Important Information Re: Stripe Payments

May 1, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

terminal płatniczyStripe has confirmed that they have begun moving customers to 2-day processing, with the eventual intent of moving everyone to that processing time frame. Stripe will be rolling out the 2-day processing to customers in segments, and will be sending email notifications once an account has been changed.

In the meantime, current processing time remains at 7 days for the majority of customers. There will continue to be a 7-day hold time for new accounts, but that will then move to a 2-day processing schedule once the customer is considered established.

Please contact us if you have questions. We’re happy to help!

No Heartbleeding Here!

April 22, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

Stop virus - purple virus in red alert signJust what IS that Heartbleed virus?

First of all, it’s not technically a virus, it’s a security flaw, but for all intents and purposes the virus label has stuck and is continuing to be used to describe this computer bug which takes advantage of a weakness that has always existed in most secure websites, allowing your supposedly safely guarded information to leak on the Internet. This has been happening since, 2012, in fact.

Per Wikipedia (yes, this can have its limitations, but in this case the synopsis is helpful):

Heartbleed is a security bug in the open-source OpenSSL cryptography library, widely used to implement the Internet’s Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. This vulnerability results from a missing bounds check in the handling of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) heartbeat extension,[3] the heartbeat being behind the bug’s name.[4] A fixed version of OpenSSL was released on April 7, 2014, at the same time as Heartbleed was publicly disclosed.

If you’re more visual, this comic from xkcd explains the virus in a silly but effective way, I think.

Rest assured, your SpaBoom service has not been compromised by the Heartbleed bug!

Many of you will have changed your passwords for Facebook and/or Twitter, though, which was a good thing to do! You will need to reset your integration within your SpaBoom account as a result of this. Please give us a call to help with that reset, and to answer any and all questions you may have about the security of your SpaBoom account!

We’re here to help!

What Is Double Opt-In Email?

April 16, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

emailIf you are serious about building a good email list full of good prospects, then you want a double opt-in email list. But what is a double opt-in list and why is it so important?

A double opt-in email list is one in which your email subscribers are asked to confirm twice that they want to receive email communications from you. The first confirmation is when they submit their request to subscribe to your list, either by filling out a card at your front desk or signing up on your website. The second confirmation is via clicking on a link in an email they receive, confirming their sign-up. Double Opt-In is the gold standard of good clean email marketing lists. All SpaBoom accounts and websites come with email marketing featuring double opt-in, to ensure you build and maintain the most effective email list possible.

By asking your clients to double opt-in, you ensure that the person who signed up for your email marketing actually wants to subscribe. Otherwise, anyone could enter anyone else’s email address. By making them confirm again via an email link, you are ensuring that the quality of your email list is high, and that those receiving your emails actually want to receive your communications and will read them. A subscriber who is engaged from the beginning is one who will remain engaged and continue to read your email marketing communications.

But double opt-in has a few other benefits as well.  It ensures that the emails on your list are valid emails and are current. If someone uses an email that is not valid, it will never be confirmed and will never receive any of your marketing. This helps make sure that your email list is only contains valid email addresses of those who want to receive your communications. Double opt-in also reduces spam complaints, and too many of those could lead to a ban of your domain name on more popular ISPs.

Your SpaBoom account makes it so easy to maintain your email list, by handling the second opt-in for you automatically. Once your subscriber has signed up for email, either by using the signup field on your website, or by being manually entered into the system by you, the second confirmation email is automatically generated and sent to them.

What happens if they don’t confirm?

Until they click that link and complete the second opt-in, they remain off your email list and will not receive email communications from you. If you look at their client record, you will see a red note that says, “Waiting for reply from confirmation email.” There is also a link that allows you to resend the confirmation email, in case they missed it the first time around.

Is there any incentive I can offer to get them to complete the confirmation?

Yes! You can create a sign-up promo offer in SpaBoom that automatically sends them a gift certificate for a free gift or percentage off a service once they click the confirmation link in their email. But it is also a good idea to let your clients know that they need to keep an eye out for that confirmation email, and encourage them to click that link to complete their signup and receive their free gift.

