Plan Spa Events that Increase Sales & Fun!

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Plan Spa Events that Increase Sales & Fun!

You probably invested a great deal of time, effort and smarts in making your spa a wonderful destination. Yet your single greatest marketing asset is not your brick-and-mortar features, but the relationship you have with clients. In today’s complex world, forging a personal bond is more vital than ever. Look at the power of social media. Sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have introduced a new kind of all-access intimacy, a sense that any individual can “make a connection” with celebrities, luminaries and brands instantaneously. Attuned to this new reality, your clients are becoming less receptive to corporate-style emails and pre-packaged messaging. Instead, they’re pledging loyalties to brands that humanize themselves, provide valuable content and services, and build relationships in a thoughtful, genuine way.

            Happily, local businesses are the best suited to this kind of personalized marketing strategy. As a spa owner, your proximity to clients is unmatched. And that advantage is unparalleled—because clients build the best relationships with people, not businesses. As a spa owner, you’re uniquely positioned to spearhead and oversee special events­—the kind of strategic gatherings that will expand the reach of your brand, highlight all you have to offer, and reward current clients while enticing new ones. Spa events and parties are the ideal blend of marketing, branding and fun.  Not only do they connect you with clients and will-be clients, but the festive atmosphere puts everyone in a receptive mood, eager to learn more about your products and services—and to buy! Carefully planned special events can increase your service and product sales; boost traffic; introduce new clients to your spa; build your database; strengthen relationships between your clients and staff; enhance your brand; and improve client loyalty. Quite an impressive list of positive outcomes!

           

Building Your Database     

When setting out to plan event, your spa database is the most logical starting point—in fact, it’s the single most important marketing tool you’ve got. With that in mind, make sure you’ve taken every step to keep that database in prime working order:

·      Include an email capture tool/widget right on your homepage

·      Require all marketing initiatives to include an email sign-up

·      Have your front desk continually keep tabs on your database so that it stays cleaned up and current

·      Capture all contact information during telephone intakes. Double check that this info is correct on intake forms.

·      Create a system of entering in new client information from business cards, events, and other one-to-one interactions

·      Be sure ALL events require an ‘Email Check In’—in other words, attendees provide an email address. Capturing that information will help build a viable working database.

 

Charity Events

There’s a lot of truth in the idea of “doing well by doing good.” Chances are your spa is already solicited regularly for donations to worthy causes. Why not ‘flip the switch’ and create a charity program yourself? Seek out local organizations whose demographic is similar to your target market (environment, literacy, local schools and so on). Then meet with those charities and brainstorm about ways you might support each other.

            Some ideas? Hold a fundraiser at your spa. You might hold a two-hour evening event, or opt for a longer session on a weekend, where guest can indulge in variety of spa offerings for a set fee. Create a special gift certificate (with a 30 to 60 day expiration date) to include in “swag” bags either at your own fundraiser or another charitable benefit. Whether you offer an inexpensive service gratis or 25% off a spa product, it’s a great way to get people in the door. You might also consider one of your pricier services—Botox a deluxe facial—to a charitable silent auction. You could win a new client from the winning bidder!

 

Sampling Opportunities

High-profile community events—charitable ones, as well as things like marathons, bike races, expos, health fairs, and so on—are great places to see and be seen. Have your staff on-site to provide complementary services to visitors (offer simple services that are easy to execute), with the goal of ‘touching’ as many people as possible. Staffers can also speak about your brand, while passing out brochures and samples—small gestures with potentially big impact that help position you as a ‘good neighbor’ in your community.

 

Vendor Gatherings

Vendor events are a wonderfully versatile option, something you can with or without a rep from the company. Organize a “private event” for specific clients—by appointment only, with limited availability, and targeting those who have previously purchased a specific product (your software should be able to cull these names from your database). Offer attendees a free mini-service and a discount of 10-25% (up to you) when they buy $150-200 (again, up to you) of the featured product.  Note: All events at your spa should offer free refreshments and include an opportunity to gather contact info from guests.

 

Shopping Parties

Join forces with a group of small local businesses—and together, sponsor a ‘shopping party’ at your spa, targeting a specific clientele. Prom-goers, brides-to-be, bat mitzvah candidates: Any and all would savor an event that spotlights hairdos, makeup, nails, skin care, plus dresses, photographers, limo rentals and more specifically for their big occasion. To invite guests, share databases with your vendor partners. Have each of those vendors present at the event, in a designated area of your spa, to showcase theirproducts/services as party attendees make the rounds. Everything from the menu to the décor should be festive and memorable—truly fit for a queen!

 

Workshops/Performances/Speakers

Think of all the individuals–speakers, healers, experts of all sorts–who have a database of people and a wealth of experience, yet no home base to offer their classes and lectures. You can initiate a win-win scenario for your business simply by teaming up with these pros. Merge your databases, and hold a workshop or similar event at your spa. Charge a fee, and split the proceeds 50/50. Not only will you generate an income stream for your spa, but you’ll be able to highlight your own services to like-minded individuals who just may become permanent clients.

 

Promote Your Events Across All Platforms

Today, so many venues can publicize your events and reach new clients:

·      Posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

·      Banner on your website home page

·      E-newsletter, sent multiple times

·      Printed flyers placed in all retail bags

·      A sandwich board outside your spa

·      Ads in local papers

 

Think of special events as special opportunities to mix, mingle, engage more meaningfully with clients and heighten your profile with your target market. That engenders the kind of positive response that means business!

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Creating a 'Selling Culture'

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Creating a 'Selling Culture'

If you’re a small business owner, it’s likely you wear a lot of hats¾overseeing staff, managing budgets, strategizing social media campaigns. But in addition to all these duties, do you find you’re also the only one recommending services, rebooking clients and selling products? Do sales drop when you aren't present?

 

Inevitably, small business owners are avid multi-taskers. But being the only sales person in your spa operation means juggling one task too many! Creating a ‘Selling Culture’¾taking a proactive approach to increasing sales by distributing the revenue responsibility across your team¾frees you up to focus on the bigger picture.  With that in mind, here is an easy to follow roadmap designed to help you establish a ‘Selling Culture’ within your spa business that will ultimately boost both morale and profits.

 

1. Set Attainable Goals with Profitability in Mind

As a spa owner, you always have to keep your eye on the bottom line, hoping to see it improve every year. Since this is a business known for its seasonality and fluctuating sales, the smartest approach is to review your sales month-over-month from the prior year. Take a detailed look at your product and service sales from 12 months before, and then set your new monthly target based on those figures. Aiming for 20% higher sales is a reasonable goal.

 

2. Distribute Revenue Responsibility

Again, begin by looking at your total sales¾both products and services¾for a particular month from the year before (i.e., September 2015 to project for September 2016). Break the figures down by department; then, increase each department’s amount by 20% to create your new service and product sales targets. Now, count the number of total shifts for each department for the current month; divide the total sales figure for each department by the number of shifts in that department. That figure is each staff member’s individual service sales target per shift.

 

Sound confusing? Here is an example:

 

January 2015

Aesthetician Service Sales $50,000 / Aesthetician Product Sales $6,000

 

$50,000 + 20% = $60,000:  New Service Sales Target

$6,000 + 20% = $7,200: New Product Sales Target

 

Six Aestheticians working 100 shifts per month

$60,000 divided by 100 Shifts = $600 service target per shift

$7200 divided by 100 Shifts = $72 service target per shift.

 

If Jenny the Aesthetician works four shifts per week, her weekly sales targets are:

Weekly Service Sales Target - $2400($600 X 4)

Weekly Product Sales Targets - $288($72 X 4)

 

Repeat this for each department and each individual staff member.

 

Important to note: If your product sales are not broken down by department, you can also distribute the responsibility by percentage. I usually rely on my Aesthetics Staff to sell 65% of the retail products, Front Desk to sell 25%, and Massage Therapists to sell 10%. However, you can break this down in whatever way best suits your business.

 

3. Create Daily and Weekly Staff Targets

Monthly sales targets for staffers tend to be too lengthy; with that kind of far-off goal, staff members can lose motivation and focus. To remedy the issue, we recommend setting staff ‘weekly’ sales targets. The dollar number is smaller and more attainable¾and it gives your staff the feeling of a ‘fresh start’ week to week.

