We’re facing an interesting challenge in my new business that is high on my mind as we approach our grand opening. (I’ve shared a little about what we’re doing in two of my prior columns, here and here.) Today I’m going to share our strategies with you, as I suspect it’s a challenge that exists in your businesses, too.
Particularly in our category, “hyper wellness,” what is the health or recovery benefit of modalities such as whole-body cryotherapy, compression therapy or intravenous vitamin delivery? What would compel you to go into a center and receive these therapies if they’re something you’d never heard about and weren’t considering before?How do you educate customers about radically new products and services, especially in categories that haven’t existed before?It’s a problem that’s existed from the beginning of business. What caused the first people to move from an abacus to a calculator and from a calculator to advanced Point Of Sale? Why would you try out a sleeping app or an air fryer? Would you buy a smartwatch? Is it worth it?
- Create social proof. When a concept is new, it attracts curiosity. People tend to do what others do, particularly when the others are people they know, admire and trust. So instead of making persuasive arguments for cold therapy, oxygen, micronutrients, etc., we are holding VIP events in advance of our opening to give people the chance to tour the center, ask questions and be ready to try the modalities that interest them immediately upon our opening. These early adopters will share their experiences and spread their opinions on social media, which will open the way for others who trust these people or who have similar conditions or interests to try.
- Use science and data to educate, not promote. Some markets (and unfortunately, direct selling and multi-level marketing tend to be high among them), seem to abide and even welcome a high level of hype. Miracle stories abound around nutritional juices, skin serums and energy supplements. But for the rest of us (and even in these companies) success is highest when companies provide educative information based on science and data as opposed to promotion and hype. Find or launch original studies and seek out the universities and independent researchers who can provide meaningful information to share.
- Ask your customers for feedback. Customers are honored to engaged by your willingness to ask their genuine feedback on an experience with hyperbaric oxygen, for example, or the benefits of a cryotherapy treatment. Customers are 62% more inclined to buy from a company that asks for their opinion, according to research, and they hold higher trust in that business as well. It doesn’t cost (generally) and it will improve your service to any market to take the simple steps of asking. Ask as people sign up, ask as they leave, and ask at the completion of any online purchase or dialogue you have, and that single move will create more revenue and market for you.
- Remember that ethical persuasion is the rule of the day. People can use data to mislead and deceive. For example, FDA approval may be important for a therapy you inject or ingest (and provides guidelines or even regulation on what a business can say), but could be misused if someone applied a “not FDA approved” label to make a treatment it’s not designed to assess, like ice or oxygen, sound scary. These are situations where common sense, input from a source of authority and careful use should be your guide for marketing (or appropriate use). The biggest secret to ethical persuasion, in fact, is that you don’t use persuasion at all. Instead, you listen to your customers, understand their deepest desires, and simply lay down an opportunity you invite them to try. Let the decision be theirs. Allow them to use their own experiences to guide their decision, as opposed to telling them what they should do or believe.
Add value in every transaction, provide educative materials, and make it easy for people to try your offerings without risk and then let others know how they feel. My partner, Brody King, is fond of noting that for people who’ve become accustomed to discomfort, it is a big discovery to learn how great their bodies were designed to actually feel.
For example, getting more benefits than a 40-minute ice bath in a 3-minute cryotherapy treatment may be a beautiful thing for some customers. Others may prefer the warmth of an infrared sauna instead. Some may want both. But just like calculators, technology apps and smartwatches—the best way to advance a new idea is to pique your customers’ curiosity, and then create a safe and appealing way to give a new idea a try.