October 16th, 2014 • Posted by Stephany Toman • Permalink
Fortunately for the spa and salon industry, many people fully understand the benefits and enjoyment around receiving regular massages, facials, manis/pedis, and hair treatments. These people have either learned from friends in the know, or simply appreciate the value of care delivered in serene, well-designed settings by professional practitioners.
There are some out there, though, who need a nudge in the right direction. These people may have perfectly good reasons for reticence, but mostly they may feel like they need science to justify spending on themselves (spending time and/or money). I have friends who never 'got' how healthy massages are for us until they heard a spot on Oprah or read an article in a health magazine outlining the benefits. After that, they were converts...
The good news is, there is more literature than ever espousing the benefits of massage, foot care and skin care. Using articles (referencing them on your blog, or linking to them from a resources page on your website, for example) to add credibility to 'tangible' benefits of your services can help convince those who just haven't quite figured out what the rest of us embraced long ago - regular care by gifted professionals means feeling and looking better no matter what!
A quick search just netted two articles worth a view on the benefits of massage:
The Mayo Clinic published this piece, which is simple and straightforward, and provides some general information that may help the uninitiated feel more comfortable with massage as a beneficial addition to a healthy lifestyle.
The University of Maryland Medical Center published this overview, which contains definitions of the various modalities of massage we tend to encounter, as well as the health benefits imparted by same.
Foot care also falls into the realm of 'seems like an indulgence' until the health benefits are listed at which point pedicures move into the realm of the possible, and not just for aesthetic reasons. Everyone's feet can use a professional assessment from time to time, particularly if there is concern, as there may be in the case of diabetes or extreme athletics, that the feet are less healthy than they could be. From a diabetic perspective, keeping one's feet healthy is a very serious matter as the consequences of blisters, sores, fungal infections or other breaches of the healthy skin layer can present concerns, and a need for medical oversight and treatment. From an extreme athletics perspective, the feet take a beating, and the results can include damaged toe nails, significant callous buildup, as well as strain and stress on the toes and feet structures themselves, all of which can be identified by a professional pedicure.
Foot Vitals' Dr. Kelsey Armstrong has outlined the importance of regular foot care in overall health, as well as the benefits of professional pedicures to help identify and relieve potential issues.
Skin care is also a hot topic, and from a very simple and practical standpoint, regular skin care means someone other than you is assessing the health and well being of the largest organ on the body. Professional estheticians see what we might not - changes that may indicate a need for a visit with a dermatologist for follow up, as well as signs of health concerns or aging that can be addressed with any number of modern approaches.
While we can't win everyone over into the land of consistent spa, salon and skin care, we can use the power of information and the media to make the argument for us when all that's needed is just that little nudge to venture into a beneficial and rejuvenating place.
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October 14th, 2014 • Posted by Kathy Watts • Permalink
Yes, I know. The kids just went back to school and football season just started. It’s still warm outside and Halloween isn’t even here yet. But the holidays - they are looming on the horizon. And NOW is the time to start thinking about them.
The holidays are a busy time for everyone. Not only are you trying to run a business and promote it as a gift choice during the holidays, but you’re also trying to manage your personal life, with parties, shopping, and your own holiday preparations and celebrations. Planning for the holidays now gives you the time to really think about what you want to promote and accomplish this holiday season. It also gives you the time to create good packages and effectively promote your offerings and your business as a gift option. By having a plan in place now, it makes it easier on you and your staff to effectively carry out that plan. It also makes it easier to market your promos and events to your clients with enough advance notice for them to make the time in their schedule to shop or attend. Your clients are busy during the holidays too.
Here are some things to start thinking about and putting together before the holidays are upon us. Take the time to plan these things out now, while it’s still a bit slow. You’ll thank yourself come November.
Think about your holiday packages
The time to start thinking about your holiday packages is now. You want to make sure that these packages are attractive and offer good value to your customer, while also not putting your bottom line into the red. What will you be featuring? Special holiday-themed packages & products? Tried and true offerings? Take a look at what did well, and not so well, last year and then start designing your packages from there.
Don't forget to think about creating a few offerings for your stressed out clients during the month of December - maybe some mini-treatments to help them rejuvenate, de-stress, and spoil themselves a bit during the busy shopping/party time of December. A quick 15 or 30 minute mini-treatment could be a great quick break for your clients while they are rushing around running errands and getting their holiday shopping done.
Plan out your Holiday Campaigns!
What will you be promoting and when will those campaigns go out? It’s better to decide this now and start putting your holiday promotions schedule together. Once you have your holiday packages and offerings put together, start creating your holiday promotions and get them on your calendar and entered into your SpaBoom account.
Think about how you want to use your social media outlets to keep your followers engaged during the holidays. This could be as easy as creating posts that encourage interaction, such as “What is your favorite holiday tradition?” or What is your dream holiday destination?” or you could create a set of holiday mini-tips to post that offer your clients advice on managing the holidays while still looking and feeling great.
What about all the other holidays?
Don't just think about Christmas - Consider all the other holidays to celebrate in the final quarter of the year and all the different ways your clients celebrate (from Thanksgiving and Hanukkah to celebrating small businesses on Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday offers). There are so many different holidays to celebrate during that time of the year. Find out what are your clients celebrating and market your holiday offerings to those holidays.
Are you Having a Party?