 

4. Make It Fun

Once you have determined each staffer’s daily and weekly sales targets, another smart tactic is to create a weekly competition. Competitions can be straightforward, with simple rules such as the ‘Highest Product Sales to Service Percentage’ wins. Or, you can get innovative and create a team competition. For example, form two teams of staff members with an equal amount of Aestheticians, Massage Therapists and Front Desk personnel. Now choose 15 products from your retail boutique: the team who sells all 15 products first wins. One tip: The most successful ‘Selling Cultures’ are those that are always changing their competitions. That will help keep things fresh and exciting,

 

5. Set Incentives

If you want your staff to sell, they need to be incentivized¾and that’s where a prize comes in. Prizes can be anything from a product in your retail boutique to a service from your spa. If you really want to build the excitement, barter your services and products with local businesses¾perhaps a blow dry bar or a frozen yogurt store in your area¾and use these perks as prizes. Some spas have been known to use their American Express Reward Points to get $10 gift cards from iTunes, Starbucks and Amazon. Again, the most successful ‘Selling Cultures’ are always coming up with new prizes so momentum and passion stay strong.

 

6. Keep Staff Motivated

Begin your workweek an upbeat email to your staff that sets the competition and states the prize. Each morning, lead a five-minute huddle to review each staffer’s goal for the day. Midweek, send another team email with an update on how much each staff member has sold and how much they have to go to reach their target. And lastly, send a team email out at the end of each week congratulating the winner. Most importantly, start the process all over again the next week.

 

Creating a ‘Selling Culture’ is much like any system you introduce and implement into your business: you have to be consistent. At the onset, your staff might be resistant to your new methodology. But once they realize this system is here to stay, they will ultimately comply. And when they see a noticeable bump in their paychecks, it’s likely they’ll be on board with more energy and enthusiasm than ever before!

 

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Your Spa: How to get Start-Up Financing

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Your Spa: How to get Start-Up Financing

Any dream spa is likely to start as precisely that: a dream, a vision, the idea of a beautiful environment for clients to enjoy luxury pampering and state-of-the-art treatments. When formulating this dream, you likely have a vivid picture of the lush interiors you’ll create and the menu of services you’ll offer. Well, it’s great to keep dreaming--as long as you combine that dreamy outlook with some rock-solid financial planning!

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have personal capital in the bank to handle your spa’s start-up costs. More likely, you’ll need to seek funding from a bank or other reputable lending institution. Either way, it takes detailed, strategic preparation to turn your dream into a viable reality. Where to start? With these three basics:

Market Research. In the spa business, it’s crucial to start with a savvy and thorough understanding of your market. What clientele will you target? Are the area demographics a good “fit” for your concept? Next, look at the competition: What services do they offer? What do they do well, and what do they do poorly? How will you differentiate yourself--i.e., With additional services? Unique branding? And finally, in order to create realistic financial projections, you must do a price comparison analysis and a compensation analysis in your area. What does your competition charge and what do they pay out?

•    Insider Tip: To get the typical salary/commissions of spa managers, assistant managers, aestheticians, receptionists and others, call beauty training schools in your area: They’re a good unbiased source for current, accurate compensation information for various spa positions.

A Business Plan. This is the nuts-and-bolts of everything your spa will be. A solid business plan includes a detailed breakdown of your facility’s projected location and square footage. How much space will be designated for revenue-producing rooms (treatment rooms), and how much for non-revenue producing areas (offices, locker rooms reception area, and so on). A business plan--which usually runs 20-30 pages--includes the who, what, where and how of your spa. It entails an overview of the spa concept, why it is marketable, and why you’re the best person to make it happen. So include a bio that details your background and experience. What else is essential? A summary of your marketing initiatives, including your plans for an SEO/PPC campaign, website and Social Media strategy. Then, focus on sales: How will you set staff sales targets, handle visual merchandising, and promote e-commerce? As you see, a Business Plan is quite detailed, but is maps out all the particulars needed to secure financing.

•    Insider Tip: Hiring a professional spa consultant to draft your business plan can be a smart, cost-saving option. They can pull together all the facts, while guiding you through industry standard numbers and cost-effective marketing programs. 

Financial Forecast. It’s one of the most important aspects of your business plan, in which you calculate all the pertinent expenditures. A Comprehensive Profit and Loss Statement is a financial projection based on the size, location, and concept of the spa. It relies, in part, on the research conducted to analyze local competition, your anticipated prices, and your intended compensation to staffers. Your Profit & Loss will include the follows documents:

•    Capital Expenditure List includes all the up-front things that must be purchased--equipment, lighting, renovation and more--before your spa opens. Create a proforma invoice for each item so you’ll have very specific cost projections.
•    Payroll Structures, ideally for years One to Four. Map out the salary for each employee, plus the commission structure, health benefits--and the anticipated revenue each staffer will likely generate for your spa.
•    Fixed Costs and Costs of Sales. Fixed costs include rent, payroll, utilities--expenses that are the same each month. Costs of sales are only incurred when a service is performed--such commissions, product expenses, or laundry.
•    Revenue Assumptions. Guesstimate your spa’s likely cash flow, based on the operating hours, revenue per room per day, and utilization rates.
•    Insider Tip: Your financial forecast has to be right the first time, since you likely can’t go back and ask for more money! Again, a consultant can be your most reliable source for help--a valuable partner to launch your spa’s success. 

Advance research, a solid business plan and fact-based financial projections can make the difference between a “pipe dream” and a “destined for success” business in the pipeline!

 

 

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Why your Spa Needs to Market with SEO

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Why your Spa Needs to Market with SEO

Who has ever heard the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) when referring to a website? Did you know that SEO is really the ability to create a map for search engines robots to read and understand who you are and what you do? We all want our website to rank in the 1st organic spot on Google but how it gets there is just as important as being there.

Why is SEO important for a spa owner?
The simplest explanation to why everyone wants their website in the 1st organic ranking spot on Google, it’s the absolute best Return on Investment compared to any other marketing strategy. SEO gives your company’s website the opportunity to be in front of a thousands of clients, all at the same time, who are actively searching for your services. The fact that these listings were organically grown means these clicks do not cost you when people visit your website. The more people who visit your website and learn about your services, the more opportunities you have to grow your client base.

What are some basic ways spa owners can increase their SEO? (Good keywords, etc.)
First you need to realize who your ideal customer is and what might they be searching to find your services. Getting your website to rank for the word ‘spa’ might not bring your website the traffic that will actually turn into your clients. Think about your services or even what services you would like to specialize in. What might people be thinking before looking up these services online or what keywords might they use in a search query. Once you have identified your keyword focus you should then use those keywords within your website. Put them as the main descriptions on certain pages, write articles that include these keywords and tag these articles appropriately to allow the search engines robots to read them. The more content you use to educate search engine robots the more you will educate your clients on your company and the services you provide. There are hundreds of techniques to improve the SEO ranking of your website. Some are extremely technical and some techniques can be implemented by yourself or a member of your team. Educating yourself on what you can do and what you might need assistance with is the first step you should take.

If a spa owner decides to hire someone for SEO services, what should they look for in that person? What kind of expertise should that person have?
We believe one of the most important factors for deciding who to help you with your SEO strategies is a company or individual who has experience and success implementing these techniques over multiple years. Because search engines algorithms change on a daily bases it is important that the person who will help you is knowledgeable on past changes to ensure best practice for potential future changes. Also, the person you choose to help you must give you clear expectations. SEO takes dedication and patience to get your website to the top of the rankings. If someone is telling you this is possible in 1 – 3 months they are either using tactics that can potentially harm your websites organic ranking or they are simply lying to you. Ranking your website for the correct keywords can take anywhere from 4 months to 2 years, depending on the competitiveness within your geographic location. But once you are able to get your website ranked in the 1st organic spot on Google, as long as you continue with the same organic marketing strategy it will be extremely difficult for anyone to move you out of that spot.

Want to learn more about improving your SEO rankings? Please visit us at http://www.lexidesignmarketing360.com/ .
 
You can also download our free Marketing Video Kit by clicking the link below: http://www.lexidesignmarketing360.com/how-to-get-spa-leads-video-kit/
 

 

 

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Reboot your Brand

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Reboot your Brand

A Brand is the words, images, thoughts and feelings that come to mind when someone thinks about you, or interacts with you and your business in some way. It’s the real estate about you in someone else’s heart and mind. Most spa owners are very clear about their brand when they first open, but over time, as businesses evolve (i.e. services, products and staff change), the brand’s original concept can dilute and the message you want to deliver is not always the message your clients are getting. It’s at this point when your brand may just need a ‘reboot’. 

