How to Successfully Market Wet Treatments

Marketing any spa service can be a challenge! Marketing any private spa service that takes place behind closed doors requires some extra special attention. Wet and hydrotherapy treatments are usually a larger challenge for most spas, medical spas, resorts and skincare clinics. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Education-Oriented Spa Marketing

First, you must begin to educate your entire staff on the complete benefits of the spa treatments that are available at your spa. They must learn about all of the specialized ingredients, products and therapies as well as to personally experience some of these hydrotherapy treatments. When you open the new spa or install new treatments, invite your staff to experience one or two treatments on the house.  This will not only warm up your aesthetician to his or her new surroundings, but it will allow the staff to rave about your wet treatments through their own personal experiences.  Personalized testimonials and recommendations are much more genuine when they come from real experience.

It is important that your staff be your best sales team. Selling salon and spa clients ç?½p to additional spa treatment services is an important yet basic marketing strategy. When any client calls to make a massage appointment, your receptionist should ask the client whether he or she would also like to try a Vichy shower after their service. Your front desk staff should always be ready to share advice and personally recommend additional add-on spa treatments that may be designed for specific conditions.  Teach your front desk staff how to facilitate pre-consultations, so they can help book extra appointments before the client ever arrives. They should readily know all of the spa and wet treatment service prices and their special therapeutic benefits. They should be able to book these extra add-on services without ever looking at your spa services menu.  Once you get your clientele to experience a new hydrotherapy service once, you may just have them hooked forever.  They can always say no. However, they will also love you for the complete new escape to total rejuvenation and luxury.

Spa Service Menus

It is extremely important to position your spa as unique and different from most other salons, skincare clinics, resorts, day spas and medical spas.  Your spa service menu will be the key marketing vehicle to tell your story and to define all of your specialty spa services for your clients, the community and the media.  Not everyone is savvy about spa treatments, nor wet treatments today.  Carefully create a professionally designed menu with detailed copy descriptions for each service as well as to use professional photographs. 

If necessary, hire a freelance writer and graphic designer to create this marketing device for you. Perception is everything. To add a sense of richness, consider full color printing on high quality papers.  Extra touches of elegance may be achieved with unique paper folds, tissue overlays, die cuts, thermography and other special printing effects.

Create Unique Spa Wet Treatment Packages

It may prove to be extremely effective to create service packages that include one of your spaç—´ more popular services and a new treatment, like a Vichy shower or other wet service. Make it a deal.  This will entice your clientele to try something new and possibly at a slightly discounted package price, as long as they know that they can stick with something they already know they like. 

Effectively Marketing Wet Treatments

Building new treatment areas fit for wet treatments and buying the equipment needed to perform the services is a very expensive investment!  Nor, is it easy to make them profitable.  With some extra effort and some good strategic business advice for marketing, advertising, PR and promotions, you will see your spa hydrotherapy services paying for themselves over and over again in the future.

It is extremely important that you properly invest a certain amount of money into new spa therapy marketing programs, photography, merchandising materials, PR and advertising. A progressive marketing campaign focused on wet treatments will truly separate your spa from everyone elseç—´.  You may want to hire a marketing firm, in whose hands you can place all of these responsibilities. Otherwise, you or an appointed creative and well-spoken member of your staff should become your spaç—´ 溺arketing Coordinator?

Spa Photography Sessions

A picture is still worth a thousand words and in the case of spa services -- maybe much more!  Professional spa photographs are essential for your advertising, marketing and PR programs!  Hire a professional photographer to take tasteful and discreet photographs of models enjoying your wet treatments and spa services. Whether it is a Swedish Shower, Vichy Shower or Hydrotherapy Tub Treatment, you can visually illustrate these great new services.  Create a special ambiance in the photographs by using candles, soft lights, rose petals and all of the normal extra effects that you create for your wet treatment clients.  Some photographs may be çµ?hosted or printed in a 20% screen behind your typewritten copy areas. You will need to find attractive male and female clients willing to pose semi-nude or nude.

Most clients have a small fear factor, since they do not really know what to expect or what may go on behind closed doors. If needed, use wash cloths, towels, bikinis or flowers to protect privacy in your wet treatment poses. Your exclusive spa photographs will paint a beautiful picture sharing what each service looks like, while also showing clients that are relaxed and happy.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is a terrific marketing concept for reaching new people within your community as well as to solicit your regular clients who currently do not take advantage of your wet treatment services.  If you are computerized, start to keep track of your clients by types of service that they indulge in.  You can therefore target market select clients on services they do not take advantage of yet by mail.

Create a series of solo direct mail devices with seasonal letters, newsletters, holiday postcards and colorful fliers that can be sent directly to your client database and to other area homes. You can promote gift certificates, days of beauty and specific wet treatments at full price, via a gift with ç´ irst-time wet treatment service or at a slight discount.  With postage, these marketing tactics may run from fifty cents to one dollar each.  To save money, research and utilize ç¤?ulk mail discount programs with your local post office.  You should have ç¦...hank You! postcards to send after any first time spa treatment. You should even have ç³?e Miss You! postcards prepared for any spa client who has not visited in more than 3 or 4 months.

