10 Ways to make your 2021 Salon Marketing Plan Pandemic-Proof

COVID-19 and 2020 has dramatically (and maybe permanently) altered the landscape of the salon industry overall. Hairdressers, salon owners, salon professional manufacturers, wholesale beauty distributors, beauty educators – everyone in the industry has felt its impacts.

From closures to cancellations, you might be wondering how to create a new normal in 2021 that will support your salon business and enable you to connect with and better serve your clients. As you evaluate your 2021 salon marketing plan, there are ways to make your plan pandemic-proof so that you can safely serve clients and sell professional salon retail products.

10 Keys for a Pandemic-Proof Salon Marketing Plan

1. Reward and Recognize

Have you ever heard the phrase “reward behavior you want more of”?  Nearly every aspect of salon sales, from gift cards to retail to pre-booking to referrals can be incentivized. There has never been a better time for you to recognize and reward your best clients. Some of the ways to do this include:

  • Referral rewards
  • Referral contests
  • Gift card BOGOs (such as free retail product or $25 gift card with purchase of $____ in gift cards)
  • Social media shout-outs tagging clients in before/after photos
  • Social media contests and giveaways
  • Pre-booking incentives (retail discounts, free add-ons like deep conditioning, brow waxes, etc.)
  • Retail incentives (reward for every $______ spent on retail)
  • Letting a VIP client (preferably one with a large social following) try a new product or service “on the house” in return for a Facetime Live or other video review
  • Thank you notes to clients who leave reviews for your salon on Facebook, Yelp, Google, or some other review site

2. Promote Pre-Booking

Pre-booking clients 6-12 months in advance creates patterns and habits. Pre-booking puts clients with specific hair goals or whose styles are higher maintenance in the chair at the optimal frequency needed. It eliminates the possibility that your client may have to book with another stylist, and for the client, it ensures they will have services with the stylist of their choice! Pre-booking gives you more ability to control your schedule and to identify any slow times on the books.

There’s no downside! You can incentivize client pre-booking with a percentage discount on retail products or include add-ons at no cost, or at a reduced cost. You can also reward and recognize clients who made all their pre-booked appointments without cancelling or rescheduling after 6 months or 1 year for “perfect attendance.”

3. Touchless Payments

Make sure you have a contactless way that clients can purchase and pay for salon retail products. This could be especially important should your salon be subject to another temporary shutdown. Platforms like PayPal for Business, Square, or your own bank or financial institution may offer easy-to-use payment solutions which preclude the need for clients to come into the salon to buy salon retail, or which give them the ability to pay at the end of their appointment without using a communal touchpad or card processing machine.

4. Curbside Pickup

Offering curbside pickup is the perfect partner for touchless payments! Your clients can purchase the salon retail products they need safely and securely, and they can pick them up without having to enter your place of business.

This could be an invaluable service to offer vulnerable clients who have been self-isolating for the past several months to avoid exposure to COVID-19. It could also be an effective way to continue to sell retail should another temporary shutdown occur.

5. Embrace Email

Email is essential! Especially if you have clients who stopped going to the salon during the pandemic or greatly increased the amount of time between appointments. Email enables you to reach out to your clients to:

  • keep your brand top of mind
  • extend special offers to entice them back to regular appointments
  • reassure them of their safety by telling them how your salon social distances, cleans and disinfects
  • suggest retail products that can help them feel and look better for work meetings – whether those meetings happen at a worksite or virtually
  • convey changes to operating hours and keep them up to date during any temporary closures
  • send a thank-you email after their appointment expressing appreciation that they chose to do business with you, confirming their pre-booked next appointment, and reminding them of any products you recommended to them during their consultation or appointment
  • birthday emails with a free add-on, retail product or some other special offer

6. Establish Hours for Vulnerable Clients

Many retail businesses have special hours set aside for seniors, why not special salon hours for vulnerable clients? During these hours, vulnerable clients can be reassured that:

  • your salon was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected immediately before their arrival
  • that you are (even further) limiting the number of people on premises, and
  • that you are taking additional precautions (such as temperature checks for staff and clients) to help promote a safe and healthy salon experience

7. At-Home Kits

Offering at-home kits can help you sell more retail and support sales even during a temporary shutdown. Many salons and hairdressers are offering at home hair care kits with all of the products needed to maintain healthy hair and help clients with styling their hair for work, virtual meetings, and so on. While it’s not an ideal solution, some hairdressers are even offering at-home hair color kits along with video instruction and support so that clients can maintain basic haircoloring when they cannot have services in the salon.

