Wednesday, 23 April 2014 09:50

Modalities: Marketing and Beyond

Written by   Aliesh Pierce, L.E.

The spa industry is an ever-changing entity. The International Spa Association reports estimates that there were 160 million spa visits in 2012 and reports year-end revenue of $14 billion. A large percentage of that revenue is due to increasing interest in rejuvenating treatments. There are various rejuvenating treatment modalities available for use by aestheticians. In fact, there are so many options that aestheticians may have difficulty discerning which modalities are right for their spa. For example, aestheticians working in the office of a plastic surgeon or dermatologist are primarily concerned with healing tissue. Other aestheticians may focus on anti-aging. No matter the focus, it is critical that aestheticians and spa owners decide which modalities will be a good fit before investing in expensive equipment.

Determining the Right Modalities for Your Spa

ideasFabbienne Lindolm, North American Executive Director of Education at Babor Cosmetics, reminds us that investing in electric modality equipment is ultimately about trying to increase revenue. She cautions skin care professionals to make sure our spa’s modalities match their spa’s philosophy. Therefore, before embarking on this type of expansion, it is important to select certain modalities that resonate with the spa’s overall mission. It is good for business when your modalities and your brand are in line.
Once you choose which electric modality equipment to invest in, you will need to identify which products best enhance this new service. “Selecting the proper products will assist in achieving the cell regeneration clients are looking for,” says Lindolm. However, as brands are continually changing to meet the needs of the industry, it is becoming increasingly difficult to choose. Exercise your knowledge of cosmetic chemistry to help make the decision. Look for ingredients known to correct, add density, and smooth when used in conjunction with peels and ablative lasers. Modalities like ultrasound and microcurrent cause ingredients to repair and regenerate.
Lindolm asks skin care professionals to think of their services as an extension of themselves. She asks, “What do you want to be known for? What do you want your clients to say about you? This should always be connected to the modalities you use and the products you select.”
She implores us, as skin care professionals, to define our spa’s purpose. One method of defining your spa’s core purpose is to create a mission statement. A mission statement is a short statement that explains why your spa exists, and a well-formulated mission statement offers guidelines for excellent operation. It ensures clarity so that every action taken is what is best for the overall brand.

In order to write an effective mission statement, there are a few fundamental questions every spa operator/owner should ask:

  • What type of service do I offer? This can be answered best by simply observing types of treatments you are naturally drawn to. Take note of the reoccurring themes that keep showing up throughout your career.
  • What am I effortlessly attracting? This should be the foundation on which you build your practice. 
  • What type of client would I like to attract? Have a clear vision of your ideal client. In the beginning you welcome almost anyone who walks through the door. A seasoned aesthetician finds that they start to build a client base of like-minded individuals. This leads the aesthetician to ultimately become known as a specialist in a certain skin care arena. 
  • What value am I offering? Determine what is unique about your products and services. This is the reason clients select your treatments above others.
  • Do I offer any benefits? Things like reasonably priced treatments, parking privileges for members, or innovative electric modalities are all great examples. Take time to identify the spa’s amenities in the early stages of its operation. Utilize this information to attract clients. It should be echoed in your marketing material and throughout the spa.

Writing Your Mission Statement

Once you have carefully considered these questions, spend time drafting your mission statement. Make sure it really reflects your core values and purpose. It should summarize your business goals. calculateHere are a few examples of mission statements from top national spa chains.

  • Our journey to excellence is through graciously serving others.
  • Where women unite. And life unites women.
  • We are positive, supportive members of their communities and sensitive to the environment.

How to Price Your New Service

Once you choose to add a new modality, you will have to establish your pricing. Since our machines and products are designed to work in conjunction with each other, you will want to make sure they are priced accordingly. In fact, you will want to determine pricing before actually purchasing the machine. Most skin care brands and modality manufacturers provide specific usage guidelines that help pre-determine the cost of goods. However, keep in mind that the actual cost of each treatment includes several other factors.
Dori Sokkup, founder of InSPAration Management, warns spa owners to make sure they consider the actual cost of their services. She maintains that the actual cost of services includes the cost of four components: product, operation, compensation, and profit. When purchasing an expensive piece of equipment, you need to calculate the break-even point to realistically establish pricing. There are spa treatment calculators available on the market which enable skin care professionals to manage this task. Consider using one these commercially available products or creating your own spreadsheets to help provide a realistic assessment of expenses. Too often skin care professionals fail to calculate the expense of adding a new machine into the cost of treatment. The use of pricing calculators or spreadsheets allows owners to accurately set their pricing. This helps skin care professionals to offer services at prices that will not break the bank for their clients or diminish their own profits. As the business grows, you are able to change the numbers and let the spreadsheet recalculate the rest.
Lisa Sickler, Executive Director at the KO’AN Center for Integrated Aesthetic Medicine, agrees that treatments should be strategically priced. She recommends the skin care professional determine the cost of skin care treatments based on the square footage of the spa. Know exactly how much each square foot of your facility has to make per hour to break even and then make a profit. This standard financial model takes all costs into consideration. When establishing a new spa, projections should outline the cost of build out, equipment, supplies, labor, and other recurring expenses. Reevaluate these elements at each phase of business growth, including the addition of a new electrical modality.

