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Spa Marketing Ahead of the Curve

Leslie Lyon November 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

If your business survived the past couple of years, you may be feeling that everything will be OK; however, it is important to remember that the rising tide does not lift all boats. Real change has happened and so your marketing approach has to change, too. Your mature offerings may be causing you to suffer revenue declines, so consider freshening them up fast ... and that’s just the beginning.

First and foremost, it’s hard to ignore the fact that your competitors are probably doing many of the same things you are to meet their goals. Assume the role of thought leader now and avoid the “me too” mentality. Leverage the large flow of data that is now available to pinpoint consumer preferences, improve your decision-making processes and minimize risk. Strive to create entirely new categories of your business. Remember: You just need to do one thing better or differently than anyone else in the world. You’ll also need to master the following five points to ensure your marketing ideas will succeed.

1. Your “wiredness”

This will be noticed by your clients because they want to gauge and engage with your spa. The highly networked business is the business that will see the quickest payday. If you haven’t already, develop your networking package and formally introduce yourself to the social world. Try off-the-shelf solutions for blogs, such as WordPress or Serendipity. Website design and search engine optimization (SEO) companies have saturated the market, so if you choose to work with one, make sure they are at the top of their game with the newest platforms and highest page rankings. 

2. Social proof

Virtual audiences favor industry experts. Show evidence that what you do is true and of essential importance. Showcase testimonials, endorsements, expert opinions, client lists, awards, memberships and certificates, but be ingenious about it. Link testimonials to the spa industry’s main objections, such as price and service, and use third-party and once-removed endorsements, such as “Oprah loves this product.”

3. Perceived value

If your brand dominates in perceived value, you are considered relevant, on-trend and influential. Dominant brands share one primary point: They boast an excellent service and buying experience, which means a lot of things are working.  Try value pricing and over-servicing a small selection of key items for a moderate period of time. Did your more expensive, less visible items offset this sacrifice, and very importantly, did you heighten perceived value? And consider giving something away for free, such as an educational e-book. This not only boosts perceived value, it also exponentially grows your database. 

4. Passive (online) income

Use this third revenue stream to lower your costs of doing business. Set up an e-commerce website to sell your skin care products and services online, or use the ad-supported model where you offer information at no cost to users, and collect advertising dollars from companies who will pay for exposure to those users.

5. Mobile marketing

More than four billion people use cell phones, and 450 million use the Web as a fully mobile experience. Start collecting mobile contact numbers now because, before you know it, mobile ads will be a primary form of advertising, and you’ll have missed that boat. Smartphones often display websites nicely, but consider eventually upgrading your website to a mobile-friendly format.

Leslie Lyon is the president of Spas2b Inc., a full-service spa business development, consulting and training company based in Ontario, Canada. Involved with the health and beauty industry for more than 30 years, Lyon currently is an educator, platform speaker, blogger, published columnist and freelance writer for prominent spa trade publications and websites worldwide.