When it comes to marketing to your target audience, no strategy is off-limits, no matter how out-of-the-box it may seem — provided that you aren’t doing unethical, of course.

And, while appealing to your customers’ five sense may seem a little outlandish at first, the truth is, catering to people’s senses is really much more simple than you might think.

In fact, appealing to the five senses is actually trending in the digital world these days and can teach you how to grab your customers’ attention and keep them engaged with you have to offer.

What is Sensory Marketing?

Sensory marketing is best described as a form of marketing that uses the five senses to appeal to customers.

In an attempt to influence buying behaviour, sensory marketing seeks to gain the customer’s attention, trust, and business using the five main senses:

  • Taste
  • Sight
  • Hearing
  • Touch
  • Smell

Implementing sensory marketing into your overall marketing strategies, even if you’re just an online business, can go a long way in convincing someone to convert and ultimately buy.

Marketing to All Five Senses

You might be surprised to find out that people’s senses are the easiest to fool.

In fact, despite what people think, it has been confirmed that people buy based on emotion and then justify those purchases using logic.

So, it would make sense that appealing to the five senses, and people’s sense of emotion, would be the most effective strategy for generating sales.

So, let’s take a look at how you can use each of the five senses in your own sensory marketing plan and as a result, build your business into a success.

1. Taste

Would you believe that free, in-store samples have been known to boost sales by as much as 2,000 percent?

Think about it.

People love free stuff. And when people can test things before they buy, they’re more apt to finalise their purchase (knowing they will be satisfied) and even become repeat customers.

Costco has long been known as the place to go for free food samples.

In fact, Costco is so convinced that appealing to people’s taste with their sampling tables that they actually encourage people to try it all.

So how does this apply to sensory marketing in the online world?

Well for starters, you can offer free samples of your product.

And if that’s too much to ask because shipping costs can eat into your profit by sending out a bunch of free samples, you can always take the approach 1st Phorm does with their protein powders.

Guarantee that customers will love the taste of your product, and offer a 100% money guarantee, plus 10% if you’re feeling really confident.

Doing this allows people to try the product they purchased online without hesitation.

And if by chance they aren’t satisfied for any reason after trying it, they can actually make money off returning it.

If this isn’t good marketing, we don’t know what is.

2. Sight

Appealing to your customer’s sight online is one of the easiest things to do, which is great because people are visual by nature.

You can appeal to people’s sight in a variety of ways:

  • Add high-resolution images to your site’s content
  • Use bold colour contrasts to encourage a call to action button click
  • Add engaging images of products in your online shop to show people exactly what they’re buying
  • Add video content to personalise your brand, demonstrate your products, and engage those that don’t like to read
  • Structure your site’s content for easy scanning

Lastly, you can get really creative when you launch your online business and buy a domain name that is not easily forgotten.

Sure, having a simple and straightforward domain name is important for getting found in search results.

But so is standing out from the competition.

If you want help with coming up with a domain name that relates to your industry but is a little off kilter, so it catches people’s eyes, check out the free tool Ubersuggest.

Once there, enter your main keyword and check out the alternatives.

Take a look at some of the suggestions and see if there’s any way you can use a similar keyword to stand out from the competition, but still remain relevant.

A simple example would be a florist looking for a domain name that didn’t fit in with the mainstream domain names.

You could always play on the “s” in flowers, replacing it with a “z” to make it more memorable. For instance, you might buy the domain name flowerzfromyou.com.

This URL is different enough to stand out, but not so obscure people won’t understand it. You can play around with combinations using a domain name generator to get it just right.

3. Sound

Paired with visual stimulation, sound can have a profound effect on a person’s buying behavior, going beyond what even your company’s slogan does for sales.

After all, there’s a reason jingle on TV and the radio, in social media ads, and YouTube is so popular.

They get stuck in your head.

Then, the next time you need to buy something related to a jingle you know, you’ll think of that product above all else, regardless of its quality or price.

And if the business that created the jingle is lucky, you’ll follow through with a purchase.

Adding video content to your website that includes jingles, a popular voice, or catchy music are just some of the ways you can appeal to someone’s sense of hearing and get them to buy.

4. Touch

Using touch as a marketing technique has long been used by businesses in all industries:

  • Using heavy cardstock for business mailers to instil a sense of authenticity and trust
  • Taking care to use high-quality materials in your products to show customers how sturdy and long lasting they are
  • Making sure to use high-quality materials in the clothing your sell, so once in your customer’s hands, they never forget the way it feels

Don’t forget about the way you package things too.

Consider using a material such as soft tissue paper, crunchy foil, or smooth plastics to package things you sell online to imprint a memory of your brand based on a person’s sense of touch.

5. Smell

Marketers have long tapped into people’s sense of smell with magazines that come with scratch-and-sniff perfume samples.

But how are digital marketers supposed to appeal to someone’s sense of smell in the online world?

This proves to be challenging, as some of the other senses have shown since the digital age lacks that in-person opportunity to appeal directly to someone’s senses.

That said, if you get creative and work hard to deliver products that emit certain smells, you’ll be able to tap into this sensory marketing technique, if even just a little.

For instance, some printers have made it possible for businesses to print papers that are infused with certain scents.

If you do any kind of seasonal selling, try using seasonal scents:

  • Sunshine and summer (think coconut)
  • The frosty snow (think deep coffee aromas)
  • Or even spring (think fresh rains)

This added personalisation might be enough to make people come back for more, even if just for the nostalgic smells.

Final Thoughts

Sensory marketing is something that most consumers are used to. The only difference is, many of the most memorable sensory marketing techniques are found in brick and mortar stores.

That said, as people opt to shop online more so than visit stores in person, marketers are faced with the challenge of appealing to many senses at once, all on a digital platform.

Though some senses are harder to appeal to than others, the truth is, if you invest a little time into your sensory marketing plan, you’ll see that getting people to buy based on their emotions is easier than you think.

You just have to go a little outside of the box sometimes if you want to set yourself apart from the competition.