Managing Online Reviews Effectively

November 25, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

ChecklistOnline Reviews are important. Studies show that a majority of today’s consumers look at online reviews and use them as a tool when deciding what company or service to use. Negative reviews are especially scrutinized and can have more of an influence on whether or not a consumer chooses you. The good reviews showcase how great your business, staff, and services are. But the bad ones can also be really useful, especially if you handle them appropriately and effectively. I know when I am shopping around for a new business, I usually look at both good and bad reviews. And I usually find that looking at the bad reviews, and how the business responds to those (or if they even respond at all), can be the most telling about your business practices and customer service. A business that is responsive to their online reviews (both good and bad) and who appropriately handles the negative ones is a business that will win my patronage.

Here are a few tips for managing your reviews effectively:

Make it Easy for Your Clients to Post and Read Reviews
Make the reviews section or button on your website easy to find. And make sure you promote online reviews when your clients visit you as well, by providing them with the link to your reviews page and asking them to please review their visit.

Listen to Your Clients
Pay attention to what your clients say in reviews, and then take that information and use it to improve your business. Your clients are your best source of information on how you are doing as a company. So really listen to what they have to say, both good and bad. Then take that information and use it to shape your customer service and business practices going forward. Clients who really feel like their opinion matters will be loyal clients for years to come.

Be Responsive
Designate a person to manage reviews and make sure you are responsive in a timely fashion and appropriate in your responses. Be professional and polite even if the unhappy client is not. It is also a good idea to take the conversation with a negative reviewer private initially. Email or contact them privately to address the situation and then post a response online once you have resolved the situation. We’ve all seen those negative reviews that turn into a back and forth volley of snarkiness and unprofessional behavior on both sides. Nobody wants that as an online review or as the end result of a complaint. No client is more loyal than an unhappy one that you have turned around.

By effectively managing your reviews online, you will help grow your reputation and also provide potential customers with valuable information about your business and the quality of the services you provide. By ensuring that you have a good online reputation as a business, you are ensuring that your business will continue to grow.

3 Ways to Sell More Instant Gift Certificates this Holiday Season

November 20, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

IGCThe holiday marketing clock is ticking, and what you do now will help ensure you sell the most instant gift certificates possible.

Start advertising now

Now is the time to get the word out about offering instant gift certificates for your services. Create incentives for purchasing, and emphasize availability and ease of purchase in time to grab the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers. Let them know they can enjoy themselves in front of a crackling fire while everyone else is out fighting crowds, cold and general hostility in their pursuit of gift deals.

Make sure specials, packages and links to buy are available where shoppers are

This is when you update your website, add links and options to purchase on your social media platforms as well as any email correspondence you generate. And you need to generate email correspondence to let people know about how easy it is to buy instant gift certificates from any number of online locations – tell them, give them links, then let them do their buying thing.

Create in-store displays and gift sets to promote and support your online message

Gift sets are all great ways to incorporate gift certificates, and can help increase overall value and sales. Creating several for the holidays will bump the perceived value of the gifts you’re promoting and provide a nice tangible giveaway to boot.

This is not rocket science, but time is of the essence. So get focused, update your website, your social media, and put together some fun displays that promote your holiday packages.

Happy holiday prep!

Who is Your Holiday Marketing Audience, Anyway?

November 13, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

Blossoming beauty treatmentsJust who are you targeting when you amp up your holiday marketing efforts? Friends. Loved ones. Teachers. Co-workers. Caregivers. Mechanics. Postal workers. Butchers. Bakers. And, last but certainly not least, men. (Who may or may not fall into any of the categories already listed!)

You get my point. Potential giftees span the spectrum. What does this mean to you? Keep that in mind when you craft your holiday packages. How?

Several ways come to mind.  One involves price points. Offering several price points for packages means gift givers will have the right choice for the recipient. We’ve discussed, many times, how having three great packages at different price points means you’ll most likely sell a majority in the middle, and, occasionally, for ‘special’ occasions, you’ll sell at the top end, too. For this holiday purpose, and given the wide number of potential recipients, a variety of options means you’ll be filling a need for gifts small and more generous.