8. Virtual Consultations

During the closures and limitations, some states even imposed time limits on the length of time a client can be in the salon for an appointment. This can constrict your ability to deliver the salon services the clients want. One way to get more time back for services is to conduct client consultations online via a video service like Zoom or Facetime. That way you will be ready to start the client’s service right away when they arrive.

This also gives you more time to prepare to recommend retail! You can introduce the idea of retail products the client needs during the virtual appointment. This will plant the idea so they may be more receptive to purchasing retail products at their appointments. You can also pre-package the recommended retail products to save additional time at checkout.

9. Video How-To

If you have a smartphone you have all the tools you need to connect with your clients virtually using video! Zoom, Skype, Facetime and other video platforms offer the ability to go live with your own video how-to sessions that might range from 30 seconds in length or 30 minutes, and record them for future playback.

Once recorded, you can download them for reuse in emails, on social media and on your salon website. Examples of video how-to that could help you book more appointments and sell salon retail products include:

  • Styling
  • Seasonal haircare
  • Salon professional product use
  • At-home kits application and product use

10. Display Distancing, Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols

Everyone – including your clients, vendors, staff, and co-workers – are concerned about health and safety to some extent right now! Establish protocols in line with local recommendations and requirements and communicate to your salon’s staff, vendors, and clients what you are doing to promote the safest environment you can in the salon.

Top 10 Salon Professional Gifts for Self-Gifting Holiday Shoppers

Self-gifting holiday shoppers could help you increase holiday salon retail sales and boost revenues this year.

53 percent of holiday shoppers are self-gifting shoppersThe numbers don’t lie! People who shop for gifts for others during the holidays often purchase items for themselves as well. 53.2% of shoppers plan to buy gifts for themselves and 73.5% of consumers with a budget of more than $500 expect to buy gifts for themselves.

With that in mind, we thought about each of the brands MRK Beauty sells to licensed beauty professionals in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, and found a list of at least ten items that would be perfect for self-gifting shoppers visiting your salon during the coming months.

If you’re a licensed cosmetologist in the Pacific NW but not yet a customer, sign up for a new customer account online and start shopping online, via text or email to 509-995-3282 or by sending an order to us via email.

Increase Salon Holiday Sales with 10 Gifts for Self-Gifting Holiday Shoppers

1. Babe Lash’s 3-steps to longer, stronger wink-worthy lashes with Babe Lash Essential Serum, Enhancing Conditioner and Nourishing Mascara

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Why it made the list: Babe Lash Essential Serum, Conditioner and Nourishing Mascara is the PERFECT TRIO for clients who want great lashes. Used in concert, Babe Lash Essential Serum at the end of the day and then using Enhancing Conditioner and Nourishing Mascara to get ready for the day, clients will develop an effective regimen to improve the appearance and health of their lashes.

2. Oligo Blacklight Dry Shampoo and 18-in-1 Hair Beautifier

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Why they made the list: Oligo Blacklight Dry Shampoo saves clients time by giving them the gift of more time in between shampoos. And like all Blacklight products, it was created especially for the complete spectrum of blondes.

Oligo Blacklight 18-in-1 Hair Beautifier is a MUST-HAVE to help clients – especially clients with highlighted, bleached or color-treated hair – during winter months when hair is often subject to extreme outdoor weather and the dry heat indoor environments.

