What the Net Neutrality Ruling Means for You

February 27, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

binary dataOn Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to implement a new net neutrality policy designed to ensure that internet service providers treat all legal content equally.

The policy, called the Open Internet Order, requires internet service providers to act as neutral gateways rather than a gatekeeper who handle access to different types of internet content in different ways or, more importantly, at different costs.

What does this mean for the small business owner?

It means you will be ensured equal access. The new regulations will ensure that all information you want to access on the internet (from webpages to audio, video, and other formats) will be treated equally by internet service providers. Internet service providers (ISPs) will not be able to discriminate against content by blocking it or slowing down its delivery through slower transmission feeds while charging for faster lanes of their internet network.

That means that your small business has as much access to the internet as a huge corporation. It means that your customers (& potential customers) will be able to locate and visit your website and that the site will load for them as quickly and easily as it does today.

The new policy bans three key things that help protect both consumers and you as a small business owner.

  • No blocking – Broadband providers cannot block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No throttling - Broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Paid Prioritization – Broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration — in other words, no ‘fast lanes.’ This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing the content and services of their affiliates.

So what happens next?

The new policy will go into effect in 60 days. Several ISPs have threatened litigation over the new policy, and there is also a movement in Congress to make net neutrality part of an updated version of the Telecommunications Act. That legislation would ban paid prioritization but would stop short of treating broadband like a utility.

Once again, as small business owners, all of us need to speak up and become part of the conversation.

Maintaining a Healthy Brand in 2015

February 25, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

Branding Word ConceptYou’ve put a lot of work into building your brand and it is an important part of your business identity. But you can’t just neglect your brand now that you’ve created it. It needs a bit of regular maintenance in order to keep it healthy. You do such a great job of helping your clients look their best and maintain their health.

Here are a few key things to do in order to keep your brand and your business happy, healthy, and growing:

Keep offering all those amazing services (& think about adding a few new ones)

Your clients come to you for a reason: You’re good at what you do. Keep up the good work. Make sure your services menu is up to date and that your staff is still receiving the necessary training to continue to offer consistent services. And take some time to talk to your staff and clients about any new trends or treatments that they’d like to see you offer.

Keep providing excellent customer service

Your clients are loyal to your brand for a lot of reasons. And one of the biggest ones is your fantastic customer service. They know that whenever they have an interaction with your company it is going to be a positive one, especially if they have a question or a problem. Excellent customer service not only helps you maintain loyal existing customers, it also helps you bring in new clients due to your stellar reputation. So keep up the good work!

Put Your Strategic Marketing Plan into Play   

Remember that marketing plan you put together last year? You know, the one we talked about way back in October of last year, in preparation for 2015?  Well, have you implemented that plan yet? If not, pull it out and get started. A strategic marketing plan makes it easy to plan out your marketing calendar and allows you to create more effective promotions throughout the year. Didn’t have time to put one together yet? Check out our post: What will you do in 2015? and get started.

By doing a few key things on a regular basis, you can easily maintain the health of your brand. Plan out some time on a weekly basis to pay attention to what is going on with your brand, evaluate what is working and what is not, and then be ready with a plan in place for your marketing and planning needs. By maintaining the health of your brand, your business will keep on thriving.

Why Blogging Is Good For Your Business

February 17, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

Blog Media Showing Weblog WebsiteWe’re all so busy running our businesses. There is only so much time in the day and so many different important tasks to handle.  It can be difficult to decide what is worth our time and effort and what is not. Blogging is one of those things that is well worth the time and effort. Here are four benefits of blogging on your website.

Blogging can establish you as an expert

Posting blog articles about things you know, whether it is the benefits of massage or how to do a proper blowout at home, is a great way to set you up as an expert in your field. Making your website a resource that your clients and others go to for advice or expert information is a great way to drive more traffic to your site.

