Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 64. Co-hosted by Killian Vigna and Zoé Bélisle-Springer, Phorest FM is a weekly show that puts forth a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, salon/spa marketing tips, company insights and information on attending Phorest Academy webinars. Phorest FM is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off.

Phorest FM Episode 64

After a month of podcast interviews on employee retention, GDPR and leadership in the salon, Killian and Zoe dedicate this week’s episode of Phorest FM to a round-up of everything that’s happened on the Phorest Blog during the month of February. From the most popular blogs to new contests and upcoming Phorest Academy Webinars, you’re sure to get all the marketing advice you might have missed.



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Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM Podcast, episode 64. I’m Killian Vigna…

Zoe Belisle-Springer: … and I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer.

Killian Vigna: This week’s episode will feature discussions around February’s must-read material on the Phorest blog. We’ll touch upon various topics mostly focused on management, finance and marketing.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: As always, we top off the show with our upcoming Phorest Academy webinars.

Killian Vigna: So, grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax and join us weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs. Good morning Zoe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning Killian, how are you?

Killian Vigna: I’m good, now. We were just kind of chatting about it before this episode, but it just feels like we haven’t done a blog-focused episode in a while now, it actually hasn’t.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, no, I don’t think we’ve had a proper one since the monthly round-up.

Killian Vigna: Back in January.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, because even in January we had the Phorest Live episodes and we had the Live From the Summit and all these other ones, so…

Killian Vigna: Yeah, because I’m just looking here, the last monthly round-up we actually had was where we brought Ronan and Paddy in to talk about retention tools and new features to look forward to for 2018.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, exactly. Listen, there’s loads of things to catch up. We’ll stick to February’s most read material.

First off, Valerie Delforge’s “10 Salon Business Mistakes That Hurt Your Bottom Line”. Very, very interesting. So, the idea behind this, and she’s going to follow up, this is essentially a part one of two. This one, she’s looking at her experience in the industry as a salon coach, as a mentor, and looking at all the different mistakes that people, not necessarily do because they don’t know, it’s just things that once you’re stuck in to the busyness of the day, you just fall in to without realizing.

Killian Vigna: Things that fall through the cracks…

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, exactly. They are actually quite easy to learn from, and avoid if you know what to look for. The first one is failing to update your database and that makes absolute sense. If you have 10,000 names and addresses in your database, but you only have a quarter of that, that’s active, why do you have all of these names on your database, you really don’t need them.

Essentially, if you’re going to do marketing, you’re not going to be able to be really targeted and get the best return on investment. You’re just going to send out loads of marketing to people who won’t even open it.

Killian Vigna: Not only that, but your database just looks like a vanity metric after a while. Like the example here, if you’ve 20,000 names on your database, but actually, only 5,000 of those keep coming back to you, you’re going to have this inflated idea of how successful your business is going to be.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly.

Killian Vigna: Even half of those again, you might not even have mobile numbers for those clients. So, for your marketing campaigns; names, numbers and most up to date information. When’s the last time you visited it? Start looking into that sort of stuff.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, and then the second one that she was saying, was not upselling or providing cross-selling training, which makes sense, once again.

Three, giving little to no importance to customer reviews. That is positive or negative. Customer reviews, we’ve talked about it loads at the beginning of last year with online reputation feature that we have in Phorest. Not only it will help you with your SEO and get you ranking higher in Google, but it gives the impression that you actually do care about your customers. Whether you reply to the positive ones or the negative ones. The negative ones, you are trying to solve the person’s problem and the positive ones, you actually care about their input and you’re grabbing any little piece of feedback that they are giving you.

Killian Vigna: Your clients are looking for information, they are looking to see what people like them are saying about you. They’re not going to go on and read newspaper articles about how great your salon is, they want to see from your customers how great your salon is. If there has been a conflict, how have you responded to that customer? Have you responded in a professional manner or have you just tried to create World War III up on Google? They’re looking out for these sort of things.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, and then no merchandising plan, we’ve talked about that loads, again. Visual merchandising, we even had a workshop at the Salon Owners Summit this year. It really, really is important if you’re trying to sell more retail, look at how you are displaying your products, to begin with.

