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.

5 Things Successful Salon Professionals Do

As a beauty professional you may already be wired for success in the salon industry. There are five things that successful entrepreneurs do differently than their peers, and these five things can fuel the growth of your salon business.

  • Spots solutions in problems
  • Continually reinvests in viable business ideas
  • Constantly invests in their own skills
  • Possesses compounding assets
  • (Always) plays to their strengths

Successful salon business entrepreneurs:

1. Spot Solutions in Problems

Salon professionals do this day in and day out! The client presents with a request, problem or challenge and the beauty professional offers:

  • Education – explains what the issue is in terms the client can understand
  • Advice – explains the best options to meet the client’s goals
  • Provides both short and long term solutions – what can be done now, and what the client can do over time for maximum results

2. Keep on Investing in Viable Business Ideas

Another area where salon owners, hairdressers and other beauty professionals are pre-wired for success. Salon professionals continually:

  • Add and evolve services
  • Try and conduct experiment with new products
  • Invest in a substantial amount of professional beauty and barbering tools
  • Stock their salon’s backbar and retail shelves with salon professional products that are ideal for their clients
  • Remodel and reinvigorate their salon’s interior furnishings, décor and layout

3. Invest in Their Own Skills

Beauty professionals are three for three! Whether working as salon owner, booth renter, salon suite renter or hairdresser, the salon professional’s skills are constantly evolving and growing due to their investments in:

  • Hands on skill-development classes
  • Theory classes
  • Personal research and testing
  • Other continuing education

4. Possess Compounding Assets

Compounding is the idea of earning interest on interest — the effect of which is to magnify returns to interest over time, the so-called “miracle of compounding.”

While skills and knowledge gained through continuing education might be the first compounding asset that comes to mind – an asset that produces a return on investment far beyond its actual cost – the salon professional’s technical skills are not the only assets they possess that are compounding. Some of the other assets that compound returns include:

  • Reputation – public and among peers
  • Word of mouth and referrals
  • Brand image (contributes to the ability to set pricing)
  • Followers and subscribers (as an influencer)

5. Always Plays to their Strengths

So many people who start their own businesses, opting for the entrepreneur life instead of the corporate track do so because – at the end of the day – they want to (a) build their own future instead of someone else’s, and (b) do what they love.

The more you refine your skills, building your reputation, word of mouth, image, influence and reinvesting in the tools and knowledge needed to grow, the more you will be able to spend your time doing what you love most – playing to your strengths. And the more you play to your strengths, the more likely you are to build your reputation, word of mouth, image, and influence – it’s a beautiful thing!

Adapted from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246243

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.