I was speaking with a close friend the other day about my passion for writing, and during our conversation she informed me that I am a “technical writer”. I know my work doesn’t always attract an audience looking for “light” reading, but I didn’t know my style of writing actually had a name. I have always loved structured pieces, whether they are articles or business manuals; that show the reader how to do something, and why. And I guess this article is a mini example of that. To me, although marketing needs to always remain dynamic; in its origin, it must also be carefully structured.
I believe that each year you should develop a newly revised Marketing Plan. Your plan should be multi-dimensional, allowing you to reach your clients 7 times, through 7 different mediums.
And your marketing plan should always be viewed as a long-term project. Your repetitive and diverse messaging will remind clients that you are the solution to their problems, and you will soon see that steady growth is far more profitable in the long run, than the spontaneous, rapid rewards that discounting and some price-based promos will be.
At the end of each year, survey results: Are you in a better position? Have you gained market share? Has your client base increased? Are you attracting new staff candidates? Have you boosted awareness? Improved your image? Seen a better bottom line?
Visual: Everything that your clients read, observe and experience in their “viewfinders” about you and your business must be expertly tied into each other. As Walt Disney once said, “There should never be an intrusion to the illusion”. Colors, fonts, pictures, textures, patterns, materials, and the feelings that each of them evoke through our visual perceptions must be definitive and unmistakable. They must represent you and what you deliver, period.
Print Materials: Your print materials are an integral part of your visual imaging template and include everything from in-house signage, to your social comments. Be ingenious about every decision, or you’ll just get lost in the quagmire. People always say they love the Spas2b business card and turquoise pen. They aren’t considered throwaways, and are recognized year over year because they are the only ones of their kind in the pile. So don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the bottle!
Become an Industry Expert: Can you speak publicly…are you willing to try? Or does writing suit you better? You MUST choose one, or ideally, both! In order to grow your business, you must be viewed as an authority in the industry. Gaining this kind of credibility puts you miles ahead of the competition. Know what media your target market is using and respond accordingly. Once you have established yourself in your community; go international. Local markets saturate quickly; international markets are always hungry.
Trade Shows; Consumer Events & Association Expos: Develop your strategy and attract an audience with your unique offerings. Use self-care education; new trends; and solution-driven approaches to capture attention. Cross network with the other booths (they are your target market!) to get even wider exposure and gain clients. Consider becoming a show sponsor. Encourage subsequent visits to your spa with bounce-back coupons; special pricing offers; free mini services; samples, and the like.
One on One Communication & Networking: Wherever it is that you can find exposure to your target market, you need to aggressively pursue it. If there are special events in your area (or internationally) that your target clients attend, go to them. Piggy back on local businesses where possible and “share” business opportunities. Engage your staff in your networking efforts as part of their job descriptions. Ask for referrals and encourage everyone you speak with to spread word of mouth advertising for you. You need to be bold to get heard!
Internet Marketing: Developing your website into a social platform is a key component to your multi-dimensional marketing system. Incorporate a blog; a media room; translation button; eCommerce with a currency converter; newsletter sign up; full social sharing and following, and anything else that will capture the widest audience. And don’t forget to get your spa listed on as many Spa Directory websites as possible. These sites will help connect you with both locals and out of town visitors.
Media & Publicity Campaigns: Know who the media moguls are in your industry. Get to know these individuals on a first name basis and keep the list constantly updated. Get your product in front of them just before an event so that it is fresh in their minds. The media must be your friend! And what’s really great, is that they are always receptive, excited, and hungry people too! Never be intimidated by them, they would hate that.
And don’t forget to become familiar to your clients by showing your face in all of your marketing initiatives!