Salon Business News

Creating Demand for Your Salon

Stacey Soble | October 11, 2011 | 5:20 PM

As a successful salon owner, Scott Buchanan knows marketing strategies, such as appointment confirmations, online client surveys, referral programs and customized promotions,boost business. As a busy owner of three New York-based salons, he and his staff have a difficult time finding time to manage all those mundane efforts. In November 2010, Buchanan adopted Demandforce, an integrated marketing and communication platform that automated those efforts, and now, a year later, he credits the program with generating an additional $64,000 of revenue over the past 12 months.

How has Demandforce boosted your business?

“First, we love that the program offers guests an option of how they’d like to receive appointment confirmations, via text message, email or phone call. Our clients are loving the text message confirmations, and that’s freed up our front desk for other tasks. But for us, the lost customer program has had the biggest impact. The program allows you to set your own boundaries, and we set it to contact clients who hadn’t been in the salon in six months or longer and offer them 30% off their next visit. We also set it up to send friendly ‘we miss you’ messages without the discount to clients who haven’t been in for three months.”

How does the program help your website?

“Within 24 hours of a guest coming into the salon, the program emails them a survey offering a free sample shampoo for their responses which are then sent to Google—the more online reviews you have the higher your placement in search engines. You get to see every review before they are posted, and while most of them are positive, it gives you the chance to respond to any negative ones. If they leave their name, you can call them and invite them in to address the issue, or you can make your apologizes online which shows readers that you care.”

How has the program driven your referral business?

“The emails to clients give them an offer for referring us to their friends. Again, we get to set the parameters, and we offer the referring client 20% off retail and 200 loyalty points, while the person they refer receives $20 off their first service. The program then tracks the referrals and shows me how many people a guest has referred, how many have come in and what each of those referrals spent. When the referral gets the email, there’s a button that allows them to book right online. The program is responsible for generating over $11,000 of that new revenue.”

How has the program boosted your online appointment booking system?

“We had an online appointment booking program before, but we had really downplayed it. But when we first adopted Demandforce and sent out the first email to our database, 150 people immediately used that feature.”

Obviously, obtaining your clients email information is important to this program. How have you collected those addresses?

“Demandforce can help you purchase email information for people in your area if you want, but we don’t do that. At least twice a year, we initiate an email drive that offers the first front desk person to collect 40 emails a $100 gift card, anyone else who gets over 40 receives a $10 Starbucks card. When you’ve got 15 people focusing on obtaining guest emails, we can get almost 1,000 emails per drive. Now my database is more than 10,000.”

What else do you like about the program?

“We love that all of the measurement is done for you—you see the results right on your computer’s dashboard. The program makes it very easy to measure the success of a particular promotion as well, which helps in planning. From a business standpoint it’s a good way for our managers to get the pulse of the business as they spend time answering reviews. It’s another way to secret-shot your salons. We use the reviews as a coaching tool, we post good ones in the back room and have conversations with service providers about bad ones. Recently a comment helped one of my longtime staff members realize she was rushing her haircuts which was impacting customer service, so now she books a bit more time per service.”

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