Ask the Experts: Planning Ahead
What advice would you give to improve a salon’s promotion planning strategy?
“The first piece of advice would be to Strategize,” says Kitty Tierney, owner of Impressions in Mequon, Wisconsin. “Marketing momentum requires consistent work over the long term and is best handled by the creation of an annual marketing calendar. It is also the best tool to schedule before you decide on direct mail, Twitter or Facebook or other social media avenues. You must adopt and commit to a marketing strategy by determining and narrowly defi ning your ideal client or introduce a new service or product. Creating and communicating some key point of differentiation.
“Then you need to Implement your plan. Just remember; you cannot be all things to all people. Saying you offer good service isn’t a differentiator, it’s an expectation. Are you trying to grow a new service, add clients, products or discount? Choose carefully and consider a value-added promotion for best results. Lowering your prices too much will not obtain new guests but only lure price shoppers. What is the expiration? When will it start? Create and market. Timing is essential. Start about six weeks before the event. The average time between visits for your guests is the perfect allotment for each campaign.
“Then Reward—track, celebrate and review. Engage the staff for best results. Post the progress in the back room or e-mail results. Reward successes with prizes at your wrap-up and team meetings. Having everyone onboard for the challenge is essential for maximum results. A logo inspired hoodie, Starbucks card or educational dollars are perfect prizes. And, of course, a larger paycheck is always the best reward!”
What salon promotions are most effective in driving client traffic?
“E-mail has proven to be one of the most successful promotion tools to drive client traffic. At Eric Fisher Salons, we offer a coupon to clients for 15 percent off one retail item if they sign up to receive our e-mails,” says Eric Fisher, owner of Eric Fisher Salons and Academy. “We e-mail our clients on a regular basis with product promotions and announcements on in-salon events such as client appreciation days, make-up guest artist events and spa events. E-mail is a great way to bring in clients because it reminds the client to book their next appointment. We include on all of our e-mails a link for clients to book their next appointment online and the address and phone number for each salon location so they can easily call to schedule their next appointment.
“We have links to our social media sites so clients can stay-up-to-date on what is happening in the salon and we ask them to share the e-mail with their friends. The goal is for the e-mail to go viral, drive new traffic into the salon and increase the frequency of client visits. Bottom line, you can run great promotions in your salon but if you don’t use the proper tools to promote them, they will not be effective and drive traffic to your salon. The best way to bring in clients is to advertise your promotions through cost effective channels like e-mail and social media.”
How does an online strategy drive client traffic?
“We’ve increased new clients on average from 130 a month to 210 a month by implementing one simple offer, which works in conjunction with our online strategy to drive new clients in the door,” says Chad Pereira, owner of Aura Salon in Jacksonville, Florida. “The offer, developed and implemented by Imaginal Marketing, offers guests a one-time $20 toward any service they have not yet received. It’s consistently promoted on our website, Facebook page and on printed cards we distribute outside of the salon. Now more than ever, potential new guests are first checking us out online. They Google us, read our reviews (which Demandforce is integral in populating), then visit our site to learn more. Along with these reviews, the professional look of the site also gives us credibility and enhances our brand.
“Also, important in this online strategy is the Demandforce appointment request feature. Clients now prefer making their request online, at their convenience, rather then having us call or text them when we have a time available that meets their parameters. Our online strategy makes it easy for them to find us and take action, and the $20 offer seals the deal.”
What can stylists do to better promote their services?
“One great way to grow your business is to stay committed to making resolutions all year long,” says Nina Kovner, co-founder of Passion Squared. “To market your services better in the New Year set a target. Who do you want to market your services to? Be specific. This will help determine the type of marketing you will do. Set a vision. What result do you want? More new clients, more services to existing clients? It’s easier to make it happen when you are clear on the outcome you seek. Set a deadline and do it. Ideas are a dime a dozen, where success comes in is the execution of those ideas.
“The most effective way to grow services is through word of mouth. Already have a program? Is it working? Use your social and digital platforms to creatively promote your services. Being active on Facebook and YELP will bring attention to your services and help you become more discoverable on the internet.”