Killian Vigna: Make sure they are dusted, as well. When you go in and your product is full of dust…

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Management training is another big one. Of course, if you’ve been tuning in to our webinars you’ll know that she’s running a series of management webinars with Phorest Academy. We’ll talk about that later because she has another one coming up soon in March.

Not training staff on retail, again, ties into the visual merchandising. Retail is a constant battle and a lot of people are having a hard time increasing their sales on retail, that’s something that you have to look out for. David Barnett, who we had on the show just last week, had a really great episode on that at the end of last year as well.

Not re-booking clients systematically. That’s another big problem. It really is just about informing the client that, if they want to keep their style looking great for the longest time, they should be coming back at “this” time, like three weeks, four weeks, six weeks.

Killian Vigna: I find that one very interesting one because, we’ve all done a couple of workplace material in salons ourselves, just to get a feel for the industry. One thing, that I couldn’t believe was, even though the staff are telling me, “Oh, yeah, they are regulars, they’ll re-book, they’ll re-book.” Every time on the Phorest system when that prompt came to re-book the client back in, when I went to say, “Do you want to re-book back in,” the staff member would say, “Oh, no it’s grand, they’ll always come back. They’ll always come back.”

It’s like, it just takes one or two, so let’s say that one out of every ten of those guys that don’t re-book to forget, or end up trying someone new because they are in a hurry to get their hair done, or whatever it is. I just find that one really interesting that they don’t tend to ask if they want to re-book in.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, if you’re not going to re-book, at least try to get them loyal through a loyalty system or anything. I was in the spa just this weekend, right? When I left, and I actually bought a retail product, like “Okay, I’ll take it.” I took one out of the two suggestions, but I was surprised when I left and it was just, “Oh, I’ll see you in the next season or in six months time.” There was no mention of loyalty cards or any loyalty program at all. I just left. To me, if you had even just given me a key tag, or anything that would inform me, “Keep coming back to us and you’ll be rewarded,” it would have made the world of difference.

Killian Vigna: I suppose there is that confidence side of it where, if you’re so focused on trying to upsell a product to your customer, then you’re asking them if they want to join your loyalty scheme, then you’re asking them if they want to re-book in, it might feel like an awful lot of information that you’re asking of the client. But, like you said, just there, you were there for your treat day, you were caught up in the moment, so the minute she showed you a product or two, you’re like, “Actually, yeah, I’ll take one.” Or “Do you want to be a loyalty as well?” “You know what, yeah, I’ll take that.” “Do you want to re-book in again?” “Actually, yeah, good idea. May as well do that now.”

You’re creating a customer journey, that we talk about as well. You’re creating a flow that doesn’t sound like it’s multiple sales pitches, it’s just a journey that you… So, you went to the salon this weekend, you were brought on a journey and the more that they offered you, the more you would have probably kept saying, “Yes.”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, and even if I had been offered the option to re-book and I said, “No”, she could have just said, “Okay, fair enough. Here’s how our loyalty program works, if you’d like to come back at a later stage and re-book with us over the phone,” or something like that, then I would have considered it and even grabbed the key tag or whatever the card would have been.

Killian Vigna: You have to make [crosstalk 00:08:04]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And left with an incentive to re-book. It struck me as odd when I left, maybe because we talk about it a lot, but anyway.

Another mistake there, not having a marketing strategy for the year. We’ve talked about that loads at the beginning of this year. Not focusing enough on reception, it is the core of your business, after all. It has to function efficiently and you can gain a lot more than you think from it.

The last, last one, which is actually very interesting, and I’ll get Valerie to write something more in depth about this, but missing out on mystery visits. She will do mystery visits here and then, different salons and it gives you an insight into what’s working and what’s not working in your customer journey. But you have actual, constructive criticism about their visit because that person is doing it so they can help you. Especially, if you command it with someone professional that you know. It’s really interesting because they’ll give you loads of insights.

