Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Salon Marketing with Schedulicity

by CurlStylist on Thursday, November 17th, 2011

There are hair stylists, and there are hair stylists. Tiffany Taylor specializes in management of the sort of hair that can ruin the effect of wearing a skimpy bathing suit, not to mention the effect of removing one. In industry lingo, Ms. Taylor is an “esthetician,” running her own two-person “waxing studio,” called ME Beauty, in Rochester, Mich.

Ms. Taylor once worked in her grandmother’s hair salon and went on to work as a freelance esthetician out of other salons and at clients’ homes. This year, Ms. Taylor opened her own place, hired an employee and set out to build her customer base. Word of mouth was all it took in her grandmother’s day, but Ms. Taylor wanted to take a more modern salon marketing approach by connecting with potential customers through Twitter, Facebook and e-mail, and by running Groupon promotions.

But Ms. Taylor ran into some hitches. She was having trouble converting customer interest into actual appointments. She gave out the studio’s phone number, but she and her employee weren’t always free to handle calls, and using an outside reception service was expensive. She tried some online scheduling services, but customers found them too much trouble to use. Meanwhile, Ms. Taylor’s social media marketing left her baffled about which efforts on which networks were yielding the best returns. And finally, she worried that Groupon promotions would result in a flurry of heavily discounted appointments all in the same week, wreaking havoc with cash flow. “I went to a marketing seminar where they said Groupon will crush your business by inundating you with customers who aren’t paying much,” said Ms. Taylor. “I was afraid of it.”

The concerns about scheduling, social networks and Groupon left Ms. Taylor thinking she had three separate salon marketing problems, but that was before she sent out a tweet asking if anyone knew of a good online scheduling solution. She got a tweet back from a manager at a company called Schedulicity suggesting that its service could help — and in more ways than one. Schedulicity’s specialty, as it turns out, is integrating online scheduling with social-network promotional campaigns. Appointy and Genbook are two similar services, offering roughly comparable features at roughly comparable prices.

For just $19 a month, Ms. Taylor runs all her campaigns with Schedulicity, allowing her to send out e-mail blasts, Facebook posts and tweets for each new promotion. The e-mail blasts can be limited to a specific subset of clients, which she defines by adding tags to her clients’ contact data. Hence, for example, a “teacher appreciation month” e-mail blast, offering a discount on a waxing and a free apple-scented candle.

Every e-mail note, post or tweet goes out with a Schedulicity appointment-making URL that’s unique to each medium and each promotion. That allows Ms. Taylor to call up a report detailing which service brought in which appointments — so far, Facebook is beating out Twitter and e-mail. About a third of her appointments are still coming in by phone, and she enters those into Schedulicity manually, but she has cut down on them by putting up a mobile Web site that does a better job of funneling cellphone customers to Schedulicity.

As for Groupon, Schedulicity offered Ms. Taylor a way to lower her risk of using the promotion, which brings in customers by offering a steep discount. She can specify the maximum number of Groupon customers who can book appointments on any given day — Ms. Taylor limits it to five — and since Groupon customers get a specific Schedulicity URL for booking, Schedulicity can direct all customers beyond that maximum to try a different day. “That means I can still have room every day to see clients who pay full price,” she said. She has sold 110 Groupon deals so far, offering a two-for-the-price-of-one bikini waxing.

Ms. Taylor reports that her bookings have nearly quadrupled in the several months she has been using Schedulicity, to an average of more than 30 a week. That has left her with just one more salon marketing problem: last-minute cancellations that result in open, hard-to-fill slots, waxing not being much of a walk-in business. But Schedulicity ended up providing a solution here, too, through a “pop-up offer” that lets Ms. Taylor send a discount deal over all of her marketing channels the minute someone cancels.

“I usually offer a ‘female Brazilian’ for $68,” she said. That’s 15 percent off a very thorough waxing. And yes, “male Brazilians” are popular, too. If you want to learn more about all this — perhaps a bit more than you’ll wish you had — you can visit Ms. Taylor’s candid FAQ page.

