Salon ownership and management share many similarities with other service-based businesses. A few truths will always prevail; satisfied customers turn into repeat customers, new customers are important for continued growth, and marketing yourself properly can mean the difference between surviving versus thriving.
Social media is one of the most effective marketing avenues these days, but just having an online presence is not enough. It’s critical to keep your existing followers engaged and interested, while also drawing in new followers. Every new follower is a potential new customer. It’s a numbers game. As you increase the size of your audience of followers, the chances of converting these followers to salon guests increases.
To attract new social media followers, incentives can be powerful tools. Contests, quizzes, giveaways, gifts, and, sometimes, discounts are potential ways to include incentives in your marketing strategy.
Here are a few ideas that you can incorporate into your social media marketing to up your game:
· Contests: Creating a contest for your clients does not have to be a time-consuming or expensive affair. For example, you could simply post a “caption the picture” or “make a slogan” contest, inviting your clients to type in their answer in the comments field or a direct message. Prizes could include a free salon treatment (either a treatment that you predetermine or the winning client’s treatment of choice from a list that you’ve created).
To help spread the word and, ultimately, your salon’s social media reach, you can also ask contestants to share your post or use a specific hashtag to be eligible for the prize. Remember to make it appealing! The more attractive the prize(s), the more interest and entries you’ll gain.
· Quizzes: Quizzes may take a little more work, but are fun and likely to entice contestants. Many social media platforms are connected with online quiz hosting companies, which can be helpful to you. While quizzes can be short and simple, mostly for fun and entertainment, creating a “click-worthy” title makes a big difference in interest and participation. Some examples include:
- What’s your beauty type?
- Which makeup style suits you best?
- Who is your beauty celebrity twin?
It’s important to be very clear on what signing up with your website or social media page entails so that people know what they can expect upon opting in. For instance, if you send weekly or monthly newsletters or occasionally e-blast to update members when new services and products are offered in the salon, be certain to disclose this prior to sign-up.
· Gifts, Giveaways, and Discounts: You could have a system in place where your customers can win gifts and discounts. For example, periodically, you could create a special notification on your website/page that the first ten people to schedule an appointment in the next 24 hours would win a gift or get a 15% discount.
Alternatively, enroll those who are already in love with your work, your current guests, to help spread the word to their friends and family. Encourage referrals by offering a complementary treatment for those clients referring a friend who comes in for their first visit. It’s a great opportunity for you (and your scheduling coordinator) to ask, “How did you hear about the salon?” Most booking software has a component to track your referral types, so absolutely use it so that you can show appreciation to those guests that are sending business your way.
Celebrate special days, such as the salon's anniversary, Mother's Day, etc., with gift bag giveaways. As a potential cross-marketing effort, consider partnering with neighboring businesses or companies whose products you retail in the salon as sponsors for these events, having them put together a few of their products in the gift bag as well.
For many small businesses, frequent discounting may send a message that devalues your services and/or undercuts your reputation. If you do choose to offer discounts, offer them sparingly and plan ahead, perhaps using a percentage-off incentive during a traditionally slower part of your season. Promotional marketing doesn’t have to be all about discounts, so get creative while keeping in mind the “big picture” goal for your marketing efforts.
As you are planning your marketing calendar, consider incorporating a few of these ideas into your social media campaigns. Remember to make it special and put in the effort to properly detail out the parameters of the prize (especially if the prize includes salon services). Prizes, gifts, and recognition are excellent ways to show gratitude and instill loyalty (along with your consistently great work!) in your existing clients and attract new ones as well.