How to write effective emails that don’t trigger spam filters

Seth_Prof_PhotoHow to write effective emails that don’t trigger spam filters

If done right, email marketing is a uniquely effective marketing tool for spa businesses.  It facilitates and initiates transactions, drives customers to your website and ultimately to your spa. 

There is a huge misconception that volume is key, the more email contacts on your list automatically translates to higher response rates and conversion.  The truth is that each ISP (Internet Service Providers) like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail has become increasingly sophisticated at filtering out emails that consumers don’t want to receive.  In the world of email lists, the quality of the list will always trump quantity.

So what defines a quality email list and how can you be sure your emails get to existing clients?  Follow these simple steps and you will be on your way to more effectively marketing your spa to existing clients and potential customers.

Building a great list begins in your spa every day.  The trust you build with your clients will bring you success when you communicate with them utilizing email marketing.  They will be much more likely to share their email address and respond to your communication.  If your emails offer consistent value to these clients you will see higher conversion rates.

Take the building of your email list seriously. Make sure visitors to your website can add their email address, have addresses gathered when a spa service reservation is made and make it a priority for the front desk.   Your spa email list will grow rapidly and it will be a terrific list of qualified and relevant addresses from your existing client base.

Keeping your emails from triggering spam filers and from being blacklisted is an ongoing effort but worth the time to ensure that the maximum number of emails sent are actually received.

Double Opt-in your email list on a regular basis.

Double Opt-In means that once your spa client has given you their email address you send them an email to confirm it is their email and obtain their permission to use it.  That means that they must respond to your email, usually with one click, or they will be taken off the list.

This ensures that only the people who want an email from you receive it.  Life happens, consider that 1 in 6 Americans move each year, 16.8%, and your email list must adapt accordingly to account for clients who are no longer active or just don’t want to receive your emails.

It also lowers your risk of being tagged as a spammer by ensuring that you have the correct address before you send out a mass mailing.  If you are blacklisted you can forward your record that the client did opt-in to your emails.

Give your clients a way to unsubscribe.

Add an unsubscribe (Opt-out) option to your emails.  It puts the communication control exactly where it should be, with the client.  It builds trust, awareness and ensures client privacy has been honored.  The unsubscribe option will take clients that choose not to receive your email off the list.

Avoid words and phrases that trigger spam filters.

There are more than 250 words that can trigger spam filters but spas will most likely be limited to a few words:  Free, Limited-Time-Offer, promise, all natural, free sample, great offer, cash, money, specials, promotion, guarantee.  Try not to use these words in the content of your email, especially in the subject line.

For a complete spam word list you can Google, “spam filter words.”

Keep your email communications simple.

  • Avoid heavy graphics in your emails.  Graphics in your emails can adjust in the transfer to the client’s in-box and can reduce response rates and trigger filters.
  • Avoid all capital letters in the subject line.
  • Check for typographical errors before the email is sent.
  • Do not include punctuation to the subject line.

Personalize your emails like you personalize your spa services.

Be direct and relevant in your emails to clients.  If you offer value or communicate relevant information to your clients they will respond positively.  They will continue to want to receive your emails, stay active and you are less likely be blacklisted by ISPs.

Check the blacklist to see if you are on it, despite best intentions.

The Blacklist is a list of email senders who are determined to be sending unsolicited spam emails.  Legitimate businesses can be blacklisted; you should check your domain name on a regular basis.  This means that each time you send out an email communication it will be blocked by the ISP that has blacklisted your domain name.  There are a number of online services that allow you to check your domain name against many of the blacklisted senders, just Google “check email blacklists.”

Writing effective, anti-spam filter, emails is really not that hard, it just takes a little time and upkeep.  It all flows together with email communications that keep your clients top of mind.  Make each email valuable to them by offer, promotion or relevant content and make sure it gets delivered.  Taking this responsibility ensures that each communication enhances your client relationships and your reputation.

Seth Gardenswartz/StephanyToman/Spa Kat
317 Commerical Street NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102
800-940-0458 Ext. 803


What do you really need from your spa website?

Seth_Prof_PhotoOn display in a Paris storefront window sits the most breathtaking, resplendent 5” python platform shoes.  Yes, they would take a significant bite out of any budget but they dazzle and flash in your mind as you imagine walking them down the Boulevard.  The sting of reality that will suddenly clamp down hard is designed to remind you that logical needs must be met, despite the desire and captivation of those barely plausible stilts.

Building an e-commerce website for your spa is one of the most important decisions you will make for your business and your head must be wrapped in the needs of the business rather than the opportunity to dazzle and Flash.

Stand out by designing a website that meets the needs of your customers and builds revenue for your business.  It all starts by asking yourself what you really need from a spa website.  Unraveling your wants from your needs will give you the insight to build an effective website and put you in control to drive your spa business toward success.

An e-commerce spa website needs:

Simple and logical navigation.  Consumers are experienced in quickly finding what they need online. If the process is even slightly slow or challenging to navigate they will move on to a website that is straightforward. Make sure online customers can find what they need on your spa website right from the homepage including gift certificate purchases, appointment booking and spa treatment menus.

Focus on what’s being sold.  Don’t overwhelm online customers with Flash and dazzling graphics.  The idea is to keep their attention and make it easy to take action by making a purchase or booking an appointment so any distraction from that goal is diminishing the websites effectiveness.

Simple to update and add content.  This means you need to be in control and keep the ability to update the website yourself.  It will give you the flexibility to improve and refine your website to better meet customers needs over time.  Adding content on a regular basis can improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which makes it easier for customers to find you online.

Streamline your business.  Build a website with the capacity to book reservations and purchase online.  It will free up your front desk and allow them to focus on the customers currently in the spa.  If you really want to watch your rebooking rate go up, move phone reservations away from the front desk entirely and use online booking to manage the process.