Schedulicity even helps her fine-tune her appointment schedule on the fly. The service sends her a text message and e-mail listing the details of the next appointment, and if she is finishing with her current customer ahead of time, she can just click on the next customer’s phone number and try to get him or her to come in early, so she has no down time. If she’s running late, she can call customers to alert them that they can take their time getting there.

And as a small bonus, Schedulicity provides Ms. Taylor with a little nighttime music. It turns out some people make the decision in the wee hours of the morning to book a waxing, and so Ms. Taylor’s cellphone often buzzes in the middle of the night with notification of a new appointment — something that doesn’t bother Ms. Taylor at all:

“I hear that and think, ‘Ha! It’s going to be another busy day.’”

Salon Marketing Tips for Slow Summer Months

by Trash Talk with Anna Craig on Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Anna Craig

Hair has been Anna Craig’s passion since she was 12 years old; this has always been her path in life. In 2001, she went to school in Tempe, AZ, at the Carsten Aveda Institute. After doing hair for about 5 years, she realized that precision haircuts were her specialty, after years of thinking that color was her calling. After doing hair in Arizona for several years, she took the plunge and moved to Texas, and her career took off. She soon opened her own salon, Trashy Roots Salon & Spa. There she became a Certified Deva Stylist, specializing in Curly Girl haircuts. She is also an artistic educator, which gives her the opportunity to go out to different salons in the area and educate them on new products and techniques. She is very involved in her community—holding annual cut-a-thons, participating in benefit hair shows, and helping with local beauty schools.

In the summer, clients are vacationing and busy with their children, so you need to adapt your salon marketing strategies to their crazy lives. Make sure to book their appointments right when school gets out, before their vacations, and before they leave already have their back-to-school schedule.

1. Summer Special

Offer a special, like 10% off any color service or a free haircut with a chemical service. This could help entice clients to come see you when times are slow. This helps when clients are trying to cut back and save money for vacations. July is one of the slowest months in any salon, so do a “July Deal” and offer a special for your clients.

2. Punk Colors and Feathers for Children

This is a great way to add on services and to encourage your clients to bring their children into your salon. Punk colors add up to big tickets because it’s a double process, the hair has to be lightened and then colored. Adding a haircut to either service is always encouraged. You will be amazed at how many referrals you get for new clients just by doing some fun kids hair.

3. Retail Products for Summer Hair

Clients need to be educated on what products they should use on their hair in the summer. If you have a specialty sun line, display it or put it on special. Your clients want to protect their investment, so show them how. Offer a special: liter sale, buy two, get one half off, or 10% OFF certain products.

4. Referrals

This is by far the best salon marketing tip for building up your clientele. It has two benefits: it is free and you don’t lose any money. I offer a program where if a client refers three friends, she receives a free haircut. Talk to your clients about referring their friends and family to you. Even talk about it on Facebook or put it out in an email. You will be amazed how fast clients start pouring in to keep you busy.

5. Stylist Reviews

This gets your name out there and helps new clients to find you. Offer 10% OFF their next appointment for every review written or have a review contest (pick one client who wrote a review to win $50 with you each week). The more positive stylist or salon reviews you have online the more business you will have. Clients don’t use the phone book any more to search for salons—they use the internet. So make sure there is positive information out there about you.

6. Rebooking

If you rebook every client all year long you won’t have a slow summer season. If you wait around for clients to call, then you will not hear from your clients until summer is over and you will starve all summer. So keep yourself busy all year long and rebook EVERY single client who sits in your chair.

The Most Important Client is the One in Your Chair

by Ivan Zoot/The Clipper Guy on Monday, December 6th, 2010

ivan zoot

Ivan Zoot is the director of education and customer engagement for the Andis Company and the founder of Zoot! Hair professional hair care products. Ivan identifies, recruits, trains and manages Andis’ team of professional beauty industry educators. Ivan continues to be a featured presenter at industry shows and events, sharing his unique blend of information, education and enthusiasm for clipper cutting and the entire professional beauty industry. Ivan’s background includes experiences ranging from salon ownership to achieving 3 Guinness World Haircutting records.

