Build Your Salon’s business consultant extraordinaire Phil Jackson is no stranger to transforming salon businesses with his tailored advice and industry know-how. Here, he offers up his top tips for promoting your salon and taking your marketing strategy from meh to magnificent.
“The problem with almost every salon referral program is that they all look very similar, and usually fail to add much to your business,” Phil begins. ”We get a few hundred flyers printed and ask our team to give them to customers in exchange for a few percent off their next service for each friend they send into the salon.
“Usually the promotion is a bit dull, not very generous, hard to monitor and easy to forget. We might have a bit of initial interest but I’ll bet that your team members aren’t giving the flyers to every customer. They’ll give them to the ones they are friendliest with, if any at all. An occasional refocus in a team meeting might generate a couple of referrals but ultimately the promotion is a bit of a non-starter.
“But it doesn’t have to be that way!”
TIP 1 | TRANSFORM YOUR MARKETING INTO CAMPAIGN FOCUSES, RATHER THAN ONGOING PROMOTION
It’s all about keeping things fresh, relevant and interesting to both salon staff and clients. “Make every August referral month,” explains Phil. “By shortening the timescale, we can keep excitement levels higher. It also allows us to target referral months to a quieter time within the salon.”
“Even better, we review our prices every March and September,” he continues. “If we have price-sensitive customers we encourage them to recommend some friends in August to take the sting out of our increases in September.”
TIP 2 | DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE GENEROUS
Says Phil, “Make the program MUCH more generous. You can afford to. That’s because you’re wasting less money.
“Let me explain,” he continues. “Imagine you want a brand-new customer. You decide to turn to Facebook ads and run some advertisements, and let’s say that it costs you $100 for a new customer. You’re okay with that because you know that each new customer spends that amount on their first visit. You’re not making a profit on that visit but that’s acceptable. In marketing jargon this is called a self-liquidating offer.
“As you know, in your salon, one in three customers who come in as new clients turn into regular customers. Even though you’re only breaking even in the short term, in the long run you are growing. Incidentally, that’s why some businesses who know their numbers really thoroughly are OK with ‘going negative’ (or making a loss on the first visit).”
TIP 3| IT’S TIME TO GO DIGITAL
“Take the entire program away from your team, and run it by email instead,” suggests Phil. “That way, instead of your team deciding which customer they want to speak to, your entire clientele gets to hear about the program and the results which can be much more impressive.
How to stagger this type of email-based campaign? “Announce your promotion by email at the beginning of the month, remind them a week or two later in a shorter email and then a third time – perhaps a few days before the end of the month – with a ‘last chance’ email.
“If you’re convinced you need to be running referrals all year round, why not automate that email to go out after, say, a customer’s third visit? Your salon software should handle this with ease.”