Consider magazine, cooperative & marriage mail programs. Companies like Clipper Magazine, Savvy Shopper, Mint, Valpak and Money Mailer can offer you the opportunity to promote your spa and your specialized wet treatments for pennies per home.  The direct mail magazines usually target at least 50,000 homes per mailing. The envelope companies will most often target area homes in areas of 10,000. Each of these direct mail companies will help you target at least 10,000 to 100,000 homes near your spa for approximately four cents per home.  If you purchase an advertisement in Clipper Magazine or Savvy Shopper, you should consider purchasing the front or back covers for additional exposure. These resources will create the artwork, handle the postage, offer photographs and all of the details for you.  They really do it all.  Check your local Yellow Pages or Internet Directories under è?¹irect Mail? 

Some spas successfully use Broadcast Fax fliers to promote their menus, corporate spa gifting programs and special seasonal service offerings, especially to local corporations with fax machines.  Even though these particular fax marketing devices must be created with black and white line art, it offers you a new way of targeting business owners.

Spa Newsletters

If you are an established spa adding new wet treatments or facilities, a newsletter is a great idea. Send these to current and your former clients informing them about the upgrade and offer them a discount or promotional rate on one or another of your new wet treatment services.  This is an extremely effective way of utilizing the loyalty of your existing client base.  Consider printing in full color.  Explore new digital printing services versus the more traditional and more expensive offset printing.  Hire a writer that understands beautycare, if needed. Hire a local direct mail company to mail 10,000 to 50,000 extras of these out to the local zip codes nearest to your spa.

Print Advertising

Spending money on advertising may seem like too much extra effort, yet in reality it is very effective, when the correct vehicles are utilized. Local newspapers can be a worthwhile investment, especially if they are distributed to homes in your area. Often, the main goal of advertising is getting your name out.  The more familiar the general population grows with your name, the more trust they will invest in you.

Local and community magazines may prove just as the most effective as newspapers. For many spas, full color glossy regional magazines are the best and only effective choice to attract the best potential clients in town!  Many small print publications feature special sections at certain points of year, advertising for beauty salons, day spas and resort spas exclusively.  This is a perfect place to get your name out. Look for bridal sections, and special holiday sections, like Valentineç—´ Day, Motherç—´ Day and Fatherç—´ Day. They will often have one issue per year devoted to spas and total makeovers. If so, be sure to advertise in that particular annual issue. Advertising in these special sections will target the perfect audiences and you will be assured public notice.

Advertorials on a local or national basis is one of the newest and most effective forms of print advertising and possibly one of the most valuable!  To be featured in a national magazineç—´ é??est Day Spas section is usually not free. You may pay for the unique opportunity at regional or national exposure in a national consumer magazine like Elle, W, Allure, Redbook, Glamour, Victoria, Bazaar or Town & Country like you would for a normal advertisement, to be featured as one of the areaç—´ best spas, and the consumer will never know.  You can feature your distinctively different wet treatments in these advertorials, because you write and control the copy.  In addition, once you receive that accreditation, you can use that magazine feature again in posters, PR reprints and in-spa signage, to boast your spaç—´ new accomplishment. Create a ç³?all Of Fame? Being named in å...¸op Spa or é??est Of sections will have an enormous boost to your spa business, while building pride and namebrand recognition for your staff and your clients.

Broadcast Advertising

Another similar way to get your name out is using the powers and popularity of todayç—´ TV and radio shows. Cable television offers many resources for targeting specific areas.  You may choose to place advertisements or you can produce more intimate infomercials. Either of these options will require a production shoot.  This is an additional expense, yet when targeting the correct audiences with a highly visual impression of your spaç—´ wet treatments, it will be well worth the investment.  Aim for stations and television shows that cater to your specifically targeted audience. In most cases, this will be 70% well educated and career-oriented women in the 25 to 50 age range and at a higher income level.  Offer your community a visual spa tour, illustrating the benefits and availabilities of your wet treatments.

Internet, Email & Electronic Advertising

Weekly, monthly and seasonal email marketing campaigns can also be extremely effective.  Begin to collect the email addresses from each of your clients, if you havenç¨? already created this database.  Offer monthly contests with free service or spa products, for those that enter their names and email addresses to be added to your mail and email lists.  Plan to send out email blasts with notices of special services, seasonal gift certificate ideas and newsworthy information about your spa.  Plan to regularly promote your hydrotherapy treatments to everyone on your email list.

Merchandising & Point-Of-Purchase Programs

In-spa posters and fliers should be professionally designed and printed, showcasing professional photographs of men and women enjoying these wet treatments, while listing the benefits. In certain situations, you may also choose to exhibit prices, although it is recommended to get clients in the door first. Utilize wall space and window space in the spa to display posters with photographs exhibiting services.

