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Make it Easy for Your Clients to Buy

By: Ellen Clark
Posted: May 27, 2011, from the June 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Marketing is often summarized as activities employed to get the phone to ring. In today’s marketplace, however, the phone isn’t the only outlet to consider. Apps, social media and other technological opportunities abound, and it is all moving fast. So, how can skin care professionals communicate their message, meet the needs of their clients and differentiate their facility? There are a few basic concepts that can be built into your marketing strategy in order to help it yield far better results.

Online appointment setting. There are many services that provide software or online portals allowing clients to book appointments when it is convenient for them. This is indeed a competitive advantage for skin care professionals who work with busy clients. Furthermore, it helps the facility build its database, and engage clients with specials, ads, up-sells and more.

Don’t make me think. In the book Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Useability (Que, 2000), author Steve Krug makes the argument that, as you build your website and other online communication tools, you want to make it easy for the customer to engage and make a buying decision. According to Krug, “If Web pages are going to be effective, they have to work most of their magic at a glance.” What kind of sites do you like best? You want your website to quickly communicate your facility’s personality and voice so it can differentiate you from your competition. You want to help your client easily navigate and engage.

Become a purple cow. In Seth Godin’s groundbreaking marketing best seller, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (Portfolio Hardcover, 2009), he brilliantly points out the importance of individuating your business and finding ways to communicate the qualities that set you apart from your competitors. Whether it be the hours you are open, the specialty services you offer, the types of products or target markets you service—teens, men, mature, luxury, on-the-go—you must make sure you communicate these consistently in all your marketing materials, including your website and social marketing efforts, so buyers can quickly and easily know how you meet their needs.

Small is the new big

The beauty of a small business is that you can respond quickly to clients. The key is to survey your clients and ask them important questions that can help you stand out from others. From time to time, create a brief survey that asks clients for ideas, suggestions and improvements that you can make to better serve them. For example, you might find out that many of your loyal clients would love Sunday hours or early morning hours once a week, or perhaps they want to be able to get a manicure and facial at the same time. Focus on meeting these needs and communicating these advantages, and watch your business grow.