Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 4. Co-hosted by Killian Vigna and Zoé Bélisle-Springer, this show is a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars you can join. Phorest FM is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off.

Phorest FM Episode 4

SMS plays a huge role in modern day marketing. Since it’s a newer way of reaching clients, not all salon owners know how to use it to their best advantage. This episode goes more in-depth about different types of SMS marketing messages with Luke Doolin and Niamh Greaney, two of Phorest’s SMS experts. We also spend some time on different ways to create a festive environment your salon for the Christmas season, and the beauty habits of people in New York.



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Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, Episode 4. I’m your host, Killian Vigna, and today I’m joined by Zoe Belisle-Springer. Today we’re demystifying SMS salon advertising and transactional texts. We’ll go through the beauty habits of New Yorkers. We’ll discuss Zoe’s 12 jolly Christmas salon décor ideas to create moments of magic. We’ll be talking about the latest Phorest Salon Software SMS updates from our Phorest SMS advisors, and we’ll wrap up with some upcoming webinars in the Phorest Academy series. So let’s get started.

This podcast is a weekly round up for our latest marketing tips and tricks for salon owners, what’s been going on in and around Phorest and what new webinars are taking place. This podcast is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off. Now let’s get into the show.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning. How are you?

Killian Vigna: Not too bad now, yourself?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Pretty good. Thanks.

Killian Vigna: So let’s get straight into it. What’s the first one here? So the 12 jolly Christmas salon … it’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Basically, it’s just 12 cool décor ideas for your salon and it’s not about just your retail space, it’s about bringing the magic pretty much everywhere in your salon. There’s loads of things you can do and actually, when I got it posted on Facebook this week, someone was like, “Oh, I love the mirror idea with the little lipstick wording in the corner. It’s really cool.” It’s just cute stuff like that.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, and it’s not even expensive stuff like it’s not you going out to a shop and spending a fortune dressing up. It’s all kind of DIY stuff, isn’t it, making it yourself?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Most of it. Yeah. There’s like one where I talk about vinyls just because it’s a cool window display thing but obviously that one’s a little more expensive. You can’t exactly make your own vinyls at home but it’s just an extra little thing that if you want to spend a few quid, and there it is.

Killian Vigna: I think one of my favorite ones that I came across, was it number one, or something? It was making the wish list, so it was the whiteboard idea.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Exactly.

Killian Vigna: So it’s actually getting your clients involved.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly. Yeah. So the idea is just to get a little whiteboard or anything that clients can write on and invite clients to write down their favorite Christmas tunes, so if you start now and it’s only mid-November, so if you start now by mid-December when Christmas comes up, then you have pretty much a ready-to-roll music play list for the holidays and with little-to-no effort.

Killian Vigna: The best bit about it is the clients created it themselves as well so …

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly so they want it.

Killian Vigna: … it’s not you to blame. Yeah. So then you’ve got your standards, like put up some lights, the mirrors, with the lipstick on the mirror, a bit of mistletoe as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Another thing about mirrors which is interesting is that it creates the illusion of a bigger space and because it’s Christmas, if you put glitter and stuff, it just brightens things up a lot more.

Killian Vigna: Oh, yes, it kind of doubles up the size and stuff like that. Yeah. Yeah. And real crystal-y.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly.

Killian Vigna: You can always throw the snow stuff on it too. I’m still looking for that one, the snow and the stencil paint. Yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: You learn stuff every day.

Killian Vigna: Well like, yeah, I always think the salons are the best ones because they’re really kind of artsy and creative anyway so they always go all out with it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Definitely. So, yeah, like there’s a few things. I talk about Opening Hours signs as well because the hours are going to change and you want your clients to know about it so you can go Christmassy about it and definitely it’s just another creative idea to put it up in the window but having a little Christmas touch to it.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. Cool. So, guys, check it out. Just 12 simple ideas there, make it up yourself. So that’s up on the blog there. Another one that is an interesting read is The Beauty Habits of New Yorkers.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. So recently Phorest surveyed the habits of New Yorker salon-goers, mainly female, and so we got results back and we’ve got quite interesting things up on there. It’s quite hard to describe because it’s so visual because it’s an infographic, but there are a few interesting facts. Let’s have a look here.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. There’s a lot in it. Definitely worth checking out.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: But when it comes to beauty, a conservative 50% visit a salon at least once a year. And then you also have the … usually, people spend about $60 and that’s usually the limit per appointment kind of thing. So it’s a lot of little fun insights to know, especially if you’re in the US and you want to know more about your industry.

Killian Vigna: I find the $60 one actually really interesting because we were hosting a gift card webinar there the other day and some clients were asking, “Well what sort of valued gift cards should we have?” And we were kind of saying, well you find your average and then you have a value below it and a value above it and right there, so you’re saying $60 is kind of the average there. So now you know bang in the middle, that’s your gift card and then start moving up and stuff.

So it kind of gives you an idea if your client’s just spending 60 quid, give them the voucher and then they go and spend another hundred to a hundred-and-fifty percent on top of it, so it’s a nice little money maker for yourselves there.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Definitely. Yeah.

