When you set goals for your business, you tend to surround them with time increments for accomplishing them such as in a month, a quarter or a year.
We do this because it helps us stay organized and on track, and the same should go for our spa’s marketing plan.
Creating a long-range marketing plan for your spa is essentially creating a goal-setting plan, but it focuses uniquely on outlining and detailing all the strategies and tactics you’ll take to accomplish your marketing goals over time.
Before I dive into how creating a marketing plan benefits your business, how to get started creating one as well as how to use your plan for successful sales, I want to explain the concept of the “long-range marketing plan.”
So, in the corporate world, businesses plan their marketing in 18-month cycles and then work in quarters.
Now I know that may sound incredibly overwhelming, especially if you’re a spa owner or solo aesthetician and you’re wearing all the hats of a marketing department in addition to all of your other tasks and responsibilities.
But it’s this type of long-range planning that’s needed if you want to have successful results with your marketing efforts, and ultimately more sales.
How a Long-Range Plan Benefits Your Business
The reason this type of marketing plan works is that rather than operating from a place of urgency where you need to have your marketing materials done yesterday, you’ll instead have a bird's-eye view of what needs to happen over the course of a year.
You’re essentially making the switch from being reactive to being proactive.
And once you have that larger plan, you can then work in quarters so that all of your work is done in advance, you have plenty of time to build excitement for happenings at your spa, and you never have to worry about whether you’re missing out on time-sensitive promotions, such as popular holidays.
Speaking of holidays, that is one of the main considerations you’ll want to plan for when you begin to create your marketing plan, specifically the big gift-giving holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Hanukkah, and Christmas.
Getting Started with Creating Your Spa Marketing Plan
So, let me preface this section by stating that I’m a very visual person, so the way that I create my 18-month plan is by taking a huge piece of paper, the teaching-at-the-front-of-the-room kind, and list out the next 18 months at the very top with space underneath.
Then I’ll write out the holidays that fall under each month, even if I don’t necessarily use the holidays for each of my promotions, but they’re helpful to have for reminders of seasonal promotions.
For example, it’s common to see a lot of pumpkin factions in October or November, so having Halloween and Thanksgiving on your calendar helps with being aware.
Other things you might want to consider for your spa marketing plan include:
● Special events in your local community that you intend to participate in this year or attend regularly or annually.
● Promotions for fundraising efforts or charitable giveaways in your spa or community.
● Gift card promotions for major and minor and national celebration holidays (like Bosses Day) and ongoing promotions for birthdays and anniversaries.
● Monthly or bi-monthly service or product specials.
Once you’ve filled in your marketing calendar with all of the promotional ideas where you’re specifically asking for a sale, be sure to factor in additional content that purely provides value for your audience.
By creating a good mix of sales and value-based content for your website, email newsletter, and social media, you’ll be able to build your spa’s credibility, and you'll position yourself as a business that cares about their customers by providing useful tips and information that they can use between their spa appointments.
Once everything is written out on the calendar, and I visually have a good idea of what actions I want to take and marketing materials I want to create to move my goals forward, I transfer the information into a document that's broken into quarters.
Then, input the current quarter into your calendar and whatever task management software you’re using. I use Google calendar and Asana, respectively.
How To Use Your Plan to Successfully Meet Sales Goals
Now that you have a large calendar filled with your ideas, it’s time to start putting that calendar into action. And this is the part that truly matters because you can plan all you want, but if you don’t execute your plan, you’re not going to attain the results.
First, you’ll want to take a look at your calendar that you broke down into quarters and then map out your process to completion, specifically for that first quarter. Essentially, you're reverse engineering your steps.
For example, let’s say you have a new product spotlight promotion that you want to debut on the first of each month and since there are three months in a quarter, you have three product spotlights you need to create marketing materials for.
On the task list is to create all the images, then all the copy surrounding those images whether it be the copy for social media posts, a blog post, or a newsletter. Then, you need to schedule it all into your scheduling tools or content management systems.
Create deadlines for each one of these steps working backward from the dates you need them done by depending on the schedule you’re working on.
As I previously mentioned, many businesses in the corporate world work a quarter ahead, which gives you plenty of time to plan for upcoming promotions and events, however, you might find that you work better when you’re working only one or two months ahead.
There’s no right or wrong way to execute your marketing plan, but generally speaking, you’ll find that you at least need one month of lead time to stay on top of your spa's marketing plan adequately and not let things slide ‘til the last minute.
Personally, I like to create all the content I need to market my business for an entire quarter because I only have to create marketing content four times a year rather than every month, but try different methods and find the one that works best for you.
Whether you work a month or a quarter in advance, this ensures that when you’re looking at your marketing calendar, you’re not scrambling to hit “publish” or “send” the day you want your latest promotion to go live.
The flying-by-the-seat of your pants method may feel like it works as long as things get done, but it also leaves you more prone to making mistakes such as broken links, typos, and other snafus that can affect your business’ credibility.
Another trick that might help you alongside your marketing calendar is creating what’s traditionally called a “tickler file.”
A tickler file is a collection of date-labeled folders organized in a way that allows time-sensitive documents to be submitted according to the future date on which each document needs action. This method is ideal for planning promotions around holidays that you can always count on being in your promotions calendar.
And it helps with not having to reinvent the wheel year after year. Recycle some copy and images, no need to start 100% from scratch if something worked well last year.
Of course, you can create a file like this using a paper system or an electronic one. This is just another option for ways to stay on top of items that need to be done a month to a quarter out for them to be set and ready-to-go well in advance of when they need to be live.
No matter how you choose to create and execute your spa marketing plan, you’ll notice that the toughest part of the work is upfront, so don’t get discouraged if the task seems like a mountain the size of Everest. Take it one step at a time.
The most important thing to understand is that you need to have a plan because if you want to have a thriving business, you have to start thinking like one.