How many clients do you have? Tens? Hundreds? Thousands? We get wrapped up in measuring our business this way.

I would challenge you that whatever number you offer up is likely wrong, unless you offered up the number one. If you are reading this blog I hope you are not in the middle of a haircut. The only client we really have is the one in our chair right now.

I am sure we all agree that we do not own the clients. We are given the honor and privilege of serving them. That is customer service basics. They also do not belong to the salon. They are free to come and go and spend and choose as they wish.

Frequently we are lucky. They choose to come back. Yes, our efforts add up to more than luck. When you consider all the marketing messages, friendly referrals and impulse opportunities, it is a bit of a miracle any clients ever come back.

We work through an unwritten contract. When a client sits in our chair we have agreed to provide a service and they have agreed to pay for it when it is done. How many of us take the money up front? Have you ever asked to see the cash before you pick up a pair of scissors? It sounds silly to even suggest it. Therefore today’s haircut is a foregone conclusion. It is really done and paid for before we begin. So what is really the purpose of today’s haircut?

I will take the position that the purpose of today’s service experience is really an exercise to earn the next visit. That is the one we are working for. Today’s is done. Each visit is linked to the next. Today you might deliver a great haircut, but if the client does not allow you to cut the next one, this hair cut can really be seen as a failure.

I think we understand this concept better when the client is new to us. We work hard to earn that second and third visit. We know how to do it. The bigger challenge is to maintain that perspective beyond the first few visits.

Because, really, every visit is a first visit. If we do not treat it as a first visit, the client will likely treat it as a last one.

My wish for you is that you may have nothing but first-time clients in the coming year.

Giving Back with Cause Marketing

by Karen Mcintosh on Monday, November 1st, 2010

Many salons and hair product manufacturers find space in their crowded agendas to offer help to philanthropic organizations. They find giving back earns the support and respect of other businesses, customers and clients who also feel strongly about the cause.

Why Give Back?

Despite a tough economy, consumers are more aligned to causes than ever. They will switch brands and even try an unknown brand to support a cause. 83% of consumers want companies to do more to support causes, according to the Cone Cause Evolution Study for 2010, which evaluates Americans’ attitudes and expectations towards companies. And 78% of Americans believe it’s important for the health and beauty industry to support social or environmental causes.

Social causes that you believe in and are compatible with your company’s marketing strategy and core values will earn you the support and respect from people who also support the cause. Some of them may be future customers.

What Do You Stand For?

Choose your cause from the heart, because it feels good and you feel that your business can make a difference. Is there a cause you care deeply about and would commit time and resources to, even if it would bring little or no return on investment? It’s important for companies to support issues that aren’t just good for their business but will win the hearts and minds of customers.

Give Your Efforts the Greatest Marketing Impact

In addition to raising money for a cause, integrate cause marketing into your overall marketing strategy. Examine what you want to achieve with your cause-related campaign and have clear goals you can write into your marketing plan.

Return on Investment (ROI) can be difficult to track without some sort of response mechanism in place, such as click throughs or contact/fulfillment forms on web sites. Rather than ROI, think of other ways you can measure bang for your buck. Increased awareness, greater exposure to potential customers, improved employee pride, retention or morale — all can be achieved when you give back.

Increase the Buzz

Both local and national nonprofit causes can funnel benefits like media coverage or advertising time that a single business could not have budgeted for on its own. Cause marketing will not match advertising dollar for dollar, but it can provide greater exposure to potential customers and give you the synergy of cross-promotion with other sponsors. Find out what the organizer partner is doing to create buzz: Any interviews with local media, radio or TV PSAs? What about social media, blogs, and other online presence or displays, promotional items and handouts? Make sure to get linked on websites, logo placement on collateral, and ask for free tickets for your key staff to sponsored events.

