What are your salon competitors doing right now?
You can’t count on them panicking and battening down the marketing hatches.
So, if your beauty or hair business lies low during the coronavirus shutdown you’re leaving yourself wide open to your competitors’ marketing.
Think back to the last economic recession. It was the salons that kept marketing who came through first, strongest and with a greater share of the local market.
It works both ways of course:
If your competitors’ marketing grinds to a shuddering halt, and they are no longer front of mind to their clients, then you have a golden opportunity to push ahead now and come out on top when everyone reopens.
Think about it:
Your clients, and theirs, are online more than ever because of the social distancing restrictions.
Who is grabbing their attention?
Or your local competitor?
In these uncertain times, it’s your job as leader to give direction, take control and make difficult decisions to minimise the damage to your beauty or hair business then lead your salon team to success when you reopen.
Let’s start with your clients…
Your knee-jerk reaction might be to bury your head in the sand, cut budget and wait until COVID-19 has passed. But good business sense suggests otherwise.
How much is each client worth to your business?
Say your average salon client spend per visit = £45
Say this client visits 6 times a year £45 x 6 appointments = £270
Total annual revenue for this client = £270
If this client stays with your salon for 5 years… £270 x 5 = total £1,350
*and this is not taking into account any retail purchases, additional visits, price increases or inflation.
If your salon loses 20 clients to competitors when you reopen that’s a minimum of £27,000 revenue walking out of your door.
Your salon or clinic may be closed but it doesn’t mean you can put your loyal clients on pause over the coming weeks.
If you do, you’ll pay the price when you reopen.
Maintaining regular, consistent contact with your existing beauty and hair clients is key to ensuring they return to your business, and not your competitors when you reopen. I look at ‘how’ to communicate later in this Guide.
You need to regularly talk to them. Reassure them. Remind them why they loved your services.
Because if you don’t.
Your competitors will.
Stop that revenue walking out of your salon door
Everyone is online more than usual. We have more time on our hands and are looking to be entertained, engaged and educated.
If your clients’ feed is brimming with regular engaging social posts from your local hair and beauty competitors, but nothing from you, you know deep down what will happen.
Before you know it, your clients will be visiting your competitors’ website, reading their advice blogs, and signing up for their e-newsletter. Do you feel comfortable with your competitors having your clients’ email addresses? 🙄
Remember our goal is to keep your business and brand front of mind, so when clients decide it’s the right time to book in for that overdue colour or wax they immediately think of YOU.
Radio silence over the next few weeks is not going to keep your loyal clients.
And a frantic marketing blast the week before you reopen after COVID-19 is likely too late. Your clients may have already decided to give your competitor salon a try.
Your marketing budget (time and money) may appear to be an easy win when you’re looking to cut costs, but it’s a short-term fix that will hit your bottom line when you reopen.
Think about what you say. And how you say it.
Think carefully about what you say to clients during the coronavirus crisis. What might have felt like a good message yesterday may not be the right thing today.
How you say it is important too. Being positive is vital but think about your tone of voice, as well as the message itself.
Of course, the dramatic drop in your revenue is alarming. But focus on building connection and trust in your client communications, not selling all the time. There will be plenty of time to sell when we’re coming out of this emergency and you’re getting ready to reopen.
Talk to your salon employees
If you’ve temporarily laid off your employees due to COVID-19 then keep in regular contact with them. You don’t want them being tempted to look around for a job with a local competitor when life starts to get back to normal.
Keeping them informed about your business plans helps them feel involved, put everyone’s mind at ease, and is positive about their future.
Salon team training during COVID-19
I know the legal situation varies from country to country, and salon to salon, but if employees are still on your books think about online training with Skype, Facetime or Zoom.
It could be technical education, improving client care or retail sales tips. It’s an ideal opportunity to get together remotely, have a social catch up and reinforce your business values.
Salon employees help make your business front of mind
Your hair and beauty employees are a marketing channel too and enable you to reach not just existing clients, but also a wider local marketplace.
Encourage them to be ambassadors for your business during the coronavirus restrictions. Ask them to share and comment on your business social posts which will help boost organic (non-paid) Reach and get your marketing message out to more people locally.
When a business bounces back quickly from a crisis you can bet it wasn’t pure luck. Rather it was prepared and ready.
Fast recoveries happen because you are prepared.
Let’s look at what you could fix during the coronavirus shutdown that you have never had time to do. How you can use this dormant time to improve your client experience so when you reopen you absolutely WOW them.
And don’t worry, I know we’re all tight on budget at the moment so I’m sharing actionable ideas that need your time and input rather than money – practical ways to improve your beauty or hair business while closed.
Interview salon clients to identify areas of improvement
Interview (remotely of course) your clients about their customer experience. Most clients will be flattered to be asked and keen to support you during the coronavirus.
Ask open questions such as:
- What do you love most about your hair or beauty visit?
- What could we do to make your experience even better?
- How do you find our phone/online booking process?
- How did you first learn about us?
- What would you like to hear about on social during coronavirus?
- How could we improve our website?
Ask salon employees for post-coronavirus client journey ideas
Why not continue with 1:1s with your team during the COVID-19 restrictions?
Chatting to them in these different circumstances may also help you understand what makes your business tick, what your team value and they may well have some ideas on how to streamline business processes.
Take a deep dive into your client statistics
Hand on heart, when was the last time you devoted a significant chunk of time to looking at your client stats?
I know. It can seem a bit dry looking at figures. But you can learn so much about marketing your beauty or hair business.
And if you don’t have a salon software package it’s a simple exercise to do this manually.
So what are you looking for?
