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Spa business marketing

A Guide to Creating Your Ultimate Spa Brochure

Let’s face it, as spa businesses we have all had marketing challenges. Whether it be struggling to effectively communicate our brand, getting the right people to see our services or difficulties in getting the most impact with small marketing budgets, it’s a story every one of us has.

One small solution to a myriad of marketing problems can be a professionally designed and strategically distributed brochure. Brochure marketing is one of the most cost-effective and successful means of marketing and this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to create an ultimate spa brochure for your business.

Why a Brochure?

Brochures are one of the most versatile marketing tools that any company can have in their repertoire. Brochures can be used on their own or in conjunction with other marketing initiatives and can be mailed to clients, handed out at events or placed in high traffic areas for individuals to grab on their own. Brochures help build trust and reliability with customers because if time and effort is put into a brochure, then the customer will assume the same about your services.


A tri-fold brochure

A tri-fold brochure.


Brochures are easy to distribute like business cards but they provide substantially more information to customers and can help you target a specific demographic when done correctly. Unlike billboards or website ads, brochures allow you to include more comprehensive information into a small design. Brochures provide the space to tell the story of your spa business and include all the major details a customer is looking for, such as location, pricing, packages and even your business’s hours. As a bonus, you can even include coupon or discounts inside the flyer to generate immediate sales for your spa business. What’s even better? Brochures can be passed along person to person making it great for referrals!

Designing an Eye-Catching Cover

Did you know that the average attention span of a human is eight seconds? In order to capture the consumer’s attention your cover must be eye-catching, savvy and include great photos to get the reader to flip the next page. The best brochure covers utilize powerful images to capture potential customers. The term, “a picture is worth a thousand words” holds true, and the right photo should appeal and connect with customers in an impactful way.

Before you decide on a cover photo and design however, you must first ask, "who am I targeting and why?"


A spa tri-fold brochure

This spa tri-fold brochure features an eye-catching cover. Source: brochuredesignservice.com


People seek spa businesses because they need to rest, rejuvenate and escape. Successful brochures differentiate themselves from competitors by communicating their services effectively to the right people and if you’re wondering who the right people are, the nature of your services will determine that.

If your spa is located in a popular tropical tourist destination and you offer a variety of couple’s massages then one of your target customers should be honeymooners and couples. Depending on what your spa looks like, how many services you offer and what your competitors are doing there are a few options for a cover photo.

Ask yourself, "what is the best way to sell your service(s) in an image? Is it a couple receiving a massage on the exotic beach that your spa is located? Is it a picture of your world class facilities that differentiate you from your competitors?"

Only you as the spa business owner or marketing manager can decide which image best represents your services and thus will attract your target customers.

Additionally, just as an image can speak a thousand words, your brochure cover shouldn’t have a thousand words. Keep it simple. For example, movies can be over two hours long but marketers must sell the film in one sentence called a logline. Similarly, your spa business may offer multiple services and amenities but you need to sell your business with a quick title and slogan and let the design do the rest.

Content is King

As stated earlier, brochures are an amazing marketing material because they allow you to fit a ton of information into a small amount of space. However, beware! Remember, the average attention span of a person is only eight seconds. In a perfect world, your customer will read everything on the brochure but that is not often the case.

The brochure can look beautiful but if the content isn’t well written then it’s rendered useless. Does your brochure have long paragraphs that are too bulky to read? Are there little to no headlines? Does it take too long to find out about the services you offer? If you answered yes to any of these questions then your content is currently not the staple of your brochure. Here is how to make your content pop.


Reading flow is a key factor in brochure design

If the content on your brochure is not well written, people may get a negative feeling about your business.


Great Headlines

The first thing you need are great headlines. Headlines serve as the guiding point for reader’s eyes and in case they don’t have much time it allows them can locate exactly where they need to go in the brochure. Headlines can be as simple as “price, location, services, mission” etc. and it allows big content to be separated by section.