Blogging can help improve your SEO

Want to show up earlier and higher in search engine results? One of the best ways to do that is to consistently add new content to your site. The best way to do that is by blogging. Even posting twice a month can help improve your search results. And, by driving more traffic to your site, you are not only improving your SEO, but you’ll also start to see your customer base grow.

Blogging can help you build relationships with your clients

Blogging can be a great way to establish a relationship with your clients, and then to continue to foster and grow that relationship. If your clients feel like they can go to your site for information, tips, or advice that contributes to strengthening the relationship they have with your business. A strong relationship is a huge deciding factor when clients are choosing a place to bring their business.

Blogging gives your clients and followers something to share on social media

If you are posting good information on your website in a shareable format, your clients and followers will share that information on Facebook and Twitter, for all their friends, family, & followers to see. This is a great way to expand your client base.

Blogging is an activity that does not take a lot of time each week but can have a huge payoff in so many ways. Make an effort to incorporate blogging into your annual marketing schedule. Even just two posts a month can make all the difference, and with your SpaBoom Marketing Suite, blogging is built right in. Now get out there and blog.

How Well Is Social Media Working for You?

February 10, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

magnifyThe new year is always a great time to take a look at what you did last year, analyze what worked and what didn’t work, and use that information to plan out your strategy for the rest of this year. With Valentine’s Day coming up fast, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to leverage your social media and make this holiday successful.

Now is a great time to see what worked and what didn’t work over the Valentine’s Day period last year as well as the rest of 2014. It’s also a great time to analyze your social media posts from 2014 using Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics.

Did you know that you can pull reports that show you detailed information on your social media accounts and how they performed in 2014, or over a certain holiday period last year, such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day?

Did you know that you can pull reports on your FB insights page?

  • On your business page, click on the “Insights” tab across the top. From there, you can click on “Export” which can be found on the upper right corner – just to the far right of where you clicked on Insights and just below your name or page name.
  • Once you click Export, a new pop up window will open and you can select the parameters of the report you would like to run.
  •  Select the Data Type you would like to see. There are three types:
    • Page
    • Post
    • Video
  • Select the Date Range you would like to look at
  • Select the File Format you would like to see your report in. For most purposes, you will want to select Excel.
  • Once you’ve selected all the parameters, just click on “Export Data”. Your report will be generated and a window will pop up giving you the option of opening the report or saving it to your computer.

From there, you can see how many new likes your page received in 2014. You can also take a look at what posts received the most likes or shares. From there, you can analyze whether certain types of posts do better than others. For example, on my page, posts with an image or video tend to get more likes and shares. This can help you plan out posts for this year in order to increase shares and likes on your page.

You can also view stats on Twitter

Twitter also gives you the opportunity to generate and print reports for tweet analysis.

To view Twitter Analytics, go to: https://analytics.twitter.com/ . From here, you can view statistics about your tweets, including information on impressions and engagements. To run a report in Twitter Analytics, just press the “Export Data” button close to the top right corner of the page.

Twitter Analytics allows you to take a look at how each type of tweet performed. Maybe your most popular tweets are articles from other places that you shared or retweets of things. Perhaps your top tweets include photos or videos. Analytics will help you determine what is and what is not working for you on Twitter.

Things to take a look at and think about when planning your social media for 2015:

  • Best times to post to reach your audience based on analytics and insights. Insights can show you when your target audience is online. Use this information to schedule posts for peak hours of the day or week.
  • What sort of posts gave you the best interactions – photos, videos, shared articles, blog posts, etc. This is useful to know when planning out the types of posts you want to share going forward into 2015. By knowing what gets the most interaction, you can drive more activity on your page.

By taking the time to analyze how your social media performed last year, you can set yourself up for even more social media success this year. Take some time today to study your data.

Not sure how to check your Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics? Check out the articles we posted about them last year:

Are You Looking At Facebook Insights?

What Can Twitter Analytics Do For You?

Don’t Get Shot Down By Cupid!

