4 Signs Your Spa Needs a Marketing Makeover

Written by Michael Cohen, vice president of marketing at eRelevance
Busy spa owners and aestheticians running their own businesses have a lot on their plates and marketing is not usually high on the priority list. Given their focus on serving clients and managing staff, these business professionals oftentimes do not even realize they are either not achieving the minimum marketing necessary to thrive or focusing on the wrong kinds of marketing to be effective.

Marketing missteps are not hard to identify – it is as simple as a good skin care routine. But professionals have to identify the issues and establish a suitable regimen to make it work. There are four signs that a spa needs a marketing makeover, plus a prescription for a revamp.

#1 Staff is handling marketing tasks.

Staff is busy booking appointments, managing billing, answering the phone, and greeting clients who walk through the door. These professionals are trained in time management, organization, and customer service, but not marketing. Delegating marketing to untrained and overwhelmed office staff is a sign a spa needs a marketing makeover.

Staff lacking expertise in sophisticated marketing will, usually, rely on batch-and-blast e-mails. While some information may be appropriate for a whole list, such as an event, it is a missed opportunity to educate clients on a deeper level. If one-size-fits-all messages are being sent, then the audience is essentially being spammed, which, potentially, drives them to competitors. Instead, focus on adopting better marketing practices, like content personalization, in order to tailor experiences and make communication relevant to the audience. That attention requires putting your marketing in the hands of an expert, not staff.

#2 Paying high fees for an outside marketing consultant.

Some spa owners and aestheticians understand that their office managers are not equipped to execute effective marketing, so they hire a consultant to manage their marketing. These experts can offer insights into how to target different groups of clients and develop more compelling creative. However, when utilizing these services, the meter is always running. These expensive consultants have a variable cost associated with their offerings. Even if they increase revenue, an owner may end up paying it all back to the consultants. They also do an insufficient job of tracking results. If an expensive expert is not making a significant impact on the business, then the marketing program needs a makeover. It is time to look beyond pricy consultants for lower-cost, sophisticated marketing solutions.

#3 Quantifiable business results are not being seen from marketing.

Relying on a gut feeling to evaluate marketing efforts is another sign the program needs a makeover. Hoping that a billboard is making the phone ring does not provide quantifiable return on investments (ROI) for marketing efforts. Furthermore, those phone calls could be coming from a client who did not see the billboard. Fortunately, most consumers now spend their time online and digital marketing is infinitely trackable. A healthy marketing program gives the ability to track campaigns and tie them to measurable business results. If marketing cannot connect the dots between client responses and revenue, then the program needs improvement. It is time to think measurement.

#4 The focus is primarily advertising and lead generation.

New clients only generate 13 percent of revenues, yet some spas focus all their marketing budgets on new prospects. Instead, the business should focus on cultivating relationships with existing clients, who generate 40 percent of revenues and 32 percent of referrals. It is a matter of dollars and cents. In fact, it costs about $1,000 to acquire a new aesthetics clients, which translates to spending $1 million to win 1,000 new customers. Most spas do not have anywhere near this kind of marketing budget. Instead, consider adopting a marketing program that can engage existing clients and encourage them to spread the word to their friends for referrals. A personal recommendation from a friend is much more powerful than numerous messages sent to a random (and expensive) prospect.

An owner does not need reconstructive surgery to fix a bad marketing program, but identifying imperfections and adopting a clean regimen will help massage the kinks out and give it a makeover!

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