Planning A Salon Event – The Salon Marketing Q&A #1

On this episode of The Salon Marketing Q&A, we look into whether or not you should throw your own salon event.

The Salon Marketing Q&A Transcript

Welcome everybody to the first episode of the Salon Marketing Q&A. My name is Chris Brennan. Every single Tuesday at noon going forward we are going to be doing a Facebook Live that’s going to be answering any salon marketing questions you may have. We’re also going to take this video and we’re going to put it on our YouTube channel, so if you miss a week or so, you can catch up on previous episodes as well.

I’ve been really looking forward to doing something like this for quite a while. If you have been following Phorest for a bit, you might remember the Ask Phorest series, we were doing that about a year and a half ago, then we moved offices and we couldn’t really find a way to get it back on track. Finally, we decided to kick it off again in our luxurious studio. There should be a comment box running while I chat, so if you have any questions please feel free to drop them in there. If I don’t answer it on this session, then I’ll actually dedicate another episode to it completely.

I do understand that we want to get a few more eyes onto this video. I thought before we get really started on today’s topic, and today’s topic is the question of whether or not you should actually set up a VIP party in your salon, I thought I might update you guys on what we’ve been doing this week in Phorest. We’re always big advocates on social media to keep people posted on what we do. Kind of be a little more transparent than just being a software company. I thought this could be a nice time to tell you guys what we’re up to like this week and also I would actually encourage you guys to do the same for your clients. It’s always great to just break down those barriers and kind of let the people know what you’re up to week to week. It kind of makes it a little more friendly and puts a little more human spin on the businesses.

For me this week what I’ve been thrilled to do is I was looking at our reviews. Like you guys, we actually get a lot of really nice reviews in. We get them from our clients. The Phorest family as I call them. One thing that I loved about it was we get all these amazing passionate, emotional, enthusiastic responses about our software, about our support, and just about our teammates in general. I really wanted to capitalize on those reviews, similar to what you guys would do. You would really try to capitalize on reviews. So much so that even in our software we developed a lot of features that actually could enhance and promote those glorious reviews you have.

I had this idea that if I created a testimonial eBook, and I could actually hand this out to people who are just weighing up their options about different kinds of software, whether or not they should go with Phorest. By that point I figured they probably would have checked out the website. They would have seen the features. They would have understood the benefits, but more importantly than us talking about how good we are, I wanted to package something up in a nice vibrant look and we can just give it away, so for free people can just check it out. You can hear from your peers and that’s the idea. That’s what we’ve been working on this week and I’m thrilled that it’s going to be going to print, I think today actually. That’s pretty cool.

Aside from that we’ve scheduled the next Instagram webinar. That was a big hit the last time so the next one will be happening in September. If you would like to be invited, please just drop me a line in the comment box and I will drop you a link so you can sign up to the very next Instagram webinar.

Finally, we are just about to solidify a deal with one of our guest bloggers, Valerie Delforge, so that we can start running monthly salon management webinars as part of Phorest Academy. This is going to be amazing. They’re going to be once off, I think like five once off exclusive webinars that Valerie will be hosting. More information coming up on that. I was thrilled actually to book her in because she’s a fantastic speaker. She’s got a lot of knowledge on the industry.

Okay. I think today we might get started on the topic, which is should you, as a salon owner, set up a VIP party in your salon? When I say VIP party, what I’m actually referring to is any type of event that you can run, mainly in the evening time, and that could be something like perhaps you’re celebrating your salon’s birthday. The date that you set up the salon. Some people like to call it their anniversary.

Will we be offering Facebook webinars, Natasha? We actually use to run Facebook webinars, now we actually have a recorded version of those so I can actually drop you the link Natasha to that Facebook webinar recording. If you have any questions about Facebook particularly, you can hit me up at Or I could dedicate any specific question you’d like to this Q&A series.

There’s a lot of different kind of events that you can run. There’s the birthday event where it was your salon’s birthday. Some people call it the anniversary. It kind of doesn’t matter, it’s up to your personal preference how you would like to describe the event. That’s always a really fun one. The thing is, if you just had your anniversary last month and you’re looking to kick it off again, I’m not saying you have to lie, but if you threw that event next month, I don’t think anybody’s really going to mind too much. No one’s going to come to your event and go, “Hey, wait a second. You started your business four years ago in March.” You know, so you can be a little more fluid with it.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to go with the anniversary route, a nice kind of event that you could run would be if you were looking to set up a new menu, or you wanted to offer a new services. What an amazing thing you can do is actually present those services or even if you have some new products in, you can kind of present them in a nice evening environment where you invite your VIP clients, the best of the best, invite them down for exclusive early access to see what the next look is going to be like or the next menu will look like.

