I know marketing is important to my business, but frankly, I just don’t have the time or funds to spend on it!”I have heard this comment time and time again, followed by, “but gee, I really would like to grow my business and increase my clientele…”
The harsh truth is that you can’t grow your business without marketing, but many times medical spa business owners try and cut time and budget corners because they don’t understand the real value of a strategically thought-out and well-implemented marketing plan. Below, are the top 6 medical spa marketing mistakes, and how you can avoid them!
1. Your Brand is How People Perceive You—Make it Count
Your brand is more than your business name and your logo. It represents your values, your reputation and your voice. It’s present in everything that current and potential customers are exposed to relative to your company. Too many times the following scenario happens:
You’re lying in bed at 2 a.m. when it suddenly dawns on you—“I will name my new therapeutic medical spa “Lilac” because…I like it. And I can have my brother’s girlfriend’s niece design a neat logo because if I recall, she took an art history course in school, and it will be enough to get me started…”
Entrepreneurs are visionaries, movers and shakers, and I applaud you. But if you want to make sure you get the “biggest bang” for your branding buck, expend some extremely well-spent money up front and go to the professionals when initially developing your brand. It’s very unfortunate to develop an identity, start creating visibility in the public marketplace, and then have to start over because your brand isn’t working for the people you’re trying to attract. You may like it, but you’re not the client!
Just as a marketing expert would never attempt (at least, I hope not!) to give themselves acupuncture or a collagen injection, you need to consider hiring a reputable outside marketing team who will spend your marketing dollars like they were their own, in the places they know will get you the biggest return for your brand development investment.
2. The Devil’s in the Details
It’s the little things that really count toward gaining “professionalism points” with your audience. An otherwise dynamic marketing tool can be ruined by a typo or grammatical error put out there for the whole world to see. Especially if you’re like me, who proofreads menus for typos as a pastime!
You know everything there is to know about your business, but do you really know the clientele you would like to have long-term working relationships with? More importantly, does your brand resonate with these people? Matching your message to the people you’re trying to attract is key to winning their business, not to mention increasing the likelihood of having them refer you to their friends and family!
If you’re target market is predominantly female, age 38 – 55, with an annual income range of $60K - $110K, then make sure your brand “speaks” directly to them.
4. Social Media
“Of course I have my business on social media—it’s free publicity!” Yes, that’s true…to a degree. Back to brand—if you don’t consistently post to, and update your social media platforms with information that:
- Interests the personas you want to attract
- Is free from typos and grammatical errors
- Reflects your brand
- Is geared to your specific target personas
- Offers rewards and enticements for loyal followers
…you may as well be spraying graffiti on a back alley wall. Nobody’s going to pay attention to, or, more importantly, share it with others. An effective social media presence has a clearly defined strategy.
5. A Crucial Investment
It’s understandable that small business owners have a limited budget, and they need to be very wise in where they allocate their hard-earned money. But if you view a marketing budget as an unnecessary expense, rather than a crucial investment in your business, you need to change your view. Dramatic sounding, yes, but marketing efforts are an evolving process.
Think of marketing like a tree. When you invest in the seed, it certainly doesn’t look like it will amount to much. But then you give it a little bit of attention by watering it, making sure it gets sun, and soon a visible green shoot breaks through the ground. Excited and encouraged, you nurture your growing sprout by investing in extra nutrients and a drip watering system, to further its growth. As the sprout turns into a fledgling tree, it has established itself as a contributing element of your overall environment, and because you made the time and investment in the beginning, you are now rewarded with all the “fruits” of your labor.
OK, I got kind of corny there, but I hope you get the point. Marketing is an integral part of your business, and will flourish with regular, consistent investment in marketing professionals who’s job it is to know how to grow your clientele.
6. Stick to Your Plan
As a small business owner, you are always looking for new ways for getting people in the door and retaining long-term customers. But, back to the tree analogy, no marketing effort is an “overnight success.” The standard rule for any marketing campaign is, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them again, then tell them what you told them.” There is debate on how many times people need to see/hear an ad before they act upon it, but the key is repetition and consistency. If your past marketing efforts have consisted of fragmented attempts—one direct mail campaign (with no follow-on), a web ad contract for two weeks on one site, and then a Facebook post with a discount offer—chances are you got very frustrated because you didn’t see the results you hoped for.
A comprehensive marketing plan takes a lot of time upfront researching, analyzing and strategizing the best program for your specific needs. It is the roadmap to success. Hire a seasoned marketing team to drive you there—trust them to know the best route to get there, resist the temptation to be a “backseat driver,” and instead, enjoy and share the scenery along the way! You will be rewarded with:
- More time to concentrate on your business
- Visible results for your marketing investment
- Developing great long-term working relationships with your clientele