Spa Email Marketing Best Practices

Ten Spa Email Marketing Best Practices

With all of the buzz around social media, email marketing may not get as much attention as it used to from spa marketers. But spa email marketing still has many compelling things going for it. Here are a few persuasive statistics on email usage:

The challenge is that your customers’ inboxes are already overflowing with marketing emails from all kinds of businesses. This requires that you be strategic about cutting through the clutter. Here are 10 spa email marketing best practices to follow when developing your email strategy and content.

Spa Email Marketing

  1. Ask permission. Don’t randomly add new clients to your email marketing list—ask them to opt-in. Otherwise, you run the risk of clients marketing your messages as spam. If you receive too many complaints, your internet service provider (ISP) may start blocking all of your messages.
  2. Make it compelling. Asking clients to “sign up for emails” isn’t a very good hook. But inviting them to “sign up for exclusive news and offers” is a lot more enticing. Let prospects know how often you’ll be emailing them (monthly is usually good) and what kinds of content you’ll be sending.
  3. Make signups easy. If you want clients to join your list, you need to make it easy. You can have a signup form right on the homepage of your website, include a signup tab on your Facebook page, and even post a paper sign-up list at your front desk. You may even give someone extra loyalty points for signing up on the spot.
  4. Be mobile friendly. Mobile usage continues to grow at an astounding rate; some studies say that almost half of all emails are now opened on mobile devices. Your email template must be responsive—that is, designed in a way that it’s easy to read on both desktops and mobile devices.
  5. Invest in subject lines. The email you carefully craft will go to waste if it never gets opened. The key to getting your readers’ attention is a great subject line. Experts recommend subject lines under 50 characters, with limited use of capital letters and symbols. One new trend is towards very brief subject lines, 10 characters or less, that really stand out. It’s a smart idea to test a couple of versions for each mailing to see which performs best.
  6. Provide value. Make sure your emails are informative and useful to the reader. For example, your monthly newsletter could include recipes, beauty advice, and industry news they won’t want to miss, in addition to special offers for services and products.
  7. Segment your list. You’re already collecting information about your clients’ preferences. Using that information to segment your list will allow you to target your messages to a specific group of readers. For example, you send a special offer on facials to clients who have previously had facials with your business, or extend a discount on a specific product line to clients who have purchased that brand in the past. The more relevant and specific your content is, the higher your results will be.
  8. Test your send times. In general, emails tend to have higher open and clickthrough rates on the weekends or later in the afternoon. As with subject lines, try testing your email send times to see which day of the week and time of day yields the best results for your clients.
  9. Use a consistent voice. Readers expect a consistent experience with your brand, and that applies to your emails, too. Having one person in charge of communications and a strong brand voice will cut down on ambiguity and help reinforce your spa’s “personality” with clients.
  10. Make opting-out easy. Not only is it the law, it’s also a good business practice to make it easy for clients to stop receiving your emails. Its okay to ask them why, but don’t make them feel guilty. Spend that energy on making your communications so interesting and compelling that no one wants to opt out!

The Bottom Line

Don’t sound the death knell for email marketing yet! It’s still a highly effective way to communicate with customers and drive repeat visits to your spa. Make sure to use email marketing judiciously and follow the guidelines above, and you’ll start to see success with your campaigns.

Email marketing is a valuable component of your spa marketing plan. If you want to create a powerful marketing plan to grow your spa business, talk to us. Schedule a free 30-minute needs assessment here.



This post appeared first on the Booker Blog.

Spa Services Pricing

Spa Services Pricing Strategies: Are you leaving money on the table?

When it comes to spa operations, one thing that I think is often taken for granted is the service menu. Often with spa services pricing treatments are priced and listed, and then no one looks at it for a couple of years. But how would you feel if a restaurant you frequented NEVER had anything new or different to offer? A little menu re-engineering is in order on a regular basis, so that neither your customers nor your staff gets too bored with what you are offering.