As a small business owner, you want every word and image on your brochure and website to represent your core attributes, values and beliefs. A reboot requires you to step out of your role as spa owner and into the role as your client to uncover shortcomings and inconsistencies. Focus on keeping what works, discarding what no longer fits and adding what makes sense.

Here’s a quick checklist of branding strategies designed to entice clients and keep them loyal and engaged with your business. 

1. Clarity of Purpose:
Be abundantly clear about the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘how’ and especially the ‘why’ of your brand. Why does your business exist, and why are you passionate about it? Who are you (innovative, luxury-minded, health-conscious), what services do you provide, and how will you convey that message i.e., your business name, tagline and descriptive copy should represent exactly what you do, so clients won’t be left guessing what your brand stands for. 

2.  Spotlight your Uniqueness:
Whenever clients interact with your business--via phone call, visit, social media view--it’s known as a brand touch point, an experience that determines their view of your particular brand culture. So make each touch point a chance to showcase your uniqueness, your you-ness. Stand apart from the competition by putting your own spin on products, services and methods. 

3. Creative Content:
Your brand culture--the special ‘magic’ clients experience in your treatment rooms--should resonate in everything you produce. Blogs, e-blasts, online newsletter and brochures should be crafted in the same voice--yours! Likewise, let your business personality shine through in podcasts, social media postings and in-office event. Generic or lackluster messaging won’t cut it.

4. Converse in your own Brand's Language: 
It’s your vital ‘talking point’: All verbal communication--on the phone, in person, via webinars--should be in sync with your brand. Whether your conversational style is chatty, soothing and zen-like, authoritative or technical, make sure you use the same tone across each brand touch point.

5. Emotionally Connect: 
Aim to resonate with your target market on an emotional level, to establish a “like-know-trust” rapport. Nix the hard-sell copy or medical jargon; instead, talk about how your products and procedures can make patients feel, by improving appearance and self-esteem. Touching testimonials, dramatic before-and-after photos, and strategies to connect clients with one another are all smart ways to strike that emotional chord.

6. Care about your Craft, Clients and Staff: 
Make it clear you stand for something--by promoting philanthropic ventures in your community, and by demonstrating a real commitment to your craft, staff and clients. Brands with a heart and social conscience win points with a clientele that’s savvy and smart (particularly millennials).  

7. Consistency: 
Finally, make sure your brand identity rings true in every venue and across all marketing platforms--from your spa décor to your Facebook postings to your banter with clients--so the image you project is crystal clear.  Being consistent, clear and caring is the way to build a powerful brand that clients keep coming back to.

The ultimate goal? To position you as an authority in the industry and create authentic messaging that emotionally connects with your target market by humanizing your brand. After all, a powerful brand is vital to increasing client acquisition and helping you gain loyal, committed customers which, in turn, increases your bottom line.

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The Medical Spa: The Next generation of the Spa Industry by Alexis Ufland

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The Medical Spa: The Next generation of the Spa Industry by Alexis Ufland

The Medical Spa: The Next generation of the Spa Industry 

by Alexis Ufland   

Until recently, Western Medicine has failed to recognize the healing benefits of the Spa and Fitness Industry. With the arrival of the latest trend, the Medical Spa, the two fields have converged and caused a veritable explosion, making this new trend the wave of the future. As defined by the International SPA Association, a Medical Spa is an institution whose primary purpose is to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment, which integrates spa services as well as conventional and complimentary therapies and treatments. Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons have been jumping on the bandwagon joining Day Spas and even expanding their practices to offer ‘higher level’ Spa services and care. As a consultant for the development of Medical and Day Spas, Fitness Centers and Hair Salons, I can attest that this is a welcome change to the industry.

Like a Day Spa, the Medical Spa enforces the importance of a relaxing atmosphere. Attention to detail is essential - from the color of the walls to the fabric of the robes. A soothing, comforting ambiance helps to put the client at ease for even the most uncomfortable medical procedures. However, the Medical Spa differs from a Day Spa in the following two regards. As a Medical Spa houses both a Medical and Esthetic staff under one roof, both medical and cosmetic treatments are offered within the center. Depending on the doctor(s) present, these services may range anywhere from Botox injections to Lipo-suction. Therefore, one role of the Medical Spa is a comprehensive approach to caring for the client before, during and after these procedures take place. The second distinction is, again with the presence of Western Medicine, the Medical Spa is able to use a higher-grade product and, therefore, the Spa services show greater results. A Medical Spa is the perfect balance between clinical and luxury. 

The first step in creating a Medical Spa is the concept design and menu of service. With the Doctor holding the reigns, the developmental stage must include their involvement. The Doctors support of all Spa services and products is crucial to a Medical Spa’s success. The difficulty lies in creating a menu of service that is synergistic with the doctor’s way of thinking, yet still a marketable product. Doctors often feel divided with regard to the benefits of certain Spa services. This attitude differs from Doctor to Doctor. It has been my experience that some Dermatologists promote Topical Collagen Facials while others are ambivalent towards its results. Some are staunch proponents of ‘Oxygen’ facials; others are hesitant about their benefit. Some Doctors refuse to use the word ‘toxins’ and ‘detoxify’ in their vocabulary (a difficult adjustment for Spa therapists!). A happy medium must be reached in order to ensure smooth operations. It is wise to present thorough research and sound medical proof of Spa services so that the Doctor can recommend and support the menu without compromising his/her integrity. Procuring Medical endorsements will afford you many options, if you are creatively inclined. For example, it is always a safe bet to begin your menu with Vitamin C and Glycolic Peels. Doctors advocate these treatments due to their efficacy and proven results. Vitamin C and Glycolic Peels can be parlayed into both face and body treatments. A full body Glycolic peel followed by an Anti-Oxidant body mask is a sure hit at a Medical Spa. A creative treatment menu can be both luxurious and medically sound. 

Along with service selection, finding the correct ranges of products is a vital part in development of the Medical Spa concept. Pharmaceutical companies have just begun designing products solely for Medical Spas. Dermatological pharmaceutical representatives allow these new products to be offered in your spa as long as there is a Doctor on staff. Custom facial design is necessary, though, as pharmaceutical product ranges do not impart technique. 

Coverage for both General and Professional Liability differ from state to state and need much research prior to opening. Depending on the services offered the Spa could be an extension of the Doctors practice or its own entity, each having its own method of protection. The owner of a Medical Spa has two choices, the Doctors practice and the Spa can be covered under one medical malpractice policy or they can separate themselves and be covered by two policies, a malpractice and a basic spa/salon policy. Although all practices and therapies are under one roof and panels may be formed to diagnosis and treat patients, the reality is that each individual practice or class of services should protect themselves. With the increase of Esthetic services offered within the Doctors office, there are now medical coverage firms, such as PRI, that are beginning to cover a wide array of spa services ranging from Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal to Bikini Waxing. However, these firms avoid covering such therapies as Massage, Acupuncture, Ayurveda etc. Therefore, if the doctor were to place the Spa under their malpractice policy these practitioners would have to cover themselves independently. On the flip side, the doctor can cover their practice separately from the Spa and hold two policies. This would allow coverage for a wider range of spa services. Unfortunately there is not only one standard answer for everyone, research needs to be done to find the policy and method that suits their facility, the type of services they expect to offer and the budget that they can afford. On the subject of protection, Doctors within Medical Spas should not only separate their practice by liability coverage but also have contracts that include a 'No Hold Harmless' clause. In the case that a problem does occur, neither Practice nor Spa will be held responsible for someone else’s actions. Research into state medical 'referral' laws are also very important, practices may need specific disclaimers to recommend patients to visit the Spa.  

