Monday, 25 September 2017 20:43

Relationship Marketing 1, 2, 3! Client Attraction, Retention, and Upsells

Written by  

I ncreasing revenue is important for skin care professionals and their business. Sales are not always skin care professionals’ strongest suit, but incorporating smart marketing strategies can help them and their staff increase revenue by attracting new clients, retaining existing clients, and upselling.


Attracting new clients is imperative to keeping a business running. It is important, however, to attract the right kind of client. Over the years, while lecturing in beauty colleges across the country, I’ve often asked students “how will you attract clients when you have your first job in a salon or spa?” The answers that I get from them are almost always associated with some sort of discounting or free service.

Offering discounts or using “percent off” in marketing ensures that professionals are going to attract clientele looking for a discount, rather than clientele that will be loyal to professionals and their businesses. Instead of advertising discounts or building a promotion around a discount, professionals want to ensure that they are offering value-added services and attracting clients that do not mind paying full price for services.

Getting a new client in the door is just as important as getting them to pay full price for services every time they visit. Keep an eye out for low-cost buys on travel-sized or full-sized products. Watch for close-outs with vendors and stock-up when coming across a great deal. These items can often be used for “gift with service” and will cost less than the amount of money professionals would lose by offering a discount to clients.

If a new client comes in for a facial, rather than offering a discount, give them a gift with their service. If professionals were to offer clients 20 percent off a $100 facial, they would be paying $80 and professionals would be losing or costing themselves $20; furthermore, they will, more than likely, be tipping based on the $80. Professionals might put $96 in their pocket for the service (assuming a 20 percent tip), losing out on $24.

Offering the client a complimentary travel-sized skin care product as a “gift with service” in lieu of a discount might cost the professional around four dollars wholesale cost for the item. They will gain $120 (assuming a 20 percent tip) and only be out the cost of the item. More importantly, professionals have given their clients a gift (regardless if it is advertised or impromptu), which will make clients feel a connection to the professional every time they use the product and can also introduce them to a product that they might not normally purchase. Professionals will also have succeeded in the first step to retaining clients, keeping them paying full price, and creating a connection.

Long gone are the days of traditional advertising. Professionals should think “influencers” and “digital.” Find local social media influencers (Instagram is the easiest place to start) and partner with them for complimentary treatments in exchange for blog posts and social media posts about their experiences at the spa. Having an event? Invite the influencer in for a preview or to cover the event in real time on social media. Incorporate digital advertising strategies (placing advertisements on social media and websites, rather than the local print newspaper) and do not be afraid to ask existing clientele for referrals. Professionals can also offer their best clients a “buddy pass” to bring in a friend.

During the holidays and throughout the year, partner with complementary businesses to bring in new clients. If a local gym is doing a New Year “challenge,” offer to pamper the winner. Is it swimsuit season? Partner with a local swimwear retailer to give out wax passes or a special “value-added” offer for their customers. Join forces with a spa that offers different services for client referrals.


Most people have heard the Girl Scout song, “make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other’s gold.” The spa’s existing client base is “gold.” It can cost upwards of seven times the cost of retaining an old client to attract a new one. It is easier to make money off the existing clientele than to spend time, energy, and money attracting new clientele.

It is important to retain clients and double down on the best ones. Use a variety of “gift with service” offers, as well as memberships and packages to ensure clients continue to use the professional’s services and remain with the spa.

Work with clients to establish skin care goals or long-term solutions to their perceived skin care problems. Document the problem or the goal and review it or the client’s progress on rectifying the problem with every visit. This attitude can bring the professional and client together to solve the client’s skin care problems and keep the client-provider relationship on track. Remember, clients go to skin care professionals because they are the expert.

If professionals are offering something new or bringing in a new line of product, they should make sure they let existing clients know and offer them a preview. The same should be done for any promotions (preferably value-added instead of a sale); give them advance notice before advertising to the masses. Make existing clients feel special. They are the true VIPs of the spa.

Professionals should ensure that their marketing efforts are reaching existing clients – use e-mail marketing and target social media advertising to their e-mail addresses so professionals can ensure the client sees the message. Use the business pages on social media to continually interact with clients (Instagram is a great option). Track efforts and use analytics to ensure clients are responding. If professionals utilize an online booking program, they should make sure they have an easily accessible link from all of their social media outlets, website, and e-mail marketing.

Most importantly, thank clients regularly for the continued patronage of the spa. A simple thank-you note on their client anniversary or a card on their birthday can do a lot for the spa’s relationship with clients.


When people go to a restaurant, they are always offered appetizers, cocktails, and dessert in addition to the main course. When people buy a cell phone, they often get asked about an extended warranty, phone case, and car charger. These businesses are upselling. It is important to integrate this same concept into the spa to increase profits.

Sales is probably the least attractive part of the job for a skin care professional, but is the easiest way to increase profits without getting new clients or bringing on more staff. Upsell products and services during booking, treatment, and checkout. Clients are open to buying more when they are already spending money in the spa. Just as a nail artist might upsell with a five-dollar charge for a French manicure, aestheticians can add on to their treatments with eyebrow waxes, eye masks, hand and foot massages, reflexology, and more.

Most professionals are hesitant to speak up and talk about additional products or services that their client will benefit from. The best time to do so is while examining the client’s skin. The skin analysis is the part of the treatment where professionals are expected to give feedback to clients; they want to know what they can do better and what they need to be doing. Use this opportunity to suggest waxing services, an eye mask, or perhaps a new product that might help to solve a skin care problem that they have.

Upselling takes a little planning; carve out some extra time at the end or the beginning of the day to review upcoming clients and their treatments. Review past treatment and purchase histories, check unfilled time (clients before/after can be sold extra treatments), and plan who is going to get offered what for the day. Professionals might want to use extra time in their schedule to offer a client a complimentary preview of a new service to get them turned on to it for their next visit. If professionals offer more than massages and facials, they should make sure they talk about treatments that the client may not have ever considered before, such as dry brushing, body scrubs, herbal wraps, or spray tanning.

If professionals have an online booking platform for their business, they should check and see if they have the capability to set up cross-promotion for services and products. Ensure the spa menu has a variety of services that clients can add on to their treatment for around $15 to $20. These add-on treatments can also double as value-added bonuses.

When upselling, professionals should make sure they are presenting products and services that the client needs or wants. Clients will be able to tell if the professional is just upselling to sell and not upselling to help them solve a problem with their skin. Discuss problems and solutions instead of cost.

As with any marketing or sales program, skin care professionals will always want to set goals and benchmarks for new client attraction, client retention, and upselling. They should ensure they review the goals and achievements with their team on a regular basis to keep everyone on track and moving forward toward their sales goals. Many spas and salons use new client attraction and retention statistics to base commissions on, in addition to sales. These benchmarks should be measured at least once per month and usually across a 90-day period.

Kelly Richardson is the Founder of Venone Public Relations, a media placement, marketing, and consulting agency; working with companies to successfully launch their products and services, as well as shape executives in the media. Formerly a CEO in the sunless tanning and skin care industry for over a decade, Richardson still enjoys speaking at conferences and writes regularly on business-related topics that are relative to the entire beauty industry, as well as wellness travel.

Want to read more?

Log in or subscribe to continue reading this article.

Login to post comments

June 2021

Business Blogs

Brands of the Month

  • DMK Skin Revision Center
  • Alexandria Professional
  • Celluma by Biophotas, Inc