Another tactic would be creating packages for a target group, say teachers, for example. Having cleverly named packages that are variations on your core service offerings (and which require no extra special products or preparation to speak of), that play on the school/teacher idea will make gift recipients feel special and appreciated.

Creating gift certificates around the potential recipient groups makes sense, too, and requires no additional services setup. Creating gift certificates for any number of specific themes/recipients is a simple task for a graphics person, and will add to your inventory of choices during prime gift giving times.

And let’s not forget the men.

Recent stats have shown that men comprise almost 1/3 of spa goers these days. 1/3. That’s a pretty significant number. And that percentage isn’t all seeking men-only establishments, though those have certainly created a lucrative niche for themselves in recent years and have grown at astonishing rates because of their focus on creating intensely male-centric environments for their clientele.

But your focus doesn’t need to be that narrow to capture some of the male audience. What you need is to market to both them and the ones who spend time with/gift them. Things that men prefer tend to the simple – a service menu with ten facials may well confuse, certainly the novice spa-goer, but one with 2 or 3 services designed specifically with the male client in mind will appeal.  And when it comes to naming male-focused services? Descriptive and traditionally masculine seems to do the job.

As you prepare for what is predicted to be a strong holiday season from a retail standpoint, be sure to consider your audience – all of it – and spend the time to create a few special offers or to tailor your gift certificates to reach the special giftees. The effort will be worth it.

How to Share Photos or Videos without Stealing Them

November 6, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

lookingWe’ve all done it. We need a photo for a Facebook post or an image for our latest promo, so we go to Google Images and find something we like and then use that. The problem is, we probably have no idea what the copyright info is for those images. Some of the images you see may be available for free use, while others are not. We may have just unknowingly stolen content.

Or you see a photo that you just love and want to use it. So you take a screen shot of it, or download it to your laptop, and put it in your post with a credit underneath it. You feel pretty good about getting to use the photo and you’ve credited the place or person it belongs to. Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly. Unless you directly contacted the person who owns the copyright and got their permission to use the image, you are still in violation of copyright laws, even if you do add a credit to the photo. The owner of the image gets to decide where their work is used, not you. Offering them a credit or a link-back doesn’t erase the fact that you’ve just infringed on their copyright.

What about that video from YouTube that perfectly shows a specific technique? You saw it on someone else’s Facebook page and just want to share it on your business page. So you click the Share button and add it to your timeline. But did you stop to check that the video was playing in the YouTube player window, even when embedded on Facebook? If not, then you may have infringed on copyright yet again.

It is a slippery slope these days when sharing images or videos online. It can be so easy to infringe on an artist’s copyright without even thinking about it, especially with so many beautiful and interesting images online and people sharing them constantly on social media. It creates quite the dilemma. We are in an image-driven society and you need images and videos in order to connect with your clients. But you don’t want to violate anyone’s copyright.

So here are a few tips to help navigate the world of sharing images & videos.

Create your own images
Well, first off, you could create your own images or videos. That way, you own the copyright and can use them however you wish. You can either go out and take your own photos, film your own videos, or create graphics and images on your computer. Keep in mind that taking a copyrighted image and making changes to it does not suddenly make it yours. You would still be liable for violating copyright law. So if you are creating your own images, make sure you are doing so from scratch, not starting with someone else’s image.

Use Stock Images
A stock image is a photograph already licensed for use. You will usually pay a small fee in order to use the photo, but once you’ve purchased the right to use it, you can do so without violating copyright. You can purchase the right to use stock photos and images from a variety of companies online. The price depends on the photo and what you’ll be licensing it to use it for, and you may have to pay an additional fee if you want to use the image again for a different project.

