More Marketing Money Smarts

H. Leavy

Spa Professionals Join the Discussion On the DSA Forum!!!

It is normal that when the money gets scarce we immediately want to cut on spending … that is a good thing, but one needs to cut down on the right things.

We discussed some of these options throughout the month of March.

Marketing, PR and Advertising are usually items that go first – even in large companies. I think that is the biggest mistake a business can do. When the economy is weak, one has to be out there even more than ever, but naturally only in places where we know it works. Do you track your ROI of your ads, your email marketing, your PR efforts? If not, it’s time to start … how else would you know what works and what doesn’t? DSA Membership works and should be one of your priorities to stay connected and save with the many benefits our trade organizations offer their members!

With today’s technology some of the marketing that is being done requires only time and patience and learning … it’s called

Viral Marketing!

How much e-marketing are you doing?

Are you:

Using your client database to send out emails to promote open time slots to promote specific therapists at a special rate for short-term appointments?

Communicating with your clients that you understand without sounding desperate, but that they are missed and should not neglect their health? (NOW is the time to steer them away from the “pampering myth”).

Using your website as a marketing tool to make it easier for your web visitors to book appointments, buy gift certificates and products.

The DSA has several vendor members who offer special incentives to DSA member spas.

1155 University Blvd. SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

The Gift Card Café
800 The Mark Lane-Suite 802
San Diego, CA 92101

Use Newsletters

Email newsletters are a low cost marketing technique

Newsletters maintain constant contact with your core clients

Newsletters can be used as advertorials for your services and products

Emails can be used to broadcast exclusive special offers & discounts to enrollees The DSA has two email service members offering special discount to DSA members!

Constant Contact Email
1601 Trapelo Rd., Ste. 246
Waltham, MA 02451

VerticalResponse, Inc.
501 2nd Street – Suite 700
San Francisco, CA 94107

Retail Sales

Take a good look at your displays – are they attractive and inviting to buy? What is your sales technique to get clients to take home the products they need to enhance their treatments and use for home care?

If your staff isn’t selling 15-20% of the price of their services, something needs to be improved. Your target should be 20%+. And don’t accept excuses from massage therapists for not selling.

How are your gift card/certificate sales?

Get listed on every website that sells gift certificates to your spa … here is a list of DSA members we recommend you contact – what do you have to loose?
24955 Pacific Coast Highway Suite C301
Malibu, CA 90265

Spa Addicts, Inc.
400 9th Street – Suite W6B
Hoboken, NJ 07030
866-HAV2SPA (428-2772)

Spa Finder
257 Park Avenue South – 10th Floor
New York, NY 10010

Spas Worldwide

1 Queen East Street

Toronto, ON M5C 2W5


189 Fifth Avenue – suite 1B
Brooklyn, NY 11217
800-929-7723 Ext. 32

Safeguard New Clients

Make them an irresistible offer to try you

Make them an irresistible offer to come back within the next 30-45 days

Survey them to measure if you are consistently superior or consistently mediocre

Survey them to measure if you met their expectations

Consider DSA Day Spa Accreditation to distinguish yourself from the crowd!

Form New Alliances

Partner with distributors & manufacturers

When your retail sales decline… does theirs

Ask about eliminating or reducing minimum order requirements

Ask about eliminating or reducing shipping fees

Ask for free samples for special events

Take advantage of product or equipment training for your staff during down times

Take advantage of special sales and promotions

Add gift certificate to flower delivery with your local florist

A new hotel in town? Go talk to the concierge

How about local merchant associations, teachers union, city hall, war veterans and dependents for soldiers presently serving overseas?

Special events get them in the door and will fill time on customarily slow days or evenings

Host a “Spa Awareness” open house where you give tours & introduce staff

Host a free Skin Analysis Clinic where you analyze the skin for free & recommend & promote the skin care products from your retail area and suggest future facial treatments

Host a free Makeup Clinic where you teach clients how to apply makeup while you recommend your retail makeup items & skin care products & facials

Host a Massage Awareness event where you offer free or discounted chair massages or reflexology and recommend specific future massage or body work treatments

Hold a charity event to spotlight your community involvement

Partner with fine dining establishments

An exchange of gift certificates for simultaneous free drawings gives both of you free advertising where high end clients gather

Now it is your turn to come up with some more innovative marketing ideas that have worked for your spa, saved you money and brought in new clients! Share with us your successes (and mistakes), so we can all learn from each other!

