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Salon gift cards, gift vouchers, gift certificates…

Why do so many beauty, hair and aesthetic businesses regard them as poor sellers and consign them to a dark cupboard out of sight? And out of mind.

But gift cards don’t sell themselves.

Instead of passively waiting for clients to ask about gift cards, start proactively marketing them and watch sales boom.

Here are  five reasons why you should change your gift card mindset, learn to love them and give them some salon marketing TLC.

5 reasons to promote your salon gift vouchers:

  • Upfront payment is a salon cash flow winner.
  • Solve clients’ gift dilemmas. Happy clients 😊.
  • Introduce brand new clients to your business.
  • Build local business relationships with gift cards.
  • Nurture clients by adding value and saying thank you.

 

#1. Do your salon gift cards look the biz?

It’s a luxury salon gift card, not a supermarket discount coupon. It needs to look the biz.

It may sound obvious. But I see so many tacky, cheap-looking salon gift cards which proudly boast £100 on them.

Not a  good marketing move.

If I’m spending on a pressie for my mum I want her to know I’ve spent it on something special. I want her to think she’s being spoilt. Not fobbed off with a last-minute convenience purchase.

Gift card carriers help salon sales

Whether you’re using a plastic swipe card or a printed card voucher an attractive carrier is essential. Pop into any large retailer to buy a gift card and you’ll be offered a selection of carrier cards and envelopes.

Take a leaf out of their marketing book. Ask your designer to produce a handful of generic designs suitable for different giving occasions. How about something suitable for use at Christmas, Valentine’s Day and for men and women. And that’s for starters.

This voucher carrier should:

  • Reflect your hair, beauty and aesthetic brand.
  • Be contemporary and high quality.
  • Ideally offer a choice of designs.
  • Be clear, but discreet, about terms and conditions.

Your clients will appreciate carriers that are occasion specific. You could order coloured or metallic envelopes for a more celebratory feel.

Make higher value gift cards gorgeous and tempting

For large gift card purchases how about a bespoke box (branded to your salon or clinic would be even better) with a luscious satin ribbon.

It’s your birthday. Which would you prefer? A tasteful gift card nestling inside an eye-catching box or a dreary voucher printed on thin cheap paper?

No contest. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Remember: you’re getting the money up-front.

A quick salon marketing word on voucher terms and conditions

Make sure your terms and conditions are clear (but discreetly placed) on the carrier card itself to avoid disappointment later.

I know many hair and beauty salons stipulate their gift cards are only valid for six months after issue. Personally, I feel that as you have already taken the payment up front whether someone chooses to redeem them in three months or 12 months is fairly irrelevant.

To me, it leaves a slightly sour taste if I am ‘instructed’ that I must spend it within a six month period.

 

#2. How to promote your hair and beauty gift cards

First, choose your marketing words carefully. Focus on the benefits for the recipient of receiving a salon or spa gift card.

Your choice of marketing words is important:

‘A treat or essentials? Their choice.’

‘A treat they will love.’

‘The gift of pampering.’

1. Shout about gift cards on your salon website

Many beauty and hair businesses forget to shout about their gift vouchers on their website or treat them as an after thought.

Main navigation: Feature them on your main navigation menu as we did for our client Fresh Lifestyle.

Fresh Lifestyle website

Dedicated voucher page: Create a specific page for gift cards. Include how/where to buy the vouchers, the denominations available and any terms and conditions.

Shout out around events: At peak sale times such as Christmas, Valentines and Mother’s Day Make sure you highlight them on your website homepage too.

Digital gift vouchers: With no shipping costs and waiting for delivery or the hassle of having to make a trip into your salon, offering a digital option for gift cards is a popular way to increase sales. Many of the salon software companies offer this option for an additional fee and we get good reports from our agency clients. Using your software provider has the added benefits of the purchase being linked directly into your accounting system and you can see exactly what is left on the card to spend at the tap of a button.

2. Actively sell your gift cards in-salon

Get seen: Give your cards high visibility. They won’t sell hidden away in the reception desk. Have signage and mirror talkers on reception and areas of high traffic such as your washrooms, backwash and treatment rooms.

