Posted January 28, 2019
Promotions are often the icing ontop of the cake for a salon business. They mark key sales periods during the year, they attract new customers and give you something great to be talking about on your social media platforms. But with poor planning, they can become a huge strain on your salon team and simply not be effective.
As most salon owners saw during the Groupon days, a poorly planned promotion can be worse than no business at all. It is important that your promotions are planned out on a number of aspects, from profitability to target market and how they will function across digital and physical sales. There are a few key things to consider when running promotions throughout the year in your salon:
It’s important to consider what you are offering in your promotion and what its appeal is to your target market (more on them later). If your customers are mostly in salon for regular appointments, trying to force them into salon between appointments is unlikely to work. If your salon has a more transient population, then special offers and discounted services may work better. The key is to work to what appeals to your target audience, and sometimes the only way to work that out is by trying different concepts. Generally speaking, your promotion will usually centre on either a percentage discount, dollar value discount, value-added service or seasonal offer. Working out the right hook to grab people with is key to getting your promotion up and running.
The timing of your promotion is key. January is a slower period for salon owners, so running the right kind of promotion in January is a great way to get more bums on seats during this period. If you’re running a promotion for a key calendar date, like Mother’s Day, it’s important that you allow enough time to communicate your offer and amplify it in your market before Mother’s Day – otherwise, no one will be aware that you are doing something special for that date.
Your target market for your promotion can be either your existing salon base or new markets. It’s a question of whether you want to make more money off your existing customers (who trust you and are likely to spend) or want to attract new business to your salon. This will help determine your offer in any promotion – a free brow wax will attract lots of new business, but they won’t spend much in salon. A discounted course of facials will appeal to your existing market who already spend with you, but will encourage them to come back more often. It’s about working out who you want to come into salon, and what you can do to appeal to them.
There is no point in running a great promotion if you aren’t going to make any money from it – and this is an easy trap to fall into. For a successful salon promotion, you should be aiming to still make a 15% gross margin on the transaction – so this tells you what percentage discount you can take off your product or service, and where your staff need to be on time on a client. Ensuring that your team understand their time and product requirements for each promotional client is also key to making good money off promotions – and this is where training in a value add or upsell is key, as you convert a low paying customer into an engaged customer or a more profitable customer.
The activation of any promotion is key. Staff need to be aware of your promotions and how they are to be recorded and transacted in your salon system. If you are including online sales this is doubly important. This is also another chance to reiterate exactly how much time can be spent on a client under this promotion and what the key sell points are for them – whether it’s a follow up booking, product sales or add on services to their initial promotion offer.
When launching a new promotion, it’s important to take your team aside and do a briefing with them so they understand exactly what is going on and what is expected of them. This will ensure your best results by having your team on board.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions are key in running a successful promotion, for without them you are likely to be taken advantage of by clients wanting something for nothing. Standard items should always be included, like the start and end date of the promotion, that it is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer, and any restrictions on quantity or volume. Restrictions could include the date by which their service must be booked or the quantity of promotional offers available for sale. Think of all the scenarios in which your customers could try to manipulate the promotion and you should be able to cover off everything you need in your terms and conditions.
How you communicate your promotion to your target market is key. Whether it is through a direct mail to your existing customers or via social media, ensure that you are promoting your offer where you think your target market will see it. If you’re targeting an older demographic, consider a printed mail out or email newsletter. If you’re targeting a younger audience, paid social ads or Google advertising are great options. If you’re trying to attract new business, posters in your salon window, Google AdWords campaigns and working with other local businesses to promote your offer are great strategies. It’s about having your information in places where you think your target market is going to be. This is again where timing is important as you want to allow between 4-6 weeks for people to know about your offer, think about it and move to purchase – so plan your promotions in advance!
Promotions are a great way for salons to increase their business and profitability throughout the year, while attracting new clients and increasing the cost-per-head of existing customers. The key is simply to plan for all the areas listed above here and to be organised well in advance, to ensure you get the most out of your salon promotion.
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