Spa Advertising Best Practices

Lisa Starr

Spa advertising best practices and salon advertising best practices

Advertising, you say? It sounds like such an old-fashioned word. But it’s still an essential part of doing business today.

Advertising and marketing are often confused for the same thing, but they are in fact different—and your business needs both. According to Wikipedia, marketing is “the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.” Advertising is a “form of marketing communication used to encourage or persuade an audience to take or continue to take some action.” So, in a chicken or egg scenario, marketing comes first.

Therefore, in order to develop a spa advertising campaign, you first have to be clear on your marketing framework. That means that factors such as your vision, mission, and brand identity should be clearly defined. Other components of branding include logos, fonts, design and colors, and writing style, and these are also tools you’ll use in your advertising campaign. So, the first step is to make sure that your marketing and brand identity are well defined. That’s your “story.” Advertising is how you tell that story to your prospective customers.

Just 10 years ago, spa advertising consisted of running a print ad in your local magazine or newspaper. More audacious efforts included radio or even television ads. It’s not that those options have gone by the wayside; rather, they’ve been joined by social media and online advertising options. Deciding how and where to focus your efforts depends on both your budget and your target audience. Who is your target audience? Your desired clients.

Spa advertising today is focused on expanding your reach to bring new clients in the door. Clients who have already paid you a visit are likely receiving your e-blasts or following your social media accounts, so you can focus your communication efforts with existing customers through these channels and spend your advertising dollars on gaining the attention of new folks. Here are 4 steps to follow that will help you run effective advertising campaigns.

1. Set Your Budget

The first thing you need to do is determine your advertising budget. Marketing professionals will say you need to spend 10% of your revenue on advertising and marketing; that’s too high for most salons and spas, but shoot for 5%. That 5% of service and retail revenue (not including gift card sales) should be divided between advertising and marketing. Newer businesses need to spend more on advertising, but as your client base and repeat business grows, you can shift those dollars and efforts into retention marketing and social media. So if your spa grossed $1 million in the last 12 months, your total advertising and marketing budget would be $50,000. If you spend 3% of sales on advertising, that would total $30,000, and the other $20,000 would go to marketing. You can break the budget down by quarters or months to help you plan out your campaigns.

2. Create a Campaign

Now that you have a dollar amount to spend, you can create a spa advertising plan. This will be based on your target audience – those new clients you hope to acquire. Where do they live? Where do they shop and spend leisure time? What is their age and economic status? The answers to those questions will help you to determine how you can effectively reach them. If your spa is in a hip, urban area, it may make sense to run geo-targeted Google or Facebook ads. Conversely, if your spa is located in the suburbs and most of your target audience doesn’t spend a lot of time online, you might want to purchase an ad in a local magazine.

Depending on your locale, print ads can have a range of prices. You probably can’t afford to run a print ad every month unless it’s a tiny 1/8 of a page. You’d be better off running a 1/4-page ad every other month or once per quarter to boost your visibility.

Does your demographic do a lot of driving? Radio ads can be a very easy and effective way to spend ad dollars, especially at crucial gifting times such as winter holidays, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Smaller communities typically have a weekly newspaper that most people at least glance at, and that may be a good bet for you. Some spas have good results with billboards, believe it or not. I’m even seeing a return to direct mail; Vista Print makes creating 5 x 8 color postcards a breeze and very affordable. Whatever you do, mix it up, and don’t spend all of your money in one place!

3. Choose a Call-to-Action (CTA)

If a consumer sees your advertisement and says “now what?”, it’s not doing its job. Vanity ads that simply show a photo of your spa or salon and list your address, phone number and operating hours will do nothing to increase your business. What you need is a call-to-action—the reason to pick up the phone or go online and book an appointment. For example the call-to-action “Book our new Micropeel Facial by November 15 and receive a free upgrade and complimentary hand treatment” gives the reader a reason to take action immediately.

4. Evaluate Your Campaign Results

The wonderful thing about digital spa advertising is that it’s easy to track. You can see exactly how many people click on your ad, continue on to book an appointment, and even assign a unique offer code to a specific online campaign. This takes the guesswork out of determining which ad campaign brought in the most business.

You can track offline methods of spa adverting as well—it just takes a bit more work on your end. With your spa management software, you can ask new clients how they heard about you and record those answers in their customer profiles. Make sure your staff includes detailed notes if you’re running multiple campaigns simultaneously so you know exactly which outlet was most effective. It’s no good spending money on ads and having no idea if they are working. Collecting this information will allow you to regularly assess the impact of your efforts and then fine-tune your strategy before the next quarter.

About the Author

Lisa Starr

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 industry

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