There’s a lot of different options for why, like for the subject of what your event will be. Now those are some nice options for what kind of events there are, but let’s find out now should you actually run a salon anniversary event. Is that something that you’d enjoy? Would that be something that is actually valuable to your salon? It could actually make you revenue. What would be the benefits of running a salon event in your business?

I think anybody that I know that has done it, and we’ve spoken to quite a few people and I always love hearing about it, but anybody I’ve ever spoken to who’s ran one say that they were so delighted they did it. They looked at it at first like it was going to be a lot of work, but in the end it just turned into like phone calls and emails. Booking some food. Booking some Prosecco. Inviting the guests. That kind of thing. It’s not as cumbersome as you first imagine it would be. I think it’s really interesting on that level that, one, it’s not that hard once you commit to it.

What’s the benefit? The benefit is creating a magical experience for your clients. You’re jumping out of the usual trend of they’re at work. They’re looking to book an appointment. They call. They use online booking or they email or they even Facebook message you. Then they come in. You make them feel fabulous, and then they leave again. That’s kind of the system as it goes. You can really make a connection with them. If you just invite them to a party and you treat them with perhaps some Prosecco or some finger food and really bridge this nice relationship. Cement it and concrete it where it’ll actually last longer. It will feel better.

You know what happens then? They’re likely to stay with you because of that. One other benefit of creating that event is that you’re going to create a longer, stronger relationship with your client, which will happily, happily influence your client retention rates, which if you know Phorest, you know that we’re all about the client retention rates.

Hopefully that might be enough benefits to why you should run one. Oh, another one is it’s actually fun. This is a very fun thing that you can run at your salon. You actually might enjoy it. A lot of times I’ve had people who emailed me at the beginning, saying, “I’m not sure if I should run it,” and then they told me all about it and they asked me advice on what they should do, how they should work their invitation and things like that. Then when they actually finished it off, they sent me a post party email to say that they really enjoyed it and they can’t wait to do another one.

Even some salons I know do one every quarter. That might sound like a lot. I’m not saying that it is or not, but I like the fact that once they tried something new, they realized they enjoyed it. They wanted to do some more. I think it’s a fantastic idea. That really should be able to push the benefits of whether or not you do it. I’m not saying you should either, I’m just saying if … what I said right there about the benefits sounds intriguing to you, then perhaps you should try it.

However if all of what I said you just turn around and go, “Nope. Not a chance.” Well then maybe it’s not for you, because you know what? All these things can’t really apply. It’s not an all in one solution here. If that didn’t really rock your boat, then perhaps it’s not for you.

We’ve covered why you should do it. We covered what party you should throw. Why don’t we look at the next question which is who are we going to invite? Who’s showing up to this party? It’s all well and good if we’re going to book the Prosecco. We’re going to get the finger food. Invite the clown. Maybe we’ll, stop, we won’t invite the clown. You know, we’ll organize all this stuff, but if we don’t have any guests, than what’s the point? Who are we going to invite?

That’s obviously a question that we have the answer to. It’s going to be your clients. We’re going to invite the people that you have the phone number to, the email to, people who know you and the people who love you, so we’re going to focus on your clients. Primarily your best clients. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t hit everybody up, but what we really want to do is we want to get your best clients in, and we want them to have a really good time.

First and foremost, invite your best clients. Even if that means that you personally invite them, instead of like an all in one spam message. You should have developed a greater, stronger, relationship with a select few people and you can really make a difference if you actually personally send it to them. You don’t have to craft the entire message. What I find whenever I do events and I want to invite people is, I basically create about 95% of the message, and then I copy and paste that. I add a statement at the beginning. I say, “Hi Sarah.”

I create a statement at the beginning that kind of shows that it’s directly for them. Like, “How is young baby Johnathan doing? Is he walking yet?” That kind of thing to reinforce it. Then I like to end it with their name as well. You can do a version of that. Just for your best clients. For the other clients then that you want to invite, then I recommend that you use your email marketing and your SMS marketing. This is a big key too, because one of the benefits you’re going to want to have is you’re going to invite your clients, and you want to invite a plus one.

