The Science Behind "Smile Marketing"

It costs you nothing, is easy to implement and can reap big rewards. Don't underestimate the power of a smile on your bottom line.
May 05, 2014

Small-business owners invest a lot of money in marketing their products or services to make an emotional connection with their customers. But what if their best marketing weapon was already something they had in abundance at their companies that cost nothing? “Smile marketing” may be that answer.

According to scientist Andrew Newberg, a person’s smile is “the symbol that was rated with the highest positive emotional content,” and there seems to be science that supports this. When the smile muscles in the face contract, there is a feedback loop that goes directly back to the brain and reinforces the feeling of joy (even more than what happens with chocolate!). A recent study by British research scientists concluded “that smiling can be as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 Pounds Sterling in cash.”   

“Smile marketing” can easily be used by a company to display confidence and caring about their product and make that connection to customers. When someone smiles, there is a greater chance of the other person smiling back. People are drawn to smiling people. Remember, customers buy from people they know, like and trust, and smiles can help advance this process.

How can you use “smile marketing” in your business?

The In-Person Smile

The in-person smile. This simple act can welcome any customer into a retail location or begin to resolve a bad customer service situation. This has become even more important as customers are seeking a personal and individual connection. A smile can make customers feel instantly comfortable or defray their anger.

The in-person handshake. Approach the person with solid eye contact and a broad smile. This can be followed by a firm handshake. When eye contact and a smile are used in tandem, people will hold the handshake for a little bit longer, which can improve the emotional connection and advance the buying process.

The in-person hug. If appropriate, add the hug while smiling and move the head to the side. While this is more intimate than the handshake, it can even further a bond for two people.

The Over-the-Phone Smile

The voice. Teach anyone answering the phone to smile. Some companies even mount smile mirrors in customer service cubicles. A person who is smiling actually has a different tone in his or her voice: “When you smile, the soft palate at the back of your mouth raises and makes the sound waves more fluid.” As a result, smiling while speaking will actually make the voice sound more friendly and attractive to customers.

The Online Smile

Website and social media. Show pictures or videos of customers and employees smiling while using the company’s product or service. Customers want to buy from a business where people seem happy, satisfied and comfortable. They want to see themselves as a future part of this group. Remember, even Amazon’s logo has a smile integrated into it.

Email or text. It should not be a surprise that the most popular emoticon or symbol in texting and email is the smiley face. While it should not be overused, many users think this simple symbol says it all.

The good news is that 30 percent of people already smile more than 20 times a day. Think of it as solar energy for your company’s marketing strategy, and use what you already have abundantly in your office.  

Read more articles on marketing.

Photo: Thinkstock