Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 26. 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 26

Email marketing is an extremely powerful tool when used properly. Phil Jackson, award-winning salon owner, industry speaker and mentor, and author of “The Hairy Book of Email“, has a lot of valuable insight on the subject and we are fortunate enough for him to share it with us on this episode of Phorest FM.


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Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast: Episode 26. I’m your host Killian Vigna.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: And I’m Zoé Bélisle-Springer.

Killian Vigna: In this week’s episode, we welcome Phil Jackson, an award-winning salon owner, industry mentor, and speaker with a passion for the salon industry onto the show to talk to you about email marketing. And as always, we top off the show with our upcoming Phorest Academy webinars. 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.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Hey Killian, how are you?

Killian Vigna: Not too bad Zoé. So now we’re in our interview week this week?

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Yes, we are! Should be interesting this week. Alex Quin, manager of the events team-

Killian Vigna: PR and events, yeah.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: She had an interview with Phil Jackson in the Hairy Book of Email.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, and I had a read through it there a couple of days myself, it’s a very good book. So after reading through it, he was able to explain email marketing way easier than I can explain it to you because he’s actually spent 15 years as a salon owner himself in the South of England. Phil Jackson is an award-winning salon owner, industry mentor, and speaker with a passion for the salon industry. Welcome to Phorest FM Phil, how are you?

Phil Jackson: I’m really well, thank you so much for having me. It’s great to talk to you.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, thanks for joining the show. The reason we wanted to get you on the show is because you’ve had years as a salon owner yourself, but you’re also a self-confessed tech geek or tech junkie, as you say in your book, which is where I suppose you came across email marketing and realized the benefits of email marketing for your own salon.

Phil Jackson: Yeah, I’ve always been really comfortable around tech, it doesn’t spook me in the way that it does some people, and I’m kind of in love with anything that comes with a screen and an Apple logo. So email doesn’t feel really very foreign to me, but I suppose really there’s two things: first is that I’m quite stingy, I don’t like spending money where I don’t need to, so-

Killian Vigna: Just like me!

Phil Jackson: If I can find a marketing platform to bring in that doesn’t cost me anything or costs me next to nothing, then that’s fantastic. But also I was on paternity leave, I’ve adopted two little boys. So I’m a salon owner and I’m a mentor and a coach to salons as well, but I have to do all that in school time because I’m a stay-at-home dad as well.

So I need to find things that will support my salon and support my team without me physically being there, and email marketing is a no-brainer because I can do that from anywhere that I’ve got a WiFi connection. So I love it, I love putting emails together, I love seeing the results starting to come in, but I feel like I’m contributing in quite a significant way to the salon without having to physically be there.

Killian Vigna: Yeah so, like you said there, you are a salon owner, you are a mentor, but you’re also a father. Because we can do these interviews, but people are always thinking, “I’m a parent, I’ve got kids at home, how can I split my time between the salon and home?”, and you have managed to build a very successful salon and a career out of being a father as well.

Phil Jackson: The salon side of it was tough, there’s a lot of systematization that’s gone in, a lot of procedures, and we’re continually tweaking those. I go into the salon now about half a day a week, and that’s literally just to meet with my team, make sure everyone’s happy, empty the safe and do all those bits and pieces. So I don’t do any salon services myself now, I’ve stopped. Christmas Eve last year was my last haircut. And then the rest of the stuff, yeah, I work, so I do half a day in the salon then I do three days a week on my coaching and mentoring, and that’s three school days, so I’ve got very, very little time.

So that’s why it’s so important to me that everything that I put in place is really effective and I need to be able to measure the effectiveness of it as well, because I just don’t have time to waste on stuff that’s not going to deliver results for either of my businesses, really. And as far as the balancing act is concerned, yeah, I don’t always get it right. I kind of see work/life balance as a long game, so there are weeks when my kids feel a bit neglected, because I’ve gone to a conference in the States or something like that for five days, and then I’ll try and make up for it. So my week isn’t in balance, but I try and make sure that my year is.

