What makes your spa or massage practice stand out from the competition? Surprising as it may be, many establishments can’t answer that question even those that are successful and confident they are providing their market with outstanding value. What makes your business special and that no other one can claim is called your unique selling proposition or USP. Long term, the success of your business is tied to your ability to distinguish what makes it different or better than the competition.

Markets change and as they do, your ability to differentiate your spa or massage practice from others and shape the market to your vision of what you offer becomes even more important. As you face more competition, it’s not sufficient to tell clients and prospect that you offer excellent service and results. Your clients need to feel that your spa or massage practice is the only one that has a special quality or characteristic that is meaningful to them.

Your USP may be based on one of what are commonly called the ‘four P’s of marketing.” They include product (or service) characteristics, price, placement (location and distribution) and your promotional strategy. You can focus on one particular element or tie several together to set your spa or massage practice apart from the competition. For example, you may have a specialty in massage that is geared to office worker problems such as chronic tight neck and shoulders and back pain from hunching over the computer. You can use that as a differentiator and then enhance it by taking your practice directly to employers and providing on site massage for their employees. In this case, your USP is based on a type of service and geography.

Uncover your USP in Five Steps

  • Step 1: Profile your target clients

    Start by making a list of what you know about your client base to create a profile of your target customer. That profile can include age, income, gender, geography and other demographics. You also can consider specialties such as working moms, sports enthusiasts, couples, etc.

  • Step 2: Pinpoint client needs/preferences

    Ask yourself what are the needs of your clients? What will make them come back to your spa or massage practice time and time again over the competition? Don’t only consider the services and retail products you offer in making your list. Think about the other qualities that are meaningful to clients such as convenience, customer service, friendly staff, reliability, convenient hours.

  • Step 3: Identify your attributes

    Make a list of the attributes of your spa or massage practice relative to meetings the needs of your clients. Identify those attributes where you exceed the competition. For each attribute, create a few paragraphs to fully express what it means to your clients.

  • Step 4: Get feedback

    Select a handful of clients and other associates, even vendors, and ask if you can interview them for a half hour or so about the market and your service. From there, identify the strongest characteristic and qualities to use in your USP.

  • Step 5: Develop your marketing strategy

    Use your USP to develop or redesign your marketing strategy and all its elements. Make sure your USP messages come through clearly in your website – traditional, mobile and app - social media channels, advertisements, e-mail marketing, and any other promotional activities. Visual elements also should reinforce your USP.

Periodically take a reading on the market to make sure your USP still is relevant. Markets change and as they do your positioning and messages will need to adjust.