Do you want to host a holiday event (or multiple events)? Now is the time to start planning and promoting that event. The Saturday after Thanksgiving (Small Business Saturday) or a Holiday Open House in December are great opportunities to promote your business and offerings, while also saying thank you to your loyal clients. But you will need the time to plan out and market this so don’t put it off. Get started on your party planning now!
Consider Holiday Logistics
Take some time to think about some of the unique logistics that the higher traffic and sales of the holidays create. Do you need to stock up on extra product for the holiday? Or need to order decorations, signage, extra gift wrap supplies, or holiday collateral? Now is the time to think about getting those orders in. It’s better to think about these things now and get them handled before the rush starts. Nobody wants to be rushing around at the last minute trying to get more supplies in. That only creates stress and extra expense. Give some thought to whether your staff will need additional training on new services, packages, and products that you plan to feature during the holiday season. That training should happen before the holiday madness starts. Make sure you get that scheduled.
Will your staffing needs change during the holidays and the month of January?
As holiday traffic and business increases with gift packages and rising demands for regular services (during this festive party season), will you need to increase staffing or extend your hours? Consider how you will staff your business during the holidays and into January to ensure that you can effectively provide the regular services your clients expect as well as the demand for additional services that gift packages and increased gift certificate sales generate.
By taking some time to plan out the holiday season now, you’ll be ahead of the game when November rolls around. And that will mean you can focus on delivering the best possible experience to your clients and providing amazing gift ideas and options rather than running around trying to pull your holiday campaign together. It will make everyone’s holidays a lot more joyful.
*** This article is part of our “Time for a Tune Up” series, designed to help you tune up your business practices, get ready for the holidays, and think about your business and marketing strategies, both for the rest of this year and heading into 2015.
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October 1st, 2014 • Posted by Kathy Watts • Permalink
These days, just having a Facebook page and Twitter account is not enough. They shouldn’t just be an afterthought, or something you signed up for because you thought your business should have them. They also shouldn’t just be a place to advertise your specials.
People spend more time on social media than they do watching television, so making sure your business is not only present but offering interesting and engaging posts is more important than ever. People are looking for engagement and benefits from liking your page. Social media should be a place where you create and foster a community. That community then becomes a captive audience and a strong contingent of your regular customers.
Now is a great time of the year to tune up your social media pages & rethink your social media strategy. Here are some things to consider:
First, Do a Bit of Housekeeping
Here are a few initial places to start off the housekeeping on your page:
- Is your contact information (phone number, address, & website) correct? Have you entered your business hours and are they accurate? Is your About section filled out and up to date?
- Make sure your Facebook page is a business page and not just a profile. Not only is it more professional, it also doesn’t violate Facebook’s policies. If someone can “Friend” your page, then you have a profile. A Business page can only be “Liked”.
- Do you have a cover photo and profile picture? Studies show that users are drawn to pages with photos. Make sure your page has them and they are sized to fit properly.
What makes a good post? Trends in Posting
More and more people are spending more and more time on social media, and they aren't just on there to watch videos of cats. They are there looking for inspiration, engagement, and to feel like part of a community. So make your page the sort of place that provides that sort of experience, rather than just a spot to check out your specials. Inspire them with tips and information about how to achieve a more beautiful and healthy lifestyle. Engage them with questions that encourage interaction. The trend in posting to social media is moving towards shorter, more frequent communications, with a focus on visual. This is the perfect place to test out your brand voice and personality (two topics we’ve covered recently here on the blog). The best posts create and foster a sense of community and initiate conversations.
Consumers continue to become more and more visual, and they are drawn to posts with images. So think about incorporating more visuals into your posts. All of the social media platforms are set up to incorporate photos or videos into your posts, so posting with photos is now easier than ever.
Consider using Video
YouTube has more viewers than cable television. Used effectively, video is a great way to connect with even more of your clients or prospective customers. Plus, with the Facebook algorithm, users who watch videos will start to see more videos in their feeds, which means your posts will show up more frequently if they include photos and videos. Video can be a great tool for sharing tips with your followers or introducing them to your staff.
Create a Series
Series are a great way to generate interest and also a way to bring followers back again, to check out the next installment. It’s also a great way to set your business up as an expert, or to help foster your brand identity online by helping your followers get to know your business better.
A great idea for a series is to answer your five most asked questions in little videos. Then share them on your social media outlets in a weekly series & make a landing page on your website that features them as well. Or create an Ask the Expert series where followers can post questions and you post a video response/tutorial once a week.
Should you add another outlet?
Facebook and Twitter are still the kings of social media. But there are lots of other platforms out there that continue to grow in popularity. Now might be a good time to think about adding another to the mix. Consider Google+, the fastest growing of the social networks. Experts predict that it will only continue to grow and its users are very active. It could be a great third social media outlet to add to your marketing plan.
There are also quite a few social media platforms that are a bit more specialized, such as LinkedIn for business contacts, Pinterest for pinning fave photos and links to websites/articles, Instagram for posting snapshots, and Vine for posting short 6 second videos. It’s worth evaluating these to determine whether any of them will provide added benefit to your social media strategy.
Now more than ever, having a strong social media marketing strategy is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing plan. Make sure you keep it up to date and invest the time and effort to make it useful and interesting for your followers. You’ll see that commitment reflected in your bottom line.
*** This article is part of our “Time for a Tune Up” series, designed to help you tune up your business practices, get ready for the holidays, and think about your business and marketing strategies, both for the rest of this year and heading into 2015. It’s not too early to start thinking ahead, and now is the time to start preparing for even more success.
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