Killian Vigna: I feel you can make a bit of friendly competition out of this where every quarter you and a couple of salons owner peers would all chip in to get a professional mystery shopper. That mystery shopper could go… so say, there’s you and four other salon owners, every quarter it could be who’s providing the best service and they rank them the top five. You can make that as a little bit of competition where every quarter you are trying to beat the others. But, it’s friendly competition, because you’ve all agreed to go in on it, you’re all being judged on the same level. Just make sure you and your team are always on top of the ball… on the ball.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, exactly. There’s loads more in that blog for every single mistake that she lists, she gives also a tip on how to avoid or prevent it. I strongly encourage that read, it’s called again “10 Salon Business Mistakes That Hurt Your Bottom Line” and it’s by Valerie Delforge, one of our guest contributors.

The second most popular blog of this month was “How to Get Your Salon’s Facebook Business Page to Rank Higher on Google.” Essentially, Facebook has now, well, Facebook Business Pages have become your second website homepage for your business. It is something that will rank on Google and it is, if you have the “book now” button, it is something that you can get more bookings out of.

There’s a few things that you can do to get your Facebook page really, really optimized so that it actually gets higher in that ranking. The first thing is to make sure your page’s name is your salon/spa’s name. Then, there’s something here that not a lot of people know about, I’ve actually had some comments say, “Oh my God, thank you so much, I didn’t know how to change this, but this is amazing.” It’s changing the default URL that Facebook gives your page.

Usually, when you sign up for a page or switch over from a personal profile to a business page, it’ll give you some sort of Facebook.com/ref/fs and then like a million numbers and letters [crosstalk 00:11:10]. It’s really hard to find, so there’s this place in Facebook, if you go to Facebook.com/username where you can select your username and then that will actually give you a new URL for your page where people can actually look for that. It makes it so much easier.

The third thing to do, is optimizing your ‘about’ section. Page category, business opening hours, mission statement, phone number, email, when are you open. People need to know this information, and if they are not up to date, you’re putting yourself at a lower opportunity to get bookings.

Killian Vigna: Think about what you’d want to find when you need to find someone’s business page at a glance. What information are you looking for? Use that. Email, phone, mission statement, about, location, things like those, again, they sound simple, but they just get forgotten about.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, 100%. A lot of business goes through Facebook these days, so even if your website is really well optimizing, and has all of this information, it doesn’t mean that your potential client will find your website first. They may get a recommendation from a friend and they are on Facebook looking for you and if that information isn’t there, then they might not decide to go on your website and they might just go with someone else.

Killian Vigna: Regardless, if someone actually clicks into your Facebook page, once the Facebook page appears on Google search, you’ll see those preview snippets, as well, from the information that you’ve entered.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Absolutely.

Killian Vigna: So, they don’t even have to click your page to just quick Google search, see all the listings and just read from your preview text on.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Absolutely, yeah. The obvious, perhaps, but adding a call to action button. The little ‘book now’ next to the send message link on your Facebook page. A call-to-action on your page can increase your revenue by up to 29%, we’ve found. So, can you really afford to miss out on that? Not really.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, it’s for online booking and even if you don’t have online booking, just have a ‘call now’ call-to-action or something like that.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, anything that allows the customer to get in touch with you.

Five; leverage customer reviews. Again, I’ve mentioned this in the past blog, but customer reviews do help for SEO, so do encourage people to leave reviews, but also do reply to them and engage with them.

Killian Vigna: Your overall online reputation.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, yes. On to the third one, which another guest contributor’s article, this is one by Gloria Moray, “The True Costs of Opening a Salon That Will Thrive” is the title if you look for it on the Phorest blog. What she talks about there, is what do you need to have in place before you open your business for the first time.

Because it is an exciting thing, anyone who has an entrepreneurial mindset, opening their first business is a big deal, but if you’re not ready, if you don’t have the finances and if you don’t know your numbers behind that, chances are that within six months to a year, you might face the unfortunate event of closing.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, you could be packed with clients every single day, but unless you’re fully utilizing your staff and those product upsells, if you’re charging enough money, and just because you are busy every day, you might have a low-profit fit margin coming in. So, that’s not exactly… that doesn’t tell me, “Go open a second location,” it means I need to start charging more.