Remember – You Are Not Alone

Become A DSA / IMSA Member Today And Tap Into Our National Spa Networks And Save!


Marketing Economically


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Last week we talked about finances and how to take a look at the operational expenses that face every business.

Did you find ways to cut down on some of them, even those you thought you couldn’t? Do you need help with your cash flow – you might want to explore the services of two members of our organization:

Fast Merchant Advance

5595 Orange Drive – # 209, Davie, FL 33314 / ph: 1-866-582-4953


Total Merchant Services

144 Henley Rd, Wynnewood, PA 19096 / ph: 1-877-456-8956

Two other members of the DSA who have a long time record of helping day spas meet their financial goals are:

Wellness Capital Management

16500 NE 28th Street, Bellevue, WA 98008 / ph: 1-888-727-5489


Resource & Development

1515 East Tropicana Blvd., Executive Center – Suite 630, Las Vegas, NV 89119 / ph: 702-436-0371 fax: 775-993-6006

Take a crack at them – you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by taking a close look at your expenditures.

Today I do want to talk however about not neglecting your marketing and PR activities – as a matter of fact, those are the components you need to be extra diligent about in these times. Don’t get caught up in the myth that when the economy slows down, marketing and PR efforts are not essential – on the contrary – NOW is the time to step them up! Here are a few suggestions which will cost you next to nothing, just a little creativity and time…

Increase Your Exposure

Advertising / PR

How much are you spending on advertising and what are you getting in return for your investment? How much PR and how many educational events?

Use this time to contact your local newspaper and send them press releases on how to help their readers relax in these stressful times. Put your best foot forward to let them know that visits to your day spa are something they cannot do without because it is their health – getting pampered is just the cream on the top!

Create a special “recession survival” package using a special brand of aromatherapy – let your imagination go! – This one was a good suggestion by one of our members out there! 🙂

Traditional Marketing

Distinguish Yourself

So much competition – how do you get around this? Your marketing message has to tell potential clients why you are different from your competition. Is it your experience, credentials, services, products, etc? Give them a reason to pick you out of the crowd. Consider DSA Accreditation!

Reward Loyal Clients

If you have not yet copied what airlines and hotels are doing – think again – they have studied consumer behavior for many decades… so do as they do: Consider creating incentives for your customers:

  • Offer your high-end frequent spa-goer clients incentives to recruit more clients
  • Create a “frequent flyer” reward system to keep them visiting on a regular basis

Be Creative With Your Menu

Have you studied the faces of your clients lately when they evaluate what they should choose from your menu of services? Simplify, simplify, simplify! Take a look at your menu from their perspective!

From your perspective – which services generate the most profit? Are you doing enough of them? Which generate the least profit? Are you doing too many of them? Are there some services you should drop?

  • Highlight basic, healthy and economical services instead of high cost pampering
  • Offer lower cost, shorter services as an alternative to higher cost, luxury services
  • Take the guilt out of spending on spa services
  • Emphasize stress relief, economy, effectiveness

I look forward to your feedback. Tell us about what you have been doing to increase your exposure, your awards, press articles, ads that worked (and those that didn’t) and what are you doing to reward your clients to come to you rather than go “next door” , “down the road”, or “around the corner”…you get the drift!


About the DSA Industry Blog

hannelore.jpgWelcome to the DSA Industry Blog!

In keeping with the Day Spa Association’s promise to introduce a series of new benefits for our members, we are pleased to launch two new communication vehicles:

DSAProf Blog: This is a dynamic communication forum open to the spa industry. Different moderators from the Day Spa Association will post articles each month and open up a discussion on a topic of interest. Your comments to the weekly posting will help build our on-line spa community.

SpaPro-2-SpaPro Forum: This is a Discussion forum open to DSA Members only. It is a place for our members to exchange ideas and  insights and raise questions of your Association peers. Members who have established their presence on the DSAProf Blog by commenting on postings in March may request a password to enter the Discussion Forum in the Blog Comments section. Forum mermbers may also introduce topics that may be of interest to the Association membership.

