When it comes to client communication, consistency is key. Just showing up won't cut it in marketing. Promotions shouldn't be thrown into the wind in hopes they will stick. From the front desk operations to the tracking of return on investment, technology and management systems are vital elements of maintaining uniformity when planning marketing campaigns and clearly understanding which campaigns are delivering profitable results.
For spa software to be most effective, front desk staff should be trained to consistently gather information from each guest.
Consistency in Information Gathering
Part of using spa management software is understanding how the software interacts with both the staff and the operational procedures in the business. When it comes to using technology to leverage marketing efforts, consistency truly starts with the client database. Starting with the basics will save more time and money than any of the advanced functionality spa management software offers.
The majority of the information used in marketing is collected using some version of a client information card given to spa-goers on their first visit. While this is a basic procedure, this fundamental information gathering exercise can often be overlooked, compromising database accuracy. Here are some tips on gathering good client data:
1. Same Time, Every Time Regardless of when the best time to gather information from a new client is, make sure it is done the same time, every time. Do not leave it up to the front desk staff to fit this step in whenever they feel like it, as this leaves the business vulnerable to missing out on a valuable opportunity to learn about its clientele.
2. Set Data Entry Standards Make sure there are procedures in place for entering data into the system once it has been gathered. It's best for consistency's sake to have one person dedicated to entering information and notes into the system.
3. Make Accuracy a Benchmark Many spa management systems have pre-set reports that depict how effectively these first steps are being executed so staff can be rewarded for maintaining a healthy client database.
4. Audits Client attrition is a fact of business. Consistent audits of the client database help to determine who is still a client and if they are still at the same address. This will save a lot of wasted money marketing to wrong addresses.
These procedures may seem tedious, but at their most basic form, it will mean the difference between spending the money to send postcards to your entire client base and paying to send postcards to only a targeted client list, which can be thousands of dollars in direct mail.
Consistency in Campaigns
Communicating a consistent message is a central principle in marketing, including the frequency of communication. Successful marketers know that generating interest is all about getting mindshare, or remaining on the client's mind. The more clients are exposed to the business and its offerings, the more chances the business has to 'sell' to them.
Accessible computers, such as those at VH Spa for Vitality + Health at Hotel Valley Ho (Scottsdale, AZ), make data entry easier for all staff members.
That being said, the target annual number of promotions to a single client should be no more than eight to nine per year—there is such a thing as overdoing it. This means that promotions should be scheduled annually to ensure that messages are being spread out throughout the year and clients aren't being bombarded with promotional material.
Spa management software has the potential to help in planning annual promotions if the system is used to the fullest. The majority of spa management systems have features that help automate the process, such as e-blast and text message features. These types of features will help your business stay consistent by offering a no-hassle way of communicating with clients.
Consistency in Delivery
People will only pay attention to promotions that are applicable to them personally, so it only makes sense to communicate relevant messages to each client. Create targeted lists with the client database using available criteria to whittle down the list to the relevant audience. For example, if the promotion is a new product line that targets the prevention of aging, the target could be female clients in their 30s and 40s. Once this targeted list has been created, personalize the message. With the mail merge functionality of most programs so user-friendly and easy, there are no excuses for not personalizing your marketing messages.
Another way to leverage technology in delivering your promotional message is by tracking client communication preferences. If the client prefers to receive messages via email and not by mail, don't waste the postage. Create lists with this in mind and take the extra step to ensure clients receive spa communications in the way that they have asked.
Consistency in Tracking
For each promotion, the results must be tracked to see the return on investment. Here are some tips on how software can be used to track promotions:
- Software Can't Read Minds. The system must be told what is being promoted and who is eligible. Whether it's tracking the return using a reason for discount or the promotion is set up in the system to automatically be detected, the information must be set up in the system prior to the launch of the promotion.
- Train Staff. Training both front desk staff as well as therapists will make the task of tracking the return much easier. Depending on the rules of the promotion, make sure the staff understands them as well as the reasons for them. For example, if the promotion is only open to someone on a loyalty club list, the staff needs to know to verify this first as well as to be careful not to promote this to other clients.
Consistently Evolve Your Promotion Strategy
If promotions are being tracked effectively, your spa's software will produce fantastic reports that list all of the results without manual number crunching. This is where consistency in all the above listed sections is really important, as inconsistency in execution will mean inconsistent reports.
Using these reports, review the return on investment of each promotion. Put multiple promotions side-by-side to see which campaigns were most successful, and analyze why they could have had a higher level of success. Pay particular attention to things like what was on promotion, any complexities in tracking and coordinating, differences in delivery methods (email versus text messaging), differences in demographics, and differences in when the promotion was scheduled.
From beginning to end, using technology in your spa can mean the difference between a large investment of time and money and a cost-effective and profitable series of promotions. If accuracy and efficiency is the desired outcome, go back through current systems and evaluate these consistency concepts. Being a smart marketer is more than just showing up, it's about showing up consistently and delivering consistently high results.
Valorie Reavis is the marketing manager for Shortcuts Software, a global provider of spa software solutions for the past 15 years. For more information, call (866) 678-7324 or visit www.shortcuts.net.