Monday, 19 September 2016 00:49

Business Development Tips and Tools for the Spa Owner

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Every new business owner aspires for consistent progress on their road to success. The smart spa owner will recognize when the timing is right to seize the opportunity to increase market share and formulate a strategic plan to capture it. Strategic planning using sound business tools will help professionals to achieve their goals.

Stay on Trend
Begin by looking at the spa's marketing strategy. Is it current with the latest trends? How does the spa reach out to prospective clients? How can they find the business?

Marketing trends have evolved immensely in the past decade; technology has changed the way businesses market to consumers. The days of a prospect reaching for the Yellow Pages to look for a product or service are long gone and have been replaced by a multitude of social media platforms. Today's goal is not only to have a prospective customer find the spa, but also to have them share good reviews of the spa on their social media networks.

Some current trending market channels include social media, blogs, direct and e-mail campaigns, newsletters, magazine advertising, internal and external marketing, and charity sponsorship. For some spas and skin care companies, tradeshows have become a viable marketing avenue. If the professional has not mastered social media, it is time to hire someone who has.

E-Mail Marketing Strategy
E-mail software services offer valuable tools, including various reports. An open rate report shows the percentages of e-mail opens that are received during a specific time frame. Knowing who has opened the spa's e-mails and/or clicked on the links within them is beneficial information for the spa's marketing efforts.

iContact, Mail Chimp, and Constant Contact are three popular services offering monthly plans that are very affordable for the spa owner. Other choices include Benchmark Email, Pinpointe, GetResponse, Verticle Response, Mailgen, GraphicMail, Campaigner, Mad Mimi, Campaign Monitor, Zoho Campaigns, and ActiveCampaign.

E-mail marketing companies offer reports that show which e-mails were bounced, blocked, or incorrect. This valuable information can assist in the professional's efforts to keep updated files. They also offer professional templates, oftentimes with an online library of photographs available for use designing the e-blasts. Research has shown that e-mails with images are opened more than those with text only. Another great reason to utilize an e-mail marketing company is that they can gather information on what day of the week and time of day the spa's e-mails have the highest open rates.

Is the spa maintaining segmented lists to target different client types? If not, consider segmenting the entire client base. A possible list could include the following groupings: new clients (under one year) – consider creating a series of short e-mails to new clients that welcome and nurture them rather than bombarding them with all of the spa's service offerings; prospective clients – create e-mails that will entice a new customer to the spa; teenage clients; millennial clients; male clients; female clients; any specialty groups; and inactive clients who have not had appointments within the past year – create "I miss you" e-mails offering specials.

Segmented lists allow the professional to create specialized e-mail messages that target specific groups. One of the most important aspects of e-mail marketing is making an effort to respect the clients' time; never flood the account base with unnecessary e-mails.keyboard

Social Media
It is important to target marketing campaigns based on client demographics and to send the appropriate message to each of them. Professionals will achieve better marketing results with teenage clients by posting an acne special on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. For reaching the adult male client, the best social media platform is still Facebook. Adult female clients continue to prefer Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The professional should consider expanding their demographic. For example, male skin care is a fast-growing, new, and untapped market and teenagers have more disposable income than in the past. Consider speaking at a local high school, women's group, or charity event on skin health and the services that the spa provides. Also, consider using LinkedIn; posting relevant information on LinkedIn can help to reach new prospects and target clients within the geographic area.

Consumer Friendly Websites
Today's consumers research products and procedures on the internet prior to purchasing; most of these searches occur on a mobile device. Consumers want to know what makes the spa unique and why it is a better choice than the competitors. A website needs to be all about the consumer and should tell the consumer what the spa will do for them. While credentials are very important, a consumer wants to see the value that the professional will provide them. There is very little time to gain engagement with a prospect, so be sure that the spa's homepage clearly shows the value proposition to clients.

Questions to Consider
Does the website clearly define the spa? Prospective clients will only devote a few moments to each website while researching a potential spa. They are not going to call and find out what type of services are provided. The spa's website needs to be clear, concise, and, most importantly, engaging!

