RNBFF- Can you take a wild guess what this is?

Have you been practicing your new mantras for the coming year? Just to remind you, the first two mantras are ABM- Always Be Marketing and DSD-Do Something Different.  Because most of us can only remember three key thoughts at one time there is only one more mantra to share with you.

RNBFF- Can you take a wild guess what this is?  Research is my New Best Friend Forever!  By now you have probably seen dozens of “trend reports” for 2010 for everything from cosmetics, functional foods, fitness trends, and of course the day spa industry. But what can you really do with that information?

I believe that consumer trends and especially consumer research data on buying patterns and motivators can help us all make better marketing and business decisions. The benefit for you is that it may save you money, increase your customer base and perhaps even save you heart burn by preventing some bad decisions.

Here is my take on what I think just one of the trend reports is trying to tell us. If we take the time to listen.  Remember-these are just my opinions based on what I have read and researched.

Pampering has gone the way of the dinosaur.  Reading the data from the fitness, wellness, and nutritional world tells me that clients are looking for PREVENTION and wellness services and support.  One of the most significant trends noted this year is the AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) 2009 Consumer Report noting that 32% of Americans are seeking massage for medical or health reasons.  For the first time stress reduction tied with relaxation as the top two reasons why people get a massage.

So what does that mean?  Massage is an important “gateway” service to a day spa. It remains the most popular of all day spa services. The first thing I would do is take a look at my menu and description of services and promote the wellness aspects of stress reduction and relaxation through massage. Forget about pampering-potential clients are looking for prevention strategies to manage their stress, remain mentally alert and healthy!

What else can you do with this information?  If stress reduction is a prime driver in seeking massage-ask yourself what other services do you offer that address this stated need?  It might be aromatherapy, yoga, foot reflexology, just about any other service that you offer.  Link this service s with your massage services and create “stress buster” packages. Use massage to introduce these additional services to your clients with every tool you have at your disposal!

Anything else?  Ask yourself who in your target demographic or area is most stressed. It may be mothers of pre-school children, new retirees, persons coping with chronic diseases, or teenagers. The target groups will be different depending on your target market and client group. Each of these groups has multiple ways to reach out to them to share the benefits of your services!  One of my clients has gained a new group of clients by offering short spa services during the hours that the “Mother’s Day Out” group meets at a local church.  The moms drop off the kids, then hit the spa for a short R & R break. Finishing just in time to pick the kiddies up. Needless to say-they are in a better mood than when they dropped them off!

Those are just a few of the ways that listening to what the trends and research reports have to say can be translated into great marketing  and client development ideas for your spa! Remember to practice your new mantra-Research is my New Best Friend Forever!

Patti Biro
Patti Biro and Associates
EM: biroassociates@aol.com
www.biroassociates.com

Approach your marketing & business promotion in a different way

By now I hope that you are wondering what my other Mantras for the coming year are!  If you read the last blog you know that every morning I begin the day by consciously thinking about marketing.   My first Mantra of the Year is ABM- Always Be Marketing.   My second Mantra is DSD- Do Something Different.

Remember the days of “broadcast faxing” as a way of getting the word out? Just like that is so “90’s” to us today I will bet many of the marketing ideas or strategies you are using-have long outlived their effectiveness. The truth is that you only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention-and we all respond to novelty.   Here are five tips to help get you thinking about approaching your marketing and business promotion in a different way.

    1.  Take a different route.  If you always drive to work and home the same way how will you see a new business, school or housing development where potential customers are? Vow to take a different route-even if you go slightly out of your way just to get a new perspective on things!

2.   Capitalize on your connections.  If you belong to a church, synagogue or social group ask yourself how you can develop this connection into a marketing opportunity. I recently read where the entire women’s ministry group held their retreat at a local day spa…with services of course!

 3.  Change your routine!  Are your clients working later and asking you to do the same? Changing your hours to meet your client’s needs first may help to ensure retaining those clients!  Ask your clients- they will tell you if they want earlier or later hours, shorter sessions or week-end appointments.  Consider offering short lunch hour sessions to encourage the working client!

4.   Not all marketing works all the time. Vow to try at least one new idea-an e-mail marketing campaign, host a “girls night out”, participate in a wedding or baby fair, host a “prom-prep” class at your spa, trying at least one new idea will lead to other great ideas!

5.   Benchmark!  How will you know if what you are doing is working? Yes I know this is hard-but if you take the effort to try a new strategy-you have to determine your measure of success from the beginning!  Before you begin-ask yourself “How will I know that this idea worked?”  Jot it down and refer to it daily while you are planning and practicing that new idea.

