3 Quick, Simple, New Year Business Tips from the Industry ProfessionalsJan 02, 2022
The past months have been a rocky terrain for spa and salon owners to navigate. From being plunged into and out of lockdown at the drop of a hat, reconsidering industry infection control, and tentatively reopening, only to close again weeks later. It takes masterminds in business, marketing and experienced salon owners to navigate such extraordinary circumstances (how can you make an income when you’re not allowed to see clients??).
Luckily for you, we spoke to many such people over the past year who were able to help. Namely, Abi Selby, founder of SpaBreaks.com, Elliott Wakefield, marketing director of The Alexander Hotel Collection and Sue Bond, founder of Standards Authority for Touch in Cancer Care (SATCC). Many readers let us know how helpful they found the advice from Abi, Elliot and Sue over the past few months. What we are wondering is, if their pearls of wisdom were able to help therapists and spa managers during a lockdown, how much more powerful could their advice be, now that we are finally open?
We have compiled some of the top tips we have picked up from the experts over the past year and used them to construct some actionable, easily implemented steps, for you to put into place in the new year.
Lesson 1: Nail the basics
When you have been a therapist or spa manager for so long, it is all too easy to revert to autopilot when welcoming your clients. When was the last time you reviewed your treatment menu, updated your prices or asked for feedback on your service?
Abi from SpaBreaks.com emphasises the importance of making your processes, such as booking a treatment, “quicker and easier than ever” for your clients.
Take five minutes to pretend you’re a customer and go through the process of booking a treatment at your salon. How easy was it? Was it one simple phone call, or did it take several emails, with an overwhelming amount of treatment options at different prices? Note down what is working well, and ideas for where you might improve. This tactic can be applied to all core processes in your business.
Next time you see your friends, request that they try booking a treatment with you. Ask them what part they found most and least convenient. This can be a more effective method, as it is easy to be blind to the tasks you are familiar with.
Abi also identified an increased demand for luxury spa experiences following lockdown. After already dedicating significant time and energy to your treatment list, it can be difficult to think of ways in which you could provide a more bespoke, tailored experience for your clients, by a mutually beneficial means.
Here are some quick ideas as to how that might be achieved: Could your new treatment price include a free Jennifer Young Lip Balm, or free post-treatment skincare advice? Keep it simple. If you can’t explain it in one sentence, it is probably too complicated to communicate via your online channels where attention spans are limited and people are easily distracted.
Take five minutes to pick one simple idea you could implement this month.
Lesson 2: Your marketing masterclass
Last April, we were lucky enough to bear witness to The Alexander Hotel Collection’s marketing director, Elliott’s, masterclass in digital marketing, in which there were many lessons to be learnt for businesses of all scales.
Elliott spoke of the unexpected ways in which he kept customers engaged with the organisation throughout lockdowns, including changing his style of communication and tone, humanising the brand to make it more personal, and meeting the customers where their needs and interests are, for example discussing spa décor and lifestyle to maintain website traffic.
How can you take Elliott’s advice and apply it to your own brand? Grab your diary, notebook and pen, and let us show you.
One of Elliott’s main lessons is to lead your communication with the topics which are of interest and beneficial to your client.
In your notebook, start a bullet point list. Firstly, list the ways in which your treatments uniquely benefit your clients. Once this is complete, list all of the positive feedback you have received from your clients, did they have any stories? Finally, are there any personal lessons you have gained from being a therapist, or any times where an experience left you feeling happy or touched?
Now, grab your diary and choose a day. This will be the day where you schedule a weekly social media post. Alternate between the three themes in your list; unique benefits, positive client feedback (with their permission) and your own stories. Ask your client if they would allow you to you post a picture of them to accompany their story and help humanise your brand. Have you introduced yourself on your marketing platforms yet?
This technique can help you to gain trust, familiarity with potential clients and to communicate the benefits of your service more effectively.
If you have other marketing channels, e.g. newsletters or blog posts, you can use this method to schedule your marketing activity on these platforms, changing the frequency and dates accordingly.
Take 20 minutes to make your plan.
Lesson 3: There is nothing wrong with acknowledging your expertise.
If you’re welcoming clients, you have completed some very rigorous training to ensure you are able to meet their needs. Clients find these qualifications reassuring when booking a treatment.
Make sure your qualifications are communicated somewhere visible. This could be on a page on your website, or scheduled into the marketing calendar discussed in lesson 2.
As a therapist, you are faced with a plethora of ailments from your clients. Some of whom may feel apprehensive about their issue, or wary about booking a treatment. The higher the awareness of your training with your clients, the better you will do in pre-empting their concerns.
Sue Harmsworth is the founder of the Standards Authority for Touch in Cancer Care (SATCC), a central point for information, standards and necessary requirements for therapists welcoming those affected by cancer. Sue recognises the importance of ensuring that the training you have undertaken is of a high standard, in welcoming clients safely and appropriately. SATCC specialises in communicating that importance.
Your clients aren’t therapists. Don’t assume that they will understand why a Level 3 qualification in massage is important. Explain your qualifications, so that your clients understand them.
“Our team is dedicated to ensuring that we can welcome you safely to our salon to receive treatments. As restrictions relax, your safety and peace of mind is our priority. Therefore, our team has completed Jennifer Young’s accredited course in Control of Cross Infection in a Post COVID-19 World.”
“We do not undermine the revitalising, restorative effects of a spa treatment delivered following a cancer diagnosis. Therefore, our salon team have undertaken accredited, certified training, meeting and exceeding the requirements outlined by the SATCC industry standards, to ensure that those affected by cancer are welcomed.”
Lesson 4: Keep Learning
It is a therapist’s job to listen and help. Expand this mindset to the wider operations of your business, such as your marketing.
Although there is a lot to be learnt from Abi, Elliott and Sue, set small, realistic goals. Perhaps begin with one or two social posts a week, review how this action changes your level of engagement with your clients. Implementing one action at a time will help you to measure which are your most successful.
Bring on 2022. You’ve got this.