Online Marketing for Spas
Talk to successful spas, salons and massage therapists who focus on online marketing, you'll find a great — and increasingly critical — way to grow your business. But for many spa owners, going online is a whole new challenge.
This spa online marketing primer will quickly guide you in the right direction.
Being successful marketing your business online is summed up by two things:
- Traffic: attracting visitors to your website
- Conversion: turning those visitors into clients, either by booking appointments or selling gift certificates. Since website design is so crucial to conversion, we've created a separate Spa Website Design Guide!
Your Spa's Website
Think of your website as a guide taking visitors on a road trip. It’s your website's responsibility to help them find the right destination. What’s that? Becoming a client, of course! You want them to end their trip by scheduling a service or buying an Instant Gift Certificate.
It's an art form, designing an elegant, beautiful website which embodies the essence of your spa — but at the same is effective at converting visitors to clients.
- Don't get sold an advertising agency style website — one that looks great, but takes forever to come up and is impossible to use. Your online presence will just be a flash in the pan.
- Website design is crucial to conversion — make sure you follow the principles in our Spa Website Design Guide.
- Make sure your website is search-engine friendly and that your web designer passes the SEO test.
- User experience matters — it will drive your conversion rate. It's actually very easy to sell more online.
Search Engine Optimization
Spas, salons, massage therapists — they are all local businesses. And therefore, your search engine optimization (SEO) techniques must be tuned for the kind of traffic valuable to you: potential clients in your area, or a gift giver purchasing for someone in your area.
First, a warning: be very careful in hiring any SEO company, particularly one that uses email or telemarketing to sell you. It's an area filled with over-promising and under-delivering.
SEO starts with keywords, the phrases people type into search engines, e.g. "Chicago spas" or "Lincoln Park, IL massage".
- Choose keywords for which you can be competitive. If you're in the Chicago area, unless you have a long, well-established web presence, you probably don't want to compete for "Chicago spas". Much more realistic to target the specific areas of Chicago that you serve.
- Always include a geographic limiting part to your keyword. You're
only interested in visitors looking for your service in your area.
- Don't limit yourself to the obvious keywords of "your city spa" and "your city massage" — go after your specialties that distinguish you from the competition, like sports massage, facials, waxing, body treatments, etc.
- Use the Google Keyword Tool to find potential keywords; the "Keyword popularity" data is particularly useful for judging the search volume for a keyword vs. how much competition is targeting that keyword.
Optimize Your Home Page
Pick your top one or two keywords, and then optimize your home page for them:
- Include the keywords in your page title. Headlines in the content are losing their SEO power, so write for your audience and don't worry about stuffing in keywords.
- Include the keywords again in the main content of your home page.
- Varying how you use your keywords:
- "The best massage in Lincoln Park, IL"
- "We're located in the historic neighborhood of Lincoln Park; massage is one of our client's favorite treatments"
- The key is to make your writing natural while still including your keywords. Remember, your real audience is your visitors, not the search engines.
What About the Rest of Your Keywords?
Use internal pages on your website to target the rest of your keywords, developing content specific to those keywords.
- Choose only one or two keywords per page.
- Include them in your page title and the URL of the page, i.e. www.myspa.com/chicago-facials. Use dashes between words in your page names, and not underscores (Google doesn't see the underscores as delineating separate words).
- Write content focused on those keywords; for example, write a page just on your great facials.
Change is Good
Regularly updating your website signals to Google that your business is active and relevant.
- Post your current events and promotions on your home page. SpaBoom makes this easy with events and built-in marketing campaigns.
- Every month, add a new page to your website targeting new keywords with in-depth content. For example, delve into a new modality that you offer, describing the experience and benefits, and the techniques used.
- Start a blog! But only if you're willing to commit to make at least one posting every week. For our purposes, a blog on another domain like Blogger.com or Wordpress.com doesn't count — it has to be on our your website's domain to get the real SEO benefit. Blogging is built-in to Dynamic Spa Websites.
Content on your website is not enough — you need other websites to link to yours. And not just any website — those that are relevant, because they're either about your area or about spas.
- Get free listings in spa directories like Joy of Spa, Spa Emergency and DiscoverSpas.
- Sign up with SpaFinder.
- Ask for links from all the associations to which you belong, particularly local ones, e.g. Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce.
- Develop links with businesses with which you have a real relationship. Do more than just a link: add a paragraph to your website including the link. For example, describe the bed and breakfast down the street on your site, and ask them to do the same in return.
- Just ignore the vast majority of reciprocal link requests. Random reciprocal links won’t help your search engine placement, and may actually hurt it.
- Connect with local websites and blogs.