Killian Vigna: Yeah exactly. So what made you decide… It’s a brave move to make, I know you’re not walking away from the salon, but to eventually turn around and go: “Listen, I want to go into mentoring now”. So what got you to that stage? Because it’s a bold move to make.

Phil Jackson: Part of it was the kids, to be honest with you, it just restricted how much I could physically do in the salon anyway, so I couldn’t do any of the busy times, I couldn’t do the weekends, I couldn’t do the evening shifts, and I found that actually once I’d started to build stuff outside the salon to stop myself going insane, and then started with the mentoring and coaching, actually that kind of suits me a little bit better. And what my salon is now is kind of my little laboratory, it’s where I test everything out.

Killian Vigna: For your experiments.

Phil Jackson: So when I’m building information products or I’m writing books about strategies, or I’m coaching and mentoring other salons, everything I’m teaching them I’ve already tried and I’ve already tested. And I got really lucky that there is a big caveat: I’ve got an amazing team and they are so patient with me, because every time we have a staff meeting I say, “OK guys, we’re going to do this now for two weeks”, and any other team would just go: “Oh my God, I can’t deal with this”, but my team are very supportive of the stuff that I do outside, and they always come along to the awards dinners and things like that, they’re very proud of me.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, that’s great.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: So how did they react when you first started testing out the email marketing? Were you pretty much in control of everything or did they have a little role to play in that as well?

Phil Jackson: I always consult with the team really very thoroughly before we put anything out there. And that’s because I’m not in the salon to answer any questions. So you can guarantee if I haven’t briefed the team properly, someone’s going to come in and ask a question about an email they’ve received, and we just end up looking really stupid if the team doesn’t know exactly what I’ve been sending out. So they’re all on the mailing list, so they receive the same emails as my customers do as well, and I always consult with them.

I don’t always necessarily take ideas from them, I’m still the manager and I’m still steering the business, but I’ll always talk through in quite a lot of detail what it is that we’re trying to achieve and how we’re going to measure the success of that campaign as well. So they all know what’s going on. Sometimes that’s a very two-way conversation, I’ll be asking for ideas. Other times it’s just me letting them know what’s going on.

Killian Vigna: But you’re transparent with your staff, you’re honest with them and up-front because, at the end of the day, your staff are your eyes and ears if you’re not there.

Phil Jackson: Absolutely! And I’ve got lots of trust in my team. Like I said, it’s taken me a lot… We’ve been open 15 years now and the team that I have is superb, and it’s taken a long time to get to that stage, it’s not something that happened overnight. Yeah, they are my eyes and ears but also, the reports talk as well, so if I can see that there’s certain services that need attention, then I’ll dig a little bit deeper. Or if I can see there’s certain retail products that aren’t moving anymore, then we can perhaps look at supporting them with an email promotion, something like that. So yeah they are my eyes and ears, but there’s also a lot that I can be doing from home, through my salon software system, I can access it from anywhere I’ve got WiFi.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Yeah that makes total sense. So what would you give out as the benefits of email marketing?

Phil Jackson: I think we’re playing a slightly dangerous game in the industry. I think you’re absolutely right, I think people are focusing so much on social media that they’re neglecting almost everything else entirely, and I think it’s a really dangerous place to be. I think lots of salon owners and managers are putting so much effort into their Facebook pages and their Instagram accounts and their Pinterest boards, and they’re not doing anything with their websites and they’re not doing anything with their database, and I think it’s not a smart move at all.

I think… in the book, there was an interview that I did with a guy, and he put it so beautifully that I’ve just stolen his quote completely, and he says that social media is the kind of nightclub, it’s the noisy space where there’s lots and lots of distraction and lots going on, but when you want to take that conversation to a slightly more intimate level and you want to talk to a customer one-to-one you need a quiet space. And that’s what email marketing is, it’s that quiet space.

