By Ashley Laabs
Salon owners are always focused on keeping their clients happy and making the most out of their buying potential, but one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself as slow season creeps along is to increase your customer base. Get more new people coming in the doors and learn how to optimize those opportunities.
Find Your Cheerleaders
Of course, new customers become regular customers – it’s just part of the cycle. That’s why winning new customers begins with the patrons you already have. Figure out who your most valuable customers are: Who brings the most referrals to your business? Who is always raving to others? Who spends the most money in your salon?
These are the customers you need to reward. Try to evaluate how much they are worth to your business and offer them premium gifts, including exclusive sales, better savings on regular sales, movie tickets or other perks that are only for these fierce friends of the salon. So many times, salon owners enforce a referral program that doesn’t really incentivize anyone. By creating a system with attractive rewards that still stays within the value of these loyal visitors, you can entice other customers to be an ambassador for your business, and therefore get more referrals from them.
Social Media also makes it easy to create a cheerleader. Because information can be shared and retweeted, you can create contests or incentivize customers to make your content viral. Your sales and promotions will reach an audience far beyond your fans and create some warm leads for your business.
Create a Win-Win Event
Cross promoting is a fairly common marketing tactic, but not many businesses take it to the next level. Find the businesses in your area – gyms, clothing boutiques, health food stores, supplement stores, dance clubs or travel agencies – that have a similar clientele but don’t directly compete with you. Instead of swapping advertisements or handing out coupons at each establishment, host an event together.
By getting all of these similar clients in one place, you have the opportunity to reach people who are likely interested in your service because of their other shopping habits. Practice your best customer service to make everyone feel welcome and extend an exciting offer to attendees. You could even offer discounted products or services at the event if appropriate.
One of the biggest missteps in promotional events is not following up. Did you give yourself a way to reach out to these people again? Many salons lose out on potential sales by not leaving a trail of breadcrumbs back to the sale. When you do a Groupon promotion, when you host an event, when you perform free services, and when you get a referral, you are dealing with people who are interested in what you have to offer – don’t let them get away after the deal is over!
Target those leads before they run cold and help them enjoy themselves again. Get them in the store, show them around and remind them why they were interested. You can get so much more out of your promotions if you don’t just wait and see who will come back again. Make the effort to welcome these guests and form a relationship so they don’t sit in the archives of your software as a one-tan wonder.