If something has always worked in the past, then it should always work in the future, right? Not exactly. As a 30-year veteran of the salon professional industry, I consider myself “old school”, but that doesn’t mean I do things exactly the same way I did 30 years ago. Principles like exceptional service still apply, but in this day and age of technology and social media, it’s important to take your “old school” school practices and adapt them to modern day resources. Keeping up with trends doesn’t just mean knowing what’s happening on the runway, it means knowing how to cater and market to your clientele in a language they can understand.
Word of Mouth: I believe that this is still one of the best ways to market your salon. If people leave the salon with a smile on their face, they will share the good news with others. The golden rule of keeping every customer happy still applies, but in the world of social media, if your clients aren’t sharing their great news online, you are missing the boat on a great opportunity. So how can you adapt? Asking customers to write reviews on Yelp, share their new do’s on Facebook or even check in to your salon on Foursquare are all great ways to help spread world of mouth digitally. Salon owners can offer incentives, similar to a loyalty or referral program, for those who post, tweet or share information about the salon. Social media is also a great way to get staff involved in your marketing plan. Encourage them to share salon information with their friends and followers. The more people who spread the word, the more successful your salon will be.
Discount Programs: I have never and will never encourage salon owners to discount their services. With sale sites like Groupon leading the way, many salon owners ask my opinion of these marketing tools. The bottom line is if you discount your services, you diminish what you do. You want your clients to see you as the leader, innovator and originator in the industry. They should want to pay a premium price for your services because you supply a product worth paying for. After all, they leave the salon feeling like a million bucks right? Competing on price alone is one of the worst marketing tactics you can use. Instead, differentiate yourself from the competition by staying true to who you are and by delivering exceptional work and above and beyond service.
Advanced Booking: The last step in the Eufora Eight Steps to Financial Success™ has always been to book clients in advance for their next appointment. I’ve always said this is the single most important element in building a solid clientele. Not only does it stabilize your paycheck versus waiting and hoping for clients to book their next appointment, it also builds supply and demand and allows you to raise your prices. Today, with everyone’s busy lives, asking a client to book in advance can actually be easier than ever. Most people have their calendars synced to their mobile device and salons can even send pre-booking reminders via email to ensure those happy clients keep coming through the door.
Share Your Expertise: I’ve always encouraged stylists and salon owners to share their knowledge with their clients. Whether it’s showing a client how to recreate a look at home, providing product recommendations, or giving care advice; showing you are the expert helps position you as the authority that clients come to for advice. The great thing about this new millennium of marketing is that your advice can now be shared, quite easily, on the Internet via a blog. Starting a blog is a great way to post photos of styles you have created, photo shoot images, while sharing thoughts on trends and advice. Blogs also help tell the story of the kind of person and professional you are. If you aren’t blogging, you are missing the chance to connect with a huge community of like-minded individuals and potential clients.