You’d never knowingly send your valued spa or massage practice clients to the competition. However, you may be helping your competition get ahead and not even realize it. In “Five Ways to Help Your Competitors Get Ahead,” Elizabeth Kraus, marketing manager of DB Squared, a business finance company, points out that when your marketing misses the mark, you may be helping the competition get ahead. Among the ways you can lose marketing ground to the competition, Kraus points to:

  • Messing Up

    Client dissatisfaction can lead to defection. Some clients will let you know where your spa or massage practice has let them down in some way; many others will never say a word but look for a new provider. For this reason, whenever someone complains, assume others may have similar issues and address the problem right away. Determine what’s wrong and make the necessary changes, whether it involves one of your team members and their customer service or performance -- a massage that didn’t provide the expected results, for example.

  • Missing in Action

    There are a number of ways you can be “missing in action” in your market, according to Kraus. Failure to get involved in the community through volunteer activities or civic projects may make your spa or massage practice stand out for the wrong reason. Clients value businesses that give back to the community.

    Being low profile or absent online with the hopes word of mouth alone will drive business your way gives the competition the upper hand. As powerful as a personal recommendation may be, you need to be present online and show up in local searches. Make sure you are listed online in a number of directories. Among the most popular are Google Places for Business, Bing Places for Business, Yahoo! Local Listing, Yelp, Yellow Pages and more. Also make sure your website is visually pleasing, easy to navigate, clear in its messaging and optimized for mobile device viewing.

    You also want to get social. Keep the conversation and communication active on social networks and periodically send out emails with special offers and featured treatments.

  • Mushing things Together

    While communicating with clients is important, be careful about saying so much you cause confusion. Your marketing messages in advertising, public relations, direct and email marketing and social media posts needs to be clear and concise about how you're different from other spa and massage therapy professionals. It’s not up to prospective clients to figure out what you offer; it’s up to you to clearly convey why someone should do business with you.

  • Build Trust and Loyalty

    Besides making sure not to make these mistakes, strengthen the relationship with clients to keep them on your side by:

    1. Expressing Thanks for the Business

      Periodically send your clients an email or a direct mail conveying your gratitude for their ongoing business and offer them something special – a free gift or a discount for a massage or skin treatment.

    2. Asking for Input

      Even when a relationship is good, there may be some things that can be made better. Ask your clients for input on ways you could improve service or make things more convenient for them to do business with your spa or massage practice.

    3. Going Above and Beyond

      It pays to go above and beyond for clients – whether it’s accommodating their schedule, exploring treatments for special problems they have or providing them with recommendations to help improve and maintain their health. When it comes to keeping ahead of the competition, just remember -- it’s in your hands.