The recessionary environment has somewhat faded, but it was an important wakeup call for many spas. The treatments and products that we offer are not essentials, and consumers are still very careful with their discretionary dollars. Retail sales average increases of about 3% each year, consistent with what they’ve averaged for the last 10 years. In other words, not a lot. And yet, we still have to make sure that we do raise spa prices occasionally, just to avoid lulling our customers into thinking they’ll never change. And the fact is, the treatment menu should be a major sales tool.

spa services pricing strategies

Spa Services Pricing – Strategic Change is Good

First, consider the “what” that comprises your menu. It can be helpful to run a sales report for the previous year, and consider eliminating any treatments that you sold less than, say, 25-30 of. That’s only one every other week, obviously not a big seller. Clearing out a menu item makes room for another that may have better turnover, or margin, or both.

If you haven’t raised prices in a couple of years, it is likely time to examine the current environment and weigh your opportunities. Begin by creating a spreadsheet listing your competitors and their prices on basic services, and add yours to it.  You want to be able to see at a glance where your price for a basic facial or 60-minute Swedish Massage lies in comparison to others in your area. Look more closely at spas or salons in your competitive set, but don’t neglect massage studios and facial clinics – they’re competing for your customer too.  Make sure that your prices are consistent with your position in the marketplace, whether you are you a high-end facility, value-priced, or somewhere in the middle.

Once your ideal ranges are created, you can consider raising prices on a few specific treatments. For now, if you are adding services to the menu, since they are new you can set them at the high end of the range you want to create.  Avoid raising prices on all of your treatments at one time, this can have a greater negative impact on clients who typically enjoy 2 or 3 different services.  Try raising some nail prices in the spring, and perhaps bring up a few facials or massages in the fall. And by the way, there is no law that your prices need to end in “0” or “5”! Try pricing some treatments in a more random way; $68, $76, $83. This probably looks more realistic to a client than having symmetrical pricing.

Remember, if your clients never say your prices are too high, they’re not quite high enough.  Don’t price yourself out of your market, but make sure you charge what you are worth.

Delving Deeper into Menu Logistics

It’s helpful to enter the entire contents of your existing menu into an excel spreadsheet, which makes it easy to view and manipulate your data.  Plus, you can use the spreadsheet to create treatment rate or commission tables for your compensation plan at another time.  Group services together by department; looking at your menu in this more abstract way makes it easier to determine retail prices for services.  Once you’ve created the spreadsheet, re-order the services, and make sure to start with the highest-priced item, and let the others fall into place in order of price, ending with the least expensive.  Spa menus always seem to start with the lowest priced service in a category, and most clients don’t read any further.  Show me a sales report in which 80% of the facials performed are the entry-level facial, and I don’t need to see the menu to know it is presented in this way.  Starting with the higher priced items will likely encourage clients to read more about their options; they may settle on a service priced somewhere in the middle, but not as low as the entry-level price.

Support for Upselling

Next, and perhaps most importantly, consider your technician compensation plan.  If your plan emphasizes performance metrics such as average ticket, does your menu provide the structure to make upselling of services easy?  I recently encountered a service menu with no facials priced between $85 and $135 – that’s too big a jump for 90% of your clients, who will all stick with the less expensive option.  If your price structure on facials is $85, $93, $98, $103, and $112, and you add in a menu of micro treatments priced from $8 to $22, you’ll be able to find the sweet spot for any customer and give multiple upselling options to your staff.  When the service providers have a menu that supports upselling, they are more likely to practice with every client, and they will be transformed from order-takers to sales creators.

For more help with spa retail strategies, watch our short video about the positive side effects or spa retailing.



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Importance of branding your spa

The Importance of Branding Your Spa

Do you have a readily available “elevator speech” when asked to describe your spa business?

Are those few sentences capturing the essence of your brand?

In a crowded market, the importance of branding your spa is paramount in maintaining your market share. If you have not invested time or effort in carefully crafting your spa’s brand message, it’s not too late to start.

Importance of spa branding

What sets your spa business apart from your competition?

It’s the intangibles such as your reputation, your client care, and the way your spa connects with clients. These are components of your spa brand that are the cornerstones of any marketing efforts but are too often after-thoughts in the development of a spa business.

Sure, your treatment menu offers facials, massages and body treatments, but so do many others. Sell retail products? Check. Use high-quality skin and body products? Check. With so much competition available for discretionary dollars to be spent in the spa, and with so many spas bombarding clients with marketing messages, it has never been more important for your spa brand to have a clear identity that stands out from the crowd.

The goal of branding your spa is to attract the right clients.

