For spa owners, the Summer Slump – or the slow down that happens in July & August can cause stress and anxiety – especially if you’re not prepared.
If you’ve been in business for a few years, you probably have figured out when the slow time for your practice occurs. For many spa owners or estheticians, it’s July and August.
Regardless of when your slow months are, there are things you can do to be prepared, get ahead of the game, and deal with this “summer slump” so you can lessen its impact on your business, finances, and stress level.
I’m using summer as an example and you can adjust the ideas to suit your business’s ebb and flow:
Profit is as important, if not more so than revenue.
Profit is revenue minus spending. If you are expecting less revenue during your summer months, smart business owners moderate their expenses so they don’t get into a jam with cash flow.
Whenever your slow season is, think ahead and leave a little more in the bank while being mindful of your expenditure.
How to Identify the Summer Slump in Your Beauty Business
The best way to pinpoint your “slow months” so you can be prepared is to run some financial reports from previous years to see how your revenues fluctuate based on seasons, holidays, or other factors.
You want to look at your retail sales, past business performance, daily bookings, and other customer data points from the same period of time in previous years.
Besides watching your spending, you can also use promotions to generate more revenue.
Before the “summer slump” hits, plan ahead to launch a couple of promotions to keep your clients engaged and bring in new clients.
Design your promotions around a seasonal topic – e.g. LED therapy targeting the aging effects of sun exposure or a “Summer Skin” refresh before your clients head out on vacation. Everyone, including ourselves, has the experience of thinking we’ve put on enough sunscreen only to get sunburn on our nose or shoulder after a day on the beach. You can share a story, and make it relatable to proper skincare and why the summer months are an excellent time to focus on their skin.
Doing a promotion doesn’t necessarily mean you have to discount your products or services. In fact, I’m not a fan of discounting at all. I am a fan of running promotions though because what most people are looking for is a good deal.
Steep discounts may generate some immediate income but it’d likely be at the expense of your profit margin. Not to mention, it’ll increase workload and stress level if you’re selling spa packages at a very low price.
You may want to focus on a marketing campaign that brings awareness to the particular concerns that your clients have during Summer. While the warmer months are a busy time for families with young children, your customer base may also include empty nesters who are ready to head out on a cruise and want to look their best!
Estheticians work in many areas of expertise and have different clientele so there’s not a one-size-fits-all way of doing it.
The key is to look at your specialty (your niche) and what you have done in the past, so you can determine which marketing strategies are going to be most appealing to your clientele.
Here are a few ideas for running a promotion without discounting your services:
Summer Season Special: Add Value To Your Regular Offering with Complimentary Products
You can add something seasonal, such as a free bottle of sunscreen or waxing, to your regular packages.
If you need to move products, you can create special bundles by pairing a few popular products with some that aren’t moving too well.
Keep It Simple
Whether it’s a special promotion, a membership, or a loyalty program, keep the structure and marketing message simple and get ahead of the summer slump.
Many of us get carried away when designing offers and packages. However, if you offer too many options your clients will get confused and won’t take action.
Segment Your Clientele & Marketing Efforts
If you offer a variety of services, you may have different lists of clients who come to you for different treatments.
You can be strategic about your email campaigns by sending out promotional offers that target the products or services they previously purchased to increase the relevance of your offer.
For example, your waxing clients may get a “beach & bikini special” while your “anti-aging” client would get a “stay young in the sun” offer.
You can also strategically cross-promote – e.g. offering a special introductory “lash” session to the “waxing” list to entice clients who already trust you to spend more money with you.
In order for this strategy to be effective, you need to take some time to clean up your email list – e.g. putting each client in the right category and designing a system so you can communicate strategically.
Creating an ideal client avatar for each segment can also help inform how you can tailor the marketing message for each campaign.
We’ve recently done quite a bit of hardcore email marketing in our Esthetician Inner Circle Membership to help owners harvest more opportunities from their email list and successfully cross-promote within an existing clientele.
Take Time to Plan Ahead for the Summer Slump
Another mistake some estheticians make is that they launch one offer that doesn’t perform so well, so they layer another discount on top and then a third tier after that out of desperation.
Needless to say, the promotion gets too complicated for its own good. Clients get confused and the confused mind says “no.”
To avoid such ad-hoc scenario, make sure to plan ahead and stay the course. You can have a “plan B” in your back pocket in case you need to course correct – but avoid piling one offer on top of another until it gets so complicated that not even you can explain how it works!
Create A Sense Of Urgency
Of course, we can’t forget the oldie-but-goodie – urgency! There are only so many days of summer. Encourage your clients to take advantage of your offer while it lasts.
Don’t Reinvent The Wheel
If you have been in business for a while, you probably have a good sense on what kind of offers works, and what doesn’t.
Spend your time and budget effectively by doing more of what works. Take some time to analyze past successful campaigns to understand what makes your clients tick to inform your next promotion.
… But Keep Experimenting
Of course, not everything we do will hit the bull’s eye and that’s ok.
Go by the 80/20 rule – spend 80% of your resources on what has been working, and 20% to experiment and find new ways to grow your list and boost revenues.
Having good months and bad months is par for the course when you’re in business for yourself. The spa industry sure does have its busy seasons! When it’s slow during the summer slump, all we can do is prepare as much as we can and try not to get too bummed out if we’re not making our numbers.
If you’re stressed out, your clients will feel the strain when they’re around you. Remember, they come to you to relax and feel good. If they get a dose of stress instead, you bet they’d be less likely to return.
If summer is going to be slow for you, sometimes you just have to be prepared for the dip and plan ahead to have some fun while you have the time!
When you take the time to relax and care for yourself, you’ll radiate positive energy and become more attractive to your clients.
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