Whether it’s online-based reviews or traditional verbal recommendations, we know that word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools for any business, particularly for aesthetics-based services.
In fact, there are some beauty and spa businesses who have built such a strong reputation through good old fashioned word of mouth that they don’t have to rely on location-based google searches or walk ins, opting to withhold their address from the public until a booking is made.
We chatted to some of the renowned and mysterious spas and clinics that have chosen to forego announcing their address to the public, to discover more about this bold strategy and how it affects their business.
One of these is Sydney’s prestigious Dr Van Park, a Woollahra-based Cosmetic Physician, who says the decision lies behind her commitment to the highest level of privacy for her clients.
“Although having non-surgical procedures is becoming much more acceptable, most of our clients are still very private,” she says. “For us, privacy and discretion is the ultimate luxury. At our old location, we had a lot of paparazzi lurking around trying to take photos of our clients coming and leaving so this decision was also to protect our clients.”
Dr Van speculates that the decision to keep her location private actually generates more interest for the business than if made publicly available.
“Clients have told me they love the exclusivity and discretion we offer. They love that we are so underground and do not promote ourselves. On another level, unintentionally, because we rarely accept someone who is not referred, it has made people want to come and see us more. I think it is almost like marketing in itself that people know you are so hard to get into! I think our privacy has made people feel more exclusive and I believe that it is what we all crave, that sense of belonging to a secret club.”
So how does this move affect the marketing strategy of the business? Dr Van says that it allows her to further concentrate on excelling her services and client experience, rather than putting time and funds towards marketing strategies.
“During our busy times, I close my books and our existing clients get priority when it comes to bookings and being on the cancellation list. Our clients have told us that they really appreciate us taking care of them first and not trying to get new bookings.”
“I believe word of mouth is the most powerful advertising for us. For this reason, rather than spending my resources on marketing, I spend all my resources making sure our clients get the best of everything including service and treatment. They will in turn spread the word to their family and friends. With referrals, it is always nice as I feel like I already know the person and have a connection. In my industry, it is all about trust and relationships and I really value every word of mouth referral that comes in.
Fumi Yamamoto, owner of Zen Facial in Bondi, agrees with this sentiment, saying that the benefits clients receive far outweighs the potential foot traffic or Google exposure, instead placing energy and emphasis on creating the ideal secluded escape. This air of privacy and exclusivity is also of great value to A-list or celebrity clients that wish to keep their treatment details private – many of whom Fumi and Dr Van see on a regular basis.
“It is a private clinic, and I do not have a shop front, and treatments are offered by appointment only,” says Fumi. “It is right on the beach, and the healing environment takes priority, rather than exposure…the benefit is in the results I can offer for the clients.”
The response received from her clients, says Fumi, is overwhelmingly positive. “I have a humble setting, and again the focus is on the comfort and healing of my clients. My clients often kindly say that they prefer this setting. Clients are happy to walk out to a serene beach (rather than a busy business district) after a very relaxing rejuvenating treatment too. Also for my clients who are public, they appreciate the privacy.”