Marketing is fundamental to success as it drives new business and raises awareness, reach, and revenue. New business drives growth and growing businesses are successful businesses. Here are 10 easy-to-execute suggestions to market a business more successfully and achieve growth targets.
Web presence. Successful businesses today have a good web presence that is more than “brochure ware.” Although a website does not need to be complicated or expensive, it, however, needs to clearly articulate the services and what sets the business apart from its competition. It is not just a checkbox item and should clearly convey points of differentiation and what is in it for the client. Find a website designer that understands the message intended on being conveyed to the audience. Identify what makes the business special. The website should also be used to communicate new products and services, make special offers, and share helpful information; it should tie into a blog or data capture to better service the clients. Ask visitors to sign up for a monthly e-mail and the website will help to build a marketing database. The website is an online ambassador and many times, the first impression.
Social media. In today’s world, to communicate effectively, the skin care professional must be on social media with a concise, executable social media plan where the clients are active. Again, this does not have to be complicated, time consuming, or expensive. Consult with a social media expert who will typically manage all social media presence for a modest, monthly fee. Work together to identify mediums where the target demographic is and build a presence. Less is more. Messages on social media should offer benefits, have educational information, tie into relevant articles and informative pieces and offer specials. Tweeting every day, multiple times is not a necessity, unless something beneficial is being offered. Social media is the perfect communication tool to execute and communicate tactics, benefits, and features that are an integral part to a marketing plan.
Fill your sow time. Review the schedule from the previous three months to identify times when the spa is slow. In most cases, there will be a consistent trend. Create special offers for clients who choose to come in at those times. Professionals can use these specials to promote services that they would like to grow, enhance, or bundle. Use the website and social media to get the word out.
Community involvement. Get involved in community events in the target area. Again, it does not have to be time consuming or expensive. Skin care professionals can offer local dance and cheerleader teams specials for competitions or do something for high school graduation. Know what is going on in the community and participate. The benefits to these activities are far reaching and long term. They can also be communicated via social media through streams such as Twitter and Instagram, especially for target markets that create and promote offers and unique items.
Client appreciation. Let the clients know their business is appreciated. Get their address and send them a handwritten “thank you” note after a visit. This is rare and will not go unnoticed. Offer a frequent buyer card and/or log into their computer visit and surprise them with a free gift or complimentary discount every 10 visits. Randomly offer them a free service or give them a “new” polish in the same color they chose for their manicure/pedicure. If the clients truly feel appreciated, they will not only keep coming back, but they will also happily refer friends and family.
Referrals. Set up a referral program. Every time a customer refers a client, give them a credit on their frequent buyer card or a $20 gift card. Have a monthly top-referrer prize. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful and effective ways to grow a business. It works the same way as social media, only that one is verbal and the other is electronic. Both mediums have the potential to generate demand and increase reach, customers, and frequency of visits.
Charity participation. Pick a local charity and support them. Attend and sponsor their events and give them a presence in the spa. Encourage customers and employees to participate. This participation will make everyone feel good about themselves; people like to frequent places that offer good service and give back to the community. An added benefit to local charity participation is that local press like to cover local businesses that help local charities.
Co-market. Professionals should pick local businesses that are complementary to their business, attract the same type customer, and do cross-promotions. Offer them signage, a brochure stand, or a business cardholder in the spa in exchange for them doing the same in their business. Offer to take 15 minutes and come into their facility and talk with their staff about features of the spa and how it is complementary; give them the opportunity to do the same. Knowledge is very powerful. When five or six complementary, local businesses co-promote each other, the impact and results can be amazing.
Everyone sells. Implement an ‘everyone sells’ program for staff and associates. It is a simple program that rewards referrals. Every time an employee or associate refers a new client to the business, they are entitled to a financial reward. At the end of every month, simply include a prepaid, money gift card with a handwritten “thank you” note and distribute to the winners. Every quarter, have a ‘Sales Representative of the Quarter’ award and post it with a photograph in the spa. Everyone who gets a card at the end of the month will be happy and everyone who did not will want one the next month.
Have a plan and a timetable. Do not make marketing the business a daunting task. Look at this list and decide which two or three are the most important actions and build a plan to implement. Put a deadline in place for completion and work to meet the deadline. Repeat this process until all of the activities that are appropriate to the business have been implemented. At the beginning of each month, outline the activities and special offers for the month and launch a campaign. This simple, easy-to-implement program will have an immediate impact on any business.
DOS AND DON’TS
Know that it is important to implement a local program that reaches the local, target customer. Marketing and avenues such as social media take time to reap reward; it takes time to build a following, presence, and raise awareness. Similar to farming and harvesting, seeds need to be planted and revenue or reward will grow. Do keep up-to-date on community events, seasonal specials, and the hottest trends that clients want. “Bread and butter” revenue items are points of purchase to promote a professional service offering with effective techniques and skin health options. Items that feel good, increase well-being, and suit a multitude of demographics can be gift items to clients.
Do not make marketing a business bigger than it needs to be. Do not spend a lot at once as a little bit generates more revenue. Move forward with simple, concrete marketing tactics to generate revenue. Remember that the spa or salon is a local business, serving local consumers.
Ken Mair is a consultant with Maia International, Inc. and helps natural product companies build and execute growth strategies. Mair is also a visionary and senior executive with 35 years of experience guiding high growth companies across a wide range of industries. He has developed a tactical planning methodology that cascades through an organization and can be used as an effective management tool at every level. Mair also runs a company called The 180 Perspective that specializes in raising and securing asset backed working capital for small to medium sized businesses.