So the three big benefits are, I think you can extend the lifetime value of your customers quite considerably if you’re keeping in touch with them and chasing up lost customers, I think there’s massive gains to be had there. I think it keeps you in the customer’s mind, I think sometimes people just forget to make appointments. So I think just a little gentle nudge. Sometimes, I’ll be really honest with you, it doesn’t even matter what you’re sending, just the fact that you’ve sent something and they’ve seen you in the inbox is enough to prompt them to pick up the phone.

And then also we can start guiding customers towards much more profitable services that they’ve perhaps not heard of or perhaps they’ve not tried before, so there’s definite financial gains there as well, but I don’t want to give the impression that all we’re doing is selling because that’s not really a big part of email marketing. It is a significant part, but it’s not the bulk of what I send out. I always think if the only time your customers hear from you by email is when you’re selling something, they’re going to get really bored really quickly. And that’s when you start getting lots of unsubscribes. So I try and change it up a little bit and actually the selling is important, but it’s not the whole bulk of it.

Killian Vigna: Yeah I mean, so you were saying there you had a quote in your book, I’ve actually come across another quote in your book, the “Hairy Book of Email” if anyone has heard of it, or hasn’t heard of it. It’s a very good book.  But I really love this quote because we’re always talking about it on the show, “think of your salon as the Parthenon in Athens”. So it’s like all those pillars: you need to use… especially if you’re using software or if you’re not using software, you’re doing it yourself, try and use as many marketing channels as possible, but then find what works for you.

And like you said, that’s your social media and stuff, and then email is that extra touch point that just makes everything come together and more personal. Because your social media, your SMS, it’s all kind of out-there marketing, but email is where you actually get to sit back and talk to your client one-to-one.

Phil Jackson: It’s when you talk to your client one-to-one, you’re absolutely right. And it’s also when we get a lot smarter about those conversations, so by definition, if you’re putting a post up on social media, you’re trying to get maximum appeal across a very broad audience, because you want that engagement, and you want those likes and shares and clicks. So when you’re trying to… certainly, when you get to the marketing side of it, you’re trying to push someone towards a profitable service or a profitable product, you can’t talk in those very general terms.

There aren’t any other platforms that can really narrow it down… You know when you look at a system, I’m gonna plug Phorest because it’s the one I understand now when you look at a system like Phorest, it’s not just sat there taking bills for you and making appointments, it’s building up a massive amount of information about your customers. So we can then, instead of just broadcasting a sales message out there, we can really target it, bearing in mind the last time somebody was in the salon, bearing in mind the kind of services they’ve had from us before.

So that marketing becomes much more effective and I think that’s the trick that people are missing, I think they’re doing these broadcast messages and trying to get lots of interaction, but actually when it comes to the marketing side and turning that into extra profit in the salon, I don’t think you can beat email.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. But like you said, you’re not just using email for sales, you can use email for a whole host of things, so for building your brand, asking for referrals, sending people to your website, to your booking page, but there are just three types of emails that you talk about in your book that we really want to focus on, because this is what email does best: your transactional emails, your relational emails, and your promotional.

Phil Jackson:  Absolutely.

Killian Vigna: So those transactional emails alone, they’re not big, graphical emails that you’d get from some big company like Apple or someone like that, these are just very straight, to-the-point emails and they’re simple to do, aren’t they?

Phil Jackson: They are, and they’re the ones that everybody overlooks as well, because like you said, they’re not particularly sexy to look at, they don’t take an awful lot of thought, a lot of formatting, though actually, I prefer emails like that anyway, but we can talk about that. But I do think that they’re very often overlooked, and it’s mistaken. And I did it in my salon as well, for a long time, when it came to appointment reminders, we did SMS, and only SMS. And then I thought; hang on, that SMS is so limited, and actually if we put it into an email then I can put a promotional message on the back of that. And the joy of it is that those transactional emails have amazing open rates, much, much higher than anything else you’ll send.

Killian Vigna: People are expecting these emails.

Phil Jackson: What sorry, say again?