Killian Vigna: The one I got a good chuckle out of was the beard … like I thought this would be all for women but there is one there for men, isn’t there?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. It’s basically how women like men’s beards so it’s really interesting to see how women prefer their men.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. It says, what is it, the burning question, beard or no beard? And clean-shaven wins. I’m happy with that.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Apparently so.

Killian Vigna: I just can’t grow a beard anyway so I’m happy with that one.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: But yeah, there’s definitely loads of things that are interesting to see on that infographic but, like I said, it’s worth a little look up on the blog.

Killian Vigna: So we’re just moving on now. So we do have a third blog but it’s on the same topic of our special guests, our SMS advisors, so we’re actually going to get Luke and Niamh to talk about this one for us. This one is essentially about SMS Salon advertising so it’s kind of SMS marketing versus SMS transactional messages, so what they are is kind of your appointment confirmations, your reminders, your reviewed SMSs. So I suppose if you just want to give us some insights there, guys, what is the difference between the marketing and the transactional message first off?

Luke Doolin: Hey, guys. How’re things?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Pretty good. Hey.

Niamh Greaney: Thanks for having us.

Luke Doolin: There’s a couple different … I suppose the marketing text messages for people to understand is when salons are sending out special offers related to one maybe offer that they have that month they’ll send out both messages and that’d be marketing messages. We can do that through the system and coming up to Black Friday that seems like it’s a big, big thing at the moment. Well, transactional text messages are more point reminders, the review messages that are on the system. Now point reminders are huge at the moment. You know, I think it’s about 85% of the salons are using them at the moment so it is a big, big thing. Then you’ve got review messages as well. You’ve got the likes of client reconnect as well on the system.

I suppose this week, well last week actually we released marketing messages into the US for the first time so it’s exciting times. Now there is a couple of things with it. The laws are a little bit different from Europe to America.

Killian Vigna: That’s why there was that little delay, isn’t there because it was already in Ireland and UK and then there was a big burst last week over to the States, and it was last week, wasn’t it? Yeah.

Niamh Greaney: So we’ve always had it so there’s never been anything holding anybody in Europe back so everyone’s quite … like a lot of salons are using it. Now you only have a few people that are still sort of on board with just emails when they’re sending people you know promotions and things. We’d always recommend sending an SMS, not all the time but maybe even one once a month, and you just target specific clients so you’re not sending it out to thousands of people because that isn’t cost effective but it can be extremely cost effective when you’re educated a bit about it and you know who you want to target for certain promotions.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, because I mean depending on what slots you’re trying to fill in it can target that kind of clientele.

Niamh Greaney: Exactly, and it’s even amazing for the likes of you’re paying a therapist say for a full week and for one week she might just happen to be quiet, just around a week and you come in on the Monday or Tuesday morning and you think, “How am I going to fill the spaces?” And you send out a text and within half an hour you get half of them filled and then a few hours later you get them all of them filled. So things like that, it takes a lot of pressure off salon owners as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Definitely I think one of the best advantages is because we always have our phones and SMS, we just tend to open it no matter what whereas email we’re just used to the spam folders and just putting it into there.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, sure. Email has what, it’s like a 30% open rate and then 3% click-through rate and what’s that compared then to the SMSs?

Luke Doolin: It’s about … I think the, well the email, yeah, about 99% but you’re looking at the…

Killian Vigna: The SMS is it?

Luke Doolin: Oh the SMS, about [90% 00:09:03], yeah, open rate, while the email’s around about 30% open rate. So you know it yourself on your phone whenever you get an SMS you always open it. It’s just the emails can build up and build up and build up and you can leave them there.

Killian Vigna: Exactly, because like sometimes my work emails don’t even pop up on my phone anymore because they come in so much that Google’s just eventually gone now, you can check this yourself. But the SMS will always appear. I got three promotional SMSs this week alone from the same company and I ended up opening all three of them straightaway without realizing because you forget that it’s actually a marketing SMS. You just see a text and think it’s your friend, or your mother, or someone like that and you end up opening it straightaway.

Niamh Greaney: I think it’s gotten … like the open rate’s always been huge but I even think recently people are opening them even more because of the likes of Whatsapp and Viber and people just contacted through Facebook. I’m rarely getting texts. The only ones I’m getting are still from my mom. She sends somebody a text, she doesn’t know how to download Whatsapp and …

Killian Vigna: Your mom’s going to be listening to this.

Niamh Greaney: I’m only joking, mom. Don’t load it at the weekend. Not yet. Even with that and even my own [cell 00:10:15] and I’m open, they will send me a promotional text, you know, like … it’ll be amazing just … and it would make me book even faster than I was supposed to.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So if there was such a drawback with the US, what was holding them back?