February 3, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

arrowValentine’s Day is coming up fast! And with only two weeks to go before the big day it’s time to make sure you have everything in place. Don’t let Cupid shoot you down this Valentine’s Season. Be sure to let your clients know that you’re here to make their Valentine’s so much easier with all the wonderful gift ideas you’re offering.

From romantic couples massages, to indulgent skin and body treatments, or breathtaking hair styling or makeup services for the big night out, show them all the different ways you can help them with gift giving this Valentine’s season. These days, giving someone an experience is so much more popular than just an item. Make sure you remind your clients and followers of all the wonderful experiences you have to offer. And, of course, there is always the gift that is perfect for everyone’s special someone: Instant Gift Certificates so they can pick their own experience.

No matter what love potions you’ve created, now is the time to let your clients know what you’re offering and make it easy for them to purchase it all online. Here are the things you should already have in place for this Valentine’s Day. And if you don’t, then it’s time to get started.

You should already have your Valentine’s packages and promotions created. Make sure your service menu is up to date with your Valentine’s offerings so your clients can easily purchase them for their special someone.

Check your Instant Gift Certificate links (on your website, social media, and in email campaigns) to make sure they are working properly. And while you’re at it, take a minute to look at your gift certificate designs and make sure you have the right ones for Valentine’s Day in your offerings. If not, you can log into your SpaBoom account and add a few more.

Make sure your email campaigns are generated and scheduled, ready to be sent out over the next couple of weeks. Let your followers know that you’re here to provide them with the perfect experience for their loved one’s Valentine’s gift.

Social media is always a great place to talk to your clients. Use it this season to share your specials and promos, or to provide last minute gift options. You can schedule all of your social media posts from your SpaBoom account. Make sure they’re scheduled and ready to go out. And remember: people are more likely to click on posts with photos, so make sure you attach a photo to all those posts as well.

Now that you’re ready to go, be sure to promote the convenience to your clients and followers, both online and in person at your location. After all, what you have to offer is definitely the right gift for your clients’ loved ones.

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Make sure you’re ready for the Season of Love.

Ways to Make Your Business More Efficient

January 28, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

Business office networking and communicationRunning a small business in this economy can be challenging. You need to run your business as efficiently as possible in order to remain competitive in the marketplace. Here are a few things you can do to make your business run even more efficiently.

Don’t expand too quickly.

Your business is successful because you’ve got the proper workflow, staffing, and systems in place. But if you expand too quickly, you may not give yourself enough time to evaluate these workflows and determine if they will work on a larger scale. But expanding slowly, you give yourself the time to ensure that all the workflows, systems, and technology is scalable.

Streamline your workflows

By testing and regularly tweaking your workflows to be more efficient, you will save you and your staff time and money in the long run. Workflows should never be implemented until they are tested and all of your staff should understand how they work and why they exist. Your staff is also your greatest resource for testing and improving workflows. Listen to their feedback.

Cross train your staff

Training can increase your employees knowledge and comfort level in their own job. But cross training your employees so they can perform other tasks or cover other positions in the company can make your business even more efficient. It also increases employee satisfaction and retention. An employee who feels you are invested in their professional growth is less likely to leave the company. Employees who feel valued and have the knowledge and resources to do multiple jobs means you can focus more resources on growing your business and less on training new hires.

Be communicative with your staff

Maintain open lines of communication with your staff. Don’t make them wonder what the thinking is behind workflows or company decisions and don’t let them hear it second hand. Involve them in discussions about the company vision and listen to them when they have thoughts or ideas on improving the business. A company will run much more efficiently if everyone is always on the same page.

In the long run, making your business more efficient will save you time and money. Take some time to look at your business plan and evaluate where you can implement these changes to streamline how your business runs.

Looking Back, Planning Ahead

December 23, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

planningYou’re in the midst of the last significant revenue generating opportunity of the year, so you may not be thinking yet about 2015 planning, but you should begin the process. Marketing is dynamic, which doesn’t mean that change for change sake should be your goal, but instead that adapting to fluctuating audience preferences makes solid business sense.