Killian Vigna: People are expecting these sort of emails, the transactional ones.

Phil Jackson: They’re excited about it, and the example that I always give is, if I order a new iPad from Amazon, I’m not going to ignore the emails that come from Amazon for the next week or so until that iPad is in my hand. I’m going to open every single one and I want the tracking number, I want to know where my parcel is, I want to know who the carrier is that’s going to bring it to me and what time they’re going to arrive. So yeah, you’re getting lots and lots of opens on those emails.

And every other company, they know this, when you open one of those emails from Amazon it’s always got two or three suggestions of something that would go really well with your purchase, or based on your purchase history what else you might like. And just a simple promotional email, an upsell that you can apply to everybody, it’s just a no-brainer. But it does need to be quite general, because of course it’s going out to your entire database, and trying to find upsells that are applicable to everybody, that can be quite tough. But once you’ve hit on something, it’s marketing gold, it really is.

Killian Vigna: So that kind of brings us down to, it’s all about understanding your database then, isn’t it? So you could send the very rare promotional email you could send to all your database, but it’s all about personas and I suppose targeting your emails, isn’t it?

Phil Jackson: It is yeah, I call them avatars and I’ve got five avatars for my salon. They’re imaginary people that embody the characteristics that make up my database. The example I always give is Jenny. Jenny is my strongest avatar in the salon and I know how old she is, I know how many kids she’s got, I know what she does for a living, what she earns, I know when she’s available for appointments. And then as soon as you’ve got those avatars in mind it makes putting those emails together much, much easier because you’re just writing an email to Jenny then, it’s not a kind of anonymous broadcast that you’re putting out there. It’s something much more personal.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Yeah, you’re not writing an email to 10,000 people.

Phil Jackson: Yeah, it may well be that you’ve got 5,000 Jennys, but when you read back that email it would never come across that way, it’s always me talking to another person. And I hate this thing that says well we’re a B2C or B2B businesses, it’s not, it’s person to person, companies don’t send emails, companies don’t open emails, people send emails and people open them. And when we can get back to that level of interaction I think we’re going to see a lot more success with email. My personal hate is when people send out anything that’s got the word ‘newsletter’ in it. As soon as it says newsletter I just swipe left, I’m not interested at all. And that level of corporate communication you really need to steer away from, because that’s not the kind of relationship we’ve got with our customers and it’s not the kind of relationship they want with us either.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer:       So how do you go about planning a campaign, for instance? If this week you have nothing planned in your salon and you want to push something out, how do you go about that?

Phil Jackson: OK, well the email never works in isolation anyway so it will always be feeding into something else that’s going on in the salon.

Killian Vigna: Be part of your [inaudible 16:06].

Phil Jackson: It’s very rare that I would send out an email promotion that isn’t running somewhere else. So it ties into a broader marketing strategy, so it ties in with the window, it ties in with the point of sale displays, it ties in with the posters we’ve got around, ties in with the social media, so everything’s working in one direction. It might have a slightly different language to it because we’re talking to existing customers, usually through email marketing, but it will still be the same kind of promotion.

I run my promotions over a month, so I’ve got 12 promotions running every year. And I plan my emails so that everything’s done and dusted by the third week. So I always launch a promotion on the 1st, even if it’s a Sunday, which you shouldn’t do, I know, but I do. So it goes out on the 1st, and that will be quite a detailed email that tells them everything I think they need to know to make that purchasing decision.

And then I’ll send a reminder out about a week later, so somewhere around the 8th, and that will be much, much shorter, and it’s just a nudge to say, “Did you see this?” Two or three sentences, nothing more than that. And then I’ll send a final email, which will go out around the 17th and the 20th normally, and that’s their last call. So again it’s not a huge email, it’ll be quite short, maybe a couple of the bullet points pulled out of the first email, and it will literally just be, “Don’t forget, this is ending at the end of the month, I would hate you to miss out.”

