8 Business Tools Every Solo Aesthetician Needs in Their Marketing Toolbox

You might have a room full of your favorite aesthetician tools and be able to describe the pros and cons, science, and features of them all, but how about all the tools you need to effective run and marketing your business?

Now we’re talking about a whole different toolbox, and this is usually a toolkit aestheticians have a tough time putting together.

It takes a lot of trial and error and testing all the various options, but today I want to make it easy for you and not only give you insight into some of the best business tools on the market, but also some of the most user-friendly tools that you can master in no time.

1.) Mailchimp

Your email list is your business’ marketing lifeblood. After all, anyone who is on your list has voluntarily invited you into their inbox, and that’s not something to take lightly!

To ensure that you’re consistently contacting your list and sending them emails that they’ll actually want to read, you need a top-notch email provider like Mailchimp.

Using drag-and-drop templates, Mailchimp makes it incredibly easy to create visually appealing emails, plus they’re very affordable with the first 2,000 subscribers on your list being free.

2.) Canva

If you find designing graphics for your emails, blog, or social media posts beyond frustrating, Canva will become your new best friend.

Similar to Mailchimp, you never have to start from scratch because Canva uses a simple drag-and-drop interface and provides a ton of beautiful templates for every type of graphic you could need, plus it’s free.

Once you choose your graphic template, you can pop in your own photos, change colors, fonts, sizing of elements, and a variety of other things to fit your brand.

3.) Google Drive

Don’t let your desktop get cluttered with all the graphics you’re creating, set up Google Drive to be the catchall so you can get files off your computer and into one organized space that you can easily access from anywhere as long as you have your Google login information.

In addition to file storage and organization, Google Drive also allows for file sharing which makes it a great tool for communicating, collaborating, and sharing documents between your team members, especially if you use Gmail as your email host for your business.

4.) Buffer

You know you need to post on your social media accounts consistently if you want to grow your presence and properly engage with your audience, but the downside is, you just don’t have enough hours in the day.

But, I bet you do have 30 minutes to an hour that you can spend scheduling out all of your posts for the month ahead. This concept of advance scheduling is called batching, and it’s a huge time saver in your day-to-day.

Buffer makes batching easy by allowing you to schedule image, video, link, or text posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. Buffer does have a free option, but if you needed the next plan up, the most you would pay is $10 a month, which is more than worth the investment for all the time you’ll save.

5.) Later

There’s one caveat to scheduling your social media posts, and that’s Instagram. Instagram doesn’t allow any third party platform (like a scheduling app) to post updates live to the Instagram feed automatically.

Instead, what you can do is you can pre-create and schedule in your content, but when it’s time for that scheduled content to go live, you get a push notification on your phone that directs you post your scheduled content.

Sounds a little complicated, but it’s not, as long as you have an app like Later, which makes it super simple to see all of the images in your library and what you currently have in your schedule.

This also makes it easy to visualize your feed so you can make it aesthetically pleasing and organized.

A free Later account that allows you to post 30 free scheduled posts a month.

6.) VSCO

Speaking of crafting a visually appealing feed for Instagram, you need a good photo editor in your back pocket.

Sure, you could use Instagram’s preset filters, but you risk making your photos look overdone instead of natural and visually cohesive.

VSCO makes it easy to edit your photos with all of your standard edits such as exposure, contrast, brightness, etc., but their filters allow for creating a feed that has a consistent look whether that be bold and bright, soft and natural or light and airy.

It’s a little bit of an extra step during your content creation and batching process, but it’ll allow you to do a better job of drawing in more of your ideal customers into your feed and engaging with your business.

7.) Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads is a fantastic tool for your business by the sheer fact that you can get so highly targeted with your ads.

For example, say you have a spa in Miami. You can target people on Facebook who fall into your ideal client demographic (let’s use women between the ages of 30 and 50 as an example) and then target your ads down even further to go to those women who live within a 10-mile radius of your spa.

And that’s just a simple example of Facebook’s ad targeting abilities, but the real value in this tool is that you can get a tremendous return on your investment because the cost to run Facebook ads and see results is very reasonable.

Now, the only downside is learning how to create an effective ad campaign is it's not super intuitive the first time you do it, so if you’re not able to hire someone to take care of your ads for you, definitely get your hands on some educational resources to help ease the learning curve. 

8.) HubSpot CRM

Last, but not least. Your network of colleagues and peers, mentors, and educators will be a linchpin in your success, and it behooves you to maintain and continuously nurture those relationships.

Using a client relationship management system like Hubspot CRM makes it easy to keep contact information, notes, and your track record of communication with people in your network all in one place and organized.

It may sound like a scammy Rolodex, but it’s more like a fancy address book and easier way to get a look at who you haven’t connected with in awhile.  Not to mention, Hubspot’s CRM is technically a tool to keep track of client/customer relationships, so it’s a great tool for your business in that capacity as well.

Now that you’ve got a virtual box filled with a ton of new tools, it’s time to test them out!

Remember, all of these might seem to be more work at first, but as you get acquainted with them, you’ll see that they make your additional administrative and marketing tasks much easier and more fun.

Once you give them a try, let me know your thoughts and how you’re using these tools in the comments below or in the free Aestheticians Connect community!

Also, since I’m always on the hunt for new tools, products and methods that allow me to work smarter, not harder, I’d love to hear about any you have to recommend as well, so share away!

Until next time, keep making the world a more beautiful place inside and out.

How to Create and Effectively Use a Long-Range Spa Marketing Plan

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.