There is no place for rigid thinking when it comes to promotion, even if your preferred premise is simplicity and consistency. Flexibility and simplicity are not mutually exclusive, in fact, they complement one another beautifully!

Points to ponder as 2014 winds down and 2015 waits in the wings:

  • What worked for you in 2014?
  • Did one or more of your marketing promotions produce particularly good results? What element of that campaign did the trick, in your estimation?
  • What seemed like a good idea but didn’t work so well?
  • Have you added new products or services that deserve promotion?
  • Have you dropped products or services over the last year?
  • Do you have a vision for 2015? A theme, perhaps? A desire to reposition or reinforce your marketing messaging?

No doubt you’re getting the drift of what I’m saying, here. Between juggling client appointments, ensuring great services continue to be delivered in your spa, salon, massage therapy or esthetics practice, allow your mind to wander into the marketing realm and begin the assessment, adjustment, and planning you’ll need to lay the foundation for a successful 2015.

Holiday Hours

December 18, 2014 Janell Loving permalink

holidaysOur customer service technicians will be available on  Wednesday, December 24th, from 8am – 3pm Mountain. We will be closed on Christmas Day, Thursday December 25th.

We will also provide customer support on New Year’s Eve, from 8am – 3pm Mountain, and will be closed New Year’s Day, January 1st.

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season!

Team SpaBoom

Are You Sending Mixed Messages?

December 15, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

messagesIn this day and age, with so many different places to interact with your clients, it can be difficult to maintain consistency. Email, social media, your website, the telephone, and your actual physical location – you interact with your clients in so many different ways and it can be difficult to maintain consistent branding and messaging across all these platforms. What can you do to not send mixed messages? And why is consistency so important anyway?

Your brand is the representation of your business, and any communications you send on its behalf are representing your business as well. It’s fine to have varying messages or versions of your voice, depending on who your specific target audience is. You want to make sure you tailor things to match the audience. But you want to make sure that all your communications have consistency and fully represent your overall brand and voice.

Consistency helps breed trust in your brand. And that positive gut feeling that your potential and regular clients have about your brand is what will drive their purchasing decisions. So using consistency to create and maintain a positive feeling about your brand will ultimately help build your business. It’s also comforting to clients for them to know what sort of experience they will have when they deal with your company. Make sure it is a positive one.

So what are some things you can do to maintain consistency?

Make sure your branding is consistent
Your clients should be able to recognize your brand across all platforms. Logos and color schemes should be consistent whether your client is receiving an email or visiting your Facebook page.

Keep your voice and message consistent across all platforms of communication
Maintaining a consistent message across all social media platforms & email communications make your message even more powerful. This is not to say that every single outlet should have exactly the same format or exactly the same message. Obviously, your messages need to be specifically geared towards the channel you are using (whether it is email, print, or social media). But you want your overall message to be a consistent one that supports your branding, and it should be in a voice that is recognizable as your brand’s voice.

Provide Excellent Customer Service
Make sure you are providing excellent customer service to your clients. It establishes trust and cultivates loyalty. Consistency means that your clients will always know what to expect when they deal with your business, whether it is online or in person. Consistency here also means that your clients will feel comfortable recommending you to family and friends, because they will feel confident in the experience and level of service they are recommending.

Create Clear and Standardized Business Policies
Consistency in your day to day operations makes your business run smoother. It also makes your business more easily scalable as you grow. So make sure you provide consistency to your employees through clear and standardized policies. They should always know what to expect and how they will be treated. Maintaining this sort of transparency with your employees increases the level of trust and engagement. Employees who are secure in their position and know what to expect (and what is expected of them) are much more engaged in growing the business and providing a high level of service. Clear business policies also help you and your employees provide the best customer experience possible, because they have consistent guidelines to follow. This helps inspire trust and loyalty.