So usually by then, we’ve got some scarcity that you can build in as well because you’re down to your last six bottles and you’ve only got three appointments left, so a bit of scarcity always helps with calls to action as well. And then they won’t hear from me again, so if that goes out on the 17th then they won’t hear for me for about another two weeks until the next promotion the next month.

And I know that sounds like a lot of emails to people, they’re used to sending out a quarterly newsletter or something like that, so sending out three in a month feels like an awful lot, but trust me it’s much more effective than just kind of a fire-and-forget. If you’re going to get that level of interaction and engagement from customers, you need to be in touch with them much more often.

Killian Vigna: Exactly, yeah. And just before we move on to that dreaded word, for anyone that does want some examples of some schedules you actually have them on your website, don’t you? So HairyBooks.com/email. So you can download an example.

Phil Jackson: HairyBooks.com/email, you can download all the sheets that go with the book. Or you can buy the book, that would be even better!

Killian Vigna: Exactly.

Phil Jackson: That’s on Amazon and it’s on Kindle as well, and all the worksheets are there for you to copy. Or yeah, head to HairyBooks.com and that’s got all the sheets that you can download.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, and it is a very easy-to-read book, I was reading it last night. It does not take too much time on your hands. You actually said, you joked about: “At the end of your lunch break,” and then you were like: “I know you probably don’t have a lunch break.” But it is just a couple of minutes here and there, it’s just so well laid out. So moving onto that dreaded word then, the ‘unsubscribes’, that feared word.

Phil Jackson: Yeah, it’s a bit of a glass half-full/glass half-empty situation with unsubscribes really, you can focus on what you’re losing, or you can focus on what’s left behind. And I never try and kid people that they’re not going to get unsubscribes. Particularly if you haven’t sent any emails out, and then all of a sudden you’re changing the way that you’re communicating with your customers, some of them won’t like it and you will get unsubscribes, it’s kind of inevitable.

Beyond that initial bump in unsubscribes though, I do keep an eye on the unsubscribes but I certainly don’t obsess about them, because at the end of the day if you’ve got somebody who doesn’t want to hear from you by email, then there’s really no point in having their email address. So by all means, I kind of encourage them to unsubscribe almost, I make it very, very easy for people to take themselves off my list, and then we just focus on what’s left. And what’s left behind is a list of people that do want to hear from you by email and are happy to receive your messages in that format, and that’s a really valuable resource you’ve got then.

So we kind of push all the unsubscribes to one side as quickly as we can, and then focus on what’s left behind, and I think that’s kind of the way you’ve got to look at it, otherwise you drive yourself nuts and it gets a very depressing place to be when you start obsessing about the unsubscribes. So I keep half an eye on it.

Killian Vigna: But don’t worry about it too much.

Phil Jackson: We do find sometimes that if you’ve done a campaign and it hasn’t gone quite so well sometimes you see a little bump in the number of people that leave the list, but that’s kind of rare once you get past that first initial rush.

Killian Vigna: I couldn’t agree with you any more, I find unsubscribes actually clean up my list for me. Because you think about it, if you’ve 10,000 clients on your list, but only 5000 of those are actually interested in your information, I’d much rather have quality over quantity. So I’d rather, nearly, those other 5,000 unsubscribe, so it means it’s even more targeted, again, to the people I’m talking to.

Phil Jackson: Absolutely, absolutely, and I think cleaning up your own list, a self-cleaning list almost, is a really good way of looking at it.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, so don’t get bogged down by it, don’t worry about it too much, see it as a positive.  Because at the end of the day, we’re all busy, everyone’s email box is full of stuff.

Phil Jackson: Absolutely, I think the last statistic I read was something like 144 emails per person on average every day.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Oh, I wouldn’t even be surprised by that.

Phil Jackson: It’s insane. And that’s one of the reasons why people unsubscribe. I think where people go wrong with unsubscribes is they start to second guess and they start worrying about why people are unsubscribing.

Killian Vigna: “Was it me?”

