Monthly Archive for November, 2009

Selling Spa Products on the Web

These days, businesses everywhere have established a presence on the web. Take a good hard look at the commercials on any given day, and you’ll likely discover that web addresses are nearly as prevalent in the contact information as a telephone number.

Those naysayers of the 90s that downplayed the importance of having a website are no doubt choking on their words right about now. But what if you are a small artisan product producer making handmade bath and beauty products…is having a website really all that important?

The answer is a resounding YES. And the good news is that it has never been easier.

Would-be website owners have a vast array of products, services, and software to choose from in creating their own virtual corner of the web. From website editing software that installs onto your own computer to hosted blogging platforms, there is literally something for everyone, and every skill level.

Rather than leave your head spinning with the dizzying details, we’re going to focus our discussion on a simple, free method that you should give some serious consideration – a hosted WordPress blog.

A Free Blog at WordPress.com

For those who may be operating with a limited budget, you can get started with a free blog immediately by signing up at WordPress.com. You can select from thousands of design themes, both free and paid versions, which will allow you to customize the look and feel of your new web destination. Additional tools, called plugins, allow you to enhance the performance of your blog by allowing you to add navigational upgrades, search engine enhancements, shopping cart functionality, and other various capabilities. You could literally spend days just exploring all of the upgrades at your disposal.

Do-it-yourselfers will be pleased to discover the comprehensive tutorials offered by WordPress, and the hundreds of developers of its associated plugins and upgrades. Of course, for those who would prefer to have the technical details handled for you, there is no shortage of freelancers and professional firms that will be more than happy to design your new WordPress site to your specifications.

One of the many benefits of a blog is that they are fairly easy to get indexed by the search engines. The addition of search engine-friendly plugins will enable you to customize the titles, keywords and descriptions of your web pages, just as you would with a traditional website.

Staying in Contact

We all know how crucial it is to stay in contact with our customers. Blogging makes this task very simple to do! By setting up a free account with Feedburner.com, you can give prospects and customers two methods to keep in contact with you – by subscribing via RSS feed, or by email. With the addition of just a few lines of code, you can be up and running with this service in a matter of minutes.

Communication can be further enhanced by enabling your blog with one of several Twitter plugins. Twitter Tools, for example, will automatically post to your Twitter account each time you make a new blog post, making it a cross-promotional dream tool. Leveraging the power of a Twitter account can also help boost your subscriber list.

Whether you are offering products for sale on a limited or international scale, there is no disputing that a well-designed web presence can be an invaluable sales tool. You don’t have to be computer whiz in order to craft a visually-appealing, effective website. A bit of imagination, the desire to learn, and a few hours of your time is all the investment that you need.

Interested in learning more business-building tips and marketing ideas? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.

Sales Techniques: Defining Your USP

SalesWhat is a USP?

Your USP is your unique selling position. Your USP is what makes your business unique. Without a USP, your business will lack direction.

You may be selling the same line of products as your main competitors, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t carve out a successful piece of the niche. What will help you do this?

Defining your USP.

Questions to Help You Define Your USP:

  • What makes my business unique?
  • What does my business possess that my competitors’ business doesn’t?
  • What can I do better than anyone else?
  • Why makes a purchasing experience from my company different?

Evaluating your business based upon these questions (and any others that may come to mind) will help you define your USP to a laser-targeted focus.

Some Examples of Effective USP’s:

  • All customer service inquiries answered in 24 hours or less
  • Free product samples included in every order
  • Share Your Feedback, receive a discount coupon
  • Free shipping on all orders
  • Customer Loyalty Program
  • Guaranteed Same-Day Shipping

How Do I Communicate My USP?

  • Build your USP into your business tagline
  • Print it on your business cards, postcards, flyers and other mailers
  • Print your USP in every newsletter
  • Place your USP on your product labeling
  • Create helpful audios or videos for your website that reflect your USP

The key to leveraging your USP is to make it a cornerstone in your brand identity. Make sure that all of your customers know your USP, and how they benefit from it. As we’ve stated before, it all comes down to “what’s in it for me?” Your USP can answer that question for your customer.

Using your USP to answer this question for your customer will earn you business, and customer loyalty.

Want more fabulous formulations and savvy sales tips? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.

Body Butter Recipe

bodybutterDry skin is universal, and most, if not all of us have suffered with it at one point or another. This shared discomfort is something that you, as an artisan product producer, should leverage to your benefit!

Creating skin-softening and soothing body butter bars is both easy and inexpensive. The basic ingredients are readily available; and, you can create seemingly endless variations by swapping them out with their moisturizing counterparts.