Does the website speak to the client or is it all about the spa or the professional? Many business owners make the mistake of gearing their website toward their credentials. While a prospective client does care about experience, the professional's expertise alone will not draw a prospective client to the spa. Keep the credentials on the About Us page. The website should show the client what the professional can do for them.

Is the website mobile friendly? More than 80 percent of internet searches are done on a mobile device. Check out the website and how it appears and navigates off of a cell phone. If it is not mobile friendly, the spa is missing out on valuable prospective customers!

Does the website engage a prospect in under three seconds? Research has shown that a prospective client only spends an average of 2.9 seconds on a webpage before moving on. One second accounts for reaction time, so imagine only 1.9 seconds to entice, engage, and draw a lead into the website. Competition is fierce, so the spa's website must be engaging!

Are links to the spa's services easily displayed on the home page? Prospects want to use websites that are easily accessible; they will not spend a lot of time searching the website for information.

Is there a Contact Form or Contact Us button on the homepage? The professional should make it as easy as possible for a prospect to reach the spa; be sure to monitor receipt of the contact forms so inquiries can be replied to immediately. Remember, the prospect is most likely contacting other spas at the same time.

Is the spa's contact information listed in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage? The eye is trained to look to the upper left-hand corner of a page first, so that position is an appropriate place for the company name and logo. Next, the eye travels to the upper right-hand corner of a page, so be sure to post the spa's contact information in that location.

Are all of the spa's social media accounts listed on each page of the website? Client engagement rates are increased by linking all social media accounts to the homepage and every landing page on the website. Know which social media platforms clients prefer. Do not be afraid to ask to find out! Posting updates on platforms that clients do not monitor is a waste of resources. Be sure to monitor all websites that are active and respond to client questions or posts about the business in a timely manner.

Score
The Service Corps of Retired Executives, also known as SCORE, is an excellent and little-known resource. It is a nationwide source of confidential business advice. SCORE mentoring is free to the small business owner and is also offered through low-cost workshops. This organization has more than 11,000 volunteers that mentor those wanting to start, run,  or grow a small business! SCORE mentors provide sound, ethical advice in person or via e-mail, based on their own experiences running businesses. Mentors are current or previous business managers and executives from 62 different industries.
SCORE offers courses online or through local workshops that include: The Simple Steps for Starting Your Business; 16 Steps To Starting A Business While Working Fulltime; Millenials Love Texting, Here's Why You Should Care.quote

Business Development Tips
Create a loyalty program. It costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Loyalty programs offer rewards for top customers.

Train the entire staff to convert a prospect into a client. Consider the receptionist the director of customer relations and experiences. This staff member can make or break prospective conversions and immensely impact retail sales. As the face of the spa, the receptionist should be enthusiastic with a can-do attitude and be empowered to resolve customer complaints on the spot. The receptionist should also be a skilled salesperson that is able to convert or transition any prospect to the sales team.

Review short-term goals on a regular basis and make adjustments as needed to reach long-term goals.

Take advantage of vendor marketing tools. Many vendors create custom marketing pieces that enable companies to insert their logo and contact details. Contact the spa's vendor(s) to be sure the spa has access to all their updated marketing materials.

Never discount; add value instead! It is difficult to raise prices after a big sale. Instead of cutting prices, add a product or an add-on service to create value.

Network! One of the most effective ways to build a business is by word of mouth, so get out, network, and ask clients to tell their contacts about the spa's awesome services!

Hire a consultant. If the professional is still feeling uncertain as how best to proceed, they should seek out the guidance of a professional.

BrendaLindayBrenda Linday is a licensed aesthetician, licensed aesthetic instructor, and certified aesthetic consultant with over 12 years of experience in the medical aesthetic industry. She offers consulting services to medical and aesthetic companies desiring to build strong sales and education teams. She also develops educational and engagement-marketing content for employees, contractors, practitioners, and industry distributors around the world. Linday's passion is to share her wealth of knowledge with other like-minded professionals who believe that education is key to building lasting relationships with clients, making each clinician more successful by increasing client satisfaction.

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