You can promote the event or cause to your own customer and prospect base through e-mail marketing, where you can schedule multiple drops and track your contacts and responses. Add a widget to your website for online fundraising. Social tools now make it easy to solicit donations using fundraising widgets or badges, social networks like Twitter and Causes (part of Facebook). Check out Socialbrite for more information.

Top 10 Causes — Or Closer to Home?

Millions of dollars for top charitable causes like cancer and AIDS/HIV research stream in every year through donations. HairRaising, Kiehl’s, Hairdressers Unlocking Hope, and Paul Mitchell Schools are companies whose individual efforts netted fundraising results in the multiple millions for these causes.

Top 10 causes are popular because they provide turnkey cause marketing at its largest and highest volume. They have a process for any salon or salon professional to easily get involved, are managed by communications companies, and feature instantly recognizable personalities.

While their high visibility may bring your salon attention and kudos within the industry, often it’s the more modest cause closer to home that can deliver greater impact and be more transparent to your potential customer base.

Giving Back to Your Community

When choosing an issue to support, consumers believe companies should consider one that is important in the communities where they do business*. And in this era of lower tax revenues and severe budget cuts, local sponsorship can help make up the shortfall. Local “give-back” partnerships impact and improve the community directly, and earn sponsoring businesses respect as responsible, caring “citizens”.

Local opportunities abound — in community centers, after-school programs, humane societies, health and fitness subsidies or scholarships for children, teens and adults at risk for obesity, green and sustainable initiatives, local charity events, food banks, mental health centers, homeless and domestic violence shelters, music and the arts, sports, libraries and many more. The list goes on and on.

Choose one or two reputable community organizations to start. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to connect with organizers and exchange ideas.

*Cone 2010 Cause Evaluation Study

Success Stories: Radically Different Cause Marketing Models

MAC Viva Glam – The Lipstick that raised millions

Legacy products like MAC Viva Glam, whose total sales are donated to the MAC AIDS Fund, have raised more than $150 million since 1994. Smaller web-based businesses can use this model too. Choose one product and dedicate the profits to your favorite cause. Or produce a special-label limited edition, like Ojon’s Limited-Edition Restorative Hair Treatment, which donates $5 of every sale to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Shea Terra Organics: Building a Sustainable Business Model and a Community

Tammie Umble, founder and CEO of Shea Terra Organics, decided to create a superior shea butter line with rare, indigenous, healing herbs and oils that was affordable and natural, without sulfates, parabens, fillers and artificial fragrances or colors.

While researching Africa’s ancient healing resources, Tammie experienced the extreme poverty and destruction of Africa. She vowed that Shea Terra Organics would offer significant long-term assistance to effective programs that provide African families with employment and education.

A portion of the proceeds for each Shea Terra Organics’ product are donated to self-empowerment and environmental programs. Tammie purchases many rare ingredients from communities throughout Africa with Fair Trade practices, providing significant income and employment to these areas. Shea Terra Organics has helped preserve the Miombo Rainforest from deforestation by paying local villagers and families fair trade wages for sustainable resources rather than buying lots of trees for a one-time fee. Tammie also co-founded the Otuke Shea Butter Project, to offer compensation three to five times the amount given to women in West Africa for producing shea butter. The women involved in the coop fled their villages with their children to escape violence in war torn Northern Uganda.

Through cause marketing, Shea Terra Organics is helping to stabilize a population in Africa and insuring the sustainability of its raw materials for years to come.

Cut it Out: Salons against Domestic Abuse

Research shows that most battered women never call the police or go to a shelter, but a hairdresser may be a safe lifeline. Often a woman in an abusive situation may feel comfortable confiding in her salon professional. The salon may be one of the few places that a battered woman is allowed to go without her abuser.

Cut It Out helps spotlight domestic abuse through free awareness materials salons can display. The program also trains salon professionals to recognize warning signs and safely refer clients to resources. Their Adopt-a-Shelter initiative involves salons in helping local domestic violence agencies. Salons can also donate directly to the Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund.