  • Lightly conditions, hydrates, and restores shine and luster
  • Protects against color fade
  • Detangles
  • Reduces blow-drying time and enhances manageability
  • Protects from free radicals, environmental and heat damage
  • Smooths split ends, prevents breakage, strengthens and revitalizes the hair’s own natural protective layer

Self-gifting clients can choose from full retail size or try-me ornaments specially for the 2020 holiday season. The ornaments also make a thoughtful and memorable gift for your amazing clients!

3. Blind Barber best sellers: 40 Proof Sea Salt Spray, Shampoo + Bodywash and Bryce Harper Beard Balm

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Why they made the list:  Even if your clientele is mainly (or totally) female – or maybe especially if your clientele is female, these are great for self-gifting shoppers who want to give the gift of a well-groomed man to themselves!

Blind Barber 40 Proof Sea Salt Spray – a protein-rich spray that gives hair an extra boost of volume and texture. Infused with sea salt and hops to mimic “just-off-the-beach” waves with the perfect body.

Blind Barber Shampoo + Bodywash – another time-saving combo. Formulated with a custom spirit blend to cleanse hair and body with natural ingredients of hops extract and juniper berry to remove product build-up and debris.

Blind Barber Bryce Harper Beard Balm – another winter-environment fighter! a careful blend of essential oils, it immediately moisturizes, conditions, and keeps beards soft and shiny.

4. No Inhibition Age Renew at-home treatment regimen by z.one concept

Why it made the list: No Inhibition Age Renew provides a revenue-enhancing in-salon service that helps counteract the signs of aging in hair, with an extraordinarily lustrous and rejuvenating result.

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It’s most effective when clients adopt the No Inhibition Age Renew at-home treatment regimen in between professional services; including:

  • No Inhibition Age Renew revitalizing shampoo – perfect, gentle cleansing for hair in order to maintain a healthy look over time
  • No Inhibition Age Renew revitalizing mask – deep nourishment for hair that improves its structure and look over time
  • No Inhibition Age Renew leave-in renew cream – a daily defense leave-in hair cream that helps fight the signs of aging on hair with an extraordinary, rejuvenating, lustrous result – is the perfect finish to the no inhibition age renew hair care system for maintaining its benefits over time

5. BIOTOP Professional 007 Keratin Serum and 911 Quinoa Serum

Why they made the list: Tis the season! Winter is fraught with the potential for environmental damage to the hair indoors and out.

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BIOTOP Professional 911 Quinoa Serum is an intensely restorative serum for any hair type. It instantly repairs, reinforces and revitalizes hair fibers. This serum goes above and beyond by providing heat protection and reducing the appearance of split ends and contains vitamin E to protect against free radical damage and boost the appearance of healthy-looking hair.

BIOTOP Professional 007 Keratin Serum is especially designed for coarse or chemically/heat damaged hair. It is an intensive, keratin-infused, restorative serum that provides heat protection and split-end control; while instantly repairing and restoring hair thanks to vitamin A and vitamin E inside.

6. Oligo Professional Flex Finish Shaping Spray, Dry Texture Spray and Express Dry Finishing Spray

Why they made the list: Holiday gatherings – virtual or in-person – make great style a MUST for your clients during the holidays! These Oligo Professional shaping, texture and finishing sprays deliver the results clients are looking for.

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Oligo Professional Flex Finishing Spray delivers gloriously flexible hair for a perfect, polished look. Plus it has Flip 360 technology so it can be sprayed from any angle for ultimate coverage!

Oligo Professional Dry Texture Spray is the key for perfectly tousled hair – delivers touchable, flexible texture free of unwanted residues.

Oligo Professional Express Dry Finishing Spray delivers all-day hold without being sticky or stiff. Like the Flex Finishing Spray, it has Flip 360 technology so you can spray it from any angle for max coverage.

7. Redavid Orchid Oil Curl Defining Crème and Orchid Oil Dual Therapy Treatment

Why they made the list: Style and repair for curly hair.

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Redavid Orchid Oil Curl Defining Crème tames unruly and damaged hair, leaving curls healthy, radiant and manageable. Likewise, Redavid Orchid Oil Dual Therapy Treatment is a 2-part universal repair system that takes on heavily damaged hair and offers total support for the needs of curly hair.