What we want them to do is to bring their friends, their family members, their colleagues, their peers, their coworkers, anybody who’s never been to your salon, we want them to invite them as well. Your clients should bring a plus one that’s never heard of you, because what you’re doing there is you’re going to be creating better, stronger, client retention rates, while also producing some opportunities for new business.

We want to make sure that in your message, we’re saying that it’s clearly a plus one. Be explicit about it, like, “Invite somebody … It’s a plus one so we would be delighted if you brought somebody with you and maybe they can enjoy our salon as much as you do.” That kind of thing. I would recommend, without a doubt, we want the plus one involved. Email marketing, fantastic. I’d even put in the subject line, “Your invitation to,” because subject lines are like the knock on the door. People don’t know who’s on the other side, so we want to make sure that we can present them with a nice glimpse.

Email marketing is fantastic. However we still feel that not enough people open emails because so many people get so much emails anymore. I like going with a quick simple subject line. I’ve done this in the past for events of mine and it worked out really well. To get people to open that message, “Your invitation has arrived,” or “Your invitation is here,” or “Your ticket has arrived.” It gives this feeling that like “Oh I’ve already booked in. I’ve already accepted this.” Then they check it out and when they see it they go, “Oh. I never heard about this.” That’s your opportunity to show them about your brand new party.

Then once you do that, once you have your email set up and they open the email, you want to keep the messaging very inspirational. Very enthusiastic. It’s like we are inviting you to celebrate with us. This isn’t customer and business owner. We want to get past that. We want it to be a celebration. That’s the kind of tone that you want to have in your email. With that, that’s the email covered.

Now if you have software, and if you have access to their phone numbers, I would without a doubt recommend you use SMS marketing as an invitation as well. Simply put, SMS marketing, like by texting them the invitation, we guarantee that they’re going to see it, because 99.8% of SMS are opened. They’re definitely going to see it. The best thing is, this is not an advertisement. This is an invitation. They’re going to be getting something for free from you when they open it up. When they open up their message on their phone. If you have Phorest or if you have access to SMS marketing, I would definitely encourage you to use that as an invitation for your party.

You can do a couple of other things as well for marketing, making sure you get the event out there. You could also create a Facebook post. A boosted post. If you’ve attended the Facebook marketing webinar that I hosted a while back, you’ll see exactly how to do that. If you didn’t and you’d like to see that, again please let us know in the comments and I’d be delighted to share you in with an invitation to that Facebook marketing webinar. It’s the recorded version, but absolutely everything is there to help you out.

What you do then you can either target the people in your area. With Facebook Ads you do have to pay, but it’s amazing with how much precision it has. You can target every single person in your area that has interests that relate to your business. However, if you do have a pretty good client database, what you can do as well, and when I say pretty good I mean large. If you’ve got quite a few contacts in your database, you can actually upload that list to Facebook and you can target them on Facebook.

We do want to invite non-clients. I understand that, but it’s easier to get your clients back in for the VIP party rather than get non-clients who’ve never heard about you. We do want to focus most of our energy on getting our clients back and trying to get them to invite their friends. You can upload your client list to Facebook, so you can advertise on Facebook to your clients. That way they’re going to be reminded quite often. They’ve got the email, they’ve got the SMS, and they’ve got the Facebook messages.

If that sounds like overkill, it’s actually not. This day and age, and you know this yourself, you’re so used to just getting a lot of media from a lot of different platforms. The thing is you might be intending to go somewhere, but you’ll say, “I’ll just sign up to it later.” Then you don’t. It’s important to remind them on different platforms. Don’t worry about if you believe it’s overkill. It’s just not. That’s just how we communicate anymore.

You can do that on Facebook. Again, take the similar copy, the similar text, that you use in your email and your SMS for your Facebook post. It would be like the more excited, congratulatory, celebratory invitation. We want to celebrate with you on our third anniversary. You’ve made this what it is, so we want to celebrate with you. That kind of thing.

You could also do a Facebook Live, if you want. I mean video is becoming more and more a must in business. You can see so yourself. If you’re on Facebook, which I believe you are because you’re looking at this right now, if you go to your wall, your newsfeed, and you scroll through. Just look at how much video there is. That is telling you that video is such an important factor. In fact I’ll do a video on video marketing for you as part of this series at a later date.