A double opt-in system helps to ensure that you build and maintain the cleanest and most effective email list for your business. While it is one extra step for your clients, it will pay off with happier clients who look forward to receiving your email communications and never feel like you are contacting them without their permission.

Need help with your sign-up promo or have additional questions about double opt-in email? Give our team a call. We’re happy to help out and answer any questions you have.

Joy Of Spa News: The Many Faces Of Motherhood

April 11, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

yoga-womanJoy of Spa News: The Many Faces of Motherhood, our Mother’s Day 2014 edition, is ready to fly. As always, we encourage your tailoring the introduction to your liking.

Introduction:

Mothers, by their very nature, support and nurture others. Reminding them to take the time for self care, preserving their individuality, and embracing modern technology to help simplify the day-to-day is what this edition of Joy of Spa News is all about. Happy Mother’s Day! Team Joy

Our Mother’s Day edition of Joy of Spa News encourages mothers to find the time for consistent self care, for preserving their sense of individuality and well being, and to take full advantage of the miracle of modern technology as they manage the myriad of details each day presents. This edition will launch over a three day period, April 19th-21st, unless you’ve opted to change the date it goes out. Be sure to make any changes prior to that date! (And be sure to send yourself a test email after making any edits, and remember that Events that encompass the date on which your email is sent will be included in the email as well.)

Note: The articles that accompany this edition of the Joy of Spa News will appear magically in your test email, and in the real deal come April 19th.

Creating specials to accompany this edition of the Joy of Spa News will make it a no-brainer for your readers to respond immediately to the theme – rejuvenating, revitalizing and nurturing treatments – and enjoy your services! Remember, the Joy of Spa News is branded with your spa’s logo and when your client clicks to read more, the website is branded with your logo, too! Not yet signed up to send a beautiful, branded newsletter to your clients on a regular basis? Now is your time to get onboard! Go to Setup, Basics to put Joy of Spa to work for your spa. (As always, give us a call if you need help turning on the Joy!)

Connecting With Your Community

April 10, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

Give ConceptCharity feels good because it serves a need to help others while sharing our abundance. Just the process of reaching out and sharing nets another benefit as well – it connects us to our community and anchors us in very positive ways to an effort much larger than our own.

Connecting to community with your small business by providing services to a select group of community members can accomplish numerous ends, including securing your spa, salon, massage therapy or esthetician practice a very positive position within the local consciousness.

Benefits of providing pro bono services to a great cause:

Helping the charity you’ve chosen provide their members with much needed help.

You feel proud of sharing the benefits of the hard work you’ve done which means caring sharing is now possible.

Your staff feels increasingly connected to their community – a benefit that can engender loyalty, respect and support for your business as a result.

Your community feels that you’re giving back. They support you, you support their causes – it’s a beautiful circle where everyone wins.

What types of services would your local charities value?

Hair styling – Many shelters are helping their guests regain footing, literally and figuratively. Part of the rebuilding process means helping people feel good about themselves, wherever and whenever they find themselves.

Massage therapy – Finding anyone in the world who doesn’t need a soothing, rejuvenating and healthy massage would be nearly impossible. Providing such beneficial therapy to the less fortunate, the hospitalized, those working to re-establish a foundation in the community – helps to fortify and rebalance while allowing moments to safely enjoy the healing power of human touch.

Spa services of any type – Manis or pedis, makeovers, facials – all of these feel good and help to encourage a strong sense of self. Who doesn’t feel better with pretty fingers and toes, or skin that feels silky and glows after a lovely exfoliation and hydrating lotion?

You know what you do. You’ve worked hard to define your business, and to grow it and survive in spite of stormy economic weather during the last few years. Take a little time to contemplate where your services might fit into an established charity’s needs and get connected. It’s easier than you think, and once you have a starting point/event, you may be pleasantly surprised at how supportive your staff will be. After all, the need for connection is fundamental to humans. Being part of that in a workplace might just encourage staff to reach out in other ways in their private lives to help where they can.

It’s a beautiful circle where everyone benefits.

