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Spa Marketing on a Budget

By John Uhrig
Posted: November 28, 2007, from the December 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

An effective spa marketing plan doesn’t have to have a prominent actor, prime time TV placement, top-notch glossy print ads or even a considerable budget. Being resourceful and proficient can benefit your spa just as much as any of those things can. In fact, business advertising doesn’t have to demand riches; many times it’s individual tact and personality that seals the deal.
      Below are some ideas on spa marketing that can assist you in making the most of even a seemingly constricted budget.

Employ press release potency
      Believe it or not, reporters occasionally need you as much as you need them—news has to come from somewhere, right? The key to getting your business noticed is coming up with a newsworthy occurrence about which a press release is summarily written. Link your press release to actual events, such as a fundraiser, charity-giving, or a new treatment or service your spa is offering.
      Don’t be quick-witted to entertain yourself to the idea—you must have a purifying purpose. If you can’t figure out why your day or medical spa might be newsworthy, ask your industry peers what they find interesting about your business, treatments or services. And you can also utilize your built-in scrutiny tool—clients.
      If you have an offbeat idea, bounce it off your clients and staff, or have people fill out a short survey after they receive a treatment inquiring about their views on your facility. Ask them why they use your spa, what they like about your treatments and products, and what makes your facility stand out for them. The answers you receive will likely show you your business in a new light, as well as offer inspiration for marketing ideas.

Think outside the box
      You don’t have to outspend your spa industry peers; you just have to outthink them. One example of doing so would be buying a billboard ad every other month for a year. Chances are the billboard won’t be replaced in the off months, so you’ll get more exposure at no extra cost.
      This concept also relates to how you run your business. Always try to figure out how to give your clients something they can’t find elsewhere, such as a limo service for wedding parties. When they associate your spa with going the extra mile, their opinion of your services will reflect that as well.

Conceive differently
      Pilot an event to attract media coverage. For instance, a medical spa could hold a before-and-after event featuring clients who have experienced treatments at the facility. And a great way to make your event even bigger is to bring in partner businesses and services, such as makeup, dental procedures, hair styling, clothing and so on. The partnership possibilities for these types of events are almost endless.

Print the praise
      If someone says, “You do an absolutely wonderful pedicure,” say, “Thank you very much, that means a lot to me. It would be great if you could write a short testimonial for the spa about it—do you think that’s possible?” Then make those testimonials part of your promotional efforts. With current clients already singing your praises, eager new customers are more likely to show up at your door.