The staffing of the Medical Spa is an essential element of a successful operation. The licensed therapists or ‘Para-Medical Estheticians’ require a working knowledge of all medical procedures performed by the Doctors. Estheticians are encouraged to spend an afternoon each month with the Doctor on staff to gain understanding of the procedures that the Doctor performs. Under the Doctors guidance and supervision, the esthetic staff should be thoroughly trained in patient preparation and contraindications for pre and post surgical treatments. When hiring staff, it is advantageous to employ Estheticians with varied medical backgrounds. Estheticians that have worked as a Dermatologists assistant, Registered Nurses and Estheticians with ‘Para-Medical’ continued education courses are definite assets. Experience in a Medical setting combined with a healing touch is of great value to an operation. Many Esthetic schools are adding both continuing education classes and courses with a medical influence to their aesthetics program. For example, The Dermal Institute offers continuing education in classes such as Microdermabrasion, Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage and even Oriental Pressure Point Massage. Other schools such as The American Academy of Cosmetology in Danbury CT and the American Academy of Medical Aesthetics are adding entire two week to three-month postgraduate courses to further Estheticians knowledge of cosmetic surgeries, product ingredients and contraindications to specific medicines. To graduate from these programs, Estheticians must complete an internship where they spend two to four weeks working side by side a Dermotologist or Plastic Surgeon. For further training, it is advisable for the doctors to give lectures and presentations on a regular basis. This education will breed a close working relationship between doctor and Esthetician. 

With the industry’s increased recognition by Western Medicine and our clientele’s increased acceptance of Eastern Medicine, the future of the Medical Spa looks both promising and encouraging. The Medical Spa has only scratched the surface of its potential evolution. Hospitals and Health Insurance companies are taking bold new steps in the areas of ‘Alternative’ medical care and coverage. Doctors in private practices are providing ‘spa-like’ services to patients to ease and soften harsh clinical treatments. A notable example is the prominent Dentist who has now added light therapy to detract from the pain of oral surgery. We will be seeing more Medical Spas bridging its multitude of Spa services with various Medical environments.  

Dermatology, the original and currently most popular Medical practice that integrated Spa services has recognized that Cosmetic procedures tie in smoothly with anti-aging Spa treatments. Clients are more aware of Cosmetic Dermatological procedures such as Collagen, Botox and Laser resurfacing. These cosmetic procedures need before and after care as well as a maintenance program that can be performed by an Esthetician. Other services include Organic and Crystal Microdermabrasions, Laser Hair Removal and Camouflage Make-up. Dermatologists, however, are not the only Doctors that can prosper from the Medical Spa.  

With a Plastic Surgeon on board, the Medical Spa can provide for the client before, during and after surgery. Prior to surgery, patients benefit from the addition of yoga stress control and self- image counseling. During surgery, energy work with a Reiki Master may be incorporated, or an experienced Acupuncturist might even take the place of an Anesthesiologist. Post treatment may include long-term weight management programs with Nutritionists and sessions with Personal Trainers. Estheticians and Massage therapists can perform Spa treatments that will accelerate healing such as Lymphatic Drainage and Scar Management. Another way to integrate the Spa and the clinical is to design packages that include both Spa and medical services. For Example, you might upgrade a Detoxifying Seaweed Body Wrap with cellulite reducing Acupuncture and include a program of six with every Lipo-suction.  

An OB-GYN is a great asset for a Medical Spa as well as untapped market. Massage therapists and yoga instructors can guide patients through their pregnancy. Estheticians can perform facials with products that are non-toxic and safe for mother and child. Mommy Massages and Refreshing Leg Treatments that reduce swelling and water retention also comfort expectant mothers. Post care may include a Nutritionist and a Personal Trainer and Stretch Mark Management can be provided with a Tummy Micro-dermabrasion. Mothers to be need not feel excluded from the sybaritic anymore. And, do not forget about our baby boomer population; Menopausal women now have product available such as B. Kamins, which are designed strictly for their skins changing needs. 

Our clientele’s increased acceptance of Eastern Medicine opens many new doors and allows us to combine ancient Oriental and Indian Medicine with Spa services. Cosmetic Acupuncture has fantastic results when combined with a facial to increase collagen production. Acupuncture also has great results when combined with Body Treatments to reduce cellulite. Ayurveda is the oldest Medicine and yet the newest to hit the Spa scene. Purva and Pancha Karma treatments add different approaches to healing and balance. Chinese Medicine and Herbs are wonderful to incorporate in face and body treatments and are very popular when sold as supplements within your gift shop.  

A Medical Spa with an Oncologist on board can be extremely rewarding. Chemotherapy patients are often in need of skincare that is all natural and non-toxic. Detoxifying treatments, spiritual healing, energy work, scar management for post Mastectomies and Lumpectomies, as well as a trusting place to get fitted for wigs are just a few ways in which cancer patients can benefit from the Medical Spa.  

With all these possibilities abounding, we can only begin to imagine the future expansion of the Spa industry. Converging both sciences with spirit and East with West, it is a natural progression for today’s fast paced stress filled society. The Medical Spa helps the patient take the necessary time to heal and recuperate, it makes the patient feel beautiful in times of illness and it acknowledges alternative practices of medicine whether East, West, Complementary or Esthetic. The Medical Spa is the future generation to the Spa industry. 

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Your Medical Spa: Successful by Design

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Your Medical Spa: Successful by Design

If you’re already familiar with the rudiments of spa management, you know the right location, business plan, branding and space are vital to success. Yet if you’re venturing into the arena of a medical spa, that success depends on additional factors--including a thorough understanding of what your clientele expects, what your facility will entail, and what’s needed to present an enhanced menu of professional services credibly and effectively.

Officially, the International Spa Association defines a medical spa as an institution whose primary purpose is to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment that integrates spa services and conventional therapies and treatments. Quite a tall order! But to cut to the chase: In branding and design, a medical spa needs to be a judicious blend of graciousness and gravitas. Your goal is to offer clients the kind of luxury and pampering they’d encounter in a deluxe spa, all within an environment that reflects the highest standards of medical expertise.

So where to begin? First, clarify your vision: Decide where and how large your facility will be, and what breakdown you’ll offer of both medical and conventional cosmetic services. Will your medi-spa menu include skin rejuvenation therapies, laser hair removal, body sculpting? Those decisions impact not just your budget projections but also your design plans: A standard spa treatment room is usually 90 to 110 square feet, but you’ll need to up that to 120-140 square footage in order to comfortably accommodate a laser or other medical devices. Similarly, consult rooms--typically 70 to 80 square feet--might need to be a bit larger if they will house diagnostic tools such as a skin digital analysis camera like the Visia.

As with any spa, starting up a medical spa requires savvy business strategies. When negotiating a lease, you might arrange a financial contribution from your landlord toward the build-out of the spaor else try for a set number of ‘free rent’ months to get your facility up and running (do the math, and see which option works best). In selecting an architect, designer and development team, you can opt for those who specialize in spa design (since only a handful do, costs may run high) or else go with well-credentialed local professionals. If you choose the latter, ask some key questions: Have you ever built a spa? What is your success rate for bringing a project in on time and within budget? How many clients do you take on at a time? Who will I work with, and who is responsible for decisions?

Once you’ve hired your team of construction professionals, be sure to let them know not only your design vision, but also pertinent facts about the equipment. Medical devices often have very specific electrical, plumbing and ventilation needs. So the dimensions and placement of these tools should be considered early in the design phase to assure everything goes smoothly. One common mistake is to select equipment after the architect has completed construction documents and sent them out for bidding. If changes need to be made once construction begins, you’re likely to rack up extra costs and unforeseen delays--exactly what you don’t want.

Finally, there are the aesthetics to consider. Impressions count--especially first impressions--and clients will judge your medical spa’s level of excellence by the design of three areas: reception, spa lounge and dressing/locker rooms. Soothing colors, clean lines, ambient lighting, and inviting furnishings all create an alluring ambiance. Yet medical spas also call for a certain brand of minimalism: To evoke a state-of-the-art clinical tone, don’t overwhelm the surrounding with decorative accessories, plants, floral arrangements and artwork. 

View your medical spa as ever-evolving; invest your money in areas of the facility that will be costliest to change--such as electrical, plumbing and HVAC--and plan a budget that can accommodate occasional updates on furnishings, window treatments, and equipment; that will help your spa always look and feel fresh. This blend of graciousness and gravitas can help guide your medical spa to greatness!
    
    
    

 

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Choosing an Organic Skin Care Line by Alexis Ufland

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Choosing an Organic Skin Care Line by Alexis Ufland

Choosing an Organic Skin Care Line

by Alexis Ufland

Maintaining beauty and youthfulness is a daily preoccupation for many women and men. Environmental exposure, lifestyle choices, normal chronology and many other factors all take their toll on the aging process of our skin—and most appearance-conscious people are eager for ways to effectively turn back the clock.  So it’s no surprise that millions of dollars in research and testing have helped to create mass market, anti–aging skin care products.  But when research also unearths the frightening fact that parabens (the most commonly used preservative) have been found in breast cancer tumors*, it sparks understandable concern. In this climate, it’s easy to see why organic skin care products hold a ready niche for beauty consumers intent on both looking good and treating their bodies well.

