How Can You Guarantee A Busy January? – The Salon Marketing Q&A #2

busy january

On this episode of The Salon Marketing Q&A, we look at how to ensure that you have a busy January in your salon.

The Salon Marketing Q&A: How Can You Guarantee A Busy January? Transcript

So, I think I’m gonna get started on the question of the day. I received this question, I think it might be best if I read it out to you guys in full, if that’s okay. So this question comes from Linda Smith in Sussex, and she says, “Are marketing challenges to reach a further, wider area? Our salon is established, but we need our turnover to increase, which it has done. It’s during the low months in autumn and winter, particularly after Christmas, that we need new ideas to generate more service and sales. We do the usual offers, but I felt like we need to come up with something different: an attractive idea to our wonderful clients this year and the beginning of next year.”

That’s a fantastic question, and one that I actually really love to talk about because it’s all well and good giving advice on the periods where you know you’ll be busy. I mean, it’s important absolutely to do that right. But what about those times when not everybody is looking actively into booking an appointment? That’s where you should be really focusing a lot of your energy. And some cool ideas that you can actually do, and some innovative tricks, because maybe the same old “We have a special, check us out,” kind of thing really isn’t worth it. So I’m gonna run through a couple of ideas that I have for you, and if you can, try it out. I’d love to know what you think, like if you’ve actually attempted one of these, let me know what the results were. Or if you’re about to, let me know and maybe I can help you out.

Oh, and also, if you have any questions, if you can let us know in the comments box, Zoe should be on hand to actually answer them on the spot, or we can actually dedicate a future episode to that coming up.

Okay, so this is particular for a feature in phorest, so if you’re one of our phorest clients, I’d recommend that you do this. If you’re not, you’d have to check if your software provider actually can do this, or if you’re paper and pen, then you might have to do this manually. But it’s okay, because it’s worth it, I think. It’s actually sending out a birthday SMS. So what you do is you actually get the details of your clients, particularly find out when their birthday is. So in that month, you’re gonna be sending everybody who’s, say, in the month of October for instance. Why don’t we send them an SMS inviting them in to celebrate their birthday with you? Now, I’d recommend you do that ahead of their birthday, so it’s like, “Make sure you look good for your party, that’s our job, so come on in and we’ll do a little deal for you.” That could be, maybe … I’ll leave what specifically the deal is for you, not just because it’s definitely your line of expertise, but there’s a couple of different types of audience members we have. I don’t want to leave anybody out. But that could be things like maybe it’s a retail giveaway or maybe it’s a two for one offer or you just really want to get the person in by offering them a free service and then when you’re there you make sure you book them afterwards.

This is a really good idea, it’s really fun and it really gets personal in a good way. You’re not just targeting everybody in mass spam, going, “We have a general special that you might be interested in generally.” No, you’re saying, “We’ve taken the time to put this together for you specifically. It’s your birthday, we know this, we know it’s important, and not only do we want to celebrate it, but we want to make you look good on the date of your actual celebration.” So you can do this with the phorest software. I’m not sure, as I highlighted, if other companies can do this. They might, I don’t really know. Best to check and find out, and if you are doing it manually, like paper and pen, it would be worthwhile just taking a list and getting the birthdays, dates that you have available from everybody. And if you don’t have any, what a great thing to start. Start planning it now and start slowly building that list up, because then every month you can create an Excel sheet, and then that Excel sheet separate it by month and you put in each new client date of birth.

Because what we know from the data we get back from people who have actually used this birthday SMS, they work really well. And don’t worry about giving away something free, because what we find is you actually make more money with them being there. Sometimes they end up bringing somebody they like too, and what happens then afterward, is when they’re celebrating they’re going to be telling the story, the tale of the time when your salon did something so special for them on the time they really wanted it, on the time of their birthday. Just one idea that you can really run by that in that given period of time, as long as you know whose birthday it is, you should without a doubt get them in.

Another idea you can do is you can run a social media competition. If you’ve been following the phorest blog, we started doing monthly competitions where we give away things like free management and marketing books, stuff that we’ve read ourselves and we really get inspired by and we know that you guys would love too. We’ve also done giveaways of free one hour consultations with this guy, which is a really fun activity, but I’d be biased with that anyway. One thing I think you guys can do as well, we take some of that on and why don’t you start doing monthly competitions or even weekly? And one of the prizes, especially for a quiet period of time, would be offering maybe a free service.