The Basic Bar – Small Batch

By starting out with a relatively small batch recipe, you can test a formulation without incurring a great deal of expense. The formulation can be changed by swapping out the oils or butters. You can fragrance your bars with essential or body-safe fragrance oils, or leave them unscented.

  • 2 ounces Mango or Cocoa Butter
  • 2 ounces beeswax pastilles (white or yellow is fine)
  • 3 ounces sweet almond oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon body safe fragrance oil

Method:

Combine the butter and beeswax into a microwave-safe glass measuring cup. Heat slowly in the microwave in short segments of 5-10 seconds at a time, stirring in between each segment. Once the mixture is fully melted, remove from microwave and stir in the sweet almond oil, mixing until completely combined.

Allow the mixture to cool for 1 to 2 minutes, and then add in the fragrance oil. Stir until completely combined. Immediately pour the mixture into your desired packaging (push up lotion bar tubes or lip balm tubes are recommended options).

Putting Your Product to Use

There is no disputing the fact that offering samples will help you sell more product. Among the most affordable samples that you can offer are body butter samples. If you make up small batches and package them into standard lip balm tubes, they become smooth operators that open doors to potential customers.

Examples for Using Body Butter Bar Samples:

  • As a “thank you” gift with purchase
  • Promotional giveaway at craft shows and fairs
  • Hand them out with business cards to new contacts
  • Offer them as party favors at spa-at-home parties
  • Sell them with a full-size version as a set

Interested in more spa product recipes and ideas? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.

The Importance of Color for Spa Products

color-chart-smallWhen you are selecting colors for your logo, website or packaging, you may wish to consider how the colors will resonate with your customers. Colors register with the subconscious mind, and can make a dramatic impact on consumers’ buying preferences.

Colors can represent memories, reflect our moods, and evoke emotional responses. Researchers have long studied how various colors and color combinations affect buying preferences; these studies are often the basis from which manufacturers select the colors for a products’ packaging and promotional materials.

Savvy marketers will leverage their knowledge of color theory in order to evoke the desired response from their prospects. Below are a few examples of well known color representations:

  • White: Symbol of purity, innocence and honesty. It is evokative of all that is clean and good.
  • Black: Symbol of darkness, despair and death. Black often represents villany and evil.
  • Blue: Blue is most often associated with trust, creativity and imagination. It also represents order and security.
  • Green: Green represents nature, vibrancy and life. With the growing popularity of “green” living, it is also clearly associated with natural products, freshness and organics.
  • Yellow: Yellow is associated with thinking and philosophy, as well as maturity and hope. Yellow is a color that traditionally evokes happiness and cheerfulness.
  • Red: Symbolizing excitement, action, or even danger. Red also represents energy and passion.
  • Purple: Often associated with royalty, purple is elegant and extravagant. It evokes feelings of wealth and influence.

It is important to consider specific regions of the world you may be selling into when making color selections. What may evoke a specific response in one area of the world may play dramatically different elsewhere. The climate of the market and the mood of society will also play a large part in how products are accepted.

The study of psychological response with respect to color is likely to be scrutinized for generations to come.

Interested in learning more business-building tips and product formulation ideas? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.

Spa-at-Home Parties

spatreatmentSpa-at-Home parties offer an excellent alternative venue to offer your pampering bath and body products for sale. Opportunities to offer the spa experience within the comfort of the home abound – from traditional home-party style evenings, to bachelorette bashes, tween birthday parties and sleepovers – the potential to leverage your products is limited only by your imagination, and motivation!

Setting the Stage

Theme your presentation around the type of event the hostess is having. For example, if your hostess is having a bachelorette party, you’d want to theme the products and demonstrations around items that the bride and her attendants could use in preparing for the big day – items like facial masks, body scrubs, or relaxing bath salts and soaks. For a tween birthday party, you might instead opt for things like fragranced body splashes and lotions, shower gels and bubble bath.

It isn’t necessary to change your product packaging for these types of events, but you can inject fun into the process by creating themed gift sets, baskets or gift bags in non-traditional types of containers. Some great examples include take-out boxes, cosmetic bags, inexpensive totes or purses, teacups, or martini glasses.

Keeping it Simple

The key to success in putting on these types of events is to keep it simple. Limit your product offering to your best sellers, or those that best fit the group. If you plan to offer demonstrations of items such as scrubs or masks, be sure to instruct your hostess to have extra hand towels, tissues, and other necessities ready for her guests.