Phil Jackson: And the truth is, you just never know, you never know why they unsubscribed, it might be because they decided they’re not going to come back to the salon, or it might just be that they get too many emails and this is a really easy way to reduce it by one. So I don’t ever try and second guess why people are leaving my list. The truth is that I’ve never lost a salon customer through sending emails, so even if they’re really annoyed with the number of emails you’re sending, the most they’ll do is unsubscribe, they’re not going to stop coming into the salon because you battered down the inbox a little bit with your emails.

Killian Vigna: So we’re just going to move onto… so you’ve got the understanding about how you should go about your email campaign, but now the actual email itself, because we touched off it earlier. We said, you see the bigger companies and they have the real graphical, pretty-looking emails. That’s not always necessary for your clients, is it? You don’t-

Phil Jackson: I don’t think so. If you take a kind of mental snapshot of your email inbox and try and figure out which emails it is you’re most likely to open first and most likely to read, it won’t be the ones that are big newsletters from corporates and it probably won’t be the newsletters that you’re getting from the restaurant that you’ve been to six months ago. It will be the one that’s come from a family member you haven’t spoken to for three weeks, or it will be the friend that’s catching up with you after six months, they’re the ones that you’re going to open first.

And when you do open that email, we need to get as close to that model as we can, so when you do open that email it needs to be very pared down, it needs to be very familiar, it needs to be very chatty, there won’t be a logo in there anywhere. I don’t think you should put logos in emails, I think it’s kind of fanning your own ego a little bit rather than actually doing anything useful.

And I don’t put… and this is where I do… OK so full disclosure, not everyone agrees with what I’m going to say now, but I don’t put images in my emails at all unless I absolutely have to. And the reason for that is that most of the emails now are going to be opened on a mobile device. The more images that you’re packing in there, the slower that load time is going to be, the more likely it is that someone’s just going to press delete instead. So I try and keep my emails text purely, unless there’s absolutely a call that needs an image to demonstrate. So if it’s a new product that you’re launching then yes, you might well have a product shot in there, but there’ll be one photo, there would never be more than that.

Killian Vigna: Oh you’re completely right, and not only is it loading faster on your mobile by cutting out the images, it also helps avoid spam filters, so the spam filters on Gmail and stuff like that, they’ve become so smart that they’ve actually gone past just picking up on words like ‘free’ and things like those, they’ve now gone on to start reading images as well, and your images could trigger spam filters.

Phil Jackson: Absolutely, and also that’s another reason to welcome the unsubscribes, because if you’ve got people that aren’t engaged with what you’re sending out, that’s going to hurt your send rate quite considerably on the spam filter side as well.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: See I found it interesting when you were saying that you have to… personally you strip down your emails to basically just text, because when I think about personally me going to a salon or a barber shop, I have quite short hair now, but I’m going to see friends, you know, my hairdresser, my barber is basically a friend. So if I’m getting any communication from them, I’m getting communication from a friend. Whereas if I’m thinking about a huge company, for instance like Apple, I’ll never have that same relationship with them, because it’s just very corporate.

So it’s really interesting and it does make sense to just send that stripped-down text email, because you’re really just building a customer relationship and you’re building a friendship over time with these clients that are coming in.

Phil Jackson: Absolutely, and if you think about the big corporate stuff, occasionally you will get something from a person but that would usually be from customer services, and that’s when you’ve gone from that big corporate relationship all the way down to an individual talking to an individual, and that’s what we’re trying to aim for.

But that said, I would always test everything, so it may well be that what I’m saying isn’t appropriate to everybody’s audience. So what I would do is test it, so you do two or three months of sending very pared down emails, and then two or three months where it’s a little bit glossy and a bit more brochure-like, and just see what the interaction is like. But it’s very, very rare I think, that you would get the results that point towards the more glossy content. I think most people tend to respond a lot better to the pared down version.

Killian Vigna: So that comes back to creating and understanding your avatars or your client personas again, isn’t it? And A/B testing things on them.

