Attracting New Clients

Lisa Starr


Whether your spa business is relatively new, or mature, you need to attract new clients in order to keep your business healthy.  Many spas believe they can survive purely on word of mouth and their existing customer base. However, even a busy spa will experience slowdowns for various reasons; clients move away, have children, get new jobs, or just shift their priorities.

Savvy owners know that having a strong spa marketing plan that targets their potential clients will help them to attract new clients, in order to augment the loyal core audience.

The Challenge:

Today, there are so many options for reaching out, including:

  • Print advertising
  • Broadcast advertising (radio, television)
  • Referral programs
  • Events
  • Email marketing,
  • Social media outlets

The downside to all of this capability is that your potential clients are subjected to a constant barrage of marketing messages; estimates are that the average consumer receives between 250 and a few thousand messages, per day! Some of these messages cross our path so quickly we barely have time to register them. So the challenge is; how can you craft a message that stands out from the crowd, not only for getting attention, but for driving action?

Standing Out in the Crowd

Your cause will be aided by a strong brand presence. Your spa has to have an identity and personality that is clear and unique in your marketplace, and those differentiators must be communicated in your marketing messages. The fact that you offer facials and massages is not going to get anyone’s attention. Once you have your branding and messaging in place (read our recent blog on this topic for more details), the next consideration is crafting a persuasive message for your target audience.

What makes your spa unique?  Why should people visit your spa over the competition?  These are the key points that you should focus on when developing your marketing message: 

Your Prospects are Online

While the traditional mediums of print and broadcast advertising still carry weight, especially for branding purposes, there is no arguing the fact that consumers are spending most of their time online.

Did you know that 97% of consumers research a business online before ever stepping foot inside?  What’s more, 56% of all searches have local intent. That means customers close to you are searching for businesses like yours! So, if you’re not marketing to customers— both new and existing— through an online medium, you are leaving cash on the table and handing prospects to your competition.

Let’s take a look at your marketing options within the online landscape:

  •  Local Business Listings: Sites like Yelp and CitySearch are the first places many people go to discover local businesses. If your business is listed there, you’ll have a better chance of showing up in search results by local consumers. Having great listings pages can be just as important as having an engaging website, especially when it comes to attracting new customers.
  • Your Facebook page: It’s likely that the first interaction a potential customer will have with your business will take place on social media, not your website. Research has shown that when people want to find out more about a local business, they turn to social media sites first. So it’s important to not only to have a social media page but also to populate it often.  As a best practice, 80% of your posts should be entertaining and educational content that is relevant to your industry.  The remaining 20% should be specifically related to your spa business, such as special offers, event invites, and new service info.
  • Your Website: Your digital presence should mirror the experience a customer will have in your physical location, so create as much consistency as possible.  Make sure it’s easy for the customer to understand, who you are, what you stand for, what services your offer, and how to reach you.  Don’t forget to give them the ability to book an appointment directly from the site.

What about the Offline environment?

Between commuters that listen to drive time radio and the consumers that watch an average of 2 ½ hours of television per day, print and broadcast advertising is still a viable way to build awareness for your brand and bring in new customers. Let’s take a look a the range of marketing options available to you through more traditional means:

  • Print: Most communities have a local newspaper, community message board or newsletter you can place an ad in. Make sure the ad isn’t cluttered, your contact details are clear, and you have a CTA (Call to Action) like “Call," "Visit," or "Schedule.”
  • Broadcast:  One way to build your brand in the community is through broadcast advertising. You can work with a local video producer to create a commercial and then buy time slots from your local cable provider or you can script and record a radio ad that you can purchase airtime for on a local station.
  • Direct Mail: These have been around forever and remain effective – especially for attracting people who are new to the area. There are three key aspects to a direct mail marketing campaign: defining your target audience, choosing a mailing list distributor, and creating copy that is enticing and informative. This can be expensive, but is extremely effective when done right as it’s one of the most direct forms of marketing today.
  • Referral marketing: Referral Programs reward current customers with a discount when referring a new customer who also gets a discount on their first service. Referral programs are incredibly effective because a customer is more likely to trust a friend or colleague than a company they haven’t heard of. Create a program that rewards referrals and encourages happy customers to spread the word!


For any of your marketing efforts, you’ll want to make every attempt to track your response rates.

If you are running a print or radio ad, you should list the specific promotion, or at least the medium, to the “referred by” section of the client file. When new clients visit the spa, they should always be asked, “How did you hear about us?” and the response should be noted in the system. This will only happen if you train the customer service staff to do so, constantly check to make sure they are following through, and then reward them for the results.

However, tracing your online marketing is a lot easier when you have a booking button installed on all your digital touch points, such as your website, your Facebook page, and even your Yelp listing.  Whether nestled among your treatment descriptions on your website, listed with promotions on your spa business Facebook page, or prominently displayed on your Yelp page, this feature makes it easy for clients to create an appointment with you.

New clients find spas these days by searching on Google, and then visiting both the websites and the review sites of the spas that appeal to them. While they are reading about your facility and services, and seeing your beautiful photography, they are already in the buying mode, and having the “book now” button conveniently placed for action will create the immediate results you are seeking.

Depending upon the software that you use, when someone books an appointment from an online source, that source information can be automatically tied to their customer records and tracked for you.

Of course, the challenge with any marketing campaign lies in understanding what is working, what isn’t, and taking immediate action based on what you’ve learned. At the end of each month, be sure to make a thorough review of each campaign you’ve run during the month and the results received. You will quickly learn which words, phrases and offers, from which mediums, resulted in the gain of new clients, and can record the results so you can build a campaign framework for the future. Remember that the button is the tool, not the reason that clients will book with you; compelling brand messaging for your target audience has to be in place, but the button will help you capitalize quickly and efficiently.

The Bottom Line:

Word of mouth is great but if you are not marketing your business you are losing opportunities, and ultimately revenue.  Having a solid marketing plan that addresses both your online and offline audience is a critical component to your spa’s success. 

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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