8. Sutra Beauty Professional Blowout Brush

Why it made the list: A great styling tool for clients at home or on the go!

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The Sutra Beauty Professional Blowout Brush has a powerful motor in a lightweight design. It dries hair while straightening and styling with 3 speed settings, a low-dry function and an easy-to-grip handle. 99 percent of Sutra Beauty web visitors who reviewed this drying and styling tool gave it 5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

9. milk_shake Moisture Plus Duo / milk_shake Moisture Plus Trio from z.one concept

Why they made the list: They’re holiday gift-ready packaged as a boxed duo or a trio with a beautiful free gift with purchase in the form of a creamy white travel bag.

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The milk_shake Moisture Plus Duo (boxed) shampoo and conditioner are for dry hair. They improve softness and manageability while maintaining optimal moisture balance. The duo includes:

  • milk_shake Moisture Plus Shampoo 10.1 oz
  • milk_shake Moisture Plus Conditioner 8.4 oz

The milk_shake Moisture Plus Trio kit shampoo, conditioner and whipped cream no-rinse moisturizing foam are for dry hair. They improve softness and manageability while maintaining optimal moisture balance. The trio includes:

  • milk_shake Moisture Plus Shampoo 10.1 oz
  • milk_shake Moisture Plus Conditioner 8.4 oz
  • milk_shake Moisture Plus Whipped Cream 6.8 oz

10. Trueplex Bamboo Miracle Smooth & Repair Shampoo and Conditioner, and BambooMiracle All-in-One Leave-In Treatment

Why they made the list: Clients who purchase smoothing treatments in the salon need products to use at-home that extend the life of the service!

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Bamboo Miracle Smooth & Repair Shampoo helps eliminate frizz by sealing the cuticle, adding tremendous shine and manageability, and extending the life of smoothing treatments and color. It cleanses and soothes the scalp, leaving hair refreshed and rehydrated.

Bamboo Miracle Smoother & Repair Conditioner locks moisture into the hair, preventing dehydration, color fade and protecting against harmful UV rays. It extends the life of smoothing treatments leaving hair soft, supple, and smooth.

BambooMiracle All-in-One Leave-In Treatment improves hair elasticity and strength. It stimulates collagen production and smooths roughened cuticles, locking in color and rebalancing and soothing the scalp.

3 ways to amplify promotions of salon professional products to self-gifting holiday shoppers

1. Station-talkers – Station talkers and try me products can be left anywhere clients may be left to wait (at the station, under a dryer, in the lobby or waiting area, at the shampoo bowl, etc.) These “down times” during the client visit, when you might not be interacting with them directly, present an opportunity for clients to view and read station and shelf talkers.

2. Consultations – Introducing the client to needed at-home products during the consultation sets the stage for you to “close” at the end. Let them know what products they should use at home to enhance the results achieved in the salon and extend the life of color, smoothing, conditioning and other salon treatments.

3. Email and text messaging – Study after study shows that consumers subscribe to emails and follow brands on social media in order to hear about deals and promotions. Don’t disappoint! Use email and text (SMS message) marketing to introduce your clients to holiday offers that appeal to self-gifting shoppers.

Digital Marketing with Hashtags and Keywords for Stylists, Salons, Salon Suites and Booth Renters

If you have ever wondered why some websites – and even some social updates – show up in results when you are searching online, it is because they contain the “keywords” you used when searching. You do not have to be an SEO (search engine optimization) expert to infuse basic SEO tactics into your website and social media.

Two of the ways you can do this are with hashtags and keywords. When you include hashtags in your social media posts, they can be found any time someone searches for entries under that hashtag.

Digital Salon Marketing with Keywords – How does it work?

