Love the Ones You’re With: Catering to Current Clients
Get them in the door.
That’s what we’re always saying, as business owners. The key to running a successful business is to get clients in the door. An introduction to our services will speak for itself. But we have to get them here first.
When we talk about marketing, we talk too frequently about getting new clients in, as if expanding the client base is the answer to all marketing problems. What we should be looking at, though, is quality over quantity, in inbound marketing, or catering to the needs of our existing clientele. We should be focusing on expanding the portfolios of the clients we already have, rather than expanding our rolodexes.
Consider this our marketing call to action. Work smarter, not harder. Get more out of what you already have.
Let’s start at the very beginning. In order to get more out of a client, you have to know what you’re already getting out of him or her. This means tracking client visits to see how long it has been since he or she last visited the salon. Has it been too long? Reach out with a reason to return sooner rather than later. We like the idea of sending out a friendly postcard with a fun or witty note and a coupon for 20 percent off. We miss your perfect face; let us make it even more perfect with 20 percent off a facial this month! Anyway, you get the picture.
Create incentives that will drive new business from old friends. Opportunities are everywhere. You can run specials to entice clients to expand their repertoire of services, suggest that they expand into retail while you have them in the salon, and send them charming and fun newsletters with discounts included to keep them engaged.
Referral programs are one of our favorite programs to encourage repeat customers. Keep a box near your host stand with cards, which you can make for free on VistaPrint (link: http://www.vistaprint.com), with your client’s name on it. When a client refers someone new, they get a referral discount.
In the age of social media, we should all be taking advantage of the sites at our disposal. Ask your clients to check in on Facebook and Instagram, have them tag your salon and your work in photographs, and ask for their assistance in writing online reviews on Yelp! when they’re satisfied with your work.
Everyone loves a party. Host an event at your salon and offer your clients more than just the standard salon experience. You can get your distributors to support your events by donating samples or raffle gifts. Occasionally, a purveyor will send a representative to do an educational session or to offer treatments. If, like us, your salon does very little in the way of extraneous retail (jewelry, clothing, etc.), you might want to bring in more items for your clients to look at during your event. Shiny, gauzy, beautiful things will keep people looking for longer, and the longer anyone spends in your salon, the more likely it is that he or she will spend money.
Serve food. Free food is as enticing as any glittery makeover—if not more. Oh, and get them drunk (everyone is more amenable to a little more spending after a glass or two of wine), but make sure to check your state’s laws first. Depending on your state—and we’re going by ours here—alcohol can typically only be served in a salon’s retail area, rather than in the area where aesthetic services take place. But as long as you’re giving it away, rather than selling it, party on! Your clients will thank you for taking the time to acknowledge their business and you’ll thank them for spending a little more time at your salon.