Good Leaders Develop Over Time

March 25, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

lead learnAre you lucky enough to have a mentor? If you are, you know how great it feels to have someone knowledgeable and experienced to guide you along your professional development path. You know that you can draw upon that amazing resource as you evolve and face challenges along the way. Mentors are gifts, and help give us confidence to find our own way, to become leaders and entrepreneurs and practiioners of many disciplines. I have been extremely fortunate in my career to have several extremely experienced, generous and insightful mentors who have shaped me and built my confidence and skills through the years. I am grateful for their patience and tutelage, and only now recognize how incredibly influential they have been in my professional development.

In an increasingly competitive and mobile workplace, however, mentors can be rare, which shouldn’t stop us from becoming the best leader we can be, because experience itself, hard work, a firm sense of self, and a dedication to continual improvement can provide the basis on which to build a successful career.

Experience – It pays to keep showing up day after day

Working long hours in your profession, reaching milestones, and overcoming development challenges will hone your abilities while you mature as a future leader. Malcom Gladwell, in Outliers, repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule,” claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. That equates to roughly 5 business years practicing your profession. Dogged persistence, patience and sheer tenacity go a long way to shaping an individual, one who can then impart that knowledge upon less experienced yet equally dedicated individuals as they make the trek from rookie to expert in a given arena.

Know thyslef, embrace thyself, to thine own self be true

You’ve seen the sayings, and unless you’re tuned into your more foundational tenets, you may not have given them a whole lot of credence. After all, catch phrases are everywhere and mean little, right? Well, maybe so, but only until they are relevant to you. And leaders who succeed, and in the process engender respect and loyalty in their colleagues and employees are those who have defined, and honor their true selves. The road to success is busy and full of distractions and an infinite number of ways to stray from simple, personal beliefs, but those who hold true to theirs have a much higher chance of becoming leaders that deserve respect – their own, and from others.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a leader is also very important. None of us are strong in every area, so recognizing early on where our true strengths lie allows for honest work in weak areas, and sometimes delegation of those aspects of our projects that others can, and will, handle much more adeptly and well. The ability to delegate, instead of ‘just handling it all ourselves,’ not only demonstrates self-awareness on our part, but allows others to grow skills and confidence in a larger group setting. It’s healthy to play to everyone’s strengths, and the end result is far superior, always. Delegation is also a time management component that can mean the focus is on producing the best result, not just protecting one’s ego by refusing to let go.

About the ego. Anyone who wishes to become a strong leader needs to embrace the greater good and let go of the ego as quickly as possible. Many, many bad decisions have been made throughout history by fearful, insecure leaders, and those decisions have often been to the detriment of their followers’ well being. Regardless of the setting – political, corporate, business, private – ego will interfere many more times than it will benefit the bigger effort. Does this mean lose your sense of passion and risk running out of steam to meet your leadership goals? No! It means be true to yourself, which, if you are dedicated to becoming a strong and compassionate leader, means letting go of that nasty little voice that always insists on being right, no matter what. That voice is short-sighted and seflish, and seldom supports the longer goal.

Most leaders take decades to develop, but knowing first that you wish to lead rather than follow others is the first step. The rest boils down to dedication, hard work, and keeping your eye on the long ball even when that feels impossible.

No Pressure, but It’s Your Content vs 27,000,000 Articles – Every Single Day

March 18, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

binary dataYour content matters more than ever. The quality. The focus. The voice. It all helps to differentiate you from the many other voices in your space. And in this time of information glut, that can be the difference between winning and losing the attention of your audience.

There is a new and controversial theory out there, Content Shock, defined by Mark Schaefer, that goes like this:

“The emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.”

Numbers speak, and what this phenomenon is describing is the unprecedented volume of content that is being generated every single day – 27,000,000 pieces of it. To put that in perspective, at the rate we are currently producing content, depending upon which study you choose to believe, we are doubling the web-available content every 9-24 months.

Take a second to digest what that implies.

Consumers, on the other hand, are quickly reaching a threshold of content saturation due to a finite amount of personal bandwidth, ie available waking moments in every day. They simply don’t have much more available processing space for new information.

For the first time in web history the supply of good (I know, relative term, but whether it’s good or bad content takes up space/bandwidth) content is greater than consumer demand. And from an economics standpoint, we all know that when supply exceeds demand, prices fall and other market forces kick in to adjust and re-balance the environment.