What are “keywords?”  Simply put, anything that a real person searches for on a search engine, whether a single word or a phrase, is considered a keyword. For example, here are the search results when “MRK Beauty” is typed into a Google search:

find MRK Beauty online

 

Include keywords in your digital “real estate” such as your salon’s website and your social media profiles. Specifically, keywords like your name as a beauty professional, your salon’s name, your city’s name, the name of the business park where your salon is, and so on – any type of keyword a real person might type into Google when trying to find your business or a business like yours.

Adding these keywords to your web pages, blog content and social media posts makes it find-able when people search online using the same keywords. For instance, when you add the word salon (or salons in your city (inserting your city’s name) you now have keywords in your content that real people might search for online. Here’s how it works:

Someone just moved to town, they aren’t happy with their current stylist, or they are searching for a salon for some other reason. When they go to Google (or Bing or some other search engine) and type the words “salons in <your city>” or a  similar variation, your social posts, web page and other online content becomes find-able because you included the same key phrase.

Digital Salon Marketing with Hashtags – How does it work?

Think of the way hashtags work as similar to a digital file cabinet filled with file folders. Each of these file folders is titled with a single, specific hashtag, and all the web and social media content that has that hashtag is the digital content you would find in that folder.

hashtags in salon marketing

When you include hashtags in your social media posts (and even on your salon’s website), they become part of this find-able content. This can help introduce your salon services to new clients and help you grow your list of social followers or drive traffic to your salon’s web page.

Hashtags are your FRIENDS! They make it super-easy to come up with engaging social media content. Here are common salon hashtags you can use by day of the week to :

  • #SelfieSunday – a selfie – perhaps showing how you prep for the coming week or a selfie from an education or industry event
  • #SundayFunday – be human! Share an image of how you enjoy down time
  • #SundaySale – specially priced services or products
  • #MemeMonday – salon-related meme
  • #MondayBlues – haircolor, nail color, etc.
  • #MusicMonday – what tunes do you have on in the salon?
  • #MondayMemories – client throwback!
  • #MindfulMonday – how do you get your mind fully ready and present to serve clients?
  • #MotivationMonday / #MondayMotivation – share an inspiring quote or idea
  • #ManCrushMonday – share an image with a great men’s style
  • #ManicureMonday – share an image with cool manicure
  • #TipTuesday – share a product or service suggestion that addresses common client problems
  • #TopicTuesday – pick a common to address, such as “why pro color over box?”
  • #TransformationTuesday – share a before/after client look
  • #TuesdayTrivia – share a fun tidbit about your professional or brand story
  • #TuesdayTraining – something you learned in recent education or training going on in your salon!
  • #TeachingTuesday – tips for at-home styling and care
  • #WayBackWednesday – client or salon throwback
  • #WellnessWednesday – share a beauty health tip
  • #WisdomWednesday – share expert advice
  • #WomanCrushWednesday – share an image with great women’s style
  • #ThrowbackThursday / #TBT – post an image with vintage/retro style
  • #ThankfulThursday – something you’re thankful for
  • #ThursdayThoughts – what’s on your mind?
  • #FearlessFriday – fearless hair color or style!
  • #FlashbackFriday
  • #FlashSaleFriday
  • #FeelGoodFriday – how are you helping clients get ready for the weekend?
  • #FridayVibes – how is your team vibing together?
  • #FridayFunny – humorous salon meme
  • #FF aka #FollowFriday – shoutout to new social followers
  • #FridayFunday – something fun about your salon
  • #SaturdayShenanigans – experimenting with a new style
  • #SelfieSaturday – by yourself or with a client
  • #SocialSaturday
  • #ShoutoutSaturday – shoutout to a favorite client, peer or *cough* professional salon distributor *cough*
  • #SaturdaySpecial
  • #SaturdaySale
  • #WeekendVibes
  • #SmallBusinessSaturday
  • #SaturdayStyle

What’s your hashtag?

 Your name, your salon name, your city – all of these can – and should – be turned into hashtags that you use when you post images on social media. If you are posting an image of your work, a photo of your salon, a copy of your salon’s menu of services, etc., simply add #Salon (where “Salon” = the name of YOUR salon) and #CitySalons (such as #SpokaneSalons) to your posts.