Phil Jackson: Yeah, the closer you can identify, the more accurately you can identify a customer and figure out what she needs, and then tailor your message to those needs, the better your response is always going to be.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: So how do you go about creating subject lines then?  Because subject lines have to be kind of interesting. They have to be, they have to catch someone’s attention for them to open the email and get that text.

Phil Jackson: They do… the difficult thing with subject lines is the goals keep moving, so you can come up with a really good format for your subject line and then as your relationship with the person develops, or as time moves on and fashions change then all of a sudden the subject lines don’t work anymore, so it is hard work doing a subject line. I would say that most people just don’t spend enough time on them, this is part of the problem.

I would say that out of the time that I spend on my emails… I can do an email campaign relatively quickly now, but about a third to a half of that time will be spent writing just the subject line, because it’s so important. All of that wonderful work that you’ve put into the body of your email, if it’s not even opened it’s time wasted, no one’s going to see it. I do keep a file, so I’ve got a spreadsheet on my laptop, so anytime I see a subject line that I think I might be able to amend, that I think would go really well, I’ll steal it basically, put it into my swipe file.  [crossstalk 27:34]

Killian Vigna: Why waste time creating something that’s already there?

Phil Jackson: Let’s not try and reinvent the wheel. If it caught my attention, and I’m fairly close to one of the customer avatars in my salon, then chances are it’s going to have a good response with my audience as well. And also some of these companies have got much bigger resources than I have, so let them pay for all the split testing, and let them pay out for all the researchers and the marketers, and then we’ll take the benefits, shall we?

Killian Vigna: You’re dead right.

Phil Jackson: So I do keep a swipe file on there, and what I say in the book is that there’s essentially two types of subject lines: the blind subject lines, which some marketers will call intrigue subject lines, where you don’t necessarily know exactly what’s in the email straight away, it’s literally there just to catch attention and to get people to open. And they’re really good fun, if you’re good at writing them you can get some amazing results.

And then the other type of subject line is the direct subject line, which tells you exactly what’s in the email. I think where people go wrong with direct subject lines is they try and summarize the whole email in one sentence, which I think is a really big mistake. So what I would do with the direct subject line is just pick out the main benefit, and then try and get that into five to ten words maximum, and then put that out as a subject line. I like direct subject lines because they’re just a lot easier, so I can get through a lot of them-

Killian Vigna: No, I’m the same.

Phil Jackson: A lot quicker.

Killian Vigna: I love the direct ones too, straight to the point.

Phil Jackson:       Absolutely, but it does get boring for your audience if that’s all you’re doing, so I think it’s important to… Blind subject lines are fantastic when they work, you can get some really… If I sent an email out saying: “Killian, I had a dream about you,” you know, no matter what stage our relationship is at you’re going to open that email aren’t you?

Killian Vigna: I’m already trying to see what’s inside!

Phil Jackson: Exactly, exactly! Even if you hate my guts, you’re going to want to know what that email says. So when you get it right, you can have some fantastic results with blind subject lines, and you do need to change it up a little bit. So if all you’re doing is direct subject lines, occasionally just sprinkle something a bit more intriguing in there.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, cool. And just to cap off the subject line section there, I don’t know about you Phil, but I find the best way for me to come up with subject lines is I actually open up my own email on my phone, because do you know the way it forces that preview or the subject line box even smaller? So I use that to try and compose, like you say, six to ten words, I’d say about 36 characters: I want to be able to see my full subject line on the mobile preview because then I know my message is going to be clear on everywhere, any platform you’re going to see.

Phil Jackson: Absolutely, and in fact every element, you need to be… Everyone’s going to open it on mobile. Particularly something that’s coming from a salon.  The send rate would go through the floor if you didn’t have something that looked good on mobile. So yeah, absolutely test the subject lines, and in fact test them in small quantities as well. So very often if I’m going to send out 1000 emails, I’ll send out maybe 200, so 100 on one subject line and 100 on the other, and see what the best response was before I send out the other 800. But then, this is when I start to geek out a little bit, I know that a lot of salon owners wouldn’t have time to split test their subject lines first.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Yeah. So listen Phil, so if we just try and do a little recap, for instance for people who haven’t really been using email in their salon, what would be step one, two and three to get started with it?