Concise Paragraphs

Concise paragraphs are important as well. Generally, people are keen to hearing about the problems your spa business will solve for them rather than hearing about how you will solve them. For spas, this means including key-words like “stress relieving” or “reducing tension” as an end result to a five-step massage, rather than explaining the five-step massage in detail. Another example is “clearer skin” or “reduced red spots or acne” when talking about a facial service you might offer. Customers can always request more information - the point of the brochure’s content is to sell customers on the end result.

Include Customer Testimonials and Images

Another way you can do this is to include customer testimonials and supporting images in your brochure. What have others said about your spa that could encourage others to come? Do you have before and after photos of a facial or pedicure service? Be creative in how your content conveys your spa business’ services.

TIP: Put the focus on the customer, and not on you. Focus on your customers' problems and only then explain how will you solve them.

Distribution & Brochure Design

Your brochure is off to a great start but how do you get it in the hands of the right people? That answer is all in the distribution. As a spa business, you have many options about where and how to distribute your brochure.

For well-known spas that are often affiliated with hotels, brochures serve solely as information packets that customers can pick up at the front desk to learn more about the services offered.

For independent, newer and niche spas you might have to market yourself more aggressively since you won’t have a stream of people checking in everyday who can automatically be directed to your spa business.

Other methods of distribution include mailing your brochure using an acquired or purchased distribution list, uploading a PDF of your brochure onto your website or social media accounts, or handing it out at events. For spa businesses, the big question is who do you serve and what problem are you solving for those that you serve? This question can help you with your distribution decisions.

One example is a Philadelphia woman who started a part-time children’s spa that catered in specialty birthday parties for young girls. Due to the niche nature of her spa business she had a hard time finding and retaining customers. Her initial marketing strategy included a poorly designed brochure that and she handed out to family, friends and people on the street in her community and months went by where she had little business due to her poor design and distribution.

Shortly after, she began working with an internet-based brochure design agency that helped her rebrand and retarget her spa business. The spa owner decided to leave her brochures on the counters of childcare centers and elementary schools, she held events at child expos and distributed her flyers there. She redesigned her website with a PDF version of her brochure and she identified the problem that her spa solved for others which was “taking the stress out of planning birthday parties for young girls.” Her brochure included her mission, prices and package details, and by distributing them to parents of young girls and the places they frequent, her spa business began to boom.

One reason why this woman was so successful was because her brochure properly communicated her services through the brochure’s design. Consistency is the single most important factor in designing brochures. It is paramount that a spa brochure has a cohesive identity that ties the brand together. A spa business brand could look visually appealing but if the messaging isn’t consistent it will not go over well with customers.

For this to work, the visuals must follow suit with the content. Typically, designs for spa brochures rely on calm colors, sans-serif fonts and low impact shapes and images. Scientists have identified light yellows, greens and blues to evoke positive emotions in most people and can make clients think of sunlight, water and nature which is ideal for a spa setting.

TIP: Always follow your brand's design guidelines, no matter what. Failure to do so will communicate lack of consistency in your message, and will make your marketing much more difficult.

Different Brochure Options

Spa businesses have many options when it comes to designing their ideal spa brochure:

Doing it Yourself

Doing your own brochure can sound like a dream come true. Everything is in your hands and that means you can choose your own color, design and content without spending much money. However, designing a professional brochure takes time and the result is usually too much time wasted on a brochure that will not have the professional details of a corporate or more formal brochure. Additionally, many of the online websites to create your own use the same recycled templates making it harder for your brochure to stand out from others.

TIP: It is extremely difficult to come up with a professional brochure if you are not a professional graphic designer. Just knowing how to work with a graphic design application like Photoshop or InDesign does not make you a graphic designer - a career that takes several years to complete. It is pretty much the same thing as thinking that having experience with Microsoft Word makes you a writer or a poet.

Buying a Template

Similar to doing it yourself, buying a template gives you a lot of control, however many find it difficult to integrate their company’s visual and brand identity into the template. While the template might be professional, the lack of cohesiveness could lead to an unprofessional final result.

Freelancers

Freelancers are low cost and to many they are the perfect solution. However, freelancers are not companies and it’s hard to verify their credibility and use of copyrighted materials. Plagiarized material can land your spa business in big trouble and freelancers found on the internet often come from other countries making it difficult to communicate your company’s needs. Similarly, many freelancers use the same templates you could access if you were to design a brochure on your own, but if they don’t share they source file it can be impossible to make edits on your brochures once you’ve paid them.