Go forth and practice those Mantras!  I recommend writing them on a sticky note and putting it on your bathroom mirror or the car dashboard so you see it frequently!

Patti Biro
Patti Biro and Associates
EM:  biroassociates@aol.com
www.pattibiro.com

A New Decade Awaits – Isn’t It Time to Bust Your Rut?

The last year has been difficult for many of us in many different ways. I know several people who were only too happy to host a “calendar burning” to symbolize the end of the year. I’d like to propose that we all take that thought one step further and begin the New Year and the New Decade by helping ourselves and others to banish the blues and bust out of our rut!

For myself- I am not making any resolutions, but I have given myself a few new Mantras to practice during the coming year. Most importantly I am going to take the time to look and reflect on “old habits” and replace them with new habits or behaviors. When our personal, emotional and financial resources are strained-we all have a tendency to just stay with these old systems, policies and ways of doing business.  So to get us off on the right foot for the next decade I am sharing some of the best ideas to bust out of a rut!

Mantra # 1- ABM- Always Be Marketing

5  New Marketing Strategies

1.  Attended a class? Send in a press release to your weekly or neighborhood newsletter. Local papers love to highlight local accomplishments and news items.  Send a picture too!

2.  Have you seen those “total vehicle” wraps which are a moving advertisement for a business? They are hard to miss!  If this is too dramatic for you-a couple of advertising car magnets will do. You will be surprised how many calls and questions from fellow drivers you will get! I recently got a new client while pumping my gas!

 3.   Contact your favorite local charity-ask to see the fundraising calendar for the year. One or more events will undoubtedly be a perfect match as partnership for your business. Whether it is the local animal shelter, food bank or health related group the potential for a mutually rewarding business opportunity is great.  If you volunteer- you will be exposed to a new group of potential clients. Think creative here-maybe you can offer your spa as a location for an event- or add value to an event already planned by providing on site chair massage, make overs or other services.  The possibilities are really endless and up to you!

4.  Reach out to a professional group or individual that you have “meant to call” this last year. This could be the local gym, Mothers of Pre-Schoolers Group, retired teachers group or a group that fits your target market. Make a contact; explore what you can offer each other.  At the worst you will have made one new contact-with the potential for many more and host of new referrals.

5.  New business cards??  Take a fresh look at your business cards…they are still one of the most effective and inexpensive marketing strategies!  Is the back of the card working too?  Has your message or focus changed?  Update that card and you will feel updated too!

Trying just one new strategy this week and saying the “Always Be Marketing” mantra will help you bust out of your rut and embrace the coming year!

Patti Biro
Patti Biro and Associates
EM:  biroassociates@aol.com
www.pattibiro.com

A challenging year is coming to an end and it is not too soon!

Now, the past year’s experience is not all bad if you put things in perspective. Hear me out;

  • For one, it forced us to get out of the mode of business as usual- because business as usual in a recession leads to losses, set backs, or worse, bankruptcy. Some business failed in 2009 due to no fault of their own, others could have made it if they had had a worse case scenario plan, better marketing, a financial cushion, less waste… because they were barely sustainable in the first place, but the owners and staff may not have been aware of their business’s weakness when the economy was good.
  • Second, employees and employers are working very closely to multiply marketing efforts, offer the very best services to clients, and reduce unnecessary expenses and waste – to stay in business and protect their families’ livelihood.
  • Third, the environment benefits; spas use the dryer less and air dry lab coats, turn off light in unused rooms reducing their carbon footprint and expenses. It is now fashionable to “brag” about saving energy. You no longer look cheap when you protect the environment and your pocket book! Let’s hope it will last!

I could list many other things, but you get the picture.

Fortunately most spas and vendors in our industry tweaked their business model quickly to survive the reduced income most faced. Good business acumen, determination, long hours and hard work, and a winning attitude save businesses in a downturn. Congratulations you made it; now get ready for 2010. There is no time to waste; you are not completely secure yet! (Sorry)

Now what is coming for 2010? I will not list the “mostly” good news about getting out of the recession; the news media does a good job at that. I will make one first suggestion for 2010: take time to reflect, analyze, and evaluate all aspects of your business. This includes inventories, services on your menu, staffing, marketing, communication, finance, and advertising. Speak with colleagues, marketing experts, finance/ accounting professionals, staff and vendors to get ideas, feedback, and advice as to how you can make 2010 an excellent year. Plan now, anticipate challenges, tackle the unknown, and you will be in the driver seat in 2010.”