Phil Jackson: Step one I think would be to clean up your database first, make sure you’ve got some data. But that said, even if you’ve only got 50 email addresses to start sending to, I would just get in the gate, just get started and start to get some results. But step one has to be collect that client data in the salon, and make sure that you’re absolutely getting email addresses from everybody. Obviously online bookings help a lot with that because people are submitting their email addresses and you know it’s a good valid email address from the start, and yeah, you need to make sure you’ve got some clean data. After that just have a go, just get it sent.

So I would come up with some kind of gentle promotion, not something that’s going to bankrupt your company, it doesn’t have to be a massive discount, but maybe an upsell on something. So if you were a hair salon, what could you add on to, say, a haircut, so a service that loads of people are going to have, what could you add on? So maybe a deep conditioning treatment, something like that.

Killian Vigna: So provide value.

Phil Jackson: And then I would build a really nice promotion around that, send it out. Beginning of the month, little reminder halfway through, and then “Don’t forget to get in on this” at the end of the month, and just see how it goes. I think there’s a lot of fun to be had in email, and I know people are really looking for ways that they can step back from the salon a little bit and contribute in the way that I spoke about at the beginning, you know, contribute to their salons without being there, and I think email could be a really important part of that.

Killian Vigna: Well Phil, that’s been absolutely brilliant and just again to reiterate, if there is anyone out there who is completely new to email marketing, or even if you’ve been doing it for a while and you just want to get some structure to it, I really do recommend the “Hairy Book of Email”. And you have another book as well, the “Hairy Book of Innovation”, which was before email.

Phil Jackson: I do yes, that was my first book, and then the email one was out this year.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, because like I said, it’s written by a salon owner for salon owners, so you don’t include any marketing jargon or anything like that. It’s a nice user-friendly book to go through.

Phil Jackson: I’m really pleased you enjoyed it.

Killian Vigna: Thanks a million for joining us on the show, Phil Jackson.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Thanks so much!

Killian Vigna: Yeah, and I hope you have a great day.

Phil Jackson: It’s been my pleasure, thanks for having me.

Killian Vigna: All the best. And now to our weekly Phorest Academy series. So what have we got coming?

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: So on Phorest Academy, the next webinar is actually only on June 7th.

Killian Vigna: Two weeks away, so.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Yeah, so that’s on a Wednesday. Still, again 3:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. UK/Ireland, 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. US Eastern Time. So it is the salon retailing masterclass, it goes on every month. It’s led by me actually so if you do like my voice, piggybacking on yours last week.

Killian Vigna: “Listen to me!”.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: “Listen to me!”. No, but it is really interesting, and we go through ways to build a retailing culture within your salon, so it’s not about necessarily how to sell, because it’s not necessarily about selling, it’s about creating a relationship with your clients and understanding their needs.

Killian Vigna: Yeah exactly, get on board that, and as usual you can do it through… go to the Phorest website, go to resources, go to guides, or you could go to Facebook and find the event page there under events.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Yes, exactly.

Killian Vigna: Click through, register your details. You guys have to register yourself because you’ll receive your own unique login for the day, so, unfortunately, we can’t sign you up, but we can provide the links to you if you do need them. So yeah, that interview with Phil Jackson… if there’s anyone else you want to hear us interview on the show let us know, leave some feedback on iTunes, under Phorest FM, essentially.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Or just email us if you prefer that, marketing@Phorest.com, and we’ll do our best to get your preferred speakers on the show.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, let us know who you want to hear on the show next, and we’ll see if we can do it. Okay, that’s it from me and I think that’s it from you, Zoé.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Yes, I don’t have anything to add to that, so I guess, have an amazing week and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best!

Thanks for reading!


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