The concept of organic skin care seems simple enough. The reality is somewhat more complex. Creating, packaging and shipping skin care can require a lot of synthetic support. Today’s consumer holds higher expectations of the products and services they purchase. Likewise, spa owners need to have similarly high standards of excellence from the vendors they choose to patronize. 

When committing to skin care vendors, smart spa owners are seeking those who are devoted to eco-friendly practices through every phase of the production and distribution cycles. This includes sourcing ingredients from fair trade and bio-dynamic farms; packaging products using recycled, recyclable and bio-degradable containers; and finally, delivering products in bio-diesel vehicles.

Medical science tells us we absorb 60-70% of everything applied to our skin, and there is mounting evidence that chemical pesticides, synthetics and petroleum products can ill effects on our bodies. So the most eco-vigilant spas seek product lines that use innovative technologies to develop organic, biodynamic skin care formulas that are paraben-free. Here are a few tips on what to look for—and what to avoid—when selecting a skin care line of your own.

What does Organic and Biodynamic mean?

Organic products are made with ingredients grown without any synthetic chemicals, sewage sludge or GMOs (genetically modified organisms)—and they are third-party certified. "Certified organic" means that an official certifying agency has approved that the producer has grown and handled all ingredients with an adherence to strict procedures.

Biodynamic® agriculture is a method of organic farming that treats farms as unified and individual organisms—respecting the holistic interrelationship of soil, plants, and animals as a closed, self-nourishing system. Biodynamic farming embraces organic agriculture's emphasis on manures and composts; it excludes the use of artificial chemicals on living organisms. While implementing organic practices such as crop rotation and composting, biodynamic farmers also rely on special plant, animal and mineral preparations—along with the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets and stars. Biodynamic farming is an approach based on the work of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.

What is a Paraben?

In simplest terms, parabens are chemicals that operate as preservatives to extend a product’s shelf life by warding off bacterial growth. They fall into a family of chemicals known as alkyl esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. Many researchers believe parabens contribute to the increasing incidences of breast cancer, low sperm count and other estrogen-influenced medical problems in humans.

Accordingly, try to avoid these commonly used Parabens:

  • Methylparaben

  • Propylparabens

  • Ethylparaben

  • Benzylparaben

  • Isobutylparaben

  • Butylparaben

Look for these organic and natural alternatives instead:

  • Rosemary Extract

  • Citrus Seed Extract

  • Potassium Sorbate

  • Benzoic and Sorbic Acid

  • Sodium Benzoate

  • Vitamin A, C & E

How can I tell if it is truly organic?

When selecting an organic skin care line, look for products that meet both the European and United States national certifications standards for organic personal care products. Currently, the top U.K. certification is handled by the Soil Association, while France relies on the Ecocert. Both certification standards act as benchmarks to the newly-created US certifications—which presently include OASIS, NSF & Certech.

Look for these labels when selecting a skin care line:

  • ECOCERT: ECOCERT is an inspection and certification bodywhich operates offices in 18 nations worldwide, carrying out work in over 90 countries; their activities are governed accordingly by public authorities and legislation. ECOCERT has developed rigorous standards that allow companies to promote environmental practices and manufacture organic products in tandem with certain eco-friendly guidelines. One of ECOCERT’S main objectives is to promote ingredients that originate from organic farming. The ECOCERT stamp, an imprimatur of global esteem, is a mark of international credibility; the certification reassures both consumers and the organic industry that a particular skin care product has complied with the most rigorous standards of eco-consciousness.

 

  • Soil Association:  This organization is the UK's leading environmental charity promoting sustainable, organic farming and championing human health. There are three levels of labeling:

    1. Products comprised of 100% organic ingredients.

    2. Products made with 95% organic ingredients, allowing up to 5% of synthetic ingredients from a restricted list.

    3. Products containing between 70% to 90% organic ingredients, in which the actual percentage is duly noted on the label.                     
       

  • OASIS: The OASIS certification will be conducted by International Cosmetics & Regulatory Specialists L.L.C., an independent certifier complying with standards developed by OASIS.  All products certified by OASIS will carry the OASIS seal logo on their packaging. Currently, OASIS requires 85% certified organic content. According to the guidelines of its organizing board, this "organic" percentage standard will gradually increase until it reaches 95% organic content in several years.   

 

  • NSF: - The NSF has now developed a fully organic standard along with a 'made with' standard specifically for personal care manufacturers. While the NSF organic standard is identical to the USDA's, the 'made with' standard differs markedly in a way that enables manufacturers moving in an organic direction to become certified. In order to secure a 'made with' standard, manufacturers will not be allowed to use petroleum-based ingredients or processes. It is worth noting, though, that several processes and ingredients banned in the USDA will be permitted by the NSF—including the use of certain synthetic preservatives and biodegradable surfactants.

 

  • Certech: Organic Cosmetic Certification - Certech has published its own standard for Natural and Organic Certification: It’s an all-encompassing 'hybrid' addressing effective management controls/systems and product stewardship—as well as testing and auditing through the design, sourcing, production, and labeling of natural and organic cosmetics. To the best of our knowledge, Certech has ensured the credibility of its 'IOS Cosmetics' Standard by strict adherence to the principles, guidelines, and regulations already in existence both nationally and internationally:

    1. US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Title 7 Part 205 Natural Organic Program

    2. California Health and Safety Code, Article 7: "The California Organic Products Act of 2003"

    3. Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act (Canada)

    4. Canadian Food and Drugs Act

    5. FDA/CFSAN Cosmetics Good Manufacturing Practice guideline
      CAN/CGSB 32.310 2006 Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards

    6. EEC Regulation number 2092/91

    7. ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems - Requirements

    8. ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems - Requirements

As most Americans are taking the smart step of eliminating trans fats in their diets to avoid heart disease, it only stands to reason they would show a similar level of vigilance in protecting their endocrine system from toxins. And since we don’t yet know the extent of damage synthetic chemicals can inflict, it’s only logical to eliminate those chemicals we put on another important organ—our skin. Our skin, after all, is not only designed to last a lifetime, but it’s the most visible reflection of the smart steps we’ve taken to promote health, serenity, and lifelong wisdom. 

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Easy Updates to Lower your Spa's Carbon Footprint

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Easy Updates to Lower your Spa's Carbon Footprint

Everywhere you look you see products labeled as green, eco-friendly, sustainable, non-toxic, organic and natural. Spas are easily following this trend because guests want holistic treatments and natural products. So how do spas make small eco-friendly changes? It’s not as hard as you think and you don’t have to pay a fortune to do it. If you’re spa is up and running here are some ideas to help you make those baby steps that will bring you huge benefits in the future. 

1.    Do as much on line as possible, dealing with vendors, sending out newsletters, paying bills, direct deposit, etc. You’ll be surprised at how much less you’re throwing away. 
2.    Change all paper goods, including bags and tissue paper, to post-consumer recycled.  Chain stores such as Staples and office depot all carry recycled printing paper, Universal Companies now carries a huge line of eco-friendly products including toilet paper and paper towels made from post-consumer recycled paper.  
3.    Set up a clear, easy recycling station in convenient areas for example:  in the staff room, create the proper bins for your area, clearly marked and with the recycling schedule posted. 
4.    Do you us a lot of oil? Collect it and donate it to someone or a company willing to pick it up and turn it into Bio-diesel. There are many on line companies that will pick it up for you and if you post an ad to give it away locally, you’ll definitely get takers. 
5.    Switch your cleaning supplies to non-toxic ones. Spic and Span which cleans just about everything and is a staple in most spas is a green product. There are so many now that are comparable in cost and efficacy. 
6.    Use energy efficient light bulbs. You now have more choices for energy efficient bulbs than before, there are now CFL’s that work on dimmers and Led lights come in many colors to produce the desired effect.  
7.    Replace toilets, sinks and showers with low flow fixtures. If that’s not possible, install inexpensive aerators. These easily installed units increase spray velocity, reduce splash, save water and conserve energy. 
8.    Buy local.  If you serve snacks and drinks at your spa, try to purchase them from a local vendor so you reduce the carbon emissions from shipping and transportation. If you have a retail space, try to incorporate local goods from artisans in your area. 
9.    As you conduct maintenance in your spa, change over some of the toxic products to healthier options. These are now very easy to find and the prices are comparable: 
•    Low or no VOC paints
•    Non-toxic glues and caulking
•    Low or no VOC varnishes
•    When replacing flooring, choose sustainable bamboo, cork, recycled tiles, linoleum, marmoleum, natural rugs and mats and non-toxic sealants. 
10.    Choose your energy. You really have options when it comes to your energy. You can purchase “green” energy or “Green Certificates”. Many states have incentive programs and tax breaks for installing alternative energy sources such as solar panels, Wind systems, geothermal generators and hybrid electric systems. Check out the US Department of Energy for information. www.eere.energy.gov

These small, affordable changes will reduce your energy costs, save water and create a healthier environment for your staff and guests. Now that’s relaxing. 

