Finally! That exciting (and perhaps daunting) time approaches when salons get to re-open their doors. At least here in the UK.
With the new PPE requirements and Social Distancing, I think we can all agree it’s not going to be plain-sailing.
As we are all aware, one of the potential setbacks with social distancing measures is that bookings may have to be spaced out more with longer opening hours, which is what many of our salon members are doing. And of course with all the talk of a recession, there could be plenty of cost cautious people out there who delay longer between appointments.
So here are 3 Free Marketing Tools you can start using as soon as you re-open, to help attract more customers and replenish any lost bookings.
1. Start Building Google Social Proof
Did you know on average people will read the top 6 customer reviews before deciding to buy or book something?
Think of when you buy something off Amazon. Personally, the number one factor that determines whether I buy one product and not another is which has the highest average star rating by the most reviewers.
When someone is choosing a new salon, clinic, barbers, yoga studio etc…..it’s no different.
After maybe asking friends, what’s the first thing most people will do when looking for a new salon? Google search for it.
Up pops a list of venues includes your own..... accompanied by your Google average star rating.
People will instantly favour those that have the best reviews by a decent amount of reviewers.
(For me, any less than 50 loses credibility because people suspect some, or even most, of those reviews could be fake).
That’s why I firmly believe Google Reviews is the most under-utilised free marketing tool available for businesses. If you can achieve a 4.7+ star rating by 100+ reviewers, potential customers will be drawn to you.
Have a 4.7+ star rating by THE MOST reviews in your town and you’ll attract new clients like moths to a flame.
(And if you've already achieved this? Keep building your Social Proof so new faces don’t want to go anywhere else!)
So how do we achieve this these milestones by collecting 5-star reviews fast?
Here's 2 ideas for incentives that can work well:
Either give your clients 10% off their bill OR they go in a draw to win a bottle of champagne. (Tip: put the bottle at front desk so everyone can see it, making it more enticing!)
Ask each client who has visited you at least twice (as they're your happy customers) to Google review you. The best time to this is when they have completed their service and are at front desk about to pay.
This way, if you’re running a 10% discount; it’s an immediate saving for them in real time, giving max appeal!
(Because of Covid 19: if you’re only taking phone payments that’s fine, just request they review you after their service).
In order to leave a review, the customer will need a Google account of some kind, whether it be Gmail, YouTube, Google Play etc.
And if they don’t have a Google account? Honestly, I know this is going to sound a little hard-ball but I would insist it must be a Google review to get the incentive.
Because Google reviews are so much more valuable than any other reviewing platform for attracting new faces.
So perhaps explain the incentive to your client when they first arrive and offer to help them set up a Google account? It’s quick and easy, just ensure your reception team are firmly aware of how to post a Google review on mobile phones and create Google accounts if need be, so they can guide each client.
If your client is a regular and loves visiting you, many will be happy to give you that big, shiny 5 stars!
The sustained effort here is absolutely worth it. First target (if not already achieved) is 4.7+ stars by at least 100 reviewers....
........then keep at it to eventually become top dog with the strongest Google Social Proof in your town.
Achieve this and potential new clients will just have to visit you to see what all the fuss it about
To view a salon that truly harnesses the power of Google Reviews: Google “Ena Salon London”. Now that’s Social Proof!
2. Run “Share & Follow” Facebook competitions
Many business owners seem to be mildly obsessed with Social Media. Whenever we post anything Facebook or Instagram related, it gets eaten up.
We’re always getting questions about Social and the strategies that create bookings. As if there is a dark art or magic formula to it….
But in reality gaining new clients and making new revenue from Social isn’t easy, especially since Facebook changed things so a much smaller percentage of your following actually now sees your posts.
How can you combat this? Here’s a strategy that can be highly effective:
Run a “Follow & Share” Facebook competition.
Announce a competition on Facebook and post about it 2 - 3 times a week for the next 4 weeks, stating that whoever shares your post and follows your page (which everyone you initially post to will), goes in the draw to win something BIG.
I repeat, BIG. In order to get plenty of shares and new followers: you need to make the prize so dam good people just have to share it!
*If you’re a hair salon; cut and full colour of their choice OR Keratin treatment
*If you’re a beauty salon: any 2 treatments or any course of their choice
*Skin clinic: a full course of any aesthetic treatment of their choice
*Barbers: Cut and shave service….
You get the picture: make the prize worth sharing.
After posting regularly for 4 weeks draw the lucky winner.
Announce the winner on Facebook and she or he visits you, ask their permission to take photos of them after their free service (looking and feeling amazing!)
Again splash those pics all over your social media, then when you’re ready run the exact same competition all over again.
You’ll often find the more you run this, the more shares and follows you’ll get each time. Because announcing the winner and then showing your followers that happy winner makes your next competition all the more attractive to your new following.
Think about what happens whenever someone shares something on Facebook....
Potentially hundreds of people see it. So all it takes it just a few shares for each competition and you can build your following very fast.
This alone acts as great free advertising.
Now let’s go one step further. How can you take MAXIMUM advantage of this new following you’re building? On to number 3….
3. Facebook Live Stream Videos
Yes, Facebook has rapidly reduced the percentage of your followers that see your posts. To get more views you now have to boost you posts, so Facebook (surprise, surprise) can make more money.
(FYI personally we don’t recommend boosting posts. In our experience you’ll get a much better response from properly created Facebook ads. If you'd like to discuss us creating some client-winning Facebook ads for you, book a chat).
So you’re building your following fast with Share & Follow competitions. One of the best free ways to get some of that new following booking is by Facebook Live Streaming.
When you open your Facebook and someone you follow is live; do you receive a little red notification or their video is at least up towards the top of your news feed?
Facebook Live is an excellent way to get instant attention. So create an engaging live vid and draw eyes to your business!
What to film though? Here's a simple idea for attention-grabbing videos:
Place a phone (plugged into charge otherwise the battery will drain fast!), on your workstation and film you (or one of your team) providing a service and working their magic on another team member, or even a client if they're cool with that.
Literally film the entire session! 30mins – 60mins live stream each time because the longer your stream, the more followers will see it…..
Don’t worry if this intimidates you. You’re NOT trying to film a Hollywood blockbuster here! You don’t even have to address the camera at any point. Literally forget it’s even there.
These live fly-on-the-wall style streams of you styling someone’s hair, or proving a facial or massage…. makes for interesting viewing.
Try placing a small offer or incentive in the Description, along with some urgency (“Offer available this week only, so call us now on XXXX XXXXXX”).
Try filming at least once a week, even multiple days if you can. Peak Social Media viewing times such as midday or 5pm are ideal.
Combining the second and third strategies of this blog, Share & Follow competitions then Facebook Live Streaming to your new following, can be highly effective free marketing.
You’re utilising Social Media, spreading the word AND in the process making your business look great. Have fun with it!
Try implementing these 3 free tools when you re-open, to attract new bookings and build your reputation in the process!
If you'd like more free advice or want to know more about the client-winning services we offer: Book A Chat.
......Like moths to a flame......
Scott Dance, Founder
11th June 2020