Now, I know, I’ve been told before that you guys, a lot of people aren’t really up for just giving away services. But I think for a particularly quiet period of time, if your salon is looking empty, it’s good to actually get people in. Now I know that you wouldn’t be making money off of that one service, but your prize that you’re giving away is an advertisement of your services. Because what you can do then is perhaps one person wins that week, but everybody else who’s applied, who’s tried to get in, why don’t you contact them? If the competition was involving dropping a comment in the box, you can contact them in that box or if you use one of those social media apps, social media competition apps, you can actually collect their details. So, for the people who won, great, you’ve got them to come in and while they’re there, try to get them to book again, try to get more information off of them, and celebrate the fact that they won. But you should definitely be able to turn that into a long-running lucrative client. For the people that didn’t win, you can offer them something else. Shame you didn’t win, however, we have something special for you. So you can still try to drive them in with maybe a smaller prize.

If you did that every week and you started building up people to join in your competition, one thing you’ll get is you get a lot of engagement, which is great on social media. A lot of people will be tuning in, they’ll be trying to win their shot at it, and the fact that you do it every week makes them go, “Well, if I don’t win this week, I must … The odds are I must win eventually, so I’m gonna keep applying.” The other thing, too, is you’ll be getting them in. So with a higher chance of getting people who didn’t win into your salon on a smaller deal. So in that week, in those couple of weeks that you’ll start seeing, you should start to see people booking those appointments, because everybody feels that they’re getting something out of it. Again, this is away from the usual tactics of, “Let’s send an email where we’re saying what our new monthly treatment is or we have a service deal.”

You know, that kind of thing. I kind of expect you guys to be doing that anyway. If you’re not, then you definitely should be. And if you need some help with that and you’re a phorest client, we have a whole team dedicated to help you. We have the grow team, and they’d be more than happy to help. If you’d like us to put you in touch with them, just drop a comment in the box here and Zoe can drop you their email address or literally put them in touch with you and get them to contact you about setting up your campaigns.

So then we also have another tool in phorest, but this one again we know works, and I like to lead with these things because we actually have concrete evidence on their success. There’s a new feature that we created here that I had the privilege of naming which is called client reconnect. And the idea was that you have some clients that come in, they may have came in three times, so they’ve set a trend. So we now know they would come in, on average, every five weeks or so. But you’ll never notice when they were due to come back in but they didn’t show up. What happens then is you’re in danger of losing this client forever because they didn’t book an appointment with you.

So one of those quiet days, I’d recommend if you’re a phorest client or you have our software, check out the client reconnect. It’ll tell you a list of people who should have been booked in already, and what you can do then is press one button and it’ll send a spoken message to that person inviting them to come in. And it’s not a real spamming message either, it’s more conversational, because at the point when they are in that feature, we know that they have been coming to you a couple of times. So you don’t need to cold hard sell them. It’s more like, “We found that we have an opening, would you like to book it?” Because you know yourself that they should’ve came back in already. But they might’ve just forgotten or they’re kind of busy. You’re taking that decision out of their hands. They might do it anyway, but they just forget. Just hit them up going, “We actually have an opening, if you’d like to book it,” link, and you can hit them with that.

That’s a really fantastic way to do it and I can tell you this for a fact, because the people who have done it have made a lot of money and got a lot of bookings in strictly through this feature, and it makes sense because you’re targeting the people that you know for a fact will come to your salon and they’ll enjoy the services and treatments that you provide. So that would be an amazing way to get people in on those quiet times as well.

So, addressing Christmas. Because I remember that you said that it was in and around the beginning of the year, say January. Christmas is a fantastic period of time for salons, so you’re quite covered there. Well, you should be. And if you’re not, then check out the pro-beauty talk in Dublin where Connor is doing his salon marketing checklist, he’s got some great stuff. But, one of the best things and one of the most important things you should be doing in and around your Christmastime is setting up your January. So we want to take all that goodwill and momentum from your Christmastime, your December period, and we want to use that as leverage for January. There is this whole tactic that our grow team have put together that you can do. Again, phorest clients, you should definitely get involved with this, but if you’re not a phorest client, you should definitely look into something similar anyway. The beauty of the grow team is they actually have it all set up for you and ready to go, and the campaign is called the Attitude of Gratitude.

So what you’re gonna be doing then, basically in a nutshell, is the people who come into you in December, as a Christmas gift, you give them a giftcard. So you go, “Merry Christmas, I hope you guys have a festive, lovely Christmastime and happy New Year. As a little treat from us, here is a giftcard.” You can set the value of what’s on that giftcard. So you can set that yourself, but the giftcard can only be redeemed before the end of January. So the idea is if they really want avail of this card, they have to book in in January. That’s a really great incentive, it’s a really fantastic reason for them to actually book their next appointment. And what you should be doing is trying to get that next appointment booked in before they leave your salon, so they’re feeling great, they’re looking fantastic, they’re very excited, the Christmas buzz is on, get your front of house to book them in for their appointment in January. Make that a priority, and even if you have to incentivize your staff to do so, this is important. Because as Linda highlights, and I bet she’s not the only person, January can be tough for salons.