Well, we’re after improving your business so post-coronavirus you offer a better, more profitable service, so start with your top 20% of clients by spend. After all it’s clients who are happy to spend that you want more of once you can reopen.
- Who are our top 20% (top fifth) of clients?
- What common characteristics do they have? Can I identify any behavioural or other patterns?
- Which services/treatments do this top 20% book? Again, look for patterns.
- Do they tend to book in with certain therapists/hairstylists? Are some of my team more popular than others with my top 20% of clients? If so, why?
- How do this top 20% group differ (if at all) from the rest of our clients?
Work on your salon when you can
As I write many countries are in some form of ‘lockdown’ and visiting your closed salon premises isn’t an option. However, once restrictions loosen why not spend time on your own in your salon giving it a mini facelift with a lick of paint.
I know, being in a closed salon sounds depressing but use the time positively to examine everything:
…Does reception need a spruce up? Be honest.
…What about your washroom?
…And exactly what do clients see when they sit at the backwash or lie on a treatment couch?
You might not be able to do something there and then but make an action list. You’re taking concrete steps in the right direction which will make for a better client experience when you reopen.
Let’s look what practical steps can you take to improve your marketing communication tools and ensure it’s your business that clients flock back to. Not your competitors.
5 ways to jump ahead of your competition post-coronavirus:
- Ignite your salon social media
- Rocket online reviews
- Get found online (fast)
- Pump up the volume with local marketing
- Upgrade salon marketing materials
Let’s kick off with your salon social media…
1. Ignite your salon social media
Start by giving it a spring clean and polish with these ideas:
2. Work on those online reviews
Social proof in the form of reviews and testimonials is salon marketing dynamite.
72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
And if you do have a review system, does it need tweaking? Are your team using it?
3. Get your salon found online during coronavirus
With people hunkered down at home during COVID-19 there are more eyeballs than ever online so make sure it’s your business that gets found. And not your competitors.
Here are 3 low-cost, yet effective, online salon marketing ideas to do now:
Google My Business
Change your opening hours if you’re shut or have reduced hours due to COVID-19. I walk you through the steps, with screen shots, here.
Your salon website
Keep salon clients informed
Put a clear notice on your homepage confirming if shut/reduced hours. Update this immediately if there are any changes.
As soon as you have a firm date for reopening change the notice and make it clear how clients can book.
If you have an online booking system do you need to edit the opening hours? This is especially important as we start to come out of the coronavirus crisis.
Refresh website content
Use this quiet time to check each page of your website:
- remove outdated content
- check links work and all information is current
- add content with DIY beauty/hair tips and advice
- add social proof (client testimonials, before & afters and reviews)
Little changes add up to improve your visitors’ website experience and all help to persuade them to make that beauty or hair appointment.
Website looking dated and tired? Feel it doesn’t reflect your brand? Want to convert lookers to bookers? We’re beauty and hair salon website specialists – take a look at some of our work here.
Keep that valuable Google ranking (SEO)
Keeping your salon website up to date and brimming with engaging content helps rank you higher on Google. Search engine optimisation (SEO) takes constant work otherwise you start to slip below your local competitors on Google searches.
The value of ranking highly on Google
Studies show the 1st position on Google gets around 33% of the clicks, with the 2nd position having around 15%, and just 9% going to the 3rd position.
Google isn’t stopping for COVID-19 so keep adding high quality, interesting, original content to engage your visitors and maintain that strong Google ranking you’d put such effort into achieving pre-coronavirus.
When life gets back to normal your salon business needs to be ranking well before you open the doors if you want a red-hot phone.
Email marketing is an unsung hero. If you’re not using it you’re missing out on a powerful, cheap-as-chips salon communication tool.
Unlike social media you are in the driving seat with email salon marketing. A well-built and written e-news campaign will reach around 98%+ of your database, while Facebook posts only reach 4-10% of your Page Likes.
It’s the ideal way to keep talking to your clients during your shutdown. But don’t stop once you’re back up and running. It’s one of the most valuable marketing tools you have.
4. Pump up the volume with local marketing
We might be social distancing currently, but think medium to long term when it comes to marketing your beauty or hair business.
Partnering with like-minded, local businesses who have a similar target audience to you is a low-cost, highly effective way of salon marketing.
Use this downtime to make contact with local business owners, set up a virtual meeting and map out how you can support each other with marketing and promotions.
So when you do reopen you’ll have a ready-made, brand new local audience to market to.
5. Time to upgrade salon marketing materials
You may not want to splash the cash just at the moment, but there is no harm in reviewing any printed salon materials while you’ve time on your hands:
- Price lists
- Appointment cards
- Salon graphics and strut cards
Umm. Need a refresh?
Mark up the changes now, so when you do feel you can get new ones printed they’ll be ready to go. That’s another job to tick off your ‘been-meaning-to-do list’ .
And another zero cost marketing job… if you have a salon POS system then review any standard automated templates for birthdays, lapsed clients or appointment reminders. Can you add that personalised touch so they seem more friendly, and clearly from you?
Upgrade your salon marketing and business systems
Time is something most of us have rediscovered in the last few weeks of coronavirus. Use this enforced ‘break’ to assess and improve your salon’s business systems, processes and checklists.
Granted it’s not the most scintillating task, but in the same way as tidying your cupboards, I find it rather therapeutic. Clearing out deadwood and imposing fresh order makes me feel more in control in a time when so much in the world seems out of control and uncertain.
Leap over your salon competition post-coronavirus
Business life may have temporarily ground to halt but as business owners if we’re not actively moving ahead, we’re falling behind.
If you want to be better at marketing your salon business there’s always something new to learn. Don’t forget to invest in yourself at the moment as well as your team and clients.
Stay safe and well.