By Jenny Backman, Carolina Tan Factory
I am a small business salon owner, just recently adding my third salon, all within 20 miles of each other. I get asked time and time again if there are locations in different areas outside of my local town. I believe the reason for this is because I run my business very professionally and structurally, and customers associate that with how most larger chains operate. I’m not saying your goal should be to operate just like a chain, but you should always strive to look like a “big deal.” Ideally, the biggest deal and the best place to tan in your area! Let me explain how to do this:
You’ve heard this word, I’m sure! You’re never too small to claim your stake on your business! Make sure you have a custom designed, professional logo and use it. It should be on every piece of literature your customers look at, such as your website, social media or any ads you run. Your salon décor should mirror the color scheme and design of your logo. The goal here is for someone to know where they are or what they are looking at just by seeing your logo and brand. Successful branding creates feelings and awareness for customers.
What Do Your Customers See?
Get up every day and walk into your salon with fresh eyes! What do customers see? Tanning salons, in particular, have a stereotypical curse on them that portray them as being somewhat stuck in time with dated, unkempt salon atmospheres. Now, I understand it’s costly to make cosmetic changes to your salon, but small things can make a big difference. My mother always told me “It’s not what you have, it’s how nice you keep it; you always want to be prepared for guests.” That has always stuck with me! So, take the 1980s dirty poster down of the bikini girl, and think of a trendy DIY option that, again, models your logo and brand!
Advertising and Putting your Brand to Work
“Big deal” salons are constantly trying to stay on your mind. Whether that is for current customers that are in the salon tanning or for the ones that haven’t discovered you yet, advertising and brand awareness is crucial!
There are two goals that I have with this: First, I want to make sure my current customers are happy and being reminded of what we have to offer at my salon. Upon sign up, they have a plethora of professional looking information that they can take home and read that outlines their membership, rewards programs and ways to stay connected. When they are in the salon tanning, we offer in-store specials once every two weeks that create buying opportunities. You want them to feel like they are part of something that is truly a “big deal!”
Second, reaching new customers is always super-important for the health of any business. Your salon needs to stand out. Be sure your salon looks like a “big deal” when customers are searching. Put your advertising budget to work in modern-day avenues that draw in new customers.
Becoming a “big deal” doesn’t happen overnight. Start making small changes daily that will help you work toward your goal. Don’t worry about what other salons are doing. Focus on what you can do for your salon that will make it the area’s best choice. You are your own competition – keep growing!