TIP: There are many graphic design marketplaces that rely on freelancers, who rely on pre-made templates - in many cases, from free sources. While they could look great at first sight, these designs were just customized for your business, and not created for you. The result will be a visually-great brochure that does not adhere to your existing branding. This not only looks unprofessional but is also against the "always follow your design guidelines" principle.

Graphic Design Contests

There are websites that offer graphic design contests for a price that is comparable to those of an internet-based brochure design agency, or even less. You create a contest and graphic designers send you several designs to win it. This allows you to choose from several different designs which may be seen as a great advantage over other options. However, freelancers participating in these contests need to submit their entries to several contests per day to make a decent living, so the only choice they have is to send template-based designs.

So, you will end up paying quite a lot for a freelancer-customized template-based brochure design.

Print Shops

Some print shops have graphic design departments that can create brochures for you, and the good thing is that they will be responsible for the whole process. While their offers are not expensive, their designers are specialized in the printing process (which is a technical process), rather than professional design and creativity. Most of them are more interested in getting a design ready for printing in a couple of days, rather than in creating a strong marketing piece for your business. Some may rely on template-based designs as well.

Traditional PR Agencies

Traditional Public Relations agencies provide premiere level marketing materials every spa business is looking for, however they come with an expensive price. For large spa businesses, this might be a viable solution but for many small business owners this is out of their range.


Professional graphic designer

A professional graphic designer knows how to communicate ideas with the correct shapes, colors and layouts, and has technical knowledge in several areas like marketing, consumer behavior and printing.


Internet-based Brochure Design Agency

The best option for many spa businesses is an internet-based design agency that specializes in brochure design. These online businesses offer the full range of design and print services, and are equal in quality as brick and mortar agencies without the high price. Unlike other solutions, online agencies work directly with you to formulate a brochure design that is unique to your business needs in order to drive sales and distribution.

These agencies employ senior level designers to craft your brochures and you’ll get the professional quality you’ve been seeking without having to learn a new editing software, worry about plagiarism or communicate with someone across the globe.

Cost Comparison

Cost for brochure design comprises three factors: copywriting, design, and printing. For the sake of simplicity, we will take a standard tri-fold brochure for comparison purposes.

Copywriting

Under most circumstances, the copy - or at least the basic ideas - is responsibility of the client requesting the brochure. It takes about 5~10 hours time to create a decent copy for a tri-fold brochure.

If you opt for a traditional PR agency or an internet-based design agency they can help with the copy as well. However, this service can cost between $100 and $1,000, depending on word count.

Make sure they are happy to provide revisions to the copy, otherwise, ask them how much each revision phase is.

Design

If you design the brochure by yourself (either from scratch or using a template), expect to invest at least 16~24 hours for a decent brochure. There are templates for free online, and there are commercial websites that offer templates from $50 to $200. If you assign a cost to your time, you will probably end up paying more than other options, and you will still get a non-professional marketing piece.

A freelancer will charge you anything between $100 and $800. Expect very low quality designs or template-based designs in the lower range, and more decent work on the higher price range.

A specialized brochure design agency will charge you between $500 and $1,500 for a custom tri-fold brochure design, and traditional PR or marketing agencies may charge you double or even more than that.

TIP: Many providers will charge you for images, illustrations, diagrams, or extra revision phases. Make sure this is clear before you start any project.

Printing

Cost for printing 1,000 tri-fold brochures ranges between $100 and $500 depending on paper quality, folding, and printing technique.

Many design agencies offer printing services, so you do not have to worry about dealing with the print shop yourself. In the case that a problem occurs, print shops typically blame graphic designers and viceversa, so it is wise to have the design agency print the brochures for you.

TIP: Take into account shipping costs as well.

Final Thoughts

If interested in an internet-based brochure design agency, BrochureDesigners.com offers custom, cost-effective professional brochures in thousands of shapes, colors and sizes. Your spa business has the ability to thrive so let a professional help you get there today.

Author: Taylor Jones

June 22nd, 2018

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