Marketing and the Rules of Attraction
Too many salons put the cart before the horse. Concentrating on attracting bulk numbers of new clients through the doors, before you’ve got your Customer Service and Rebooking procedures streamlined is a waste of time and money.
In our last issue I examined how to improve your client retention. So now that you know how to keep a client, let’s look at how to attract a client in the first place.
In marketing circles, you never start a campaign without first identifying who your target market is. Naturally the perfect demographic will vary from salon to salon, but your new clients will all fit one of these categories:
They don’t have a regular salon
They are unhappy with their current salon
Although these clients are most likely to try out your salon, they often come with a bit of ‘baggage’. These poor dears have probably been ‘hurt’ before, and like heartbroken lovers, they’re scared to jump back into the game. That’s where you come in.
Understand that everyone in the categories above is likely to enter your salon feeling nervous and vulnerable. In the past they may have been hit with the hard sell, overcharged for salon services or just be naturally nervous about letting someone else ‘control’ their image (let alone anything else).
It’s your job to help them feel…
Relaxed, welcome and ‘at home’ in the salon
You’re genuinely interested in helping them look their best
You’re not going to pressure them to do or buy something they don’t want
Great copywriting of your advertising materials matters. Identifying your demographics needs makes copywriting easier. Let’s look at the information we have above and create some headlines.
For the client who doesn’t have a regular salon or is unhappy with their current salon because they are worried about being ripped off and leaving the salon looking average:
You don’t have to spend a fortune to look a million bucks!
For the client who doesn’t have a regular salon or is unhappy with their current salon because they’ve never felt welcome and never felt that the stylist genuinely cares to improve their image:
At <Salon Name> you don’t have to thank us for making you look fabulous. You’re welcome!
I could play the Headline game all day, and as you can see, once you identify who you want to attract it’s easier to create the right advertising copy.
Another vital factor in your salon advertising materials is the image you use. Unless you’re prepared to charge bargain basement prices, you will need a professionally designed logo and professional photographs of your work. Poor quality images or a logo your nephew knocked together on his Mac will send a clear message to potential clients, “Our salon is cheap.”
It matters little what your taste is, and what images you like. What matters is which images are attractive to your demographic. Photos of young punky looking people will not attract the polo set to your salon. When in doubt, investigate. Ask people in your demographic to rate your images. Look at the advertising and images that work in magazines aimed at your target market for inspiration.
Now we have the words and images sorted out, I’ll reveal three tried and tested promotions designed to get new people through the door of your salon:
Organise a cross promotion with a restaurant, sports club or other local business. Agree to promote them in exchange for them promoting you. You may want to swap vouchers for free services or ‘value add’ offers for first time visitors to your businesses. Make the offer on the voucher attractive to potential clients. Keep it local and make sure the business you cross promote with appeals to your demographic.
Remember to add the words “For first time salon customers only” on any promotional vouchers or cards to deter people who may exploit the promotion. Explain to any business you cross promote with that if too many people try to abuse the promotion you will have to withdraw it.
Word of Mouth
Turn your existing clientele into walking advertisements for your salon. Give a client a ‘refer a friend’ card. The card may be for a complimentary cut for first time salon visitors. Reward your client for referring their friend by offering to add value to their next service.
VIP Card Sales
Send a team of door to door salespeople out to sell VIP Cards. We’ve all seen these before: new clients pay a fee to buy a card entitling them to receive a bunch of services from your business. The VIP card concept represents a low cost, low risk option for salon marketing because you will be using surplus time and effort to impress people. The purchase price of a VIP card is designed to put off the dreaded bargain hunter, yet not deter the serious customer.
Before you get all cranky because I am telling you to give away a free or discounted service, remember this: the client does not think of themselves as ‘just another freebie’ and neither should you treat them like a second class citizen. If you want the client to return and pay money for your services, you’d better impress them on their first visit. The price of the service or discount is your advertising dollar being spent wisely to bring in new clients, not ‘just another freebie’.
Unless you’re in a high traffic location, you’re unlikely to get a lot of walk in clients. That’s why it is prudent to lure new clients with a good offer. Compared with many other forms of advertising, letting a potential customer try your salon for free makes more sense and costs less.
For more information on appraisals and finding the right salon. Contact a salon specialist broker today on 1300 366 521.
Benchmark Salon Sales – Selling Salons Australia wide