THE BLOG
02/25/2013 05:05 pm ET Updated Apr 27, 2013

How to Engage the 5 Senses of Your Audience for Increased Sales

The Question...

Can connecting with ALL 5 senses of your audience make your product or service offerings more appealing and potentially increase revenue in your business?

The Answer: Yes.

Here's how...

We experience life through our 5 senses. Life is full of sights, smells, touch, tastes and sounds that we unconsciously connect with emotion. If an experience touches multiple senses, the stronger the memory that is created and the more likely we are to recall that which gave us the experience (positive or negative).

For example, think about an exciting time in your past that you remember vividly. If it was your first concert, of course you remember the songs you heard, but you also might recall whether you were hot or cold, what you ate, what you wore, who you were with, the stage, the lighting or the costumes of the performers. Now think of a negative memory from many years ago. You probably remember many of the same sensory experiences. Right? We don't want to focus on the negative here, but the reason I bring this up is that if you want your audience to remember their positive experience with your brand for years to come, you will want to think about all 5 senses and how you can leave a pleasurable memory (not a painful one).

One example of a brand leaving a negative sensory experience in the minds of viewers was the Go Daddy Super Bowl commercial where the hot super model and the nerd kissed. If the advertisement had stopped at just the visual presentation of the subject matter, the result may not have inspired such a backlash. However, the auditory experience of the commercial took the message too far and a lot of Go Daddy customers went to social media to share their dissatisfaction with the ad. This is not the goal of the sensory experience.

In business, we need to make sure that we are tapping into as many of these senses as possible so that we can really connect with our audience. The more pleasurable the experience is for our audience, the better.

Sight

Some people love to read, so having a blog with written posts and interesting pictures is perfect for your visual enthusiasts. Twitter, Facebook and Linked In are also visual connection points to reach your ideal client. Video is a great way to capture the audience who prefers a visual experience while simultaneously tapping into the auditory memory.

Most businesses focus primarily on targeting the visual means of audience connection, which is fine if you have done your research and you know this is what your ideal client prefers. However, many entrepreneurs assume that visual outreach is the way to go, while leaving out the multimedia experience that many consumers prefer.

Sound

Sometimes when I am surfing the web, exercising or doing something that doesn't involve intense focus, I like to listen to podcasts. It helps me to stay informed and allows me to hear different points of view on a variety of topics. If you want to connect with people who prefer an auditory experience, having a podcast or at least an audio option for your blog posts is a must. If you have a podcast in the live format, such as a Blog Talk Radio show, your audience will be able to not only listen, but speak directly with you. This is another powerful sensory experience that engages potential customers with your brand while promoting you as an expert and boosting SEO.

Touch

Networking is one of the most cost effective ways to grow a business. When we actively engage in live conversations with people, we get to shake hands with contacts and feel the energy that they bring to the world. A hand shake and a friendly conversation with the right people can do more for your business than any webinar or blog post. If you want to standout as an accessible business owner, plan to attend at least 1-2 conferences in your industry every year and set up networking lunches or coffee breaks so you can connect with your audience on a personal level.

Smell

This may sound like a strange sense to inject into your client attraction strategy, but let me put it like this... Make sure that whenever you are in a place where you may run into a potential client, joint venture partner or the press, you smell GOOD! Back in the day when I was doing wardrobe for film, I remember the smell of certain big name actors and it was not a pleasant experience. When we meet someone at a conference or in a presentation and they have an intense smell of body odor, that impressions sticks with us. Personal hygiene and keeping yourself smelling fresh shows that you care about yourself and others and that you are professional.

Taste

Another interesting sense to bring up when it comes to business (unless you are a chef or offer some type of food or beverage product through your business) is the idea of taste. How do we leave a pleasurable taste in the mouth of our audience (literally and figuratively) when our business has nothing to do with food? Maybe taste doesn't always have to do with food...

Maybe taste has to do with the experience itself. What overall experience are you leaving your clients to remember? When your audience experiences your brand, what taste does it leave in their mouth? And what are you doing to make sure that it is one that will keep them coming back for more? This is the key to growing revenue and creating loyal fans who will keep coming back for repeat sales.

The only way to truly know the answer to these questions is to test some of the 5 senses ideas presented here, come up with some ideas of your own (that relate to your brand and your audience) and then to ask for feedback. This not only shows that you care, but it also shows that you are investing in the future of your relationship with your audience.

Don't forget to always reward any type of feedback with a gesture of gratitude. Once your audience shares their thoughts, preferences or experiences with you, honor their input by making adjustments to the experiences that you offer as it relates to their needs and wants. Maybe in the end, you will come to find that your audience connects best with your message through visual with audio means (which means you do more video) or that you get the best results in person (increase workshops or speaking engagements). The only way to know is to experiment and then to ask.

Now, let's hear your ideas in the comments on how we can touch upon the 5 senses in the experiences we present to our audience. Have a story to share about a sensory experience with a brand? Let's hear it!

Sign up for our email.
Find out how much you really know about the state of the nation.