I think it would be really fun if you did like a Facebook Live where you told them all about your event that’s coming up. If you wanted to do select videos, how about you kind of break down the wall a little bit, and you actually invite them into more behind the scenes things like you could do leading up to the event. Telling the story of how you came to own your own business. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Somebody turns on their Facebook. It’s not just an invitation. You say, “Three years ago I really had this idea and I wasn’t sure if it would succeed.” You bring people in. They’re getting to know who you are. It really breaks down the barrier and it also takes away a reason for them not to attend your event.

That could be really good stuff there. SMS, that’s email marketing. That’s Facebook. You could also have actual invitations printed and have them at the reception desk. Have your receptionist on every single person who has a service and they’re about to check out, she just hands them an invitation. She says, “Bring that back in,” and you can incentivize them for coming back in with something like rewards for loyalty. If you have the treat card, what a great thing to offer. “If you come back in with this invitation, then you will get x-amount of loyalty points.” Things like that.

Make sure that the front of house is really working the invitation section as well. That goes for all of your staff too. While your client is there, what a great opportunity to casually invite them in person. Once you have that, and once every single staff member knows that it’s important, that you really want to make a big difference and make a splash, then I think that this is a great chance and opportunity to get a lot of clients in and have a great time.

Okay, Susan, yeah, we’ll send you a copy of the Facebook webinar. Actually, that’s a good question. How to upload client details to Facebook. I’ll talk to our resident blogger and salon marketing extraordinaire Zoey and perhaps we can create a blog post exactly on that topic for you. Like a step-by-step of exactly how you can upload a client list to Facebook. I think we’ll handle that. It’s difficult for me to tell you now when I don’t have it in front of me, so I think it’d be better as a blog post. We’ll actually look into creating one for you there. Cool.

One of the reasons we actually came up with this as topic number one for the Salon Marketing Q&A was because after I did the Instagram webinar, I had a lot of questions about throwing parties. That’s because in the middle of that webinar I was talking about Instagram takeovers. I’ll tell you what that is in a second, but as an example for Instagram takeovers, I used … if you were to throw an event, and because of that a lot of the attendees were emailing me in regards to questions about they would like to throw events. They would like to have an anniversary party. Their three years are coming up soon. That’s why we decided to start episode one with the event topic.

Instagram takeovers are quite unique. I might just give you a brief little chat about Instagram takeovers. If you’re on Instagram, you can do photographs. You can do video and you can also do like, it’s similar to Snapchat, you can do your Instagram story. One really interesting thing that a lot of businesses do, some salons, but this is also businesses in other industries, is they find an influencer, somebody who’s very popular in their industry on Instagram, so let’s say for you, you might find a local blogger.

A local beauty blogger who has a lot of followers who are from your exact area. What you can do then is you can invite them to takeover your Instagram account on the day of the party. This could be really fun because what happens then is you leverage their audience on Instagram, so that they’ll be inviting their audience to come to your event. What you’re doing then is you’re giving them money. You can give them money. I don’t know how much. It depends on each individual influencer. They might do it for free, but I recommend, just be transparent, give them a couple bucks because if you get any amount of their audience, you’re going to pay for their time and their money through that, through booking those appointments.

What you can do is send an email to an influencer. Well first, locate the influencer. Just drop them a line and say, “Hey we’re having an event soon. I was wondering if you might like to do something together.” That would be leveraging your clients with their clients, with their audience. What they get is a little paycheck and they get introduced to your clients as possible audience members. What you get is access to their audience and you also have somebody who’s going to be running your Instagram account on the day. Somebody with experience. Somebody who knows exactly how to use Instagram.

They have to know how because they’ve got a huge audience. That could be really fun. Also it’s kind of quirky, like it’s something to talk about. You announce you have an Instagram takeover, that’s a post that you can put out that can drum up a little attention for yourself. That could be quite fun. It’s covered in the Instagram webinar. If we didn’t drop the link in, we will drop it in. The next webinar’s in September. I think in a couple of weeks actually. Maybe next week, I think. I’ll have to check. We cover it there. If you want to know more about Instagram takeovers, I would recommend you join us on my Instagram salon webinar.