Visually attractive mini-posters, fliers and counter cards should be put in all treatment rooms. Offer concise bullet point listings and explanations for all your spas services.  As your clients are staring off into the distance during their other services, allow them to read about your other wonderful spa services.  Packages and services should also be displayed and glamorized with point-of-purchase materials to put at the front desk. Create new counter cards for holidays and special events to keep the interest of the clientele. 

Gifts Of Beauty

Promotions are always a wonderful way to get clients to try wet and other spa treatments that they may not have otherwise. Many upscale spas are not thrilled with the idea of offering discounts or promotions and some are downright against it.  If this is the case, I suggest hard-core Gift Certificate marketing throughout the year, while promoting è³?ifts Of Beauty at full price.  Gift Certificates are always the perfect way to sell packages and the year-end holiday time is the very best time of year for this. Motherç—´ Day, Fatherç—´ Day, Valentineç—´ Day, Christmas, and New Years are perfect times to get beautiful marketing material out, hanging large posters in windows or on walls and placing tantalizing advertisements in local papers and magazines. 

Mastering Media Relations:

You must consistently work to gain the interest and respect of the local and national consumer media.  There are many outlets and resources that you can utilize. For one, a series of grand opening press releases are a must for any new spa! Even if you are not opening the spa with these wet treatments, a re-grand opening press release will serve to educate the public that you are now redesigned and better than ever!

Plan to send media releases out every time you add an exciting new wet treatment or other spa service.  Offer free consultations and complimentary services to editors to actually get them to experience the wet treatments in your spa.  Send along photos of the wet treatment facilities or services photos of the treatments themselves. 

Pitching to the media may be easier than some may think. All it takes is to create some newsworthy and well-written materials. Create a one-page press release, detailing the event, products, or services that you intend to pitch. Offer them enough extra information to write a similar customized story just for their own publication.  Send along professional photographs exhibiting the spa treatments and services that you are promoting.  Write a personalized cover note or a 叢itch letter? which you will send along with the press release.  This letter will introduce the spa and offer a few alternative story subjects. Target specific editors for local magazines and newspapers.  Take the time to also target the national spa and beauty trade magazines, where their readers would be interested in a story like yours. A week or so after sending each press release, call back the editors to ensure that they have received it and find out if they are interested.

It is often a great idea to contact the editors of health and beauty websites with media news about your wet treatment services. They are frequently looking for more information to exhibit on their sites, and as we all know, there is no page limit on a website.  Send press releases to websites by email, along with photos as attachments.  The easier you make it for them to publish, the better your chances will be.

Don� forget to mail success stories, photographs and press releases to the professional beauty trade and spa publications! These are also very important. Once published in a national trade magazine, it is wise to create PR Reprints that can be sent out to your local newspapers, magazines and TV shows, sharing how you are nationally and internationally respected. This may help you garner additional local media exposure by showing that you are better than the rest of the local competition.

Your spaç—´ Media Kits need to include press releases, personalized pitch letters, salon menus, business cards, biographies, the spa business story, extra wet treatment photographs and your other hydrotherapy marketing materials.

Spreading The Word

The one most important element to first time and repeat visits for wet treatments is word of mouth referrals. A spa cannot simply offer the treatments; they must also offer amazing customer service and royal care all around.  This will get clients talking and the buzz about your amazing spa will begin! Incentive programs are also one way of expediting word of mouth referrals.  We recommend that you create é®®ew Client Referral programs? If you tell one client that they can get ten dollars off their next treatment if they refer someone to your spa, you will have two people coming in for every one who leaves. Doubling your spa and wet treatment business has never been a bad thing!

Marketing Partners

To take advantage of some extra marketing opportunities, you should take partner with your beauty supply distributors, manufacturers and other local businesses.  Your professional beautycare manufacturers and spa product distributors may be able to offer some brochures, marketing materials, posters, educational opportunities and incentive reward programs for your staff. Other local businesses like limousine services, florists, candy shops, hotels and restaurants may be able to work with you to create some very unusual new è?¹ay Of Beauty Packages.

Special Events & Seasonal Promotions

Create an Annual Marketing Calendar for your spa that includes some interesting special events like Lecture Demonstrations, Ladyç—´ Night At The Spa, Menç—´ Nights, Teen Nights, Corporate Programs, Charitable & Fundraising Events.

Educate Yourself ~ Through Spa Industry Websites

Mark your calendars.  Plan to visit spa industry websites like at least once per month, if not more often to learn about all of the latest spa products and services as well as how to market them. Today, the Internet offers you a wealth of limitless resources, contacts and education that is world class.

Larry H. Oskin is president of Marketing Solutions, a full service marketing, advertising, PR, graphic design and consulting services agency that specializes in the professional beauty and medical businesses. They service salons, spas, resort spas, medical spas, medical clinics, manufacturers , distributors and associations exclusively catering to the professional salon and spa business world wide. For more information, call 703-359-6000, contact [email protected] or visit their website at They are located near Washington, DC at 10875 Main Street ~ Suite 205, Fairfax, VA 22030 USA.