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Friday, 04 March 2011 15:11

The Power of Promotions

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Strategic and creative promotions are a powerful way to stimulate business flow and revenues, as well as being an effective means of creating a loyal clientele. But think about this: What are your clients interested in? How can your promotions attract new clients? How often should you offer promotions? What types of promotions will set your business apart from the competition? You must create a strategic plan in order for you promotions to be successful and provide you with a return on investment (ROI).

Developing Your Promotion Program
A promotion program is developed to inform clients about your spa as well as the merchandise and treatments you offer. Promotion programs also work to build repeat business and spa loyalty.
Your business communicates with its clients through five main vehicles such as advertising, promotion, publicity, spa atmosphere, visual merchandising, and personal selling. Thought out and creative promotions can bring it all together.
The ultimate goal of your spa promotion program should be to generate sales from current clients while also attracting new business. To accomplish this goal you should consider a variety of ways to inform, persuade, and remind clients about your business.

  • Informing a client about the spa and the merchandise and services you offer is the first order of business. Through your website, the yellow pages, direct mail, newspaper and other appropriate mediums of communication a spa can effectively inform its target market about its business.
  • Persuading by motivation is the second task performed to get clients to visit your spa and purchase your merchandise and treatments. Spa newsletters are a great way to inform clients as well as create a ‘call to action’ that gets the client into the spa to take advantage of a special offering. You could be announcing in your own newsletter as well as your website the launch of your seasonal specials with a ‘call to action’ that offers the first 25 people to schedule a treatment or buy a gift certificate a 20 percent savings on the treatment purchased. ‘Call-to-actions’ give clients a reason to respond.
  • Reminding clients that you are still here and keeping them abreast of what you are doing is an important task as we are in a very competitive market and if you are not serving the client someone else is! Frequent spa programs are a great way to reward loyal clients and to encourage continued sales. What frequent spa programs do you offer?

There are personal and impersonal, paid and unpaid ways in which we communicate with our clients. Paid impersonal communications are your advertisements, sales promotions, and spa atmosphere.
Advertising is a form of a paid communication to your clients using impersonal mass media such as newspapers, TV, radio, and direct mail. You have to decide which of these or the combination of which will best communicate your message. What dollars do you have to spend and how can you best link these communications to your business website so that the consumer can learn even more about your business.
Sales Promotions are paid, impersonal communication activities that offer extra value and incentives for clients to visit your spa and purchase merchandise and treatments during a ‘specific’ time period. Sales promotions involve special events; holiday bazaars, in-spa demonstrations (where a vendor could come and support you), special incentive certificates, and maybe even a makeover contest. Sales promotions are activities used to influence the client’s behavior during a short period of time. For example, you might offer a special holiday treatment combo during the fifth and fifteenth of the month or give a complimentary eye brow design with every deluxe facial for the first week in a given month, “Lift your face with your brows” promotion.
The spa’s atmosphere is a combination of the spa’s physical characteristics which create an image in the client’s mind. What signature aroma do you have diffusing through the spa now? A blend of bergamot and lavender can calm, relax, and renew a client as they enter your spa. Experiment with different blends and find out what your clients like. Create a signature blend that will associate with your spa.
Retail sales associates and therapist are the primary vehicle for providing paid personal communications to clients. Personal selling is a communication process in which associates assist clients in satisfying their needs through face to face and hands on exchange of information.
The primary method for generating unpaid impersonal communication is publicity. Publicity is communications through significant unpaid presentations about the spa in impersonal media. Publicity covering your spa in newspaper and TV coverage are good examples of this. Have you developed a publicity calendar indicating which media you will pitch for and which story you want to tell. Local newspapers and TV channels are always looking and listening out for newsworthy and interesting stories to tell. How can you help clients look their best? Could you go on TV and demonstrate how to use makeup to look 10 years younger? Could you pitch a story to your local wellness magazine on how to manage stress on a daily basis?
Developing your publicity calendar and possibly hiring a publicist can be a worthwhile investment for your business that is very different from direct advertising. Who can you get to do a ‘spot feature’ on your business? Which magazines and TV channels do you watch personally because of a certain interest? These are the mediums that you want to approach.
Word of mouth must be the most powerful form of unpaid personal communications. Do you have a ‘Tell a Friend’ program? What percentage of your business comes from word of mouth? How many more ‘mouths’ do you need to get working? How do you do this? Good communications is important here because you want to know what clients are thinking about you. Do you request testimonials from your clients? I ask clients what they would tell their best friends about the Nile Institute. Testimonials are great to use on your website, blog, social media venues, brochures, and advertisements, just get your client’s permission.
With all this information and know how, you can begin to see how planning your promotion program is a key element in your business success.