Luke Doolin: Yeah. I suppose the US does a … a regulation open to the US that’s completely different to over here. In Europe, we can send out marketing SMS to people and then they can opt out of it while in the US they actually have to be opted in first. So that was kind of the main issue that was happening over there and that was the reason why we delayed kind of going into the US before now. But now as you probably see on your systems, there’s a pop-up button that’s coming up now and people are going to pay or going to check in and this is so important now because this is where you’ll start to build up your database for kind of the quiet times so you’re looking at when someone comes in you give them the option, do you want to opt in or opt out? If they did opt in, they get an automatic message off Phorest.  I think it’s free, isn’t it?

Niamh Greaney: It is free, yeah.

Luke Doolin: So it will be a free message just to confirm the opt-in. That builds up your database then, for when Niamh was saying, you know the quiet times when you’re really trying to get people back into the salon as well.

Killian Vigna: It’s really important to get started on that now because with November coming into December with all the festive season, parties and stuff like those …

Niamh Greaney: You’ll see everybody.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. You’re going to see all of your clients. Get as many numbers as you can and then get them all but boomerang them all back in in January.

Niamh Greaney: It’s so exciting for the US salons as well. Like that’s what we were saying if any of you do have any questions for us, like just come to myself and Luke. We did send out two emails last week explaining the button that’s popping up and then a follow-up email a few days later with the benefits. So if anybody has any questions, like come to us because salons might not realize it now because they’re not using it but it’ll be a few months down the line and other salons are using it and they’ll be left behind if they don’t start opting people in now, so even just to opt people in now is the most important for them. Then the marketing material will be down the line in a few months time like you said, in January.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So from the emails you’ve sent out, is the response quite good at the moment or…?

Killian Vigna: Or is there still confusion or …?

Luke Doolin: I think the first one that went out about the prompt, I think that confused a lot of people at the start when we sent out quite a short and straight-to-the-point email. I think people are starting to kind of get their head around the importance of why they should be opting people in now. And now you’re going to see like a big amount of email marketing material coming out with ideas of how to use the marketing tool. I know people aren’t using it now but you’d love to have the option in six months on to be able to use it so that’s why we’re trying to get people to…

Zoe Belisle-Springer: To opt in right now …

Niamh Greaney: Even they’re obviously meeting clients coming in and Christmas, they’ll be able to just target the people who’ve been in before Christmas then to get them in January so they still will even have … it might not be a huge client base but it probably will be their loyal customers which is really, really important as well. It’s not people they’ve had for you know years and might not live there anymore, might not be coming back. So, yeah, it’s a good thing though that we haven’t got that much response from the emails because that means there’s issues or you know they’re holding back from using it so they really just were told to contact us if they had more questions.

Killian Vigna: There is plenty of ongoing support with that now, isn’t there? The email templates, there will be some going up monthly and then you’ve got those kinds of occasional event ones. You’ll be doing the same for the SMSs, is that …?

Niamh Greaney: Yeah, of course. So each month we may set up, like we come up with templates and we’ll send them to all the clients and we will send them out on their behalf for them so obviously it leaves the salons to do what they do best and it means we can do what we do best, and we’ll send them out on their behalf. Also, they might have specific ones or they might have events or for what other reasons, they can come to us, just straight to us and we’ll do up special ones for them.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s great. That’s amazing. Yeah.

Killian Vigna: Yeah and so I suppose between those monthly SMS templates there’s always SMS blog content and then you guys are all supporting together an SMS eBook and a webinar then on December the 12th. So that’ll be kicking off then especially with the US clients and then we’ll start kicking that off properly then in January.

Luke Doolin: Exactly. I think one of the hardest things for salons is to come up with the ideas of exactly what they’re looking to do and they’re quite flustered with it. But that’s why we’re here now. There’s a team that we probably never had before. We’ll come up with your ideas and put them all together and send them out for you.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Great.

Killian Vigna: That’s fantastic, guys. Thanks a million for talking about that because there was a little bit of confusion about that at the start when the email did go out and it’s good to kind of get that cleared up so we said, bring you in this week and you can talk about it yourself. Stop beating around the bush and just get it out there.

Yeah, so check out those three blogs on the website. Now, this week you’ve got the SMS webinar coming up in December but any upcoming webinars then you guys can get signed up for … we have two online booking ones, so we’ve one for Irish and US in the morning on Wednesday, then there’s one for US clients in the evening. Now you can pick and choose those. Any other webinars, you’ve any webinars coming up?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: There are a few webinars coming out. There’s one today actually. It’s the NHF Snapchat webinar. Then there’s also the Client Retention webinar going, I think it’s scheduled for the 5th of December. That’s also a Monday. Yeah, that’s pretty much it for me on this side. Yeah.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. And as always if you just want to find out about upcoming webinars every week, if you go to our Phorest Facebook page, you go to the Events section and every webinar will have its own event. You click into that. You go, Find Tickets, and get yourself booked in.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s pretty much it. It’s as simple as that.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. It’s straightforward, yeah. Listen, Niamh, Luke, Zoe, thanks a million everyone for joining us today and that is the Phorest FM podcast. Enjoy.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Enjoy. Have a good week.

Thanks for reading!


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