What can you do about this? Follow the guidelines we have shared since we began talking about content and the importance of generating solid, relevant, interesting and compelling reading for your audience. Given that you probably don’t want to read back through every article we have ever written on the subject, a summary follows:

  1. Be your bad self.  Now is the time to identify what makes you special as a business and groom that concept. Put it out there in your blog articles and social media posts. Find your very special voice, one that differentiates you from your competition and develop that until you become the local authority on what you care about.
  2. Make influential friends. No we don’t mean you have do a House of Cards manipulation thing, that would be icky. But identifying a few players in your space that have a voice that resonates for a sizable group, then making friends with those players and asking them to contribute to your blog and offering up helpful expert tips and tricks that they may choose to incorporate in their work will go a long way to keeping your head above water in a choppy sea.
  3. Create content that your audience will want to share. It’s no secret that when we read something of value, we tend to share it with others. I do it all the time because a good piece of content discussing a topic that matters to me and mine is worth sharing.
  4. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you need a piece of content. SpaBoom created our content system to intelligently leverage each and every piece of hard work you do. Write an article and you automatically generate two social media posts. Easily generate an email linking back to a blog article that you’ve written (that also contains a link to your instant gift certificates page – a transactional opportunity). Every time you sit down to create a piece of content, know that it can be sliced and diced and artfully applied in more than one place. One piece, many products.

You are in a unique position to really decide what you want your business to represent. Once you have nailed that let the message that works for that idea flow through every single piece of content you generate, from your website content to your service menu descriptions to your blog articles to your social media posts to your email marketing campaigns.

Competing in a noisy market isn’t for the feint of heart, but with some thought and careful planning you’ll be ahead of the competition if you take a deep breath, stay calm, and find your voice.

Marketing Lists – What They Are and Why You Should Use Them

March 13, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

Easter decorationYour email list is the most important tool in your marketing toolkit. There is no better way to connect with your clients, wherever they are and on their own time, than through email communications. But if you are only using one giant email list, then your email communications have to be one size fits all. And we all know that your clients are not all the same, so why send them all the same marketing?

Marketing lists allow you to break down your overall email list into subgroups, based on your clients’ different personas. You can then use these lists to send emails targeted specifically to their individual needs & wants rather than having just one blanket email that covers everyone.

So clients who are your top VIP clients can get emails geared to them, and so can those clients who only come in for specific services or have specific needs. Being able to target your email marketing to each of these groups will bring better results and make your clients more interested in reading your communications.

SpaBoom has the ability to create marketing lists built into our system, so you can create marketing lists and start targeting your client subgroups today.

Here’s how:

Go to the Marketing Tab:

  • Click on “Lists” in the left hand column to go to the Marketing Lists page
  • You will see all your current marketing lists
  • To add a new marketing list, click on “Add Marketing List” in the lower left column

From here, you can create a new marketing list:

  • Give your list a name
  • Choose a Type – this indicates when someone can be added to this list. They can either add themselves during the email signup process, or you can choose to keep the list internal, which means you control who gets added to a list
  • Choose a Parent – this is optional and refers to making this list a subgroup of another list
  • Click save and your list is ready to go
  • Now you just need to assign some clients to it

To assign clients to a list:

  • Go to the Clients tab
  • Pull up their client record
  • Check the marketing lists you want to add this client to (this is towards the bottom of the page)
  • Click save

Don’t forget that your client has to already be signed up for email marketing and have confirmed their signup in order for them to receive email communications. If the “send email marketing” box is not checked, their email signup is not complete and they will not receive email from you.

And that’s it! You are all set to start effectively targeting subgroups of your client list. Targeted marketing is proven to be more effective and lead to more interest, so why not start using it today?

Need help figuring out how to segment your overall email list into marketing lists? Or just a little bit of help setting things up? Give our team a call. We’re ready to help you utilize our effective marketing tools.