Planning the promotion program
Setting your objectives is the first thing at hand. You will develop long term and short term objectives to enhance the overall business.
Long term objectives set in place your position. This is the design and implementation of your promotion program that creates an image in your client’s mind of you relative to your competitors. Long term competitive advantage can be developed through your positioning.
Your specific positioning objectives could include: Your merchandise category, which makes you unique; your price and quality offering which puts you in a luxury category; your specific attribute or benefit such as your service and how you link your business to possibly a specific lifestyle such as destination get away or the urban spa.
Short term objectives are programs created to increase sales during a specific time period. You may want to double your traffic so you offer a two for one special.
Communication objectives are specific goals related to the retail promotion mix’s effect on the client’s decision-making process. The target audience for the promotion mix needs to be defined along with the degree of change expected and the time period over which the change will be realized. Here we want to develop SMART goals! What percentage of new clients would you like to bring in the spa in the next three months? How will you get in contact with them and what incentives will you offer them, to get a ‘call-to-action’?
Setting the promotional budget is the second step in developing a promotion program. The objective and task method determines the budget required to undertake specific tasks for accomplishing communication objectives. To use this method, you first establish a set of communication objectives and then the necessary tasks and their cost are determined. The sum total of all costs incurred to under take the tasks is the promotion budget.
After determining the size of the promotion budget, the next step in the promotion planning process is allocating the budget. Here is where you determine how much to allocate to specific communication elements, merchandise categories, or long-term and short-term goals. Allocations must be seriously considered when determining where to place funds. What will bring you the best return on your investment for the objective you have set?
Implementing a program involves developing your message, choosing the specific media to convey the message, and determining the frequency and timing of your message.
When evaluating your promotion program you will need to compare the results of the program to the objectives developed during the first part of your planning process. How successful have you been? What have you learned? What promotions will you repeat?
To evaluate your programs you will have to keep track of how many promotions were purchased, repeat business generated and how you can improve.
Social media marketing offers a whole new arena for promoting business today and if you are creative, it can be a fraction of the cost of your traditional promotional investment. Research key mediums that you feel will complement your promotional goals and objectives and then link them in your plan. You can create a business page on facebook or mySPAnetwork for example that links your website, blog, newsletters, and all of your yearly, seasonal, and holiday promotions while interacting with current and potential clients. Topics on your website, blog, newsletters and direct mail promotions should be announced on twitter™. You can create a whole business community on NING that can keep you in front and in touch with your clients, allowing you to observe their needs, wants, and demands. Social media arenas will continue to expand and offer each of us new and exciting ways to do business and connect with clients, it will be our responsibility to research and identify how best to use them.
Wow! What a lot to take in, but well worth it for the success of your business. This is just the tip of the iceberg for so many things you will find along the way as you begin this promotional journey.
Remember, setting performance objectives is a necessary component for the success of your promotion and communication decisions. It pays to set your standards high.
State your performance objectives for your promotion programs:

  1. The performance sought.
  2. The time frame within which the goal is to be achieved.
  3. The resources needed to achieve the objective.

Set SMART promotional goals:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Realistic
  5. Time framed

Once again you can see that many factors will contribute to your overall performance as you plan your promotion programs and communication strategies.
What are you thinking now? If this all seems overwhelming, take a deep breath and know that it is all achievable with a bit of thought, planning and organization. Actually the more time you schedule out to plan the more successful you will be. Plan to Succeed!

Nina Curtis is the founder and president of the Nile Institute, ‘A Source Vitál,’ located in West Hollywood, Calif. and Curtis Communications. Known as the “Aesthetician’s aesthetician,” Curtis has a 25 plus year history in the professional skin care industry, where she is respected as an innovative skin care specialist, educator, lecturer, and businesswoman. Originally licensed as a cosmetologist, Curtis has obtained certification in Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Acupressure, Energy Modalities, Reiki, and Color Light Therapy. Curtis has trained throughout the U.S, France, Germany, Australia, and England. She received her Bachelor degree of Science in Management and her MBA from Pepperdine University and is also a graduate of the Lynwood Business Institute. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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