Your goal with strong branding is not to attract all clients – it’s to attract the right clients, who relate to your brand and the way you do business. This deeper connection does more to keep clients coming to you than fancy décor or staff training programs can, because it connects them to your meaningful purpose. But in order to know what you “stand for,” that has to be clearly articulated at many different touch points.

For example, let’s imagine that your original intent was to create a spa business based on holistic health. You would carefully select a name for the spa that communicated your concept; maybe something like Spa 360, emblematic of a continuous circle. You would have a logo designed that would likely incorporate some sort of circular graphic, to reinforce the concept visually. You would want to make sure that your emails and your receipts have your logo printed on them. You would likely choose a plant-based product manufacturer that offered options that were organic, as opposed to something packed with chemicals and artificial preservatives.

You would develop a compensation plan for your staff that had components such as a contribution to health care coverage, and paid time off, to ensure their health and wellbeing. Your website will probably have a tab for “community,” where you can share a calendar of upcoming events that are important to your clients. These are decisions that support the meaning behind your spa brand; in and of themselves, they are not significant, but they add up to a sum greater than the total of the parts. The feel of the brand that you create resonates with your target client, and that is why they continue to do business with you.

Spa branding should be a constant component of your operations.

Once you have breathed life into your spa brand, that identity must continue to be nurtured and evolved, and should be a constant component of your operations and marketing plans. Take a look around your spa; is your brand personality clear? The colors and ambiance should, at least subtly, reference the brand identity. Internal signage, retail wrap packaging, staff uniforms, and printed collateral such as menus and other marketing materials, all should share the look and feel of the spa brand you are striving to create.

The same holds true for your external and internal client communications; invest some time and energy creating e-blast and newsletter templates that reflect the brand personality. Although the look and feel of these materials is the more immediately obvious reference, a strong brand connection has to go deeper. Back to our example of the holistic spa, used above; your monthly e-newsletter would include educational and informational bits, such as introductions of new staff members, an article highlighting a community event that your staff participated in, and perhaps a recipe for a healthy, easy make-at-home soup, as well as product and service sales promotions.

As you grow, you may branch off into different directions.

It’s important to be aware that brands change and evolve over time; even if you did have a major premise and set of core values at the center of your spa personality, as the business grows, it is common to branch off into new or different directions, which may not be as firmly linked to that central identity. At least once per year, you and your management team should be holding an off-site retreat and candidly evaluating your market position and the effectiveness of your communications. Have you strayed from your original message, or is it time to make adjustments to the brand identity? Sometimes a simple logo refresh by a graphic designer can do the trick, but at other times, you may need to make choices that better articulate your company values.

Remember, there are approximately 26,000 spas in North America alone; what will encourage a client to choose yours over all of the others, at least on a repeat basis, goes beyond the price of your standard facial. Having a clear brand identity and developing it over time will help your business to stay true to your original intent and to stand out from your competition.

This article was published first at

spa client reception

Trend Sorting – What is relevant for spas?

Hello to everyone, we hope your year is off to a good start!

The years are changing so quickly now that it’s becoming more difficult to remember what year it is, and the same goes for consumer habits.

Each new year brings a bevy of trend reports, which I always enjoy reading for their expert insights on particular sectors. Some of my favorites from this year include Retail trends from Shopify, Global Consumer trends from Euromonitor, and Skift’s Travel trends. The Global Wellness Institute always gives us detailed and relevant information on trends affecting the spa and wellness world in their global Wellness trends report. And this year, I found a really interesting piece on mindfulness trends in design:retail magazine, with examples that combine experiences and retailing. All of these are excellent reading on their own, and there are many ideas and concepts to glean and adapt to your own spa and wellness business needs. But after you read them all, you will probably see that there are really just a few macro trends that we need to adapt to.

Here are the big three that stood out to me.

The Culture of Me:

spa client receptionProbably a result of both the growing population and the explosion of technology attracting our time and attention, people just really want to stand out as an individual. Consumers don’t just want experiences, they want experiences that are tailored to THEM. You’ve no doubt seen the proliferation of DIY shops, where you can make artwork, or ceramics, or learn to cook. You can find myriad sources online where you can personally design clothes, sneakers, artwork, you name it, and have it delivered.

