In Salon Loyalty Programs:
How to Turn your New Customers into Repeat Customers
It is surprising how many salon businesses allow little opportunities to market themselves slip through the cracks. This could equate to a sizeable chunk of potential revenue being squandered. For example, it seems almost standard practice nowadays for a salon employee to, at the end of their client’s appointment, simply bid them good day and allow them to leave without going the extra mile of trying to market to that client. In the process, not only do they miss the opportunity for increased revenue, but also potentially turning a customer into a loyal client. Things might be so different if they took the time to ask for their customer’s email address, or to sign them up to a loyalty program. It does not take much effort to ask the question, but boy, the rewards have the potential to be fantastic. Let’s take a little look at this:
Converting One-Off Customers into Regular Customers
If you ask any experienced salon owner or any businessperson in general, they will tell you that it is far easier and cheaper to keep an existing customer than to gain new ones. If you ask most salon owners or managers though, I am sure that they will tell you that a percentage of their client base are new customers. In fact current research figures show that a whopping 83% of them will never return again. It may surprise you though, to find that taking steps to reduce this percentage is incredibly simple. You just need to have a strategy in place. Let me introduce you to the world of email marketing.
As a side note here, there are plenty of software programs online that you can utilize to build up your email marketing list. I absolutely love AWeber though as it is so simple to use and pretty effective at cracking those spam filters. I suggest that you check it out, HERE.
How do you go about marketing your company in this way? The first step is pretty obvious – you are going to attempt to get the email address of every customer that you serve. Most people will have no problems with sharing this information. Once you have your email contact, these are the stages that you would ideally go through:
Send an email giving them a top tip relating to the work that they had carried out at your salon. You do not need to say anything special here whatsoever. Just a short email tip is all that it takes.
One week later send a follow-up email, perhaps inquiring how they are handling their service, and maybe also giving another tip related to your salon. Again, you do not need to make a sale here. In fact, it is more important that you try not to do that.
After several more weeks, you are going to want to introduce them to a loyalty program relating to your business.
Loyalty Programs and How They Work
The idea behind a loyalty program is to get the client coming through your door. They should encourage the client to make an appointment as soon as possible. Ideally this means that you want to tell them to make an appointment today. For example, your offer might be that if they make an appointment immediately, they will receive a loyalty card entitling them to one free piece of work carried out for every ten that are carried out. Now, you want people to sign up quickly right? Well, tell them that if they make an appointment the same day that they receive this email you will class the previous session as part of the loyalty card and then an extra punch for ‘free’. This means that one trip will be classed as three. Honestly, people will be jumping through hoops to make that appointment.
So why should you do this? To illustrate, I’d like to relate to you a case study of a car wash and their loyalty program. The owners introduced an experimental loyalty scheme to their car wash, using a 10-stamp loyalty card, and discovered that ‘artificial advancement’ increased their customer loyalty. They found this by dividing their patrons in half, giving one group a blank loyalty card to start with, while the other group received a card with the first two stamps already filled in – giving them a head start known as ‘artificial advancement’. The results were measured over 9 months and showed 28 out of the 150 people who received the first card (i.e. no artificial advancement) returned. However, of the second group, 51 out of 150 customers returned – a sizeable difference!
Why does this work? People are more likely to finish something if they can quite clearly see the end. With 2 stamps in place they were 20% of the way there! It’s crazy to read human psychology in this way, but it really does work.
It is important to note that artificial advancement only works if there is a reason for putting it into place. As an example, in the case of your salon this reason might be ‘customer appreciation’. Now, straight away there is a great chance people will keep coming back to your salon as a result of this concept of artificial advancement. This equates to more money in your pocket. Also, by the time their loyalty card has been completed, the client has had the opportunity to experience so much of your good work, you’ll find they remain a loyal customer even without a card incentive. All as a result of just three emails.
The Bottom Line
If you want to turn your new customers into clients who return time and time again, try being smart with the email follow ups that you send out. Talk to your customer as a friend. Don’t channel your inner-salesperson – that doesn’t work. Show that you care about their experience at your salon and that you value their patronage. It’s all encouragement for them to sign up to your loyalty program.
As a salon business owner, it should be your mission to ensure that you offer the best salon experience that you can, but it does not stop there. You need to know how to properly market to your patrons too. Loyalty schemes are without a doubt an excellent starting point here, but there is so much more marketing that you can and should do. Learn as many marketing tricks as possible – I promise you, if you do that then your business will be really going places!