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.
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!
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 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.
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!
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!