Catherine Atzen, MBA
Cidesco Diplomat
Business Consultant
Direct: 408 353 2605 PST
Cell: 408 892 4570
Fax: 408 353 8517
catherineatzen@flash.net

Quick Fix

While bookings in hair and nail salons might be up around the holidays, spas may have reduced demand for facials and massages- the services that take an hour or plus because clients are squeezed for time.

 Spas report more last minute cancellations when their clients simply run out of time and tend to cut spa visit in favor of a holiday party or more shopping time. But there is positive news and potential revenues from services requiring little time: spas report an increase in last minute inquiries for services that offer a “QUICK FIX” to remedy the well known “after parties” skin conditions, dark circles, skin dehydration, and fatigue that shows on their faces, or aches their bodies. Due to the booked social calendars guests may favor shorter services. Here are a few tips on how you can increase revenues and the number of visits for 15 to 30 minutes spa visits.

  • De-stress 10, 20 and 30 minutes massages; chair massages are popular because guests do not have to change
  • Facial exfoliation and massage can make an express “freshness boost” before a party. Keep the service to no more than 25 minutes. You may include a shoulder massage, or hand and arm massage while the mask is on
  • Detox session for the eyes; refer to the eye treatment I referred to a couple of weeks ago. It includes a massage and eye products to reduce dark circles, lines and puffiness around the eyes
  • Lymphatic drainage massage on the face or body to detox, relax, hydrate and brighten the complexion
  • Sell a “holiday at home package” for the face, including 2 products such as an ampoule and a mask, for a quick “hydration  fix”
  • Sell a “spa ritual” bath kit or shower kit including an exfoliating product for the body and a body lotion

 Tell all your clients about those services, send e-mails, call clients, place signage in the windows, and promote them on your web site

Catherine Atzen, MBA
Cidesco Diplomat, NCEA
Business Consultant
Ph: 408 353 2605 PST
Em: catherineatzen@flash.net

Create differential advantage

Avoid looking like your competitors; by differentiating yourself you will appeal to other potential customers.

 A few ideas:

  • If you are building, redecorating, ask a consultant to help you do a market study to evaluate an untapped niche; for instance, the teen market may not get served in your community, or as I recently identified when advising a spa, the area had some of the most beautiful spas focusing on luxury and relaxing – my client chose to capture the untapped niche: therapeutic skin care that transforms the skin. She picked a high-end skin care line no other competitor spa carries, and focuses her business on aging and acne.
  • Carry a skin care line different from competitors and offer different services or add-ons. There is no need to spend 60000$ on a new machine, but a small investment in learning a new add-on service may pay off and get client’s attention. Example: eye treatment to reduce dark circles, puffiness and fatigue with a facial or a body wrap.
  • Offer such services, and don’t forget to offer one or two home care products to go along

 Catherine Atzen, MBA
Cidesco Diplomat
Business Consultant
Direct: 408 353 2605 PST
Cell: 408 892 4570
Fax: 408 353 8517
PO Box 1849
Los Gatos, CA 95031
catherineatzen@flash.net

Gift Certificates

 

Gift Certificates are a great way to increase cash flow and help business revenues.

You have 2 major events coming up:  Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Don’t miss out.

 Here are a few tips to market GC:

  • Word of mouth:  Have your staff tell all clients coming to the spa and on the Phone – GC make life easy!
  • Promote GC on your web site and get a shopping cart – so purchases are made online, can get sent to the recipient or the buyer.

Have beautiful certificates (printed from your computer on nice stock) and nice envelops or boxes

Make a very visible display of GC, a. Sign in the reception area, front window if you have a store front, b. a reminder in each treatment room as well as changing rooms and bathrooms.

To sell more in this challenging economy offer a gift with purchase or an extra coupon to the buyer. For instance: buy a GC for a facial and receive a 20$ coupon to use on retail or services. The gift can be given to the recipient or kept by the buyer. Let buyers decide; they like to make the choice.

Send e-mail blasts – more than one as repetition reminds them to buy.

Call your clients to offer GC and wish them happy holidays

 Mailings are an option but are costly.

Last – make the process easy;  let them extend or change the recipient etc.

It is all about value and service!

Catherine Atzen, MBA
Cidesco Diplomat, NCEA
Business Consultant
Ph: 408 353 2605 PST
Fax: 408 353 8517
Em: catherineatzen@flash.net