Marketing Your New Modality

social-mediaAfter determining the pricing of such a huge investment, it would be lovely to just sit back and watch the machine make money. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. It is time to promote this new service.
In marketing their new machines, spa owners typically prompt clients to purchase a treatment series. However, one of the biggest mistakes made by inexperienced owners is offering treatments at a reduced price. Promoting their new services with this type of “desperation marketing,” as Sokkup puts it, can be the beginning of the end. Instead of offering a discount, try offering an upgrade in service as an incentive to purchase a treatment package. Offer a hands-on facial with each visit. This increases perceived value without increasing cost. Rather than offering a discount towards other services, why not increase the perception of added value by including a series of facial treatments with the electric modality? The KO’AN Center saw a 600 percent increase in sales after implementing this approach.
Sickler asserts that it costs the same amount to have her aesthetician perform a 20-minute treatment as it does an hour, which means you can give away a half hour treatment for free. She decided to have the aesthetician start laser treatments with a hands-on pre-cleanse, which adds value and facilitates the trust factor. After implementing this approach in her own spa, Sickler saw 75 percent of her laser clients convert to facial clients in order to maintain the results and her retail sales are almost equal to her medical nurse services.
Rather than attempting to schedule treatments three or four weeks apart, introduce them as a package. Be sure to include pre-, during, and post-treatment costs into the pricing structure. Stay away from discounts by adding value in the form of free products or services and make sure to educate your clients about the benefits of these new, more expensive treatments. Sokkup recommends spa professionals set aside a half hour to advise clients on creating a series that helps them realize their beauty goals. “Big machines require a consultative approach. Rather than offering a pop in evaluation, give clients quality time,” Sokkup says. “Every new client should have a reserved consultation. Then, of course, utilize the receptionist to draw in existing clients by cross-marketing within the spa.” Throughout the spa, create promotional material that conveys the importance of pairing rejuvenating modalities with regular therapeutic treatments.
Promote the new modality by hosting monthly in-spa gatherings. These events expand the spa experience beyond the treatment room, giving clients the opportunity to bond with the staff. The lead aesthetician should be responsible for selecting the topic, coordinating guest speakers, or even acting as the presenter. In the end, you will create a community of loyal followers.
These marketing strategies work well for customers already coming in to your salon or spa, but what about attracting new clientele? How do you get the word out? The objective of an effective marketing strategy is to maintain existing clients while attracting new ones. Even if this system is already in place, adding a new modality changes everything.
Traditionally, information was limited to printed material within the spa or in a direct mail marketing campaign. This approach to marketing is still valid. However, with the increasing popularity of digitally sharing information, Internet marketing has become essential. Creating a web presence that pairs an interactive website and consistent dialogue on social media is a cost effective method of promotion. Social media allows the spa owner to disseminate information that will catch the attention of potential clients while maintaining contact with
existing ones.

How to Jump-start Your Online Presence

Here are a few ideas to help your spa or salon gain momentum in the digital world.

  • Create a YouTube Channel. YouTube is currently the world’s second largest search engine. It is estimated that an hour of video is uploaded to the site every second. In light of this trend, why not post tutorials that promote the new modalities being added to your spa menu?
  • Shoot Original Content. Create original content that features your facility rather than using a generic manufacturer supplied video. With smartphone apps that record, edit, and add sound, it is easier than ever to implement an Internet marketing strategy that incorporates video. Demonstrate the new modality by recording staff members using the equipment. If they have a camera presence, ask the aestheticians to explain each step of the treatment. Be sure to include before and after shots, as well as client testimonials.
  • Upload Videos. Create a promotional calendar that is seasonal and in alignment with the spa marketing schedule. Videos can be shot in advance and released on a weekly or at least bi-weekly basis. Link YouTube videos to the spa’s website to guide traffic back to the brand.
  • Create a Newsletter. Each month send a newsletter spotlighting the spa’s activities. This should be sent to every contact in the database. Include a few paragraphs about the new modality and embed the link to the video featured on the spa website.


Integrating a new electrical modality into an existing practice improves the aesthetician’s ability to effectively address their client’s beauty concerns. It can be challenging at first. However, if the right machine is purchased and treatments are priced and marketed properly, the increased profit will be well worth the investment.


Aliesh-Pierce 2014Aliesh Pierce studied business management at Fisk University, Art History at the University of Houston, and Italian Language at The School for International Studies. She is the author of Milady’s Advanced Esthetics: Treating Diverse Pigmentation. With over 25 years of experience, Pierce is a makeup artist, aesthetician, and consultant for cosmetic manufacturers. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines. Pierce regularly shares her expertise with aestheticians at various conventions. She helped Jafra Cosmetics International expand their color range by creating a product line for the African American market, launching the new products in the United States and Europe.

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