Look for Royalty-Free Images
Royalty-free images come with a license that allows you to use the image without paying a fee each time you do so. They are typically non-exclusive, which means other people & businesses can use them too.

Use Images in the Public Domain
Images in the Public Domain are those that no longer have a copyright, so anyone is free to use them. You can find images in the public domain by searching for “public domain images” on Google or other search engines.

Search for Images with a Creative Commons License
If you are looking for free images that are part of the public domain or whose authors have waived copyright in various ways, Creative Commons is the best place to look. You can search for images on Creative Commons here: http://search.creativecommons.org/  Be sure to pay attention to what sort of license each photo comes with. Some only allow their images to be used for non-commercial work, while others offer more flexibility.

Make sure you share videos the right way
If you are sharing videos from YouTube, make sure you are sharing them via the embeddable YouTube player. Do not just download or save the video and then upload it to your website or social media page. Instead, share or embed the video directly from YouTube into your page or website. You can find the embeddable link under the share button on the video’s YouTube page. By sharing videos using the embeddable link or share button, you are maintaining the link back to that video’s page on YouTube and are ensuring that the creator of the video still gets the credit and the benefit of any ad revenue generated when anyone watches the video.

You can also ask the author for their permission to use an image
If you find the perfect video or image and you just have to use it, make sure you contact the author or owner first. Ask their permission and then abide by their requests. It could be that they’ll agree to let you use their image, either for free (with proper credit, of course) or for a small fee. Making sure you have the permission of the author is a win-win for both of you.

By making an effort to be sure you are not infringing on copyright with the images you choose to use, you are ensuring the protection of both your business and the rights of the artists and creators. That is not only proper business practice, that’s something that makes everyone feel good.

Looking for Images? Here are some useful websites:
http://search.creativecommons.org/
http://www.corbisimages.com/
http://www.gettyimages.com/
http://www.shutterstock.com/
http://www.istockphoto.com/

What Can Twitter Analytics Do for You?

November 3, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

twitterWe are always looking for better ways to connect with our clients online. Twitter is still one of the top social media platforms for doing just that, especially when your followers are on the go. And they recently made it even easier for you to analyze how effective your tweets are and what else your followers are doing online. Earlier this summer, Twitter released their Analytics Dashboard to all of their users (previously, it was only available to their paid advertisers). It is a powerful tool and we’re really excited to have it available for everyone to use.

Twitter Analytics offers a lot of useful information that allows you to evaluate what is happening in your Twitter feed, from what tweets are the most successful, to what your followers are doing and where they are located. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer. You can access Twitter Analytics at: https://analytics.twitter.com/ Once you are logged into your Analytics account, you will see that it is broken down into three sections: Tweets, Followers, & Twitter Cards. Here are a few helpful tips about each of those areas as you begin analyzing your Twitter data.

Tweets
This area provides you with information on your tweets. You can see how many link clicks, retweets, favorites, & replies were received for each tweet. Tweets is broken down into a couple of sections:

  • Impressions – The number of times a user saw the tweet on Twitter.
  • Engagements – The total number of times a user has interacted with a tweet. This includes all clicks anywhere on the tweet (hashtags, links, avatar, username, tweet expansion), retweets, replies, follows, & favorites.
  • Engagement Rate – The engagement rate is determined by dividing the number of engagements by the number of impressions.

You can also click on any tweet on this page and view a Tweet Details page of the data for just that tweet. Tweets is a good section to look at to get an idea of what tweets are getting the most interaction from your followers. You can then use that information to tailor your posts to create greater engagement.

Followers
Followers provide information on your followers. At the top of the page, you will see a graph that tracks the number of followers you have, so that you can see trends of rising or lowering followers over time. The Followers page breaks down your followers by location and gender and shows what your followers’ top interests are, and what their most unique interests are, based on what they are following and what tweets they are liking on Twitter. You also get to see examples of some of the other Twitter accounts they are following. This is all really useful information that can help you determine whether you are effectively reaching your target demographic. It can also be used to tailor tweets to match the overlap of your clients’ interests and your offerings.

