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Marketing for a Bad Economy

By: Winter Johnson
Posted: June 10, 2008, from the November 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Although spas in affluent communities continue to serve a dedicated clientele who are committed to health and wellness, facilities in other areas are having a more difficult time in maintaining productivity. Factors ranging from high energy prices to job insecurity are leading many clients to view spas as a discretionary expense rather than as an investment in their overall health.

“I tell my clients that it’s important to take care of their skin and explain to them all of the benefits,” says Christine Delos Reyes, manager of Jeanne Hall Therapy in Derry, New Hampshire. “Their excuses are: ‘I have a kid in college and one at home.’ ”

“Not only have there been changes in gas prices, but also locally you have the paper mill that has been in danger of layoffs, or even might close, which will affect the entire community,” says Ingrid Langley, owner of Ingrid S. Skin Care in Lincoln, Maine.

If you are a spa owner whose clientele has been hit by economic difficulty, one way to adjust is by changing your marketing strategy. Here are some lessons from spas that are enjoying productive times.

It all begins with you

“You have to start with the basics,” says Valerie Tukey, owner of Aesthetics by Valerie in Nashua, New Hampshire. “The devil is in the details. Is the bed cold? Are your hands warm? Are you taking notes and remembering a client’s skin care needs for the next time they visit? People must take an inventory of what they’re doing and make sure that each client feels they are the most important person in the world. If you do that, they will keep coming to you.”