- Send out press releases on a regular basis; include your website and use the free online distribution of a company like PRWeb. Announce your great new Instant Gift Certificate capability!
- Don't use a service or company that promises you tons of links with no effort. It was a trick that worked years ago, but no longer.
Local Search Listings
Make sure you're listed and your information is up-to-date in the local search engines. Doing so will ensure that your website gets a higher priority for being verified information, and confirmation of standings will improve your standing in local searches by proving Search Engines with accurate location information relative to the searcher's location, meaning they can find you quickly and easily! Also, Google and Bing will indicate, during searches, whether your location is actually open for business at the time of the search.
- For Google Local, go to “How do I add my business to Google Maps?” to learn how or go directly to the Google Local Business Center to do it. Google now allows anyone to edit information for local businesses, so it's critical that you claim your business on Google.
- Claim your spa's place on Facebook Places. It's another way for you to be found, and your clientele can "check in" on Facebook to make all of their friends jealous.
- Add your spa in Yahoo’s Local Listings. They make “Featured Listings” look just like AdWords, so the free basic listing is sufficient.
- Microsoft gets it’s local listings from another company: go to Localeze to add or update your listing.
- GetListed.org is a handy tool for checking your business listings.
Consistency in how your business is listed across different websites increases the search engines' trust that they have the right information about your business.
- After changing locations, get as many old listings to update with your new information as possible.
- Listings or mentions on websites that include your current address, even if they don't link to your website, are valuable for increasing the search engines' trust factor.
- Facebook isn't just for kids anymore. Your clients are there, and you need to be, too. Follow our 6 Steps to Set Up a Facebook Page.
- Are you using your personal Profile page for your spa? Convert it to a Page.
- Create a Facebook vanity URL for your spa.
- Setup an account on Twitter just for your spa.
- Consider offering Facebook/Twitter only specials to encourage people to connect with you. SpaBoom's Referral Codes create specials just for social media.
- Develop a posting habit: update your events in SpaBoom to automatically have your website, Facebook and Twitter pages up-to-date.
Personal recommendations have always been important in choosing a spa, massage therapist or aesthetician. Online, that translates to reviews on local search engines.
- First of all, you need reviews! Encourage your best clients to go online and write reviews. CitySearch and Yelp are always a good place to start.
- Use Google Local, which pulls reviews from multiple places, to see how your competition is doing and to get a feel for where you need to be. Do a search for “category: Spas Beauty & Day” and your city.
- The best defense against a negative review (or an unethical one), is to have lots of great reviews.
- Encourage your clients to review you on Joy of Spa, where you can choose which reviews to highlight.
Online Advertising for Spas
- Spa directories can be a great source of business. We're partial to Joy of Spa, of course, which has the advantage of being pay-for-performance — the only cost is when you've already sold something. Check out SpaFinder, Spa-Addicts and Spa Index — we have clients that have gotten great results from them.
- With Google AdWords, your text ad appears for the keywords you buy, and you pay every time someone clicks on your ad (hence, "pay-per-click").
- Consider advertising on CitySearch, particularly if no other spa in your area is doing so. Measure results to make sure your ad spend is performing.
Don't Forget About the Real World
This is a guide about online marketing, but a great way to boost your online presence is to include your spa's website in all of your other marketing:
- Print your website address on everything — bags, business cards, promotional tent cards displayed around product and service areas.
- Paint your website address on your door (right under your phone number.
- Include your website in all your ads. If you advertise special promotions, consider using landing pages in your ads.
- Include your website in your voicemail greeting — and tell clients that they can purchase Instant Gift Certificates online.
- Train staff to mention to clients your great online capabilities.
- Print your website address on private label products.
- Encourage clients to visit your website by offering online-only specials — and then promote it in-store.
- Include Instant Gift Certificate samples in retail bags so your clients can see how pretty they are.
- Use a tent card at your front desk to tell everyone that Instant Gift Certificates are available on your website.
- Use Instant POP. It is under the Marketing tab when you log
into SpaBoom. Instant POP (short for "point of purchase") are templates for 8.5
X 11 signs you can print for your business. We have several sign templates pre-built
for holidays, birthdays and anniversaries but you can easily modify what we
write or create your own from scratch. They automatically show your logo and
web address. Our top sellers have multiple POP displays in
There is a certain beauty in online marketing — you can tell what actually works! For example, SpaBoom Dynamic Websites include analysis reports that shows you the source of your website traffic and the conversion rate of visitors to clients.
Look at your web stats once a month. For online advertising, be ruthless — spend more where you're getting conversion and cut off ads that aren't producing sales (even if you get traffic).