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Seventh Essential for a Powerful Brand: Be Consistent

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Seventh Essential for a Powerful Brand: Be Consistent

There’s a well-known motivational expression: “If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.” When it comes to your brand, consistency not only enhances your credibility but also helps ensure your image is crystal-clear to clients/patients. Conversely, if your approach is haphazard and inconsistent, clientele won’t know quite what to make of your brand.  

Projecting a reliable professional image used to be much simpler. But today, communication is so multi-layered that you need to be consistent across many platforms. First step is to determine your personality. Are you very formal? Downtown hip? Warm and fuzzy? Green and health-conscious? That image needs to come through in every aspect of your business. 

•    Make sure everything from your office décor and demeanor to your Facebook postings to your online videos has the same “voice” and messaging. For instance, if your personal style is hipster chic, your professional surroundings shouldn’t have oversized floral arrangements and plush sofas. Conversely, a brand that evokes a luxurious aura--with a somewhat formal manner in your treatment rooms and front office--would not have offices in a minimalist industrial style. 
•    Carry that same brand image through in all promotional material--written and online. Again, if you’re projecting a very health conscious style, you wouldn’t include humorous memes with references to alcohol or overeating on Facebook. A warm-and-fuzzy brand should steer clear of copy that sounds very technical and medically-oriented. You get the idea!
•    Whatever your style, make it personal. Include your photo on your website; give patients/clients an idea of your conversational approach and manner in online videos, included on your website and/or Youtube channel. Again, consistency is key: the same “voice” you use in the office and treatment rooms should be exhibited in every online venue.
•    Establish a schedule for your Facebook postings, blogs and newsletters--and stick with it. With Facebook, it’s smart to post daily (or every other day, or at least once a week) to keep our message front-and-center with clients and patients. Similarly, figure out the best timing to send out blogs, promotion announcements and online newsletters, and make sure you follow through.

But whatever timetable you choose, whatever image your project, whatever kind of messaging you send out--keeping it consistent is the key to keeping your brand powerful and your clientele loyal.

 

 

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Sixth Essential for a Powerful Brand: Care for your Craft, Team & Clients

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Sixth Essential for a Powerful Brand: Care for your Craft, Team & Clients

In any professional endeavor, the bottom line has to be a top priority--after all, a business can’t stay afloat for long without a healthy profit margin. Yet it’s also important to address the non-profit side of things, to project a genuine demeanor of concern for clients, your staff, and the larger community. Caring is the sixth key to establishing a brand that is both powerful and well thought of in the minds of your clientele. 

Research shows that millennials, in particular, want to know the businesses they patronize stand for something. And many beauty industry leaders have made philanthropy part of their corporate DNA: Estee Lauder and Avon are active in the fight against breast cancer, Philosophy donates 1% of all sales to mental health causes, L’Oreal spotlights “Women of Worth” in their campaign to honor real women’s achievements. 

Smaller enterprises clearly don’t have the resources of these corporate powerhouses. But you can still emulate their root philosophy of showing the basic ways you care:

•    For your craft: Let clients/patients know you’re passionate and up-to-date on every aspect of your profession.  If you have a trainer come in to instruct staffers on new techniques, post the training video on your website and social media.  It underscores the idea that your staff is well-versed in offering the very best service, with the most up-to-date methodology.
•    For your staff: If employee birthdays call for big celebrations, share the fun! Post pictures of the birthday honoree, along with snapshots of the celebration. Likewise, if you have an employee-of-the month program, be sure to include it on your website or Facebook page. The message that comes across: “We love our staff, and our staff loves us.  Come join in the lovefest!”
•    For your clients: Think of creative ways to express appreciation. Some thoughts: Give a 10% discount to teachers; offer a “client appreciation week/month” where all services are 20% off; include an extra service if patients/clients purchase a particular procedure.
•    For your community:  There are so many ways to show your commitment: Support a food drive, contribute a gift certificate to a silent auction for a local charity, offer a 1% donation on all services purchased to a worthy local (or national) initative.

The point here: You don’t want to be perceived as merely a “factory” pumping out discounts, but instead, as an enterprise proactive in supporting causes that matter--whether you’re opening your heart to clients, staff or worthy enterprises in your community and beyond. 

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Fifth Essential for a Powerful Brand: Emotionally Connect with your Client

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Fifth Essential for a Powerful Brand: Emotionally Connect with your Client

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they’ll remember how you made them feel.”  No less a philosopher than Maya Angelou made that wise observation about one of life’s truisms. And nowhere is that wisdom more true than in a profession dedicated to giving people a boost in appearance, confidence and self-esteem.

To truly resonate with your target market, you’ve got to forge a strong emotional connection…a kind of intimate bond that inspires customer loyalty and defines an influential personal brand. Your patients/clients aren’t interested in hard-sell copy or intricate medical jargon. Instead, they want to know what benefit your services will give them in an up-close-and-personal way. 

The best way to establish a “like-know-trust” relationship with clients (both current and potential) is with messaging feels real, relatable and sincere. This is one time when “just the facts” won’t cut it.  Instead, focus on feelings: How do you want people to feel when they experience your brand? Tell stories, inspire confidence, tug at the heartstrings.  

Here are four ways to ensure your brand makes this kind of vibrant emotional connection:

•    Use firsthand testimonials. Whether online, in print or in person, word-of-mouth is always a powerful persuasion tool (think Yelp)--and featuring real-life happy patients only enhances your credibility. But don’t just focus on the mechanics of physical procedures. Instead, highlight the “inner change”--“I haven’t felt this confident in ten years!” 
•    Show before-and-after photos. It’s a time-honored technique because it works, and it works even better when each shot is accompanied by an inspiring patient story. Sure, readers can see great visuals of micro-needling results, but an ethereal narrative about the true depth of change the patient felt will be much more compelling.
•    Devise a way for your clientele to connect with each other. A membership program is a way of creating a ‘tribe within a tribe’--an elite group of loyal clients who enjoy key perks. You might offer loyalty rewards, special member-only events, even a message board for clients to chat with one another.
•    Create videos. A three-minute online segment can be just like conversation, a way for you to establish a personal rapport even before clients meet you.

It’s a competitive landscape, and if clients/patients don’t feel a special loyalty to you alone, they’re likely to seek out whoever gives them the lowest price.  But if you build their trust and forge an emotional connection, they’ll follow you anywhere!

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Fourth Essential for a Powerful Brand: Brand Language

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Fourth Essential for a Powerful Brand: Brand Language

When it comes to marketing your brand, conversation is more than just an art: Knowing how to engage clients/patients with the right dialogue is often the tipping point between spot-on communication or muddled messaging for your business.

Of course, one aspect of conversing is the one-on-one banter you share with clients on the phone, in treatment rooms, and all throughout your facility. Chances are you have a particular conversational style, a kind of verbal signature in keeping with your brand. Are you chatty, nurturing, formal, authoritative? It’s crucial to make sure that same tone translates to all your communication, across every brand touch point.

Simply put, your website, phone demeanor, written materials, photos and videos should all be speaking the same language. If your website is full of intricate medical lingo, but your in-person approach is free-and-easy, clients may not know what to expect of your brand. 

