Industry leaders share winning strategies that have helped them attract and retain business.

[Image: BrianAJackson/istock]

When it comes to getting clients in the door—and keeping them coming back for more—certain spas have cracked the code. Of course, having top-notch techs and spectacular services are a big part of the equation, but equally crucial are the ways that these businesses present and promote themselves. “Marketing means so much more than just a name or logo,” says Denise Dubois, owner of Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness, with locations in Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York. “A good brand should convey who you are to current and prospective guests, as well as differentiate your company from the competition.” Here, we take a closer look at how some of the most successful spas have mastered the marketing game.

 

Know Your Audience

The best beauty and wellness businesses are 100 percent clear about who their target market is, what they’re seeking most in a spa, and how they communicate. Some may skew more toward millennials with “prejuvenation” services, while others may cater to a more mature community or even a wholly masculine clientele. “It’s essential to determine who your guests are, as that dictates everything from language used in communications and promotional imagery, colors and fonts, to scents diffused and music played in your space,” says Angela Cortright, owner of Spa Gregorie’s in Newport Beach and Rancho Santa Margarita, California.

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Having a precise picture of her spa’s target demographic—which is 75 percent female; between the ages of 35 and 70; and actively interested in health, wellness, beauty and fitness—enables Cortright to craft her messaging and medium for maximum marketing ROI. For instance, with a more expensive, high-end facial that was recently added to the menu, the spa knew to focus on attracting older clients who’ve already invested a lot in skincare treatments and products. “She isn’t intimidated by the price point because she sees value in the results,” explains Cortright. With this in mind, the team focused its promotional efforts on direct mail, social media ads and influencers who appeal to more mature guests. The result? “It’s going great!” raves Cortright.

 

Keep In Touch

Speaking of reaching out, whether it’s via social media posts, automated text reminders or informative emails, connecting with customers has never been easier than it is today. As an image-based platform, Instagram is ideal for sharing pictures of happy clients or before-and-after treatment results. “We also create graphics with facts about skin care and wellness, and take advantage of Instagram’s Stories feature to display photos of finished hairstyles or hot makeup looks,” says Dubois. “Facebook works for posting promotions, along with blog posts that link back to our website.”

Additionally, paid Google advertisements are a quick way to court new clients. Cortright sends a bimonthly newsletter to all of her email contacts, as well, so guests can learn about seasonal treatments or new staff and services at their leisure. “Whatever connection method you select, be consistent,” says Tracy Whynot, owner of Place360 Health + Spa in Del Mar, California. “An occasional call to a VIP can also be valuable.”

 

Make Clever Connections

There’s no question that spa pros need to stay on top of the latest trends and techniques, and networking with other players in the beauty and wellness world is just one way to do so. That said, trying to attend every industry event or embrace an endless array of brands can quickly lead to burnout. “Forging true connections requires time and care—the fast approach is neither attainable nor sustainable,” says Whynot.

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Trade shows like Premiere and the International SPA Association (ISPA) Conference & Expo can be great places to start. “They let you connect with industry leaders and vendors, and learn about new launches, trends and studies,” says Amy Bell, director of Spa Adolphus at The Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. Afterward, be sure to follow up via social media or—even better—with handwritten notes.

“Equally important is co-marketing with other small businesses to reach new customers,” adds Dubois. Whether you forge relationships with nearby fitness studios, clothing boutiques or even dental offices, look for places that pair seamlessly with the kinds of guests you want to attract. “We solicited the most popular restaurants in our community to offer our Spa Date for Two package, which combines a one-hour massage plus high-end eatery voucher,” shares Cortright. “This type of networking has been a true win-win.”

 

Keep Things Fresh

Thanks to a near-constant stream of cutting-edge aesthetic devices, new treatment modalities and increasingly effective ingredients, there’s always something new and exciting in the spa industry—and it’s your job to make sure you bring these offerings to your clientele with regularly updated menus. “A skincare regimen should also change with the shifting seasons,” notes Bell. Not only does the complexion require different things depending on the climate but, from a marketing perspective, changing up the menu piques curiosity. “While some customers visit because they love a specific treatment, others are more likely to return after seeing several offerings they’re interested in trying,” says Dubois. Whynot agrees, advising spas to “maintain your hero services, then complement them with occasional additions.”

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Coddle Your Clients

Spa-goers should be nurtured from the first point of contact. “When they call to book a reservation, our concierge captures every relevant detail, so we can anticipate needs before they arise,” says Bell. Cortright keeps notes on clients, as well, highlighting preferred treatments and marking birthdays, which are commemorated with a warm email plus $20 gift card. Meanwhile, Place360 is a sanctuary where clients come early to enjoy tea, relax while reading a book or chat with friends and staff. “Get to know your guests, as that retains relationship longevity,” adds Whynot. These special touches not only keep clients returning time and again, they result in the best marketing of all: word of mouth. “Whether by serving complimentary beverages and snacks or sending guests home with product samples, we strive to over-deliver,” says Dubois.

—Francesca Moisin

This story first appeared in the October issue of DAYSPA Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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