Basically, you just need to be ensured that you are taking more money in than what you’re breakeven figure is, essentially, your baseline.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. That’s the things that you have to consider before you even open your doors for the very, very first time. Determining your breakeven figure. You know what your rent is going to be, you know what your business rates, what you’ve put them at, you know how much your heating and lighting is going to cost. You need to calculate all of that to make sure that… what is it going to cost your salon to run weekly, monthly…

Killian Vigna: Also, make sure that you are giving yourself a salary, too. I know there’s a lot of salon owners out there who will think it’s time to move to a second location, everything’s doing great, but they’re still not paying themselves enough.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: To continue on that, before you open your doors for the very first time, make sure you have money to cover any kind of contingency. If something happens, and it’s really unexpected, maybe there’s a flood or a problem with anything in the salon…

Killian Vigna: Think about washing all that hair getting stuck in the sink, your sink gets clogged up, now you need to get a plumber to come in.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: All these things, if you don’t have this fund where you can actually just go and pay for the repairs, you’re going to look at the problem and go, “Oh no, now what. I can’t afford this.”

Killian Vigna: Always have a rainy day account.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Current clients; how many current clients do you have and will you try to get new clientele or will you try to bring over your older clientele. Think about your new client retention, so that we were talking about with Ronan and Paddy on the last few episodes. Hire an accountant, that’s really, really important.

It’s okay not to be able to do all the things in your salon, and numbers are probably one of your most important things to be on top of, so if you don’t really feel too comfortable doing everything that has to do with accounts, then hire an accountant. They know what they’re doing. They will show you areas of your business that you might not know aren’t working so well. It’s definitely something to look out for.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, that’s definitely a good blog there. She has a nice breakdown about what percentage of new clients you should be looking at and if you don’t have the software to help you work it out, she has a nice formula here. She’s also got a list of how to determine your breakeven figure. Definitely some good points for checking up on that. Then, I think, she has a few other smaller points down at the end of it as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Again, that’s Gloria Moray on “The True Costs of Opening a Salon That Will Thrive.”

The very last, most popular blog of the month was “A Breakdown of Traditional Versus Digital Marketing.” What is best in today’s world? Digital has taken over a lot of things, but should we deem traditional marketing such as press, billboards, fliers, posters, should we deem them as irrelevant. The answer is, not really, because they both compliment each other.

Killian Vigna: It’s like moderation as well, isn’t it? You’re not going to go all in in one and leave the other one gone.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: No, exactly. So, which is best for salons? It’s really up to you to find out, but there are differences and pros and cons and it might help you figure out which is best for you.

For instance, traditional marketing, such as magazines and things like that, they tend to target more local audiences. Hard copy of materials tend to be remembered best, so if you have an ad in a magazine, or even a newspaper and… it’s just something to consider, when you actually have something in your hands that you are reading, you tend to remember it better.

Killian Vigna: It’s nice sitting down and reading the newspaper on a Sunday. I wouldn’t read it any other day, but if I was just sitting there and chilling on a Sunday with a cup of tea, reading the newspaper, I’m probably going to notice those ads a few more. I don’t know, it’s just an hour on a Sunday morning, it’s either that or watch TV.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: The cons though, they are more expensive to produce. It is a fact. The results are actually more difficult to measure. It’s something to consider, if you want to go down that route.

Digital marketing, on the flip side, is very affordable. To reach 2,000 people on Facebook, it could cost you 75 pounds, dollars, or Euros. You run an ad, and then that’s it, you have the instant results. You have analytics on how it performed. You can increase brand awareness very, very easily. Think about Instagram, think about Twitter, being at trade shows and events and publishing photos of you being there. That increases brand awareness in a very cost-effective way.

The potential of exposure is greater with digital marketing because it’s so cheap to produce and you tend to have a higher engagement. It is probably easier to refine a strategy, because you have these real-time results, you can actually figure out what’s working instantly, and what’s not, instantly as well.

