A lot of business owners are struggling in the aftermath of the COVID 19 lockdown. Here in the UK, after relative easing, the government just re-implemented the 6 person max socialising group as cases have recently surged.
Again business owners take a collective gasp and hope no further restrictions are imposed. Either way, we are in a recession and it could get worse.
But it doesn’t have to all be doom and gloom! Suppress those thoughts of creative ways to burn down your shop.
If you are experiencing more empty slots than normal, the right marketing strategy can get you winning clients fast. Even in a recession. In fact, because of a recession.
So here’s how to win new clients during this pandemic: the marketing strategy we are currently using to produce the best results for our salon members, which you can duplicate to get you ahead of the competition.....or at the very least keep your head above water.
As always; it starts with your new-client offer.
Let me give you some numbers to chew on:
For maximum new bookings 50% off a first-time visitors bill will always create plenty of interest. You can insert a “minimum spend of £20 - £30” (so services valued to at least £40 - £60 booked), and exclude products and certain treatments.
The key term here of course is that it’s valid to new clients only. In these exceptional times very few of your current clientele should complain, and if any do kick up a fuss; keep them happy with a smaller complimentary special or kindly explain they already have your loyalty system.
Other terms to help you can include time restrictions and stating it’s valid only for selected stylists/barbers/therapists. (That one tends to stop the regular-client moaning pretty quickly).
What’s that I hear? You’ve never given anyone half price and don’t intend to now?
Okey dokes, how about £20 off if they book services valued at £50 or more? Or something FREE if they spend a certain amount.
Both these examples will get you clients, but probably 50% – 75% less than cutting a first time visitors bill in half.
Yes, you read that correctly. And I’m not plucking these figures from my a***, I’m giving you what we have found after running these 3 different offers several times in the past.
50% off their first visit will most likely get you between two to four times more bookings than a £20 reduction or offering something free after so much spent.
So your call. If you’re not desperate for new clients or have a high-end brand that does not ever discount, create a lesser offer.
If you are exceptionally good at re-booking and retaining clients, and your average customer LTV (lifetime value) is in the thousands, do as you please.
But before you make a decision, just be honest with yourself.
I am currently doing consultations with salon owners that have gone from 80% capacity before lockdown…..to 40%.
And I’m guessing more businesses will be experiencing similar drop offs over the coming months.
So if you are reaching that critical state fast, but you're beating yourself up mentally because you’ve never had to discount before or you’re afraid of damaging your brand in doing so…..here is what I’ll say:
In these truly exceptional times, people understand. Including your clients.
We have created some crazy reduction offers for expensive, award winning businesses that are very highly regarded in their industries.
Loss-leading offers where they make almost nothing on a new clients first visit…..
……and yet it does not damage their standing.
They replenish, fix the leaky bucket, keep charging most of their clientele full price and continue to win awards and accolades.
So your call. I’m just the messenger giving you the figures.
With your offer decided, the best way to promote/advertise right now I believe is digital.
Specifically Google PPC (don’t be seduced by banner ads) and Facebook/Instagram.
A year ago (heck, 6 months ago!) I would have said targeting staff in local businesses and large organisations gets you the best bang for your buck, because you can do it almost for free.
But times have changed, at least for now.
With so many people working from home, furloughed or even (eeek) made redundant: our B2B offers aren’t producing quite as well. Certainly not like they usually do. So full steam ahead with digital.
But which platform gets more customers? Google or Facebook/Instagram?
We’ve found in most cases Facebook. BUT in some cases Google.
A number of factors are at play here, but to be absolutely 100% sure; the smartest thing you can do is create campaigns for BOTH platforms, set to £5 - £10 ad spend each per day. So you’re investing as little as £70 per week.
We use the term investing instead of spending. Because it is an investment. Both in your business and in yourself as the marketer of your business.
Regardless of your offer, £70 weekly ad spend is probably only going to need 2 – 3 bookings per week to get cost back and then some. So don’t be worried by this cost.