This concept certainly fits into what we deliver in spas – we just need to be hyper-focused on the personal aspect of personalized service. Greeting clients and establishing a real connection, using their name throughout their visit, and inviting them to return are no-brainers. But beyond that, how about simpler menus with swappable elements such as masking or hydrating steps? Perhaps a self-help mask or serum bar in the lounge or locker room? Customization options at retail, as pioneered by Bioelements many years ago, but possible in many iterations today. A beneficial side effect is that these options are not available online…

Community, in several versions:

  • Spa Communities TrendOne; consumers today, especially millennials, like to share their experiences with others. Going into a room for a treatment, alone with the technician, which boomers have always enjoyed, is presenting new challenges for spas. Quiet, dark, library-like spa spaces are not an appealing destination for many consumers today. This is a sea change that has to be handled from the design of facility and menu through marketing and operations. But it clear that socializing and enjoying experiences with others needs to be woven into our spa fabric.
  • Two; the sharing marketplace. The explosion of ride-sharing, co-living, co-working and material goods exchanging marketplaces is unprecedented. It has its roots in economic pressures, but once you get in the habit, it can feel wasteful to buy a new book when there are perfectly good “slightly used” options. Fortunately, spa experiences can’t be recycled! But what happens to slightly used or returned retail products, is there a women’s shelter that could use them? What about a “buy one, give one” promotion, a la Tom’s shoes? Just thinking out loud.

The Discount Mindset:

This is another concept that really took root during the recession, and has not gone away. Consumers have always been attracted to deals, and this holds true even in high-end and luxury markets. At Wynne Business, we have never been a fan of discounting spa services, but you do have to recognize the realities of your marketplace and adapt accordingly. If you are going to have to promote certain treatments in order to sell them, you will need to price them accordingly and preserve your margin.

Gift card promotions trend

Promotions that feature value-adds are always a good approach; a full-priced facial with a free mask or serum, or an 80-minute massage for the price of a 50-minute, still preserve your basic pricing but allow the consumer to feel they are getting a deal. How about a “bring a friend” promotion, that can also address the community aspect? It would appear that the search for a “deal” is here to stay, so your spa business has to participate while preserving profitability.

I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts! Please visit our Facebook page and share your feedback.



How To Impress Clients With Valentine’s Day Special Treatments

Hopefully, you’re having a busy January with service and gift card sales for Valentine’s Day.  In our recent post with Valentine’s Day Sales Tips, we shared what you can be doing to grow Valentine’s Day sales.  You just need to remind the entire staff to put their best foot forward; be punctual, fully uniformed, and ready to assist with clients or inquiries at any time.


Valentine's Day Spa Sales Tips

What extra special treatments do you have planned for your spa clients?

It is likely that you will see some new clients for services over the weekend, especially if you’ve put in place holiday promotions, or you may have regular clients who bring a spouse or partner to enjoy a couple’s-oriented treatment.  Valentine’s Day is a good reason for clients to be thinking about their appearance, so beautifying treatments and services will be in order before a night out on the town.  Your staff should be aware of this potential and adjust their approach accordingly; for instance, if a woman comes in for a facial and makeup application before she heads out for the evening, she would likely appreciate not having her hairstyle ruined during the services.  If time allows, free ten-minute eye makeup touch-ups can introduce new clients to your makeup bar.  Some spas will even keep some long-stemmed roses at the desk, and present them to female guests at checkout.  Have your staff think about ways they can impress both new and returning clients with your high standards of customer care.


Depending on your location, you may attract some walk-in traffic for Valentine’s Day with attractive retail displays visible from the outside.  An array of price-points on your Valentine gift sets may bring in some new clients, and if they’re impressed with your selection, displays and knowledgeable sales staff they’ll be intrigued enough to return.  Needless to say, clean shelves and ample displays are a must through the weekend.


Gift card clients offer a double opportunity; both the purchaser and the recipient of the gift card are potential repeat guests.  If possible at the time of the sale, collect the pertinent information on the intended gift card recipients so that you can market to them later.  In order to get more mileage out of this dual purchase, some spas will offer the purchaser a voucher to use for a return visit of their own; $20 off a service valued at $60 or more, or a free upgrade on a weekday treatment.  Perhaps a red rose for the purchaser too?