The Blog & Forum will be our dynamic channels of communication, complementing the In Touch Newsletter.

The March kick-off posts will come from our Founder & Executive Director, a.k.a. the Recession Fighter. Click on ‘Fighting Recession Pt. 1’ at the head of this page to read what she has to say, and let us know what you think.

We look forward to an engaging conversation!

Hannelore Leavy

Founder & Executive Director

Day Spa Association


Slashing Operating Costs

recession swordEvery business – small, medium or large – needs to audit its operating expenses at least once a year. NOW is a good time to take a closer look at this business aspect. If you haven’t done so yet, review your business plan. YES, you need to take it off the shelf!

Are you still in the same business as when you did your planning?

Are you on target with your operating expenses? What can you trim? [Tip of the week: think about how many clients it takes to cover $1,000 in operating expenses and adjust your business plan accordingly.]

Four major operating expense categories you need to take heed of IMMEDIATELY:

  • Business Expenses:    
  1. Call your insurance broker and review your policies – you may be over insured and pay too much on premiums
  2.  Have your utility company come in and do an energy audit. This is a good time to change to energy efficient light bulbs
  3. Can your staff fill in for your cleaning / laundry services during their down time?
  •  Treatment Expenses:
  1. Conduct a garbage audit. Is your staff throwing away too much product? Too much of a good thing on a client’s face or body is not always the best and can cost you dearly!
  2. Portion the products for each treatment – one spa owner told us that it’s cheaper for her to buy individual treatment packages instead of the larger professional containers. You can also use portion control devices.
  3. How much are you spending on tools, bowls, etc.? How much is over-kill?
  • Staffing:

Since staffing is probably your single largest expense, and likely the hardest area to make wise decisions. It is never easy to let people go, even when you know they aren’t generating sufficient revenue for the business. Here are a number of different ways to look at your employee’s sales numbers:

  1. Total volume sales
  2. Sales by category growth
  3. Client-base increase
  4. Client retention rate [it’s cheaper to keep clients than to get new ones]
  5. Retail sales revenue
  6. Cross-selling revenue

Have you wanted to reward a staff member with an unpaid educational opportunity? Now’s the time! Has anyone been asking for unpaid leave? Now’s the time! Do you have consistent complainers disrupting operations? Now’s the time…

  • Cash Flow

Credit card processing fees can really add up! Explore your options. If your bank has said ‘No’ to a loan, consider getting an advance on your future credit card charges. The Day Spa Association has 3 vendors offering special rates to our members. DSA members also get special low interest cash advances from 2 of our allied members!

So, let’s hear from you. If you’re a DSA member respond to this blog post with your email address and company name, and I’ll send you the DSA Forum password. You’ll have access to brilliant ideas from our DSA members. Share a few of your own.

If you’re not a DSA member yet- why not? Take a look at our Membership information. Feel free to post a comment / query here, too.

Fighting Recession Pt. 1

DSA Story BookOnce upon a time…

… in 1991, when I first started to look at day spas as a viable industry – the country was showing tell-tale signs of recession. By 1993 many professionals couldn’t afford the luxury of traveling to destination / resort spas. The reasons were elemental – these spas were expensive, and there was the lurking fear of their job disappearing while they were away for a few days. Hence, it was out of necessity that the day spa industry was born!

The Day Spa Association published its first day spa directory in 1994. It contained some 70 day spas around the country. Consumers were beginning to discover that going to a day spa for a few hours enabled them to escape the tensions inherent in the everyday rat race. They also found that a visit to the day spa once a month for a few hours provided lasting benefits that an annual resort spa sojourn could not sustain. Thus, the recession had a positive effect on day spas! Consequently, in the mid-1990’s the industry started to grow by leaps and bounds!

The same thing happened after 9-11…

Those of you who were around then will remember that immediately after this tragedy clients stayed home. Soon after, however, they came in droves to the day spas, the only place where they felt safe, nurtured and pampered without leaving home! Did you notice this at your day spa?

Today the scene is a bit different…

There is a lot of competition out there and a day spa owner needs to look at all business aspects in order to remain competitive with the day spa around the corner or down the street.

Let’s talk business then, shall we?

Read the Recession Fighter’s post on “Slashing Operating Costs”.

Share your own 1990s recession story or 9-11 day spa experience with us.