FORM AN IDENTITY
While the building or redesigning of a website can be daunting, keep it easy by focusing on uniqueness. What makes the spa different? Who makes up demographic? Figure out what sets the spa apart from the one down the street and focus on amplifying that distinction. Explain any unique benefits as a brand and how the company responds to customers’ needs. When describing services, speak clearly to the target audience. Be specific and detailed about the services offered.
Continually update content, adding new services, products, and images based on season and trends. This will keep the website fresh and interesting. This also makes the website stand out to media and search engines like Google that continually look for updated content.
TELL A STORY WITH VISUALS
Think about it: customers look for a spa online because they want to feel and look good. So it makes sense that a professional’s website should be visually appealing and have a soothing, inviting, and beautiful aesthetic, right from the beginning – the home page. Visuals speak louder and faster than words. Carefully choose the visuals used to represent the space and services. Staged and well-lit wide shots of the locale are important to drive home the point – professionals are here to beautify, de-stress, and solve the aesthetic issues of clientele. Investing in a good photographer and photo shoot is money well spent. Multimedia and flash images that alternate, as opposed to static imagery, enhance the user experience. A video or virtual tour of the spa, services, staff, or products is a great way to represent the company. If high quality ingredients are used in the products, portray those ingredients along with beautiful skin and hair with alluring photography.
People are stressed and impatient with all they need to juggle today. Don't let the spa’s website add to their stress or be complicated or potential customers might never make an appointment.
Make sure the website loads quickly and is mobile-friendly. If pages take too long to download, the risk of losing visitors is high. Ensure that the mobile version of the website has the same information and is easy to use. Consider implementing a content delivery network, using image formats that are easy to see. And, stick to functional plug-ins that keeps the user experience simple.
Make important pages prominent so users can easily browse the website. Services should pop up immediately and be in a categorized format. Incorporate a search function that can display responses seamlessly so prospective clients can quickly find what they want. Guide them quickly by using keywords, bulleting, highlighting, and breaking down information, while leaving plenty of white space to make information easy to see. Make copy light and conversational, yet in line with the brand. Within three seconds, users should be able to tell by the headline what is being offered. Also, links to the spa’s social media sites should be seen to encourage sharing with friends.
CALLS TO ACTION
Decide which want clients should take and then lead them there, literally. Want customers to book massages? Specialized facials? Purchase a new skin care collection? Guide them there visually. Convert traffic into customers by leading clients to an online appointment booking function, online boutique, or call button. Make sure that every purchase can be done directly from the website on both the standard and mobile versions.
Other tactics that lead to sales include highlighting current and of-the-moment specials; advertising e-gift cards; and displaying clear images of products offered with descriptions of what they are, how they should be used, and what ingredients they contain. Talk about service and product benefits with call-outs that allow them to purchase or book on the spot.
If clients prefer to go in-store, ensure that contact information, e-mails, and physical address are easy to find with a link to a map and directions.
In order to facilitate purchases and online booking, make sure the website uses the highest security standards to protect credit card and personal information. Use a secure and reliable host and secure the website with an SSL certificate that encrypts sensitive data. Clients are savvy; if those features are not present, first-time users can easily be lost.
DEVELOP FAITH IN THE BRAND
Positive reviews can tip the scale in favor a professional’s company over competition. Display positive user testimonies, accolades, awards, and recognitions. Not for the sake of bragging, but because users want to know if they can trust the company. By hearing from like-minded individuals, or known brands that have comparable standards, people feel more secure to trust in these services and products. In this day and age, people turn to online media before they turn to people they know for recommendations. A professional must build online credibility in order to convince people that their brand is of quality. Enhance this by creating an informational blog component on the website. Creating a blog also helps take advantage of site engine optimization (SEO) benefits, because regularly updated articles with pertinent content ranks higher on search engines. Also, share any media features to impress and justify the brand’s worth to new users.
In the old days, professionals could ask clients or the front desk how new clients found them. But with websites, technological mediums are used to figure out where users are coming from and why. Thankfully, advanced technology offers a myriad of tracking tools to help owners learn about users and enhance the user experience. Use Google analytics to track website visitors and monitor what they do when they get to the website. Owners should find out whether visitors are going to the pages they want them to go to, in which order, and if they are spending enough time on the website. Find out where and why them come to the website. And do this all for free! To enhance efficacy, study keywords before putting together the website and incorporate them in all the content to ensure that target audience is finding it. Get listed in as many online directories as possible.
Using proper SEO through the implementation of keywords throughout the text, links, name page titles, and URLs will ensure that potential clients find the website readily. Every page should have unique title tags and description metatags to be recognized by web crawlers. Metadata is used to explain to search engines what each page of the website is about. To pay for more action, use Google Adwords to intentionally target users searching for these services and products, and always make sure to register the website URL with various search engines.
Open direct communication with clients by creating a feedback form for visitors so that customers can express what they want, to gauge their satisfaction, and to recruit positive feedback and prevent negative feedback from being published on another medium. Request client e-mail addresses the website with pop-ups that give users access to a free informational booklet, eBook, or guide in exchange for their contact information.
Remember, most users research the business online through the website and reviews before coming in. Today, a website is their first impression the business. Make it visually appealing and alluring and the clients will come!
Bella Schneider, P.M.E., leads a team of more than 200 aesthetic professionals at three premier spas. For more than 35 years, Schneider has traveled the world to bring service providers the best in aesthetic science; as a groundbreaking formulator, successful retailer, and respected educator, her mission is to help professionals enhance their practice and grow their business. Winner of the Nouvelles Esthetiques lifetime achievement Crystal Award for contributions to beauty science, Schneider hosts beginning-to-advanced training in clinical and spa skin care as well as ethnic skin care, peels, and other new techniques at Bella Schneider Beauty’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based training center.