If you’re in a state where your spa or massage practice is “open for business,” you may be enjoying the enthusiasm of clients anxious to get back into your good hands. However, some clients may be staying away. They may still be concerned about the spread of the virus. They may have financial issues due to a business closure or layoff. And issues of COVID-19 aside, some clients may have switched their business to another provider because of some dissatisfaction with your service that they never expressed.
But don’t give up. Just because a client is gone doesn’t mean, they will stay away forever. At least, you want to make an effort to regain their business. How to win back clients who have moved on means being proactive about marketing and in some cases making changes to your operation that may be driving away business.
Before you do anything to try to win back clients, ask questions. Develop a brief questionnaire or survey to send to clients as part of your ongoing email outreach or create a separate campaign. Keep questions short and ask only those that you’ll use and that have a purpose. You also can post questions on your website. Try posting an open-ended question from time to time to see what kind of feedback you get. Ask them what they are looking for in skin treatments or what results they are seeking from massage therapy. You also might want to ask a question on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and see what kind of input you get.
If you find out that some aspect of your business has caused clients to leave, such as waiting too long for their appointment or failing to provide needed results, work with your team to address these issues. Some client complaints may be unwarranted, but you may find that there are ways to improve your service offering.
Once you understand the reasons clients have left, start planning a marketing campaign to regain their business. Your marketing plan should include an assessment of the situation, a strategy to drive the campaign and specific tactics that support your strategic goals.
Let’s assume that COVID-19 continues to be the reasons clients are staying away. Here’s a marketing plan example to address client reluctance surrounding the virus. In this case, marketing will focus on series of direct mail pieces addressing how your spa or massage practice is following all the guidelines for client safety and well-being. Include in one of the emails, a link to a video on your website that features how massage is conducted, the sanitation procedure after each treatment and the signage around your establishment reminding staff and clients of the need for masks and social distancing. Update your website with a FAQ about how you are addressing the virus.
Under normal circumstances, you could set up a customer appreciation day, during which time you’d invite current and former clients into your spa or massage practice for refreshments, a complimentary neck or foot massage and a little gift. However, COVID-19 restrictions prohibit such large gatherings. So, get creative and set aside a week for customer appreciation, offering a complimentary treatment and a small retail gift item for returning clients.
Consider an incentive like a customer loyalty program as part of your marketing campaign. It will help clients who are experiencing some changes in their finances. A good customer loyalty program is based on giving your clients what they want and not on promoting more products and services. Before you even begin your program, talk to your best customers to understand what they value about your service. Find how well they understand your complete offering and, if appropriate, how they view your competitors. Once you have this information, you can better fashion a loyalty program built around the services your clients request and what products they purchase. Options for your loyalty program include:
- Accumulating points to apply for future services or product purchases
- Discounts on select treatments
- For example, after a certain number of massages or body treatments, clients are entitled to a facial massage or pedi treatment.
Step up social media
Social media is where you will find current and future clients so be sure to include a strong social media component in your marketing campaign. Not all social sites are going to yield you the same results. Your social media marketing plan starts by analyzing what channels your clients are using and what content gets the most likes and shares.
The most important thing about your social media marketing is to provide useful and engaging content. For example, for Facebook, use photos and videos, which are popular; ask questions and share the posts of industry influencers. Also don’t just focus on your spa or massage practice, post industry news and ask for opinions. Similarly, on Twitter, link to articles that are industry relevant, try posing questions – yes/no versus open ended -- utilize trending topics with hashtags and retweet influencers and followers as appropriate.
Clients may go but with the right messages and marketing, you’ll find many will come back.