So make sure that’s in the plan for December. And this Attitude of Gratitude campaign is fantastic because you’re also giving them a gift, so it’s so Christmas-related, but the fact of the matter is they can only avail of this in January. So they have to book an appointment with you between Christmas and the end of January in order to actually redeem this giftcard. So get this prize, basically. And it’s very customizable on your end. You can decide what the value is, so there has to be a minimum spend. So you can do something, let’s say you want to put … I don’t know, like 20 pound, 20 euro, 20 dollars onto that card. Well, the service and treatment might actually be more expensive than that, or the retail might be more expensive. So it would be in your best interest to actually upsell to actually get the most out of it. And we found, actually, that the results speak for themselves. We only started doing this campaign a couple years ago, and I’ve got a stat right here for you that’s truly mind blowing.

We found that last year, 134 salon owners gave out Attitude of Gratitude giftcards. And of last year, in total the increase in revenue was nearly 200 grand. We’re talking 193 thousand. That’s how much money was made in total off of this campaign because people leveraged their Christmas clients for January. So that just blew my mind, personally. That just speaks for itself. It makes sense. There’s a logic behind the flow. It’s not just, “Hey, come in in January because I really want you to.” It’s going, “Hey, look, this is for you. This is completely for you, I want you to celebrate,” and you don’t even have to mention the January thing, but maybe you want to send out an email or reminder in January to the people who have not redeemed their card, just so they understand that it is a January program.

And also, one final thing too about these ideas that I’ve listed, and this is actually an important marketing tip just in general that I think you guys could really use and apply to everything you do. Everything that I’ve highlighted, it’s more about the benefit of the client. So whether it’s the birthday SMS, “Hey, it’s your birthday and we’re celebrating you.” There’s the client reconnect. “You haven’t been in a while, but you know what? We have an opening, and we just thought of you.” So to benefit you. There’s the Attitude of Gratitude. So you’re like, “Hey, look, as a Christmas gift, here’s a card.” You’re not at all saying, “Hey, look, I’ve got a discount and you should check this out,” and you’re not saying, “Hey, look. I would like some more business, can I have your money?” No, it’s all from you to them, the benefit lies in what they receive. And that is a perfect way to actually run a period of time when you’re not busy, to run a campaign for that so you can really get the most out of your campaigns and get … Especially January, but also those time periods where you just need a few more people in.

Besides that, maybe a couple of off-line ideas, out of software ideas, they can help. But this isn’t just in the quiet periods, but this could be to eliminate quiet periods. And that would be leveraging your staff. That means when a person walks in the door, there is a game plan for every single member of your team. It takes a bit of training, but once the ball is rolling it’s self-sufficient and it runs itself. And this would be that everybody understands that the goal isn’t just for the person to have a great experience in that salon, the goal is to get them booked in for the next time. They should not be leaving without booking in again. I don’t mean pestering them to the end, some people just flat out don’t want to book again, but I’ve been to a lot of barbers and my wife has been to a lot of salons, and we never get asked. We’re just never asked to book in again.

And even, as a barber-goer, I’m due. I’m due, and I easily would have booked in if they had asked me. I could’ve paid and they go, “So, last time you were in was five weeks ago, do you want to book in again?” I’d probably go, “Yeah, sure.” In my mind, I’d go, I suppose I can cancel it if I don’t want to, but the thing is I’m not going to cancel it, because a lot of people don’t want to look back in front of their peers. So I would recommend that. No matter what, across the board, you and your staff, you and your teammates, you make a decision that every single person who comes in your door should be given the opportunity to book their next appointment with you. Now, if you have to incentivize them on the spot, sure. You have a couple of different ideas that you can do, you know, you could even say, “Hey, if you book in now you can have this sample pack,” or something like that. But realistically you shouldn’t have to incentivize people to book with you again, your experience should be incentive enough. What you’ve provided for them to make them wowed and that customer service, they should be like, “I want to experience this again, where do I sign up?”

That would be probably one of the best ways to eliminate the fact that no-shows and low periods actually exist. So, I think that might wrap it up for today’s salon marketing Q and A. Thank you so much for joining me, I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and if you have any questions or you’d like a certain topic to be discussed on a future episode, please let me know in the comment box and we will dedicate an episode to it. If you have any questions along the way, you can let us know at letsgrow@phorest.com, or hit me up personally at chris.brennan@phorest.com, and I’d be delighted to help you out. So guys, good luck, stay safe, and let’s grow.