The Benefits of Having a SpaBoom Website

March 3, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

world-handsYour website is your store-front online. A place for your clients to check out your latest offerings, give you a call, and even make appointments right from the site. Our dynamic websites do so much for you everyday to make it easy to promote your business online, leaving you free to focus on running your business. But what exactly is a dynamic website and what makes it so special? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of having a SpaBoom Dynamic Website.

The Beauty of Dynamic
A Dynamic website is one that is always changing and updating, offering your clients the most up to date information and offerings in real time. Using our powerful marketing engine, your website is automatically updated with your current promotions, features, and specials. No more worrying that you didn’t have time to change your specials once Valentine’s Day was over. Your dynamic website already made the necessary updates to feature your newest specials and active offers.

Making Changes to Your Website is Easy
Gone are the days when you needed to contact your web designer and wait for them to make the changes to your site. Your dynamic website is simple for you to edit and changes are seen immediately, the moment you make them in SpaBoom. You can easily change the content or swap out photos at the click of a button with no need to learn fancy coding. If you can edit a Word document, you can easily edit your website.

Changing Your Service Menu is Simple
Whether you are expanding your Service Menu to include new treatments, or need to remove the holiday packages until next year, SpaBoom makes it easy to do. Create a new service and it is instantly seen on your site. Hide an old package and it automatically disappears until you need it again. No more worrying that your clients might see something you no longer offer or are missing out on a new service that they can’t see online. On your dynamic website, your service menu is always up to date.

Search Engine Optimization is Built In
You hear about it a lot and about how important it is for your website and the Google ranking for your business. But you’re not sure quite what it is. Well, no problem, because your dynamic website is built from the ground up with SEO in mind. Your dynamic website is already taking care of it for you without you even having to think about it. From the way it targets your keywords, features current and updated content, and even lists you on Google Places, your website is taking full advantage of SEO and helping you build an even stronger online presence.

Your Website Looks Good on Mobile Devices
These days, people spend more time on their mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, than they do on their computers. So you want to make sure your website looks just as good and is just as user friendly on a mobile device as it is on a computer. No problem! Our Dynamic Website is automatically optimized to look and work great on mobile, allowing your clients to do everything from check out your service menu and specials to call you directly from your website or even make an online appointment.

Having a dynamic website sets you up for success from the very beginning. It’s an effective and powerful tool that allows you to communicate effectively with your clients, create a successful online presence, and focus on growing your business rather than worrying about your website.

Resourcefulness – A Success Secret

January 15, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

money gearResourcefulness is the ability to find quick and innovative ways to overcome challenges. As a small business owner, finding creative ways to meet the needs of your business, your staff, and your clients is a necessity, but also the number one way to promote growth and success for your business. Being resourceful in all of your business decisions and practices, will lead to better, more streamlined processes, allowing you to save time and money.

Here are a few key components that resourceful owners use to promote growth and stay in touch with their business needs.

Be Open to Change

First and foremost, you need to be open to change. Having an open mind and being open to new and innovative ways of thinking about a routine process or situation is what will make a better solution possible. Cultivating the idea that a better solution is out there can make it much easier to go out there and make the changes that you need in order to run a more streamlined business.

Analyze – And be realistic

Next up, you need to be able to objectively assess the situations or processes of your business in order to determine where a change needs to be made. The first step in thinking outside the box is to determine what you want to change and what you have to work with. Developing a detailed objective list and then pairing resources that you have to make the change a reality creates a roadmap for easy execution.

Optimize What You Have – Be creative

This is where thinking outside the box really comes into play. Coming up with solutions for doing more with less in a stream-lined way could be as simple as asking, “if we didn’t have this resource or process, how would we get along without it?” Maybe a system you already have in place can be expanded or adapted to handle other processes. Or maybe a shuffling of duties, or scheduled tasks, could lead to a more eloquent solution.

Stay Focused

Finally, when you decide to implement change, be sure to stay focused. You can’t change or improve everything all at once, so be purposeful when selecting and implementing changes. Focusing time and effort on the change and following it through to the end can mean the difference between the intended outcome or having to return to the drawing board.

As a small business owner, you are in the unique position of being flexible enough to make improvements regularly and to implement them quickly. Doing more with less because you have created an innovative and clever solution is a savvy and smart way to continually develop your business strategy.