Salon/Day Spa Marketing – are you talking so people listen?


Imagine you’re at a networking engaged in conversation when the other person asks you “what do you do”? After you tell them, you notice a glazed look on the other person’s face or that the person has moved onto another topic of conversation. It’s as if a door has just been slammed in your face.

Why does this happen? Why don’t people show as much interest in what you do as you’d like them to?

The answer is simpler than you think – it’s all about the language you’re using.

You see marketing actually has a language – and by understanding this language and “speaking” it fluently, the doors will open up for you and you’ll get more attention – and once you have their attention, you’re put them on the road to becoming a client.

To get clients you must market using a marketing language based on something called “Marketing Syntax.” Syntax is the order of things. Syntax creates meaning. For instance, the order of letters in a particular word gives that word meaning. Likewise, the order of words in a sentence gives that sentence meaning.

Take, for example, the three letters a, r and t. With these three letters, there are three possible word combinations: art, rat and tar – with each word having an entirely different meaning.

Just as the order of letters or words gives creates meaning, the order in which you present your marketing ideas determines the meaning the listener attaches to your message.

In other words, if you deliver your marketing message in a certain order using marketing syntax, you’ll connect with the prospect. If you connect with the prospect then you’ve gotten their attention – which is the first step in creating a relationship.

Ok, so what does this language do? It puts the attention firmly on the prospect instead of on you. When that happens the prospect says to herself “hey this is someone who understands me”.

When they feel that way, that someone understands them, then they’re more than likely to continue becoming familiar with you. They’ll want to find out more about your salon/day spa’s services – and isn’t that what you want?

However most marketing doesn’t give you what you want. Why? Because the owner doesn’t understand or use marketing syntax, so her message falls on deaf ears.

For instance, when people ask a salon/day spa owner what they do, the owner usually answers them literally: she tells them her label or describes her process.

She says, “I’m a day spa owner. I do hair, facials, wax, massage and other beauty services.” While these are both factual and accurate statements neither is an attention-getting message.

Why aren’t they attention getting?  Because when the owner is talking, the other person is on her own wavelength. She’s thinking, “What’s in it for me?” You see when the owner presents herself using a label or describing what she does – she’s focused on herself and not the prospect – and the prospect feels it.

It’s sad because the owner may be genuinely interested in that prospect and fully capable of helping her. However, by not using the marketing syntax she doesn’t come across that way.

So how do you create a message using syntax? The easiest way to do this is to follow the three steps of the marketing syntax formula.

1. Target Market – That is, whom do you work with?

2. Problem/Challenge – What issues do your clients have?

3. Outcome – What results do your clients get?

When someone asks what you do, the first words out of your mouth need to be about whom you work with. This creates focus on the other person rather than on you. For example you could say -“I work with professional women who work downtown.”

Since you’ve immediately identified exactly who your ideal clients are, the listener can immediately know whether or not you can help them.

Next, you add the problem or challenge you address: “… who don’t know where to go to find outstanding spa services that won’t break the bank”.

Why should you address problems? Simply because problems are where people “live”. Problems are what they’re thinking about – therefore if you can address their problems, they will realize you know something important about them.

The last step in your message is to communicate the outcome you actually deliver. The outcome is what a client gets when you work with them. For example, “We help our clients maintain their skin even when they’re away from the day spa”.

When you express your marketing message using marketing syntax the other person’s likely to respond to you by saying something like “could you tell me more about that?”  Thus, you’ve opened up the door to a relationship.

So when can you use marketing syntax? Use marketing syntax anytime you communicate about your business, verbally or in writing. When you do, your attention value will go up dramatically – and getting attention is the first step to moving someone from being a prospect to a client.

Andrew Finkelstein

The Beauty Resource


3 Responses

  1. Thank you for this information.
    I am seeking information related to setting a marketing and sales budget for my spa. What percentage of the gross profit should we be using in this area?

  2. Thank you for this information.
    I am interested in information related to setting a budget for marketing and sales. Is there a standard in the spa industry? What percentage of the gross profit should I be setting aside for this department?

  3. Good question Wendy,

    As with most things in our industry standard numbers can be deceiving as no two spas are the same. They all have different price points, labor costs, and overhead, so PLEASE take this number with a dose of reality.

    A good budget number for an existing spa is 5% or revenue. However when a spa starts out its revenue numbers are low, and they may be low during this economic down-turn, so you may have to spend more (as much as 10%) to achieve the desired effect.

    Having said that, my experience when cash flow is tight is that instead of spending cash for advertising (much of which is a waste), you must use gorilla tactics and hard work instead. The best marketing programs that I have seen spas use cost very little but require a lot of hard work and dedication. Unfortunately there is no “magic bullet”!

    Best Wishes & Healthy Profits
    Skip Williams

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