound. It also involves incorporating touch, taste, and smell in your marketing plan. When you do this, you’re able to interact with a person on many levels, increasing the likelihood that your service will satisfy them in full.