Recession-proof Your Spa

As you contemplate the looming economic abyss, and wonder what to do, following are some of my marketing tips and tricks from Ana Loiselle, owner of theSECRET Salon & Spa by Design in Royal Oak, Michigan, to help you through these challenging times.

Don't cut you marketing budget. The recession offers unprecedented opportunities to market in an environment of relatively less noise, because other competing companies cut back.

Avoid spending marketing money on those venues that have never, ever brought you a single client. Focus on marketing efforts that can be traced to sales.

Following are eight suggestions:

  • Launch a Web site. If you don't have one, now is the time. With good search engine optimization, the Web can be perfect for driving customers to your business. For a spa, a Web site is a necessity for providing additional information clients need to make informed buying decisions. Tailor your site to do the best job of reaching your customers with targeted information to meet each of their needs.
  • Put your Web address on your business card, sign, brochure and advertising. Get the message out loud and clear by using every opportunity you have to promote your Web presence.
  • Gift certificates. Start selling your gift certificates instantly on your Web site. Statistics show an overall 30% increase in a spa's gift certificate sales when they sell through their Web site.
  • Send a monthly e-mail newsletter. Make contact with your customers at least every 30 days. Produce an e-mail newsletter that informs your clients about how to do something, or that features new products and services. The newsletter can be elaborate or simple, but make it informative and make sure to link it back to your Web site.
  • Publish testimonials in your literature and on your Web site. You might even consider putting them right on your retail product packaging. They are powerful statements that build trust in your business or product.
  • Write a newspaper column. Become a recognized expert in your field by publishing a column. This may take some footwork to get in the door, but don't get discouraged. The pay off is well worth it.
  • Offer a two-for-one coupon. This is a proven tactic for introducing people to your business, and giving you a short-term boost in traffic.
  • Send out a press release. This can be better than advertising when the media picks it up. Consult an experienced professional public relations person for best results.
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