Combine email/transactional capabilities.  Imagine having built-in email marketing tools that allow you to email current clients and give them the ability to make a purchase right from the email.  Email marketing is one of the most effective and least costly communication tools available today.

An e-commerce website must be reasonably priced. Be wary of web developers who tell you they can build a website for a few thousand dollars. Guaranteed, it will take a year or more to design, build and go live with your website.  Each revision will result in additional charges and once the website goes live no one in the organization will be able to manage it.  Changes and updates to the website will be completed by the original developer who will bill you more each month. 

Reality often stings, but if you catch its drift in time it can save you from making a terrible mistake.  Next time you check out your competitor’s dazzling website, take notice of the Flash and pizzazz and feel confident that online customers won’t be waiting to watch the show download.  They have moved on to a better, more effective website, yours.

Seth Gardenswartz/StephanyToman/Spa Kat
317 Commerical Street NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102
800-940-0458 Ext. 803




Crafting Your Business Story

LAURA CONNELLYCrafting Your Business Story…

 What a great time it has been sharing information with you on marketing to your “one and only” customer. By now I hope you can see the importance of storytelling in today’s experience economy. The ability to contextualize your story so that it is meaningful to your customer and relates to their experience is your next call to action. In a competitive and attention deficit marketplace, you must engage personally, authentically and with impact.

 Contextualizing for you means putting your good market research to work by speaking the language of your target customer and relating the benefits of your services as it pertains to your customer’s “experience” vs. selling the features. So… you have great equipment and experienced staff, but what does that mean to me?  This is your task…to create context for each customer walking through your door or buying your product.  

 The next time you sit down and look at your marketing communications strategy, try thinking about communicating in story and in context. Your story can engage, inspire, inform, compel, influence, educate and most importantly connect you with your customer in a powerful and authentic fashion. Oh and did I say SELL FOR YOU! Here is how storytelling comes to life in marketing…

 DESIGN: Emotionally engage your customer and command market relevance through imagery and metaphor.

BRAND DEVELOPMENT: Craft your story and mission

 PR & PROMOTION: Contextualize and bring your story to life through narrative

 MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS: Captivate and create empathic connections with your target customer through customer centric dialogue and language

 CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION & SEGMENTATION: Create community and tribal markets and build brand loyalty through real understanding of your customer’s psychographics and primal needs

 Obviously the context that is important for all your customers today is “value”. With this broad macro understanding of our economy, it is now important to frame your story in the context of “value”. Learning how value is perceived by your customer is another important “to do”.  I leave you with a tip…

 Health and Wellness and Survival are key contextual elements of your story. Where pampering and indulging was the context in the eighties, maintaining good health and managing stress is real context for the millennium. This is ideal context for the wellness purveyor. Speaking to the need and anxieties of maintaining health and warding off illness is a huge narrative in which to craft your story. Just don’t forget …”it’s all about meeee!

 Laura Connolly
Wellness Communications Specialist
Trendscapes Media
Serving Wellness Lifestyle & Culture

Master Your Story…Capture Your Market

LAURA CONNELLYNow that you know romancing your one and only customer with the “art of something more” is

your main marketing objective (see my last two blogs) we can move on to the most important element of your marketing plan. Understanding your customer intimately is just the beginning of your marketing work. You now have to communicate and speak the language of your customer personally and authentically. Marketing Communications today is much more about engaging your customer than it is about a closed proposition selling facts, features and benefits. Let’s go back to the original note from your “one and only” customer…

Dear Wellness Lifestyle Marketer

Give me something more! Wow me! Enchant me! Entertain me! Impress me! Reassure me! Engage me! Thrill me! Restore me! Entice me! Fix me! Soothe me! And oh yeah…make sure you educate me too.

Your “one and only” customer

P.S-Just wanted to remind you it’s all about me!

 After reading a note like this, the challenges of marketing communications seems daunting. How do you market “something more” and convince your “one and only” you are delivering “more” everyday? You have done your market research and studied your psychographic profiles, now the next great frontier is marketing communications. Know thy customer and speak their language seems simple enough but in the experience economy you have to speak emotionally charged language. Your “one and only” customer doesn’t want just a massage. No! She wants a transforming experience from the moment she walks through the door.

 We all get Starbucks doesn’t sell just coffee, Nike doesn’t sell just sneakers, Guinness doesn’t sell just beer, and Harley doesn’t just sell motorcycles. These iconic brands sell “something more”… an experience and a transformative mindset which we as consumers love to embrace! Each of these brands transcends beyond their basic product offering and creates strong identification and loyalty inspired feelings with their customers. How did they rise to the top and become “more” than just a product? They romanced and captured their market through something as old as the caveman and very human

Conceptual Storytelling… marketing communications for today’s experience economy

 We can get bogged down with words like branding, positioning, tactics, and differentiating. The easier way to grasp marketing communications is to understand basic storytelling. Storytelling exists particularly in marketing where high concept (create/design) and high touch (emotional/meaning) intersect. Daniel Pink, author of business book “A Whole New Mind” believes “Story is high concept because it sharpens our understanding of one thing by showing it in the context of something else”.  Today’s consumer demands “No more just the facts! Engage me with a story! Make it my story, one I can relate to, identify with and emotionalize”.

 Stay tuned next week and we’ll explore the craft of storytelling. You soon will discover what matters most is giving your features and benefits context meaningful to your customer and delivering your core message with emotional impact. Wow! That was easy! Are you picturing the friendly “Staples” button right now? It’s a perfect example of a high touch/high concept in marketing communications today.

 Laura Connolly
Wellness Communications Specialist
Trendscapes Media
Serving Wellness Lifestyle & Culture