By Grant Miller
For the purpose of marketing and strategic planning, I like to break down the year into two halves. The first half of the year, I focus on growing the business by getting as many new clients as possible and growing my EFT memberships, which helps to build a base on continuity revenue to survive (and thrive) in the offseason. Most of your new clients are acquired during the busy season, so you want to pull out all the stops to grow your membership base.
As I enter the second half of the year, my focus changes to the retention of my members and using other high-profit services to increase my revenues.
Retention is an area where a lot of salons don’t always pay enough attention. Sometimes salon owners have an attitude or mindset that the customer will automatically think of their salon when they are in need of a tanning service again.
Always keep this in mind: “It’s never your customer’s job to remember you; it’s your job to make sure the customer never forgets about your salon.”
Assuming you have a strong EFT program, that is the first and best way to retain a client. The beauty of the EFT is that a client continues to pay until they cancel, so there is a ton of retention built into that model already. But, you still want to give those EFT clients a good reason to continue with you during the upcoming offseason.
The best time to keep them is before they start to cancel or freeze their membership. Since the end of May and beginning of June is my peak for EFTs, I will start incentivizing those members to stay before they think of cancelling.
You can offer them free upgrades each month, upgrade their entire membership to the next highest level (either free or for a fee) or even allow them to add on a friend to share their membership during the second half of the year.
For your non-EFT clients, you can also do a lot of promotions to keep them during the slow times. This is a great time to start offering a “Tan ‘Til Year End” membership. Make the price super attractive so it’s an easy decision for the client to buy.
A special sale on your other memberships and packages is also a good way to boost your cash flow. A BOGO 50 percent off or even BOGO free is a great incentive to keep them active with you.
Using different media to keep in touch with your clients is also often overlooked. We mail, yes mail with real postage stamps, birthday cards, half birthday cards, anniversary cards, thank you cards, and bounce-back cards to members every month. This is especially important to do during the offseason to make certain you are at the top of their mind’s awareness.
Lastly, our expanding selection of high-end spa services has been a crucial ingredient to growing revenues that are not seasonal. MyLipo, HydraFacial, Cryotherapy and now CoolScultping has provided year round profitability and gives our clients more reasons to visit more frequently.
As the saying goes “dig the well before you thirst.” Plan now to retain your clients during the offseason, and reap the rewards for the rest of the year.