Twitter Cards
Twitter Cards
are an exciting new addition to the Twitter family. Once set up and integrated Twitter Cards allow you to take your Twitter posts beyond just text and incorporate photos and videos. The main difference is that those images will show up in your Twitter feed as photos or videos, rather than as just a link to the image. So it makes the user experience that much better. There is a lot to learn about Twitter Cards. Here is a great article over at Forbes.com that will teach you all you need to know about Twitter Cards.

As you can see, the new Twitter Analytics offers you a lot of powerful tools to analyze what is happening with your Twitter feed. It can help you determine what is working well and where you need to make some changes to make your Twitter feed even more successful. Take some time today and sign into your Twitter Analytics account and check out your data. By using the data that Twitter is now providing you free of charge, you can start to strengthen your online presence and make more informed decisions about your social media strategy.

Keep Your Eye on the Turkey

October 31, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

A  photo of Autumn forest and sunEven though the frost is barely on the pumpkin, things are starting to get serious in terms of end-of-year marketing. We’re about to hit the big time in terms of opportunity to generate significant revenue, all while we’re helping our clients choose most excellent gifts for their intended recipients, recipients who may not yet be loyal to your business.

Gift certificates represent a very solid way to boost your revenue stream and bond with those who are new, or at least new to you, in terms of enjoying relaxing, nurturing, stress-reducing services. There is a lovely symmetry to the gift certificate sale that begins with you promoting your services via your website, in house signage, voice mail recordings, and social media interactions and ending with the lucky giftee scheduling time in your establishment.

You reach out via the media that you’ve chosen to the people you’ve nurtured and to whom you’ve provided spa, massage, esthetic and salon services to in the past to do the right thing – gift a wonderful service to a friend or family member on their list – and in return you gain access to new and more potential long-term clients, clients that you will then be able to reach out to with great promotions and service offerings that they can then gift to other lucky people and so on.

Everything that you do to promote your business, and to provide the absolute best experience possible for everyone who walks in your door matters. Every time a future customer becomes a current customer your hard work has made a difference, for those people decide to seek your services for any number of reasons, all of which you have a modicum of control influencing in positive ways – a friend refers your business by straight recommendation or via gift certificate, an article you have written on your blog has impressed to the point where curiosity is piqued and a decision to try out your services is made, or a social media post gets liked by someone whose like is seen on a friend’s wall. The possibilities are limitless; the choice to reach out with compelling and thought provoking marketing, regardless the medium, is one that pays dividends in countless ways. The process builds on itself – that’s the beauty and frustration of marketing, actually. Even if you ask someone how they found your business, sometimes their answer is only part of the equation. After all, in our day and age of being constantly overwhelmed by a daily barrage of messaging and information – much of it designed to make us buy something or try something, or, right now, to vote in midterm elections for someone, actually – the real reason for finally seeking your services may have begun months before when a friend shared a helpful blog article. The fact that your new client has now bookmarked your blog, or is notified when a new article goes up simply reinforces the entire process.

Back to the turkey.

By now we’re all painfully aware of the Black Friday idiocy ridiculousness chaos tradition.  Most of us have participated at one point in the rush to get the best deal on a down comforter or TV or home appliances or….to be met with extremely long lines full of people suffering from serious turkey hangovers. It’s not fun, and often the object of your original desire is gone by the time you actually get into the place that’s offering up the deal. It’s fundamentally unfair, blows a perfectly good morning to sleep in and relax, and is so not how you need to do things.

You offer the perfect, elegant solution with your instant gift certificates for your services. Use the convenience factor, the elegance piece, the ‘they are absolutely right for so many people on your list’ aspect, and promote them like crazy.

Starting now. Because it’s about to get ugly out there, and you are in the perfect position to make the lives of gift givers a whole lot easier, once again.

Go forth and promote. And go easy on the stuffing – it’ll make you sleepy.