Consistency is the key to building a strong brand that your customers will come to trust. By properly implementing it into your business and communication practices, you will find it much easier to not only run your business, but to create a strong brand identity. Both of these things also translate into more regular sales growth.

Spa Trends for 2015

December 12, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

spa2015 will be here before we know it. As we look forward to the new year, here are some of the hottest trends in spa for 2015.

Wellness and Preventive Treatments
Consumers will continue to focus on wellness and treatments that help them support good health and well being in the coming years, whether it is treatments designed to protect your skin and hair from environmental damage, or wellness massage packages. The key interest is going to be on treatments that support health and prevent problems rather than just addressing issues once they become problematic.

Customizable Treatments
Consumers love the idea of couture treatments. And we will continue to see growth in treatments and services that have a customizable aspect to them. Whether it is picking the essential oils to be used in a massage, or choosing the focus of a facial, everyone loves to feel like the treatment they are receiving is as unique and special as they are.

DIY Treatments
Consumers are always looking for ways to extend their treatments and have them last longer. At the same time, they are also looking for ways to make a spa lifestyle more affordable. DIY treatments that they can do themselves at home are a rapidly growing segment of the spa and salon industry. Whether it is customized hair color that they can take home to touch up their roots or a special facial mask that will help them extend the benefits of their facial, there are many different opportunities for creating DIY treatments.

Green treatments
People are paying more attention to living a green, environmentally friendly lifestyle and this translates over into their spa treatments as well. As we continue into 2015, you will see a rising demand for green treatments and products made with organic ingredients by companies who are ecologically responsible. Consumers will also be paying more attention to whether your business has implemented environmentally friendly practices such as water conservation, use of organic ingredients, and proper disposal of chemicals.

De-stressing treatments
This is such a fast paced world we live in and it seems we’re all suffering from stress. Consumers are constantly on the lookout for ways to de-stress and recharge. Whether it is through massage or a specific skincare treatment designed to de-stress and detox the skin, treatments involving a de-stressing element or catering to consumer’s need to recharge will continue to be popular in 2015.

Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy has always been a popular aspect of spa, primarily as an add-on to other spa treatments. But as people start to recognize the many benefits of hydrotherapy, we’ll see a lot more demand for hydrotherapy and wet body treatments in the coming year.

Mini Treatments
Time is a hot commodity in today’s world. Nobody seems to have enough of it. Mini treatments can mean the difference between getting in some spa time or having to give it up due to lack of scheduling and budget concerns. It can be a great way to fill in small spaces in your calendar, feature new treatments that consumers aren’t ready to commit more time to, or provide the opportunity for clients to fit more spa time into their busy schedules. Having mini-treatments as an option on your spa menu can mean big bucks in 2015.

Treatments for Men
Men are a huge demographic who are becoming more aware of the value of taking better care of themselves. In 2015, we will see even more men looking for treatments geared towards them and their specific needs. From high-end barber services to facials and massage, the demand for treatments designed for men will continue to grow.

Group Experiences
Spa and salon has typically been focused on individual treatments. But a growing trend is toward encompassing a more social group aspect into the spa world. From mini classes on health and wellness topics to more group treatments (such as massage or manicures), the opportunity to come together as a group for learning and pampering will be one more and more consumers continue to seek out.

Spa for the Whole Family
Everyone is always looking for more ways to spend time with their families. The spa world is not well known for incorporating family into treatment time, but creating a place for families on your spa menu could be a game changer.  It could be something as simple as providing childcare services while parents enjoy some spa time or offering spa treatments for teens and kids. Regardless, busy parents are always grateful for a way to spend time with their families and pamper themselves at the same time.

Take some time and think about how you can incorporate one or more of these into your spa menu for the new year. Capitalizing on these trends can help improve your revenue in the new year, especially if you come up with unique offerings for your area that address some of these wants.