Handy Spa-at-Home Party Checklist:

  • Pre-printed order forms
  • Business Cards
  • Brochures or flyers
  • Calendar (to book additional parties!)
  • Party games
  • Inexpensive prizes (pumice stones, nail files, cuticle kits, etc.)
  • Plenty of Sample Products
  • Full-size items for sale
  • Party favors (items such as samples, business card magnets, notepads, etc.)
  • Bags to package purchases
  • Cash bag to make change

Offering spa-at-home parties is a creative way to supplement your income, and introduce your products to new prospects. Focus on sharing your passion for the products, and the benefits that they impart, and sales will surely follow.

Interested in learning more business-building tips and product formulation ideas? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.

How to Make Spa Product Gift Baskets

Gift BasketsIf you aren’t using gift baskets or gift sets as a selling tool, you are missing out on an opportunity to garner more sales. Offering gift sets and baskets is a valuable selling tool that can accomplish multiple objectives:

  • New way to promote slow-moving products (pair slow movers with popular items)
  • Introduce customers to new products (offering special price for sets)
  • Capitalize on the “instant gift” nature of gift baskets and gift sets (quick and easy!)
  • Perfect for “last minute” gifts (think Christmas, Mother’s Day, Easter, Graduation, etc.)

Leveraging the Power of Gift Sets

A bit of creative thinking can go a long way to scoring additional sales throughout the year. Have you considered offering:

  • A gift reminder service (perfect for forgetful husbands and boyfriends)
  • Gift registry service (for birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, Christmas, brides, etc.)
  • Custom gift set service (hostess gifts, new mother sets, spa-at-home parties, etc.)

What Should You Put in a Gift Set?

The key to creating a well-received gift set is to keep the products relevant, without being trivial. You don’t want the gift recipient to feel as if they received a “generic” gift, but rather one that was selected especially for them.

As an artisan bath and body product producers, you have a wealth of collateral products that can be added to your gift sets. Use your imagination to find unique pampering gift items that will compliment those that you produce.

Spa KitLook for items such as:

  • Loofah
  • Bath Mitts or sponges
  • Bath pillow
  • Nail files or cuticle kit
  • Pumice Stone
  • Spa Slippers
  • Headband
  • Relaxing music
  • Herbal tea
  • Floating candles, or incense

A Word About Containers

You don’t have to use traditional packaging for your gift sets. In fact, you’ll invariably sell more sets when you employ your creativity! You might want to make up small sets packaged in oversized teacups, sheer organza drawstring bags, colorful totes or mini purses, novelty take-out boxes, or even in ceramic floral containers. When you package your gift sets in a non-traditional container that can be used again, the recipient is also gaining an “extra” gift!

Want more fabulous formulations and savvy sales tips? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.

The Importance of Product Packaging for Spa Products

prodpackYour mother always told you that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. She’s right, of course, except for when it comes to product packaging.

When it comes to product packaging; quite often, it’s all about the look.

Your product packaging consists of far more than just a protective wrapper or a container. It’s about more than just functionality. Your product packaging is a major communicator of your brand, and its overall value.

Research has shown that consumers spend 75% of their time focused on the visual aspect of a products’ packaging.

Our perception of quality is directly linked to value. Our perception is driven by appearances. We automatically assign a higher value to those products that appear in attractive packaging. As consumers, we automatically make the determination that such a product must be offered through a quality source.

Knowing this, a wise marketer will use their packaging to leverage a purchase decision in their favor.

Cosmetic and fragrance companies, in particular, capitalize on this fact on a regular basis. Studies have indicated that manufacturers have been known to spend up to five times more for the product packaging than they do to create the actual product going into it.

Why? Because they know that an attractive package will garner attention, and convert into more sales.

More than Just a Pretty Label

Even though we’ve learned that having an attractive product package is important, being visually attractive it isn’t the only purpose that product packaging serves.

What other tasks must your packaging perform for you?

  • Communicate your brand through imagery, logo, & slogan
  • Provide information on your business mission statement
  • Answer frequently asked technical questions
  • Communicate ingredients and any cautionary measures
  • Set realistic expectations of the product’s benefits
  • Provide reorder information / business contact details

A product’s packaging doesn’t have to be expensive in order to convey quality. Selecting clean, crisp, timeless styles that employ a cohesive color scheme will reinforce your brand.

Additional Tips for Selecting Product Packaging:

  • Avoid falling prey to bringing in the latest “hot” packaging item
  • Select styles that can withstand the test of time
  • Look for containers that can be used to package multiple items
  • Order in larger quantities in order to take advantage of bulk discounts
  • Look for suppliers that offer free shipping
  • Purchase multiple packaging elements together when possible to avoid color mismatch
  • Keep an idea journal, and note product ideas when you see them in the marketplace

Interested in learning more business-building tips and product formulation ideas? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.