Do you remember the first time that little light bulb of an idea lit to encourage you to start your salon? You are fond of going to the salon yourself and have been going from one stylist and nail technician to another. So you definitely have the knowledge and enough customer experience to know what it is people are looking for in a salon. Starting this business was a risk you thought was worth taking, and well, you still believe that today.
However, part of the challenge is maintaining the business. Yes, your salon is successful; but every day more and more salons are opening up and the competition gets a little more intense. You need to find a way to retain the clients that you have and work on attracting more.
There are a lot of ways in which you can accomplish this, and most would mean going back to the basics. We will talk about new trends that will work for your market, how to rework old techniques, and how you and your employees can make the salon experience worth your clients’ time.
Marketing Your Salon
The key to gaining and retaining clients is if you have a solid salon marketing strategy that keeps you at the top of their mind. Here we will list down both old-school techniques and modern digital trends that will help do just that.
Let us start with putting up a website
The Internet is a blessed thing really because everything can be searched online. It has become so intelligent that it predicts your query by just typing in a few words on the search bar. One of the ways you can take advantage of the search results is having a website of your own.
A website works like your permanent digital business address. When a potential client searched salons in your city, ideally one of the results that should appear is your salon. The website should be aesthetically pleasing; it means visually, it should not turn customers away. It should also be easily navigable so that clients would not be confused at what to click next or which page to go to for information.
You have probably seen websites that are too boring to look at and too confusing to use. Avoid that by hiring a website designer that can take your ideas and translate them on the design of your website. Learn how to study website analytics so you can pinpoint which pages a client usually goes to, how much time they spend on it, and what else needs to improve in the user experience.
Create social media pages
You most likely have one already, but we cannot stress enough how important social media pages are. If your website is your permanent digital business address, social media sites are your satellite online branches. Some people do searches on Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram so you definitely have to create accounts on those and other relevant social media pages.
But not only should you create the social media pages, you also have to use them properly. They call this Social Media Marketing, it is when you study the online behaviour of your clients, find out which time of the day and how often they are online, and publish posts according to that data. You do not need to post strictly business related stuff every time; you can also post fun or inspirations things that will get your clients to engage with you. Because that is really what you are after, you want to strengthen your relationship with them by striking a conversation that is not strictly salon related.
Social media pages offer analytics as well, and because behaviours change, you should constantly study the analytics to adjust your activity accordingly. It would be wise to take advantage of the sponsored ads offered by different social media accounts. It allows them to show your ads to a demographic of your choice and works to target people who are constantly searching for or liking pages who are in the same industry as salons.
Have a solid client referral system
You already know your clients leave the salon happy and satisfied with the service that you have given them, so make sure to encourage them to tell everyone about it. Having an awesome referral system is one of the best ways to gain new clients and remains to be one of the best forms of advertising. Think about it, if your friend tells you that they know of this restaurant that serves the best ramen, you go to it right? The same goes for salons, most especially for salons since there is a certain level of trust that comes with changing their appearance.
You can have a reward in place for referrals. Remember to be generous, though, because a simple freebie or discount is not going to cut it.
Ask your clients if they can fill out a customer feedback survey. Afterwards, ask them if they can recommend your salon to their friends. Hand out a card which will provide discount packages to both your existing client and to the friend they referred.
Start a loyalty program
If you still do not have one in place, maybe it is time to have a loyalty program for all your clients. It could be as simple as getting a free service for every 5th visit, or a discount once they have collected a couple of stickers on their customer card. The idea is to make visiting you extra fun for them. Create a competition, introduce a new gimik they would all enjoy doing and allow them to redeem rewards for participating.
You can also introduce loyalty membership cards that they have the option to avail. Make sure cardholders have unique benefits so that they get encouraged to get one.
Partner with other local businesses in your area
What if you can get a free cup of hot steaming coffee at one of the coffee shops in your area just by getting a haircut or a manicure? Buddying up with other businesses allows both establishments to introduce themselves to each other’s client pool. Yes, it is networking work, but what is so bad about that?
Partner up with businesses that have a reasonable amount of foot or web traffic, propose a partnership that can benefit the both of you, and work together to increase visits and attract new ones along the way.
Use this as an opportunity to create new promos that involve both of your shops so you can get those potential clients coming to you. You can partner up with as many businesses as you can and collaborate with them to increase your market reach.
Your marketing and advertising technique might have a solid foundation, but if your client relations is not up to par, then you might have a problem. Here we will talk about how you and your employees can create an awesome client experience.
Make sure the salon is up to standards first
All of these efforts will be useless if the salon is dirty, old, and crumbling down. Always run maintenance every month so you can get ahead of any building problems. Your paint is coming off the walls? Work on that immediately. One of the chairs is squeaky? Get a new set of chairs, you probably need to replace all of them anyway.
More importantly, make sure your salon is clean. There is nothing more vexing than a place rife with dirt. Because salons work with hair and nails constantly, make sure someone is always sweeping the floors, wiping the chairs, cleaning the foot spa equipment and so on. One little evidence of grime might cost your business some great loss.
Ask clients for feedback
There are a lot of ways you can ask them for feedback. You can ask them to fill out a survey card or answer an online poll. But nothing beats engaging them in conversation and asking them in person.
Once you see a client is just about to finish with their service, approach and greet them. Converse with them and let the questions flow naturally. Remember that clients will know if you are just talking to them to get something from them, so make sure the conversation is not too robotic. Lead into your questions as naturally as you can, make it feel like a conversation done by friends.
Always serve with a smile
Some people do not understand it yet, but a simple smile changes how clients view the whole business. A lot of the complaints sometimes stem from an employee whose eyebrows are knit together while they are talking to a client, a raised voice that sounded angry, and so forth.
It is hard, and this is probably the most difficult part of being in the service industry. But you need to understand that sometimes people come back to your business because yours is the friendliest of them all. So treat your clients with kindness, and they will be less difficult than they are with other establishments
Some of these tips can be accomplished with a little elbow grease, but they are worth doing nonetheless. A salon is one of the most difficult to start and maintain because there are just so many establishments to compete with. But if you can manage to accomplish these strategies and learn more about more advanced techniques, then you are on your way to success.