Here are some key ways to ensure your conversation is crystal clear: 

•    Use understandable terminology. If you feature microneedling or ultherapy, clients may not know what that means--and as a result, they won’t instantly grasp the benefits. But if you tout “A more youthful complexion” or “Banish sagging skin” or  “Get rid of wrinkles”…now, that’s guaranteed to pique interest!
•    Realize your website, social media, ads, even business cards are often ‘conversing’ with clients even before they meet you. Think of each venue as a way to make an introduction to the real and unique ‘YOU.’ So, again, your personal voice needs to come through not just in person, but in all marketing material.
•    Does your business/practice have a particular catch phrase or saying? If so, make it part of the conversation all across the board to further emphasize your brand voice.
•    Online videos of your practice are another great way to enhance the dialogue. Show your facilities, demonstrate techniques, give patients an up-close-and-personal glimpse of your approach and bedside manner in an interview-style format.
•    Likewise, photos have their own special way of ‘speaking’ to clients. Who can deny the allure of before-and-after pictures to demonstrate dramatic cosmetic results? 

Fans of Mad Men may recall Don Draper’s time-honored marketing advice: “If you don’t like what people are saying, change the conversation.” To ensure people are saying the right things about your business, make your conservation make an impact right from the start! 

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Third Essential for a Powerful Brand: Personalized Content

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Third Essential for a Powerful Brand: Personalized Content

It’s been said that information is power--and the more you tell, you more you sell. Content is another key brand touch point for your business: Every news bite, commentary, photo or bit of factual material you send out should carry your unique branding signature. 

It can’t be said enough: The goal is to take that special ‘magic’ patients/clients experience in your treatment rooms--the personal touch, the YOU factor of your business or practice--and bring it to every brand touch point. Generic copy, stock photos and lackluster social media posts just won’t translate.

Instead, implement a customized content strategy. Today, there are many venues to consider, so pinpoint the ones most likely to resonate with your clients/patients. Here are ten smart ways to stay engaged through content: 

•    Blogs let you share info and invite conversation in a casual, intimate venue. Be sure to stick to a schedule--every Wednesday, say, or the first of each month--so clients/patients will know when you’ll pop up in their inbox. 
•    Online newsletters keep your whole database updated on office news, special deals, new products and procedures, plus your personal commentary. 
•    Emails and an online patient portal offer one-on-one attention, allowing clients to receive appointment reminders, check their own history (“When was my last micro-needling?”) email questions and more.
•    A social media presence on sites such Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become must-haves for today’s professionals. And you can offer potential clients perks in return for ‘likes.’
•    Internet memes--whether an image, video, hyperlink or hashtag--can help your message ‘go viral’ on social media sites.
•    Videos demonstrate the old adage that a picture--especially a moving one--is worth a thousand words! Great way to demonstrate products, procedures and your own personality. Consider getting a YouTube Channel to showcase your video library in one accessible place. 
•    A beauty column in your local paper is a win-win-win way to promote your business, enhance your authority and extend your reach to a new clientele. 
•    Audio podcasts let you are ‘talk’ to patients in brief clips they can download and listen to while running, driving, even working out--the perfect communiqué for busy lifestyles.
•    Webinars provide online demonstrations in real-time--plus, they can be archived to share with clients anytime.
•    In-office events offer an incentive for guests to visit your facility and check out you all you have to offer firsthand.

One important don’t: Don’t bombard clients with all ten messaging venues! There is such a thing as TMI, and your goal is to find your ‘sweet spot’ between not enough engagement and an avalanche of information. Focus on creating a personalized content approach that will keep your message top-of-mind--not over the top! 

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Second Essential for a Powerful Brand: Proprietary Systems or Brand Culture

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Second Essential for a Powerful Brand: Proprietary Systems or Brand Culture

DryBar, SoulCycle, Skin Laundry…What do these three diverse brands all have in common? A very recognizable culture. They created their own systems--and introduced a very specific methodology--and clients not only quickly adapted, but embraced the brand. Now their operations are identifiable as uniquely their own. Simply mention the name--DryBar, SoulCycle, Skin Laundry--and consumers know instantly what to expect from their signature culture. 

The same principle applies to your brand. When you and your competitors are basically selling the same equipment, services and products, the culture you create is your identity that instantly sets you apart in the minds of clients/patients. So it’s vital to differentiate yourself through your unique style and personality.

What do you do unique? How do you differentiate yourself? You have risen above the rest of the packers, clients request you, follow you and believe in what you tell them. 
Think of every contact clients/patients have with your business--via phone call, visit, social media view--is known as a Brand Touch Point, an experience that determines their view of your brand and your particular brand culture.  Whatever the magic is that you create in the treatment room needs to be bottled and sprinkled over brand touch point.  Make sure each of these touch points offers is sprinkled with your uniqueness, your you-ness. Show clients/patients that what you’re doing is unique by putting your own spin on products, services and approaches. 

What To Do: 
•    Create a signature method or technique and spotlight as a point of differentiation in your branding.
•    Incorporate pictures and videos of you. That’s what people are buying. YOU!
•    Create your own ‘language’ – words that uniquely represent what you are offering.
•    Create a private label skin care line

What NOT To Do:
•    Don’t use a vast number of stock photos on your website. 
•    Steer clear of generic business language and copy.
•    Avoid designing websites and brochures that don’t convey your personal touch.

Success Story Example: Creating a Private Label Skin Care Line and Operational System Unique to the Practice
Truth+Beauty Medical Spa--branded as a ‘gym for the skin’--underscored that distinction by having each guest initially meet with the ‘Beauty Coach.’ Each client is given a digital imaging analysis of her/his complexion to customize a treatment plan, much as a personal trainer would map out a fitness regimen at a first visit. Patients return after a series of services and take another picture to see the dramatic changes. Results are then carefully documented in their Beauty Diary. Truth+Beauty established their own culture by creating an operational system that is uniquely their own--and then they topped it by creating their own brand language with the terms Beauty Diary and Beauty Coach.

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First Essential for a Powerful Brand: Clarity of Purpose

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First Essential for a Powerful Brand: Clarity of Purpose

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, defines a brand as “…what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” The words, images, thoughts or feelings someone has when they think of you and your business--that, in a nutshell, is your brand.  

Think of your brand as your own bit of real estate in a landscape that’s perpetually habited by other--and often similar--products and services.  Then think of branding as all the things you do to make your real estate stand out, so you’ll be the one to attract the desired clientele.

What strategy will give your brand that vital edge, the kind of staying power that keeps customers enticed, engaged and always coming back? In this series, we’ll be looking at seven vital branding components. First is Clarity of Purpose: Being absolutely clear about the who, what, how and why of your business. 

•    Marketing guru Simon Sinek encourages entrepreneurs to always start with why: “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Why does your business exist? Why are you passionate about it? Why should clients care about you? “All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year,” Sinek explains. 


•    Who are you? If you’re a solo practitioner, making your own name part of your business and logo--and establishing yourself as an ‘authority’--are key. If you’re a business owner with staffers, determine what attributes best define your business--luxurious, wellness-based, innovative, and so on.  Good branding means being 100% clear about who you are, whom you hope to attract, and what value you offer. Otherwise, how can clients/patients be clear about you--and, more importantly, buy from you?


•    What exactly do you provide? Your name, taglines and descriptive copy should say it all, no need for guesswork. Consider a plastic surgeon with a tagline, “Surgical and Non-Surgical Procedures.” What does that mean? Dr. Jennifer Levine touts her services as, “Cosmetic Surgery and Beauty Procedures.” Perfectly clear!


•    How do you convey your branding message? Make it part of your DNA: Each phone call, blog, social media post and personal interaction should reflect your brand and be a unique representation of you. That will help get people “talking about you when you’re not in the room”…and saying all the right things.

 

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Ultherapy: Where Ultrasound = Ultra-Chic

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Ultherapy: Where Ultrasound = Ultra-Chic

You know what’s great about today’s cutting-edge cosmetic procedures? They’ve managed to eliminate the “cutting” part!  Some of the best new techniques offer great results with no downtime, no drastic measures—and no surgery. Ultherapy is one of these great new treatments – it tightens skin without going under the knife! Spa owners are having success with Ultherapy and patients swear by it.

How is that possible? If it “sounds” too good to be true…it’s probably Ultherapy®.

Simply put, Ultherapy uses ultrasound technology to lift and tighten skin. If you’re ever had a prenatal ultrasound, you’re already familiar with the basic concept.  But sound waves don’t just project images from the inside out: they can also penetrate deep into skin layers from the outside in to activate the body’s natural rejuvenation process. In this case, we’re talking about the actual growth of new collagen! Another plus: Ultherapy is especially effective on the eyebrow area, neck, and under the chin - spots that are traditionally hard to treat.