Are You Looking at Facebook Insights?

October 30, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

Facebook We all have a Facebook business page these days (& if you don’t, you should). And we try to post things we think are interesting to our clients, along with the requisite posts about promotions or sales we are having. But do you ever stop to think about whether your posts are really connecting with your clients? Or whether those same posts are helping to drive further engagement, not only with your clients but also with their extended circles? Facebook Insights can help you do all that and more.

Facebook Insights is a set of analytics that Facebook provides to business pages. It offers you a lot of powerful information that can help you analyze what is happening on your Facebook business page. It can help you understand what is working effectively on your page, as well as learn more about who is visiting your page, what they are doing, and when.

Let’s take a look at the 6 main sections of Facebook Insights. You can find the Insights information by going to your business page and clicking on “Insights” at the very top of the page (above your cover photo). Within Insights, you will see 6 different tabs: Overview, Likes, Reach, Visits, Posts, & People. Here is what you will find on each of these tabs.

Overview
The Overview tab provides you with a snapshot of data for your page from the last 7 days. It also compares the data from this week with the data from last week. You will see it broken down into several sections:

  • Page Likes – this shows you the overall number of likes as well as any new likes this week.
  • Post Reach – This shows you the number of people shown your page and posts.
  • Engagement – Engagement is the number of people who saw a post and then liked, shared, clicked or commented on it.
  • 5 Most Recent Posts – Your 5 most recent posts are displayed at the bottom of the Overview page.

This page is a good one to visit on a regular basis as it gives you a snapshot of the most valuable information from each of the other tabs.

Likes
The Likes tab shows you information about the likes on your business page. This information is broken down in several different ways.

  • Total Page Likes – This is the current total of likes on your page, as of today.
  • Net Likes – This shows you the total number of likes minus unlikes on your page.
  • Where Your Page Likes Came From – where any likes on your page in this period came from, whether they were referred from an external source like your website.

Knowing where your likes come from can be useful when trying to allocate resources.

Reach
The Reach tab shows you information on the reach of your posts, including who saw them and what sort of engagement each post had.

  • Post Reach – This shows the number of people who saw your posts. It is broken down by both organic and paid.
  • Likes, Comments, & Shares – This section shows you information on all the positive engagement your posts had. Increased numbers in this section shows an increase in your overall reach.
  • Hide, Report as Spam, Unlike – This section shows you information on all the negative engagement your posts had. Increased numbers in this section shows a decrease in your overall reach.
  • Total Reach – This shows you the total number of people who were shown any activity from your page.

The information on reach can be helpful in determining what sorts of posts have the most reach and positive engagement, as those are the sort of posts that can help grow your page.

Visits
The Visits tab shows you information about what people did when they visited your page.

  • Page and Tab Visits – This shows the number of times people clicked on each of the tabs on your page, such as About, Hours, Info, or Likes.
  • Other Page Activity – This shows the number of actions that people took that involved your page. This could be the mention of your page in a post or a post by one of your followers on your page.
  • External Referrers – This shows the number of times people came to your Facebook page from an external website or link, such as the link to Facebook on your website.

This information can help you determine whether certain sections of your page need more attention. You can also see whether your reach is increasing based on people who already like your page sharing your posts and pages with people who haven’t liked your page yet.

Posts
The Posts tab shows information about both your followers and your posts. It provides you with information about your followers habits as well as how they have engaged with your posts. It shows two main sections of information:

  • When Your Fans are Online – This shows when the people who like your page are on Facebook. You can track it based on the time of day by mousing over the graph to see how many of your followers are online at any given time of the day or week.
  • Post Types – You can click the tab next to When Your Fans are Online to view this data. It shows the average performance (reach and engagement) of each post type (status, photo, link) on your page.
  • Posts You’ve Published – This section shows all the posts you’ve published in chronological order. It provides a lot of powerful information about each post including:
      1. Type of Post – This shows what sort of post it is: status, photo, link to an external article
      2. Targeting Information – Who this post was shared with. Typically, your posts will tend to be shared globally with all your followers. But you may have subgroups that you share specific posts with
      3. Reach – How many people were reached by this post, usually broken down by organic and paid
      4. Engagement – Number of people who engaged with this post (liked it, clicked on it, shared it, or commented on it)
      5. Boost Post – this is a link that allows you to pay to boost this post and put it back at the top of people’s feeds
      6. You can also click on any individual post to view a detail page for each post

