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Strategic Alliances—Reach Your Target Market
By: Nadia Arain
Posted: May 30, 2014, from the June 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Many spa owners and managers feel they need to reach more of their target market; however, they often find that a time comes in their business where they feel they have hit the ceiling of how many people they can reach—be it demographically or psychographically.
The beauty about spas—pun intended—is that, because they often serve health-conscious individuals, there is a practical way owners can easily save marketing dollars that normally would be spent on advertising: strategic alliances. Alliances are a top marketing strategy simply because—they work.
Pinpointing your target market
Without a large budget, spa owners must find novel ways to bring in a steady stream of clients on a consistent basis—making sure they do everything they can to create loyalty. The benefit of developing strategic alliances is that owners can increase their exposure to their type of clients and strengthen their branding.
The first point that needs to be decided upon is the type of clients a spa aims to serve. Are they students, mothers, busy business people or ladies of leisure? There are many subcategories that can be listed; however, the more details established about a specific market, the better the chance of sourcing out an ideal strategic alliance for mutual gain and benefit.
Choosing treatments and services to offer. A lot of spa owners and managers invest far too much time, money and resources incorporating a treatment or service that statistically is only requested a quarter of the time. Take spray tanning for instance. While this may be a popular choice over the summer and festive seasons, it may not be a service that clients would normally frequent a spa for. If they did, many aren’t equipped to handle a situation in which the client can be provided with what they desire, while keeping their trust and still profiting from it. Forming a strategic alliance with a business that specializes in spray tanning may be a better option than offering the service at the spa.
Taking the time to research. The best way to find out how to target more of your market is to carry out a survey of your current clients by having them fill in questionnaires and holding focus groups. Look at their hobbies carefully. For instance, ladies of leisure will often visit upscale boutiques and golf clubs. It is always wise for a spa to approach management of these type of establishments and present a strategic alliance proposal that would enable both businesses to have access to one another’s client lists.
Trust by association. Strategic alliances are often the perfect way to reach new clients without the hassle and struggle of wondering where your market frequents or resides. Instead, an automatic trust and comfort level is established because clients feel secure in the knowledge of being referred by a company they already trust. Alliances also offer a stronghold in a specific niche because the association with other businesses in the area demonstrates community spirit and a strong desire to contribute to other people, adding value to their lives.
However, it is necessary to be selective in the alliances formed. Once an association has been created, it leaves one business at the will of the other—come good or bad. Take your time, scope your ideal market and enjoy one of the best ways to attract new, wonderful clients to your spa!
Nadia Arain, founder and CEO of The Spapreneur Consulting, is a previous day spa owner and the author of The 21st Century Spartanite: The Strong Woman’s Guide To Ultimate Success (Igniss, 2011), among other titles.