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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.

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According to Tukey, these small details will make the difference between a one-time client and a loyal one. She has owned her skin care practice for two years and attributes her success to treating every client like gold. In the New Hampshire community where she rents space in a refurbished Victorian home, Tukey’s clients range from students to executives. She is enjoying growth based solely on referrals. Avoiding direct mailers and other forms of advertisement, Tukey utilizes each of her patrons as a marketing tool, believing that a happy client is one who will refer their friends.

In addition, she has broadened her services and now offers makeup, as well as Reiki. According to Tukey, diversity is her secret. “I consciously say: ‘If I am going to survive in this business, I had better know how to do a lot of things.’ ”

Get involved in your community

Whether the service offered is a facial, massage or manicure, community outreach is a useful marketing practice. To attract clients and increase health awareness in Quechee, Vermont, the staff at The Strong House Spa offers massages at the end of marathons and breast cancer walks. Neighborhood running clubs, local schools and organic markets also have been excellent venues for the spa’s community service-based marketing. “Athletes know that massage is a part of their workout. First you work out, then you loosen the muscles,” says Sheila Armen, co-owner of The Strong House Spa. “Now we’re trying to get the layperson to say, ‘I want to make this a part of my life.’ ”

Other marketing possibilities include what technique esthetician and mind/body concierge Sarah Kirsch, of Exhale in Brighton, Massachusetts, calls guerrilla marketing. This method involves team members placing postcards under windshield wipers and in bridal boutiques in Boston. Exhale also is planning on getting involved with the Yoga Journal conference and places service coupons in goody bags at the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women.

To offset job cutbacks in her city, Joyce Piasecki, owner of Joyce Salon and Day Spa in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, donates deluxe manicures to hospital fundraisers and gives discounts to women who work there. She also participates in sidewalk sales by handing out fliers for services. “If you have a few clients who stay with you for a long time, you’ve made your money from them,” Piasecki notes. “I do bring them in, but the trick is to keep them.” And although the car-focused workforce of Michigan has experienced layoffs that have affected her clientele, her business is growing.

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