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Working Successfully With Daily Deal Websites

By: Scott Callahan
Posted: July 27, 2012, from the August 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

In today’s digital landscape, it is vital to have a strong e-presence beyond your facility’s website and to know how to navigate digital platforms. Understanding and having a strong presence on daily deals websites, such as Groupon and Living Social, is imperative to success. Knowing how to position your spa and services is key to separating your spa from all the others on the daily deal sites.

Daily deal sites are the independent spa’s best friend. Think of them as an extension of your marketing and PR departments. With these sites, it is all about the approach. It is important to manage your own expectations regarding results. Know that the deal site only provides a “warm lead” that is going to require some hand-holding to convert into a client.

Structure the deal correctly

Do not worry about giving away too much initially. You must give a little to get a little; however, it is key not give away the entire process. You must structure the deal so the client is required to make an additional purchase along with the deal, so it baits the hook for a larger purchase at the consultation. For example, offer a three-for-the-price-of-two deal on a service that has best results in a series of seven or eight sessions.

Manage your conversion expectations

It is important not to have unrealistic expectations. To think that all of your Groupon customers will come back because their experience was so great is not operating in a realistic business environment. Think baseball: Derek Jeter is one of the best players to ever play baseball, and he struggles to bat 300, which means getting on base three out of every 10 times at bat. It may not seem like much, but that is what constitutes a good baseball player. A three-out-of-10 batting average is all it takes. So, set your goals a little higher for your spa conversion ... aim for four out of 10 of your daily deal customers to come back for a second visit. Also understand that this is a pretty great average, so keep this in mind.

Build a promotion that speaks value

It is imperative to create a follow-up deal that speaks to the value-based nature of daily deal customers. It should be something that is not a total freebie because they just got a great deal from the daily deal site. Create an offer that continues the process of alluring the person to remain with the spa as a paying client. Offer a follow-up package that includes a different service than the deal program offered. If possible, bundle two services; for example, a facial and massage package. This is a good one because it can be performed by the salaried staff you always have on hand. It also provides an opportunity for team members to develop new relationships and build business.

The measure of success