No matter the reason the doors open over the next few days before Valentine’s Day, each person who enters should be greeted immediately and with genuine warmth and friendliness.  Of course, your well-trained staff is always aware of opportunities to make lasting connections with the guest, but it might not hurt to remind everyone to “show the love” especially in a month that can be on the slow side.



Valentine’s Day Treatments And Tips To Increase Spa Sales

You’ve just gotten the spa put back together from the winter holidays, and the next sales event, Valentine’s Day, is coming up fast.
Valentine’s is typically the smallest of the three big annual gift card events; December holidays lead the pack, followed by Mother’s Day, with the romance holiday third, but Valentine’s Day has some special things going for it. It is one of the occasions that lends itself to the booking of treatments during the holiday as well as the selling of gift cards, and it also appeals to both genders.
Valentine's Day Spa Tips

Add Valentine’s Day Treatments to your Menu

From the service booking standpoint, it’s easy enough to add a Valentine flair to your menu. In each of your service departments, select a treatment for which you have moderate demand and detailed protocols, and then tweak it by adding verbiage or swapping out steps, or both!
Ingredients such as strawberries, chocolate, champagne or roses, in some iteration, can be substituted for a component in the protocol. Words evoking love, romance, passion, companionship, or celebration can be worked into treatment descriptions, as appropriate.
Don’t forget to focus on treatments for couples, especially if you have at least one couples room. Create a Valentine menu insert with these newly created services and prices, and slip it into your regular menu. Of course, I’m sure I don’t need to mention to make sure that both technical and customer service staff have been advised of these changes/additions to the regular menu. Additionally, if you have special Valentine services, you will likely want to put a time limit on when they will be available; these are meant to be enjoyed during Valentine’s for a week or two. You don’t want to have someone show up in September asking to book one of these services, when you will likely have moved on and may not even have the products necessary in stock.

Boost sales and increase customer convenience with Valentine’s Day gift packages

Gift card sales do not generally kick into gear until the week of Valentines itself, starting the weekend before. Make sure you’ve got some Valentine-themed gift card packaging or presentation materials on hand, along with a supply of Valentine cards for those who are in need, saving them a trip to the Hallmark store. Place a selection of pre-wrapped retail packages near the checkout, including bath & body, candles & fragrance items.
A couple of days before Valentines itself, it wouldn’t hurt to have a selection of red roses available by the single stem, perhaps offering them to anyone who spends over a certain amount on a gift card.
More ideas? Contact us about our consulting services. We can help you design the perfect Valentine’s Day Sales Strategy.

You versus Your Spa Competition: What makes a client choose your spa?

Unless you are a resort spa, directly after the holiday season, you are likely to see some quieting in your books, and perhaps even your regulars are MIA.  What is your plan to attract new consumers, and how will your spa stand out from all of the competition?

Spa Competition

You Vs. Your Competition

What Makes a Client Choose Your Spa?

Clients are becoming more aware than ever of the need for spa and wellness services; the messages cannot be escaped, even in mainstream media.  But there are plenty of people who are still not sure what happens in a spa, and even more who don’t know what wellness entails.

The nature of the spa industry in America is such that the word spa has no clear connotation; it may be attached to a nail, tanning salon or hair salon as often as it is used in conjunction with skin and body services.  The ubiquitous nature of the word is good for marketing in the sense that consumers are seeing it often and that reinforces the idea that spa is not just for special occasions.  But it’s not helpful if consumers don’t know what it is. Therefore, one of the main concepts framing your spa marketing plan has to be clear communication of what your particular spa is, and is not.

It is likely that you have massage, body and/or skin care services on the menu, but beyond that, what words or concepts help to define your spa?

Is it botanical, holistic, organic?

Do you use Italian products?

Are you known for your customer service or outstanding results?

Is your staff highly-trained?

Many spa owners try an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to creating spa businesses; long lists of every treatment imaginable, but no soul or clear identity.  The more facilities like this exist, the more commoditized spa services become, and if your spa does not have a distinct identity or point of view, you will be lost in the crowd.

This article on branding gives some helpful hints on the best approach.   Certainly, one of the important focal points in developing a brand identity is to make sure it resonates with your previously identified target audience.  Don’t develop a spa concept or treatment menu because it interests you, make sure there is a community of prospective clients who need/want what you are offering, and also ensure that your spa is conveniently located for those prospects.

With this approach in place, you’ll have something to build on.