Originally a statewide program for salons in Alabama, Cut It Out went national in 2003 with the partnership of Clairol Professional and the National Cosmetology Association.

Two Easy Ways to Give Back

1. Feature or recommend products for retail in your salon from manufacturers who donate the profits or have cause marketing programs. Here’s a partial list:

Cancer Research

Ojon – Breast Cancer Awareness Month limited edition
Onesta - 10% of net income to cancer research every year

AIDS/HIV

Kiehl’s

The Environment

David Babaii for WildAid
Pantene Healthy Hair for Healthy Water

2. Join up with an Industry-sponsored Cause Marketing Team
Hairdressers Unlocking Hope (Behind the Chair) – Hurricane Katrina Relief and Habitat for Humanity

Hair Raising (to benefit Children’s Hospital Boston)

Paul Mitchell Schools FUNraising (various causes)

Karen Mcintosh (NaturallyCurly member Suburbanbushbabe) loves to write about curly hair, play with curly hair, and review products for curly hair. Curly hair is her hobby and passion…and possibly an obsession. Karen can be reached at suburbanbushbabe@gmail.com or her blog.

Ways to Engage: Marketing and PR in the Digital Age

by Victoria Wurdinger on Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Have you hosted a Tweetstakes, posted a vlog or used your online booking program to send targeted offers? Maybe not, but chances are you haven’t mailed out a press kit recently either—paper is passé. The digitally dividing question: If you aren’t experiencing social media awesomeness yet, do you really have to hire one of today’s self-proclaimed social media gurus, ninjas, stars or strategists? And, must you blog, tweet, post, Digg and retweet five times a day? To both of those, thank goodness, no. There’s a lot you can do yourself these days without getting overwhelmed. Besides, if you’re on your iPhone all day, you aren’t working.

To effectively launch a digital marketing and PR campaign, start with a straightforward strategy. Says Laura Fitzgerald, the owner of Lift Consulting LLC, which handles marketing and PR for 16 salons across the country, as well as non-industry clients, “You’ll have more success with a simple plan. Determine what you want to do six months out. The three things you should involve are a website, Facebook and direct mail—either snail mail or email. Every region and client base is different. A New Jersey salon I work with gets the best results with printed material displayed in the salon but an Atlanta salon sees instant results from specials posted on its Facebook page. It all starts with knowing your client base.”

Avoid social networking fatigue and focus your efforts. Exposure on a hyper-local website or blog brings bigger payoffs than national attention, while a major platform like Facebook can get your message out to current clients and other consumers.

7 Things to Try:

    1.

    Involve the Community. If you don’t know where your clients live online, ask, or use an online survey from sites like Survey Monkey (surveymonkey.com). Based on what you learned, create a six-month plan for digital marketing and PR, then test and measure results. Don’t try to do it all; focus on what’s successful. While PR creates great buzz, most salons want to see the numbers spike, which puts the focus on marketing, says Fitzgerald.

    Facebook logo

    2.

    Interact with Consumers Formerly Called Fans. Do you now call a Facebook Fan Page a Like Page? Never mind the nomenclature, go to Facebook.com, create a page for your business and ask clients to like you. Keep the page professional, brand it with your photos and post hair care tips or specials. Ask salon clients to find you on Facebook, and add a Facebook badge to your website, so they can link right through. Also ask your web developer to add widgets for other social networks. You don’t have to know what these all are right off, except that they allow your clients to share your stories on other social networks and on their own Facebook pages. Once you have a lot of “likers,” with just a click or two, you can invite them to an event or tell them about a back-to-school special. Encourage them to post ways they use your products or share photos of themselves in that straw set that you took hours to do.

    3.