Tips for your Google Ads:
*Make sure your offer is clearly stated in the 1st or 2nd headline, guaranteeing people see it.
*Use 15 – 20 EXACT MATCH keywords, insuring that its potential customers that are searching and clicking on your ads.
*E.g. your salon name, “hair salons (your town name)”, “hairdressing deals near me” etc etc
*And keep the search location to either a) your town only, b) within 2 miles of your address if you’re in a city centre, or c) 5 miles of your address if you’re in the country.
If you want a comprehensive blueprint to create the best Google ad campaigns, grab my free eBook The 6 Steps To Flood Your Salon With Profitable New Clients Using Google Ads.
Grab it now. And if you have already read it: read it again. Because it includes all sorts of other steps and tips that could be, and should be, applied in all your marketing campaigns.
Tips for your Facebook Ads:
*Create a carousel of images ad, where you have 3 – 4 images and headlines for each image. This ad format is getting the best results for us, with video coming in a close second.
*Make sure your images used are your best, most attention-grabbing! Each headline should be about the offer, how customers only have a short time left to grab it (false urgency baby!), and why your business is so god dam kick a***.
*In the big description that goes at the top you can basically repeat what you’ve said in the image headlines, and throw in 6 – 8 of your best 5 star google reviews for a bit of persuasive social proof.
So people click on your Google or Facebook ad….then what?
Then you re-direct them to a landing page where your potential new clients must provide name, email address and mobile number in exchange for a voucher code.
And how do they get that voucher code?
If you don’t have the software to make this automated, simply email them a generic PDF voucher with the code and terms, or even just text message them this information.
Train your receptionist to do this at the start/end of each day, should only take them 10 minutes.
"But Scott, how will I know if they came from the Facebook ad or the Google ad?"
Great question and absolutely essential data, so you can decide in a month which platform is the winner.
2 options here:
Either on the landing page add another field, asking each person to state where they saw the ad (Google, Facebook or Instagram?), then have different booking codes to send them for Google or Face/Insta.
Or….create 2 separate landing pages, one for each platform.
For most people the 1st option is easier.
ESSENTIAL: Make sure you have different booking codes (or voucher codes) for Google and Facebook, so every time a new client books; you know which platform they've come from.
Then after one month….which is bringing in the most new bookings? Google or Facebook/Insta?
Double the budget of the winner (or even 3 – 4x if it’s making a real splash) and pause the loser.
Important: do not be thrown off by the cost per click figures or the amount of clicks each platform is getting.
Even if Facebook is getting 4 times more clicks, at only a quarter of the price per click of Google: if Google is bringing in twice as many customers and twice as much dough….then Google is your winner.
With an equal daily spend, it’s not about vanity metrics. It’s about what is bringing you clients.
If you’re frowning right now and thinking “I know that Scott!”….when you see one platform getting considerably better stats OTHER THAN actual bookings, it’s actually really hard ignoring these!
If this happens to you, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But stick to what counts.
And if after month 1 the results are equal or pretty tight…keep testing for another month.
Having a landing page where people give details in exchange for a voucher code is crucial.
It will get you 2 – 4 times (!!) more bookings than just leading them to your website and phone number, plus a whole load more potential clients that don’t actually use the offer…..but who are now on your subscriber list and hence to whom you can market future offers to.
Just ensure you add a tick box stating that customers agree you may send them emails, in exchange for the offer, which must be ticked to advance. Then you’re GDPR compliant and covered.
Apologies if that's a lot of info that's gone over your head. There's is work involved, but if done properly it's a rock-solid strategy to get you new bookings in these weird times.
Want more advice, or this plan in more details? Book your Free Strategy Session with me or one of my team here.
But regardless: smart marketing, displaying that you and your team are COVID safe, plus great customer service will get you through these lean times.
And it is after recessions that many businesses prosper.
Keep improving and focus on getting through this lean period, you’ll be all the more stronger for it.
….Like moths to a flame…..
Scott Dance, Founder
6th October 2020