This article appeared first on the Booker blog.

Here’s to a successful year in 2016

Planning for Success in 2016Welcome to 2016!

The older I get, the more New Year’s Day reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day; I can’t believe it’s here again, already! The fact is, the more quickly the years tick by, the more urgency you may have as a business owner to avoid procrastinating in regards to your spa business.

New Year’s resolutions have actually been around since the ancient Babylonians marked the new year as a time to repay their debts and return borrowed objects, 4000 years ago. You know that list of changes you’d like to make, or new approaches you’ve been meaning to try? The time is now, no need to wait until another year, or two, or five, goes by. Select one activity from each of these four areas, and get to work!  Read more

“The Brave New World of Spa PR,” a webinar with Kim Marshall, Principal of the Marshall Plan Public Relations, and David Victor of Boomcycle Online Marketing

Monday, May 24th: 11:30 a.m. Pacific/2:30 p.m. Eastern

Did you miss our 5/17 webinar? Register for this live encore presentation.

FREE with advance registration. If you can’t attend live, you can still register to receive a copy of the webinar recording via e mail.

A great public relations program is more important than ever, and there are more outlets for public relations than ever before–including online review sites, Facebook and Twitter! But which modalities are working best for spas in the era of social media?  Which are a waste of time? Are you in control of your brand’s reputation, or is it careening out of control? Kim Marshall, a veteran public relations professional who specializes in spa, hospitality and wellness businesses, takes you on a journey through this fast-changing, sometimes hair-raising, and highly competitive landscape.

This fun, fast-paced webinar, designed to help you separate urban myth from reality, will help you to focus on the marketing tools that “move the needle” and to avoid wasteful experiments. Find out what editors really want–including the topics that travel and beauty editors are interested (and not interested) in right now. Kim has the ear of a diverse array of media professionals, and will share with us exactly what they’re telling her! Gain a valuable understanding of the key components of a compelling public relations campaign–and an insider’s perspective on how public relations actually works–from one of the pioneers of the spa industry.

Moderated by Peggy Wynne Borgman

People Problems

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone in a class or seminar say, “You know, we don’t really have that many issues in our spa–we just have people problems.”

According to a terrific new study of 1350 spa guests from Coyle Hospitality Group, “people problems” are the predominant issue in every spa. Coyle, the leading mystery shopping firm in the hospitality industry, undertook a survey to determine the most common spoilers of spa experiences.

The summary notes that, “62% of the respondents mentioned ‘People’ as a significant contributor to the bad experience…Nearly two out of every three people that have a bad experience at a spa are talking about staff behavior. This is most interesting because most spa owners feel that the quality of their staff is their most significant competitive advantage.”

This is a bad news/good news situation. As the Coyle report points out, behavioral problems, unlike issues with your plumbing, are usually inexpensive to fix. However, unlike a one-time fix, correcting people problems–and keeping them corrected–requires focus, discipline, and follow-through. It sometimes requires a cultural shift. It sometimes requires more supervision. It always requires training.

Hearing what guests actually experience is an eye-opener. The top complaint in the Coyle study? Over 100 of the respondents indicated that the “staff was not listening, responsive about special needs, or accommodating,” and 100 more felt there was “too much conversation.” 64 guests experienced “unfriendly, impersonal, robotic staff.” Others noted that they were “ignored by staff during treatment; not checked on,” and a significant number encountered, amazingly enough, “offensive, demeaning” staff. (We took pains to include some of these issues in our customer service training DVD, including role play examples of the wrong and right way to handle various conversations.)

If like many spas you’ve been focusing on promotions to get new guests in the door, there’s encouraging news–and perhaps a cautionary tale–in one statistic. “Only a total of 35 out of 1,350 respondents spoke about value…the price paid is not at the heart of the problem” for most dissatisfied guests. This rogues’ gallery of poor communication skills, in short, has more to do with a lack of repeat business than economic conditions.

This is counterintuitive during a major recession, when discretionary spending has shriveled. The new generation of social-networking discount promotion sites, like Groupon, may seem tempting to a spa with lots of empty space on its books. But focusing on quantity over quality will quickly erode any perceived value that remains for your customers. Taking the high road–staying focused on delivering a stellar guest experience–is a healthier strategy for a spa that wants to be in business in 2011.