Point of sale: If you have a display for Christmas retail gifts then add your gift cards to the display or next to it to encourage impulse buys and boost awareness.

Phone advert: Another quick and easy way to remind clients about your gift cards is to mention them on your voicemail.

Your salon team: Remind your team to talk about gift cards to every client, especially if you’re offering a flash sale or other promotion (I run through this later in this blog). Why not run a team sales competition and, of course, the prize is one of your gift cards – this keeps the ‘money’ within your business.

3. Promote vouchers effectively on salon social

Post regularly: Plan regular posts throughout the year marketing your gift vouchers across all your social platforms. Don’t just keep posts for the week before Christmas.

Salon Social Club members look out for caption templates, and ready-to-roll graphics promoting your gift cards as Christmas gifts in your monthly Club Content and Planner during November and December.

Use your bio: Add ‘Gift cards available’ to the about and bio sections of your salon social profiles.

Create gift voucher experiences:  Create a gift voucher offering which is much more than just the pre-loaded money on the card. I’m talking about exclusive gift voucher experiences or packages. These work especially well for Christmas, Mother’s Day and Valentines – for example a relaxing spa day.

4. Don’t forget your email marketing

Always include gift cards in your email marketing around seasonal events. Remind readers that they make useful last-minute gifts too. But don’t just keep for special events, include a regular reminder of what brilliant birthday and thank you presents they make too.

 

 

#3. Don’t just sell gift cards. Give them away (sometimes)

Yes really.

It may sound counter-intuitive but you don’t have to just sell your gift cards. They are a versatile tool to market your hair or beauty salon. All year round.

Here are five promotional ideas for giving away your spa or salon gift cards:

1. Gift cards to thank your salon big spenders

How much do your top 20 hair and beauty clients spend with you a year? Hundreds or thousands of pounds I guess.

Why not surprise them with a complimentary gift card when an appropriate occasion arises?

2. Sweepstakes with salon gift cards

Thank loyal clients at Christmas or on a special salon anniversary with a sweepstake. During November and December at every hair or beauty appointment the client gets a raffle ticket for a big-ticket gift card draw.

It’s a powerful way of reminding clients about your gift cards and thanking them for their custom.

3. Salon Promotions on gift cards

To encourage gift card sales try ‘Buy a £x gift card and get £5 off’ OR ‘Buy a £x gift card and get a free xxxxxx.’ This could be a low-cost (to you) hair or beauty treatment, a retail gift or discount. The options are endless. Just don’t give too much profit away.

4. Goody bag perks

When you run salon or spa events don’t forget to put low-value gift cards in the goody bags you hand out. These cards may get passed on to family and friends so you might win a new client.

5. Gift cards make popular salon social giveaways

Use your gift cards to run an online contest on your salon social and website.  It’s a cost-effective way to draw attention to your hair and beauty offers and specials.

Just make sure the prize gift card can only be redeemed for services/treatments NOT retail. This way only local people will be interested in the giveaway which is what you want as they are the ones that are most likely to convert to paying clients.

 

#4. Have a flash sale on salon gift cards

I like to use this marketing idea with our agency clients in December. It works very well for encouraging clients to self-gift.

We run a gift card flash sale for them for one day only. We ensure we advertise it fully well in advance on social media, the website, in-salon and in email marketing.

Running a gift card flash sale for your business

For this one day only offer an upgrade discount on gift card purchases over £x. For example, ‘Buy a £100 gift card and we’ll upgrade it to £120.’

The #SalonMarketing trick?

Make it clear that these particular gift vouchers can only be redeemed for salon or spa services taken in January and February. This is a winner for filling the quieter months at the start of the new year.

Alternatively, you can offer a free gift with every gift card purchase on the day. Choose a (low cost for you to do) service or treatment rather than a retail gift, as this will have less impact on your profit margins.

 

Selling more salon or spa gift vouchers is simple…

Just follow these three marketing steps:

  • Change your mindset towards the much-maligned gift voucher.
  • Spruce your gift cards up.
  • Actively promote them across all your salon marketing channels.
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