From Groupon and Living Social to BOGO discounting and expensive mailers, there is no length we wouldn’t travel to fill our books. Our generous marketing efforts often result in collecting expired offers that won’t even cover the cost of the campaign.
In a quickly evolving market, we must strive to maintain credibility, which means branding ourselves in a way that attracts clientele that is reflective of our target market. Through intentional marketing, we will find a client who values our product and services, all while feeding our bottom line.
As you can imagine, as a product representative, I step into a variety of different spas and enjoy speaking with incredibly talented aestheticians and business owners. We often bond over how selfless the beauty and skin care industry is. As service providers, we give both mental and physical energy to clients. Occasionally, we are tempted to steeply discount a service or offer free add-on services. Although well intentioned, this can be harmful to a business and brand as a whole.
So, how can we begin to create value around our business so we can continue to serve clients while turning a profit?
It starts with having confidence in what you provide. Clients respond to an aesthetician who is sure about their recommendations. When we value our time, money, and ability, the appointment book will directly reflect that self-esteem.
FREE VERSUS DISCOUNTED
Offering something for free can be better than a percentage or dollar value discount. The rationale being that free can reflect a gift or gesture and discounting often speaks to the value. If you think about it from a consumer standpoint, if you are choosing to receive a service or purchase a product, you look at the price and evaluate the opportunity cost. Will it be worth what I am paying or exchanging? Even if you loved the service, in the future, are you going to be willing to pay the full price after you have received it at a discount?
For example, consider the scenario of offering 20% off of all retail versus receiving a lip gloss with a purchase of $200 or more. In my experience, it builds better value when you give a less expensive item for free with a certain dollar amount of retail purchased. Pick a product that is an easy sell. The client will be more likely to return and pay full price later if it is a top seller and, secondly, this tactic is not going to de-value the other retail they purchased. In addition to repurchasing the product, they might consider paying full price for that one freebie item they got to try and fell in love with the first time.
If you discount a dollar amount, are you at risk for attracting clients that are exclusively price tag shoppers? Understanding what a client is motivated by is key in approaching a sales technique.
ANALYZING YOUR BUSINESS
Some questions to ask yourself when analyzing this portion of the business:
Think about your top 10 producing clients, as this will be the best measure of who is supporting your business and how. What is motivating them to continue booking? Do they upgrade services or purchase retail? When you have given a discount and it does not result in a sale or loyal client, it is time to consider if your method was effective. Intentional and measured discounting will keep your brand credible and ultimately allow you to thrive in this beautiful industry.
A note of encouragement: being a new aesthetician or business owner can be mentally taxing. When I was just beginning, I would look ahead at my books and see white space and feel like I was going to drown. I was lucky enough to have an aesthetic mentor who always reassured me, “If you build it, they will follow.” That motto, to this day, still rings true for new business ventures I tackle. I encourage you to dig deep and find hope and trust in yourself and your business – it will pay off.
So, overall, stop cutting yourself short. Find what value you have to offer and intentionally market. Find the fulfillment you deserve in your craft!
Elizabeth Steinhoff is a licensed aesthetician from Chicago, Illinois. She began her career as a bridal makeup artist and eyelash stylist in 2012. During that time, she worked her way through her undergraduate degree by waxing eyebrows out of her dorm room and playing college tennis. Steinhoff currently works as a territory manager for professional skin care line Sorella Apothecary, which has allowed her to blend her business mind with her aesthetics soul. Steinhoff has always been passionate about instilling confidence in others – through beauty and building relationships. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and playing sports.