Here’s how it works. During a 60-90 minute Ultherapy session, a special instrument is used to focus ultrasound energy on designated facial areas. The ultrasound actually bypasses the skin’s surface to reach the deep, structural tissue below. In turn, the body responds to the burst of focused ultrasound by stimulating the growth of new collagen. The rejuvenation process is gradual: it takes about 2-3 months to see Ultherapy’s full effects. But during that time frame, your clients will look a bit younger each day!

Ultherapy is FDA-approved, and since it uses the time-tested technology of ultrasound, you know it’s safe.  Although there is a hefty price tag attached to this technology, clients feel that the results outweigh the cost.  

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The Medical Spa Owner’s Guide to Dermal Fillers

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The Medical Spa Owner’s Guide to Dermal Fillers

Today, the dermal filler is a definite “must have” beauty tool. And the choices keep getting better and better, offering natural, turn-back-the-clock results. Of the many fabulous fillers out there—Juvéderm, Restylane, Sculptra, Belotero and Radieesee—how do you know which to choose? Happy problem, right?

Let’s start with the basics. All dermal fillers have the same goal: To fill in facial lines, wrinkles and folds and leave a smooth, natural correction. Ingredients differ.  Some, like Juvéderm, Restylane and Belotero Balance rely on Hyaluronic Acid, Radiesse is made up of Calcium Hydroxylapatite and Scupltra uses Poly-L-Lactic Acid. No need to memorize these tongue-twisters, though—just know the field offers lots of variety, and one formula might suit one client better than another.

So here’s a quick rundown of the dermal differences…

Juvéderm comes in several different formulas. The thinner ones—Juvéderm Ultra and Ultra XC—can handle fine lines and wrinkles, and even the delicate area around the eyes. The heavier formulas work best on deep facial lines.  Different varieties of Juvéderm can be used to plump up lips, earlobes and cheekbones—and even fill acne scars.

Belotero touts itself as a filler that that molds to your own distinct facial contours; it’s versatile enough for deep folds, and especially effective to give an “airbrushed” look to fine lines.

Radiesse not only fills in lines, but also stimulates the production of new collagen; this allows for a longer time between touch-ups. Unlike some other fillers, Radiesse is not used on the lips.

Restylane is used to treat moderate to severe facial folds, as well as enhance the lips.

Sculptra is FDA-approved to build up cheeks, fill in hollows and increase skin thickness (its not used on lips, though). Multiple treatments are needed, usually 4 weeks apart.  Unlike the other four fillers, Sculptra results are not immediate, but they do last longer.

Other comparisons? Radiesse and Sculptra have the added benefit of boosting the body’s natural production of collagen, to help skin stay plumped up and youthful. In general, Juvéderm, Restylane and Belotero are less costly that Radiesse and Sculptra.

Whew! Still not sure what’s best for your clients? No worries, you can advise based on your client’s budget, facial features, skin elasticity and other factors. And no matter which filler you recommend, your clients will be filled with enthusiasm upon glimpsing  in the mirror!

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Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin

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Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin

Confused about Injectables? Here’s Your Cheat Sheet!

If you’re like me, you probably ditched your chemistry textbook back in your high school days—and maybe with glee! But do you ever feel like you need an advanced degree to make an informed recommendations to your clients? 

Read the fine print in a Botox® Cosmetic ad, and you’re likely to stumble over a sentence like “OnabotuabotulinnumtoxinA is recommended to treat glabellar lines.” In plain Englsh, that means Botox is great for improving the look of moderate to severe frown lines. Whew. We knew that.

Now, there are some new contenders in what’s technically called the neurotoxin field: Dysport and Xeomin. Are they better than Botox? Do their effects last longer? How do you know which might be right for you?  Here’s help!

First, know that the three products all work basically the same way: They block the signal of nerve impulses to particular facial muscles. This, in turn, prevents those muscles from making wrinkle-causing contractions. And that, in turn, creates a smoother, more attractive appearance where lines used to be. 

Plus, all three products offer temporary results, which can vary with each patient. So far, very similar…so what are some of the fine points?

Botox, the original, is designed to improve the moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows as well as crow’s feet. After a Botox injection, you usually see full results in 7 to 10 days—and their literature says the effects last up to 4 months.

Dysport offers results more quickly—usually in 2-3 days. Clinical trials shows it tends to “spread more” than Botox, which can be good if you’re treating a large area (you may need fewer injections to treat, say, a forehead).  But this “spread” factor means you should only use a skilled physician—who’s experienced with the delicate musculature of the eyes and face—for Dysport injections. Otherwise, the product could spread into unwanted areas of the face.  With Dysport, don’t ever go the cut-rate route!

Xeomin, the newest contender, won FDA approval for its success in treating cervical dystonia, a rare condition that involves an excessive pulling in the neck and shoulders. Now, doctors are permitted to use it off-label to treat the same facial lines as Botox and Dysport. Unlike its predecessors, Xeomin does not have to be refrigerated before use (experts say that may make it easier to distribute), and it has no additives (which mean it could carry a lower risk of developing antibodies to a particular ingredient). Much like Botox, Xeomin offers results in about a week that last from 3 to 6 months.

Feel like you’re back in Chemistry 101—or Chem Lite? Bottom line (no pun intended): Each of these products is safe and effective and whichever you recommend, your clients will look gorgeous. 

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Fading Brown Spots Protocol

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Fading Brown Spots Protocol

Get Rid of Brown Spots and save the leopard print for your shoes!

By now, summer may be a fading memory…but, what’s not fading are those darkened brown spots from the late August sun. If you’re like me, you want to make those unsightly complexion blotches disappear—and the sooner, the better.

Brown spots are a type of skin condition called hyperpigmentation, and they often form in response to years of unprotected sun exposure. A recent study showed just how negatively these spots affect your looks: When photos of women were doctored to highlight their uneven skin tone, these women were actually judged as older and less attractive than women with abundant (and deeper) wrinkles. Bottom line? The more brown spots you have, the older you look.

The good news: There are a number of different techniques to eliminate brown spots and restore skin’s youthful smoothness. But before you begin a program, it’s best to assess your precise level of damage by taking a digital skin analysis. The VISIA™ is an advanced photographic technology that captures a clear, close-up, multi-dimensional image of your complexion. This specialty camera not only measures how much sun damage you currently have, but it also shows what's lurking below the surface. This is the pigmentation that’s about to appear in the near future, rearing its ugly head when you least expect it. An excellent sales tool for any Medical Spa. 

I recommend a three-step approach to banishing brown spots:

 Step One: Begin by getting on a lightening regimen with a skin care routine that incorporates Hydroquinone. If you are allergic to Arbutase, try its natural alternative, Kojic Acid. I recommend the Obagi Nu Derm Kit. Products containing these ingredients bleach the skin, lighten brown spots and even out skin tone. They also precondition the skin for Steps Two and Three.

Step Two: Once the surface skin has been sufficiently bleached, I like to work on the sun damage that is hovering at the deepest levels of my skin. The stuff you can’t see…yet. Intense Pulsed Light works to non-invasively banish brown spots by heating up the structures that hold the unwanted dark color, damaging and destroying the blood vessel or “sun spot”. This process is called Selective Photothermolysis since it specifically targets only the affected area. Within 7-10 days, the damaged cell rises to the surface and sloughs off, leaving skin smooth and even.

Step Three: Once these lower layers of pigmentation have been eradicated, I like to finish with a set of chemical peels to remove all the dead skin cells from the top layers of my skin. Chemical peels remove layers of affected skin, allowing new, unaffected skin to grow back in its place. There are different types of peels, varying in strength and in how deeply they penetrate the skin. I recommend a mid-strength chemical peel, known as a TCA peel, for optimal results following a Selective Photothermolysis procedure.

Once eliminated, these spots will not return unless you go back into the sun unprotected! Every skin tone is susceptible to sun damage and discoloration, which is why sunscreen is a must—no matter how dark your natural complexion or what time of year. Because UVB rays target the top layer of skin—where freckles are—a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is especially important. Even as winter approaches, be sure to pick up a broad-spectrum physical sun block. A broad-spectrum block with titanium and/or zinc literally deflects UV rays so they won’t wreak havoc on your skin. And brown will remain a chic wardrobe choice, not a mark of aging and sun damage!

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