    Put Stake in Your Stylists. If you don’t have a Facebook page, chances are your stylists do. While some prefer it for personal use and don’t want you to see their snarky comments about the boss, most will use it to promote themselves and the business. Give them photo work to post or hold a salon photo shoot. Jenn Mapp-Bressan, the brand manager for Cibu International Hair Care, the Ratner Companies house brand, says about 25% of corporate stylists embrace social media and, “We provide them with Facebook content to use.”

    4.

    Get your Groupon—if You Know Your Goal. John Escalada, owner of Skyline Downtown Salon in Kansas City, MO, used the collective bargaining power of Groupon, which emails daily deals to thousands of locals in 140 U.S. cities. How it works: Set the deal (Escalada offered $100 worth of services for $45) and the minimum number of customers you want; if not enough sign up, the deal is cancelled. Local consumers pay Groupon online, print out a coupon and book the appointment. Know your goal and your costs! Groupon takes half off the top, plus 3% for credit card fees; salons take product costs and pay commissions out of their half, says Escalada, whose spreadsheet showed he basically gave himself a short-term loan (paid in thirds over 60 days) at 22% interest. “It’s best for getting in new clients if you can retain them,” he notes. Other tips: Ask stylists to take lower commissions to get the new business, have the desk identify Groupon coupon holders when they call and direct them to new stylists or slower appointment times. Escalada got 337 new clients (the deal was offered for 24 hours and sent to 55,000 subscribers in Kansas City), and says if he retains 25%, that translates into at least $56,000 in new yearly revenue. In the end, it cost him $1,680 for the opportunity, which he felt was cheaper than a local advertisement.

    5.

    Secure a Shout Out. Don’t forget that websites like CitySearch, NaturallyCurly.com and Yelp are the go-to places for consumers to find salons in their areas. Escalada says after word-of-mouth, Yelp is his second biggest driver of new clients. You can ask clients who are happy with their visits to positively review your salon (individual stylists often do this) or let it happen organically. You’re bound to get some negative reviews and Escalada always responds—publicly or privately, depending on the circumstances. As a result, one crabby client ended up re-reviewing, telling everyone how much he cared.

    6.

    Use Measurable Marketing. Whether your send out an e-blast or a newsletter, ask clients to opt-in, and don’t wear out your welcome. How many emails are too many? One salon Fitzgerald worked with saw a drastic increase in clients asking to unsubscribe, as soon as emailing increased from monthly to weekly. Email marketing software like Constant Contact helps you manage messages by culling your lists for duplicates and dead email addresses, following anti-spamming laws, sending out your emails and tracking results, from who opened your email to who passed your offer onto a friend. While Fitzgerald designs e-blasts and digital press kits for her clients, she uses Constant Contact to email them because it’s simple and effective. Escalada uses the software, too; he uses the built-in templates to create his own email newsletter.

    7.

    Post a Digital Video. Own an HD video camera? Shoot a three-minute video of a specialized technique you want clients to understand and post it on You Tube or Facebook and send it the embed code to CurlStylist to post. Three years ago, Cibu’s Mapp-Bressan used tutorial videos to bridge the gap between women’s need to see and experience a product, and an e-commerce site. Show how to use your product, using simple language, she says. Or, introduce your newest hair extensions in three minutes, including information on the cost, application, care and maintenance. Even if you don’t have a website, you can post a video on your Facebook page, making what was once very costly nearly free.

Twitter logo

Working you website, Facebook page and e-blasts is plenty for digital starters: it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options. Take your time and ask questions—of other salon friends or your 14-year-old nephew who manages all his networks from a single app. Once you have these three working for you, mange them through updates. A stagnant website with a five-month old blog or an inactive Facebook page is like a closed business.

If everything is working for you, consider trying Twitter. You need a smart phone to manage it in a meaningful way—Mapp-Bressan suggests using Twitter to drive consumers to your larger platforms by tweeting your links. Take your time learning; mistakes on many social networks can cost more than they’re worth. If you don’t follow established protocol or ignore terms of use, you could end up banned. Several social networks allow just one account, won’t allow name changes and track your computer’s ISP to make certain you play by the rules.

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