This can be useful information when you are trying to determine what sort of posts get the most reach and engagement. Or what day of the week or time of day is the best time to post on your Facebook page to get the greatest number of views.

People
The People tab shows you information about the people engaging with your page. There are three tabs on this page.

  • Your Fans – shows you information about the people who like your page, broken down by age, gender, and geography. You can also mouse over each demographic to see how your engagement with that section compares to Facebook as a whole.
  • People Reached – shows your demographic information about the people reached with your posts.
  • People Engaged – shows you demographic information about the people who engaged with your posts.

This can be useful information if you are trying to target a certain demographic, such as women ages 35-50.

As you can see, Facebook Insights offers a lot of powerful metrics to help you better understand what is resonating with your followers and where you can make improvements or shift focus in your posts in order to engage an even larger audience.

Take some time today to check out your insights. By using all the valuable data that Facebook has already compiled for you, you can make better decisions about both your Facebook strategy and the content you post on your business page.

Partner Up to Grow Your Clientele

October 23, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

Ready and willing to assist you with your choiceAs children, our parents always encouraged us to make friends. It wasn’t always easy, since society is complicated and not everyone gets along famously, but, over time, we ended up with quite a posse. Grade school through high school, many of us were friends through the travails of childhood, adolescence, then young adulthood. Having a close group of like-minded cohorts made us feel stronger and a part of something, which was a good thing.

As professionals within the spa, massage, esthetics and salon industry, following our parents’ sage wisdom would be a very very good practice. For some reason once we’re adults, and practicing in various areas of expertise, the bonds we enjoyed in our youth seem less important. As members of a community of businesses that serve the needs of clientele seeking relaxation, rejuvenation, hair care, and beauty, we need to look around and become friends with businesses in our local area. Developing business relationships with restaurants, florists, B&B’s, golf courses, yoga studios, and others makes very good business sense.

Referring to others in your community provides an entre for your clients to enjoy that new French Bistro down the block, perhaps at a discount, or maybe with a lovely glass of wine added to their meal, gratis, because you sent those diners to try the cuisine. Conversely, offering up a special perc or add on to services for customers of that same Bistro who visit for the first time demonstrates your desire to spread good will within the local business community as well as grow your client base in the process.

I have seen many partnerships develop between small businesses that make me smile and believe in the power of collaboration and professional support as a way to engender positive feelings within a mutual client base, and, ultimately generate referrals which are really opportunities to form relationships with new clients.

Who within your business community could you strike up a referral relationship with? If you sit down and make a list of possible complementary partnerships you might be surprised at the potential just waiting to be tapped.

What Will You Do In 2015?

October 22, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

People working cogsWe’ve all been there. It’s Friday afternoon and suddenly you realize that the end of next week is the start of the Valentine’s or Mother’s Day season and you’ve been too busy to plan anything yet. So you spend the next several hours rushing to prepare some sort of promotion or special, creating stress for you and your team and ending up with what is probably not the greatest campaign. Plus, by then, it’s probably too late. Your competitors have been advertising their promos for days or weeks by now and probably have an effective plan in place that encompasses email marketing, in-store signage, and social media interaction. By waiting until the last minute, you’ll have to rely on your loyal clients to hopefully remember your business and choose it as their gift option. Or settle for a less than stellar campaign and poor market penetration.

