So, you’ve opened your doors and now you need to attract customers. Growing your spa business is not a case of “if we build it, they will come.” Prospective clients are bombarded with thousands of daily marketing messages today; your spa business needs a well-designed spa marketing plan in order to attract their attention.
Creating a Plan
You’ll want to begin by creating a specific plan, which helps you narrow your options and follow a budget. The first component of creating this spa marketing plan will be to revisit your spa’s branding and core values. This will help to ensure that any marketing messages you create clearly communicate these elements of your business, which helps to set you apart from the competition. After all, it’s possible to get a massage or facial in myriad places, but the special nature of YOUR business has to stand out in the crowd.
Next, consider what you want to accomplish with this marketing plan. Getting more revenue dollars is the end goal, but you should be more strategic. Do you want to attract more new customers, or get more dollars out of customers that you already have? Do you have enough customers, but need them to come more frequently? These are important distinctions which will affect your plan and spending. Speaking of spending: a mature spa should budget 5% of annual revenue for marketing and advertising. You can calculate that amount and divide by four for quarterly budgeting, or perhaps allocate more spending in busier quarters, typically Q2 and Q4, and less in the others.
While paid advertising is shrinking as a percentage of the marketing budget, it can still be an effective path to expanding your reach to new clients. If you are located in a city, there may be a monthly magazine that new residents and tourists rely on to find local businesses. You would not necessarily need a monthly ad, but perhaps a larger quarterly ad placement. Smaller towns often have a community-based weekly newspaper which can also be a good source of new business. Just make sure your print ads include a CTA (call to action), such as “Call now to book our renowned Rejuvenation Retreat by April 30 and receive a complimentary upgrade to a Hot Stone Massage.” Just listing your name, address, phone & URL with a nice photo won’t bring you any clients. A comprehensive advertising plan would be an important part of any efforts to gain new clients.
Yes, email inboxes are on overload, and yet email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to stay in touch with your current clients. Make sure your e-blasts look professional by using a software program such as MailChimp to create a template and send the blast. Monthly newsletters should combine sales-oriented messaging with some useful information such as healthy food recipes and promotion offers, which will encourage your clients to actually read them! Experts advise a subject line of 50 words or less; this is likely the most important factor in whether or not your email gets opened. Almost half of all emails sent are now opened on a mobile device, so make sure that both your email template and website feature responsive design, which will adapt to the device on which it is viewed.
A monthly newsletter is a great start but now let’s take that concept a step further. Take a look at automated retention marketing tools that can scan your appointment book to see when your customer last visited and send them customized specials and offers designed to bring them back into your spa faster. The right marketing automation tools will integrate into your business management software and tie the activity to your customer records.
There is really no better marketing tool for building a rapport with your clientele than social media. If you are not technology-oriented, you may feel overwhelmed by all of the options, but the important thing to remember about social media marketing is that you are only relevant in the minds of current and potential consumers if you participate. Don’t let your overwhelmed feelings keep you on the sidelines – the good news is that there are really only four channels that are of importance for spas, which are as follows:
Facebook: Your business Facebook page will be a more vibrant communication tool than your website, and as such needs regular attention. Experts recommend posting at least 3-5 x per week.
Pinterest: This photo-driven channel has a largely female audience, and spas certainly lend themselves to beautiful imagery. You could create several different boards that are evocative of moods, or that address the various modalities that you offer. Include professionally done photos of your services in action, especially signature treatments. Pinterest is also a popular site for recipes, so spa-at-home concoctions or healthy spa cuisine ideas will likely lead to new viewers.
Instagram: A photo-driven platform that is meant to be viewed via mobile device, this platform is useful for product or treatment of the week type of shots, as well as spa cuisine and treatments in progress. It’s especially popular among Millennials, if you are interested in building that audience.
Twitter: This is an action-oriented channel, so spas get more out of it by broadcasting promotions or last-minute openings.
Remember, social media is a conversation; while it’s okay to mention sales or promotions, be sure to sprinkle your posts with education and entertainment as well.
Listing sites such as Yelp, CitySearch, and Trip Advisor are critical to your success. Most consumers will check these listings first before interacting with your spa. Be sure to “claim” your page on these sites and monitor them closely for postings. Negative posts should be responded to immediately, but even positive posts are worthy of a thank you from spa management. Keep an eye on what hotels and restaurants do and follow their pattern.
On the issue of budgeting, both social media and listing sites should be assigned to a member or members of your staff, if not outsourced. Consumers today find your spa on the web but they immediately visit listing sites and Facebook to learn more about you, and if the information posted is not positive or recent, you can do as much harm as good.
Another component of the marketing plan should be partnering with other businesses, especially those that share your target client. Partner with boutiques, restaurants, hotels, wine shops or jewelry stores that your clients frequent, and plan some activities together, which could include events, or even just coordinated marketing offers. You could exchange vouchers for $35 off a treatment valued at $125 or more with the top 20-30 clients of each of these businesses; that amounts to a 28% savings for the client, and is more likely to result in a visit from these qualified leads.
If you carefully plan and coordinate your marketing efforts over the course of the year, you will be much more likely to achieve the results you are seeking, and continue to grow your spa business.
About the Author
Lisa Starr brings over 30 years of industry-specific experience as a consultant, educator and writer to Booker through GOtalk. Lisa also works for Wynne Business, a leading spa consulting and education company. Among other things, Lisa’s expertise lies in business operations and finances, sales and marketing, inventory management, human resource development, and business process improvement. She is a well-known speaker within the trade show circuit and is a frequent contributor to industryFollow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Lisa Starr