Then at the party itself, besides the takeover, what exactly is the party going to be looking like? I would recommend that we book in some food. That makes sense. Book in some drinks, because if you want to loosen people up, and you can show off some of your services. Show off some of your products. Have some music playing. It’s up to you really what you want to do at the party, but definitely you want to keep it a lively atmosphere.

At the party as well make sure that it isn’t just tomfoolery and ballyhoo, we want to make sure that somebody, if not more people who work for you, your team members, are actively trying to get people to book their appointment while they’re at the party. They don’t have to be cold about it. They can be conversational about it. We want them to book an appointment with you. It would be fantastic if the people who showed up to the party, every single one of them booked in for the next month or so, so this one party booked up the next month. That could be really great. That’s a real priority.

Sometimes people like to give one person that job. The risk is if you give too many people that job, there’s too many hustlers running around your party, and it can kind of squash the atmosphere. What you want to do is make sure that at least one, if not only one person, is walking around making sure that people book in their next appointment while they’re having a good time at your party.

Okay, and then finally, we’re going to be looking at what you should do after the party. A lot of times this is a mistake that I’ve seen some salon owners make when they run an event is after the event it’s just nothing. They never mention it again. It’s like, whoa, that was done, with a little bit of stress involved, but we’re finished. What we want to do is we want to jump over that. We want to get over the hurdle of the exhausted finale. We’re not done yet. The event is over, but the mission isn’t as such.

We’ve invited all of these people to that event. We should know exactly how many people were invited and we should know exactly how many people attended. Once we know how many people attended, and you can have them sign up on the day like, “Oh, register for the event,” and see how many people signed up. What we want to do then is thank them for coming to the event and that’s where we can reward them with something else. Something nice and sweet. As a thank you for joining us on this special occasion we’ll present you with “insert prize”. That could be more treat card points. That could be a competition that you could run. You have an opportunity basically to contact them again with a topic. The topic is a thank you for joining you at your day. It’s perfect for communicating to them afterward and showing them that you care.

If you do know the difference between who attended and who didn’t attend, you can drop a message to the people who didn’t attend and you can actually say to them, “Oh, pity we missed you at the party. However, we just wanted to introduce you to,” and you can send them that your new salon menu, if you had one. You could drop them information on what you discussed at the party, so you can actually leverage the fact that they didn’t attend for your advantage and then try to book them in anyway. We want to make sure that the party isn’t the finale for this event. Do you know what I mean?

Okay. I believe that should pretty much cover whether or not you should run a salon event. I think I’m going to wrap that up now. Unless you guys have any questions that you’d like me to answer on the spot, I’d be more than happy to stay. Other than that I’d like to say thank you so much for watching. I hope you enjoy it. If you have any questions that you’d like me to go into in further detail on a next episode or previous episode, please let me know. You can either hit us up in the comment box here, or you could email me at You could just DM us, like you can drop a private message to us and Zoey usually runs that so she’ll probably be the one to respond, but she’ll make sure that I get the message.

Thank you Natasha, so pleased you enjoyed it. Other than that as well, if you enjoyed this topic and you would like to know more about Phorest, we actually provide free demonstrations of our software in salons. You can check for yourself whether or not if Phorest is right for you. All you have to do is drop us a request. You can do so in the exact same channels I told you about earlier and we’d be delighted to organize someone to show you all the features we have and see if you like what we have to provide. Okay guys.

Susan, thank you so much. Glad you loved it. Cool. I’ll stick around a little bit longer just in case you guys have any questions. Hope you enjoyed episode one. It’s a bit freestyle, as you can see, but personally I was trying to go for that approach. I used to do edited videos, where I stand up and I discuss each topic and I just kind of cut into it. I thought, you know what, I like to be more conversational. I don’t want to be editing myself too much.

Anyway, if you’ve ever put footage of yourself in front of yourself and then had to watch it for hours and hours, you’ll understand why I don’t want to do that. A lot of people don’t like the sound of their own voice and i definitely go down as one of them.

Okay, I think that is about it. So guys, thank you very much. I hope you enjoyed this and I will see you next Tuesday at noon. Well, next Tuesday at noon Dublin and UK time. Depends on your time. I’ll see you next Tuesday for the Salon Marketing Q&A. My name’s Chris Brennan. Until next time, let’s grow.