If you know this, you can actually turn around and say, “Listen, this isn’t working, so let’s try this instead.” You don’t have to wait a full month before you get the results, you know?

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: There’s other cons to that, though. People who are experiencing or dabbling into Facebook ads might find it very complicated to navigate. There are courses and trainings that you can do so it’s not all lost if you don’t feel comfortable, you can actually just go on trainings and learn about them. We also have loads of e-books to help you out. You could also need, possibly, someone who does graphic design, if you’re not very skilled at it yourself, or you want to delegate that to someone else.

There’s different avenues for you there and it’s really up for you to decide what’s a good balance for my salon.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, I see you have listed that the cons of it would be getting trained up in those skills, and it’s complicated to navigate. Again, this comes back to, why not share that responsibility to one of your staff members? Why not find out who, and it’s not just someone who’s actively or heavily active on social media, on their own social media account. See if they would be interested in holding your business account, and if they are send them off for a training. Or they could do an online training as well, courses. You’ve got Canvas, you don’t even need a graphic designer anymore, Canvas.com. It’s got simple templates in there that you can use. Share that responsibility. When it comes back to the traditional one as well, you can’t beat when you get back to your parked car and have a window flier in your window. I mean, it works.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. It does, it does.

Killian Vigna: They compliment each other on different levels. Just kind of find out your own thing.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Killian, that’s pretty much a very thorough summary of what happened on the Phorest Blog this month. We do have a few more announcements before we move on to the second part of our show, which is the webinars.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, first of all, for me, because I know you’ve been saying a bit about it on social media, but, we came second! For anyone who doesn’t know what that means, we were nominated as finalists for Energia’s Digital Media award ceremony and we were nominated for best podcast in Ireland. Out of five, we came second.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: We were blown away by the results, literally blown away.

Killian Vigna: I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when I found out. It’s all based on the growth of our listenership and, like we were saying, we’re going from a couple of hundred a month to 15,000 a month. It just goes to show, it’s down to you guys for tuning in. So, that’s my shout out. I think you’ve a few more?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, so, we’ve released… it’s less exciting, but we have released the monthly marketing toolkit, so that’s available to download on the Phorest Blog as well. It covers marketing ideas and graphics templates for Mother’s Day in the UK and Ireland. I know Mother’s Day in America is in May, but that’s there. You’ve material for St. Patrick’s Day and you’ve material for Easter because Easter is the last weekend of March slash the first weekend of April this year.

That’s there, it’s available to download. The other thing that we have running at the moment, is our monthly giveaway. This month we’re giving away three Bluetooth speakers that will really, really sit nicely in your salon. They are very nicely designed and they won’t look out of place. Let’s just put it like that.

It’s a limited entry giveaway, it’s limited to the first 500 people who enter, and there’s three to give away. All you have to do is go on to our Facebook page, there’s a tab on our page called “enter to win,” you go on there and fill in your details; first name, last name, email and then that’s it. The contest ends on March 5th, so we’ll draw the three names, probably that same day and announce them within the week. Again, same as usual, the next contest will be up and running a month later.

Other than that, it’s the webinars. We have a few coming up, we actually have Connor’s second edition of the GDPR Masterclass. That’s on Wednesday, 10:00am UK/Ireland time, there’s no US time for this one because it does not affect American businesses. If you have been at ProBeauty London over the weekend, on Sunday he was giving a talk on GDPR, so if you’ve missed that, then don’t miss out on our webinar on Wednesday.

The other webinar coming up soon is Valerie Delforge’s second to last instalment of the Salon Management series, so “How to Handle Difficult Staff” and that’s on Tuesday, March 6th at 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm UK/Ireland time or 7:00 am to 8:00 am US Eastern time. Again, these events are all available on our Facebook page, through the event section. All you have to do is go to the event you would like to register for, click ‘get tickets’ and sign up for the event. It’s all free.

That’s it for us today. If you have any feedback, feel free to leave us a review on iTunes or on Stitcher, we’re always looking for suggestions on how to improve the show. Otherwise, have a wonderful week. We’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Thanks for reading!


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