Let’s make 2015 different. Why not schedule a bit of time in the next couple of weeks and get your 2015 marketing plan in order now? Not only will it set you up for success in the new year, but it will reduce stress, and help you plan out your promotions and stay within your marketing budget for the year. By planning it all out now, you’ll also be afforded the time to look at what has worked and what hasn’t this year and last year. And you can make more effective marketing decisions for the future.

Here are some things to think about when planning your marketing strategy for 2015:

First, some Analysis
The first thing to do is to analyze what has worked for you (& what hasn’t worked) in the past. Take a look at your promotions and numbers for this year and 2013. You should be able to look back and see what worked and what didn’t work. Your staff is a great resource to look to for feedback as well.

Here are some things to look at:

  • What promos were successful in the past year? in 2013?
  • What promos were unsuccessful in the past year? in 2013?
  • What did your revenue numbers look like by month?

From here, you want to really look at why certain promotions resonated with your clients, while others just didn’t seem to hit the mark. Were all the successful promotions during certain times of the year or for certain types of specials? What about the unsuccessful promotions?

This can also be a good time to do a SWOT Analysis to really take a look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as you begin to plan out the next year. Even if you don’t have time to do a SWOT Analysis, you can still do a less in depth analysis of your current situation and your goals for the future. Here are some things to consider:

  • Who is your current demographic? Are you effectively reaching them? If so, where?
  • Do you have a different demographic that you would like to target in 2015? If so, who?
  • As a business, what are you doing well? What could you be doing better?
  • Have there been any major changes in the marketplace?
  • Are there any new opportunities that you would like to pursue?

Now that you’ve completed an analysis of what worked and didn’t work in the past and where you want the business to be headed in the future, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to do in 2015.

Time to Lay Out a Plan
Start off with just a short calendar list of the promotions for the year. I like to break mine down by quarters and then by months. Lay out on the calendar when you will start and end promotions, along with a general description of what the promotion will be. But don’t stop there. You want to make your marketing plan more in depth than that.

Take some time to think about your social media and what sort of posts you want to share on there during the course of the year. Be sure to consider when and how you will post to social media and your blog. Keep in mind that while social media plays an important role in informing your customers of specials and promotions, that should not be its primary role. Social media is a place where you can create a community and use it to inspire and engage. If you do that well, then sharing news such as upcoming specials and promotions becomes an organic part of the communications.

Be sure to consider where other forms of communications, such as email marketing and newsletters, fit into this plan. Give some thought to what sort of information you want to feature in your newsletters and blog posts. Taking the time now to plan out what the overall year of posts or newsletters will look like will make it much easier down the road.

Make sure all of this gets onto your marketing calendar. And be sure to leave some room for flexibility. You want your plan to have the flexibility to make changes or shuffle things around based on the changing needs of your business and the marketplace throughout the course of the year.

Schedule Time to Implement Your Plan
Now that you have a plan in place, marketing in 2015 will be so much simpler. But there is one more key element of your marketing plan that you need to put into place. Regular attendance. A plan is only as good as the people who implement it. So make sure you schedule time regularly (once a week or so) for someone on your team to take a look at the plan and take care of the tasks that need to happen next to keep things running smoothly. If you make this plan a priority, and everyone knows what they need to do (& when they need to do it), then nobody will be running around in a panic at the last minute trying to get things done.

So now you have a plan in place and your team is ready for 2015. Be sure to revisit your plan regularly. Ask for feedback from your staff and clients. And don’t be afraid to make changes throughout the course of the year to make your plan even more effective. By putting a plan together in advance, you’re making it much easier to analyze and improve your business practices throughout the course of the year. That will lead to far less stress and a healthier business.

*** This article concludes our “Time for a Tune Up” series. We hope the series has helped identify ways that you can tune up your business practices, and carve out time to think about your business and marketing strategies for 2015.

Sometimes Credibility Comes From Outside

October 16, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

Mature woman being pamperedFortunately 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:

MASSAGE: GET IN TOUCH WITH ITS MANY BENEFITS
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.

MASSAGE
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.

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.