I am going to chat a bit about salon marketing and the different approaches you can adopt. One of the most important ones I will discuss today is Retention Marketing and how important it is to keep clients coming back to you. I have seen a number of posts on social media over the last couple of weeks, from salon owners looking for advice on how to attract new customers. Many of these posts mention that they have a great client base, but need to increase turnover and I sit scratching my head and think to myself why are these salon owners, who have an existing client base looking for new customers to bring in the extra cash? The holy grail of any successful salon/business is retaining clients and keeping them loyal to you. While new custom is great and always welcome, a constant stream of new faces through your door does not equal business growth – sure your client list may be growing – but how many of these are coming back to you?

Is this you? Are you constantly on the hunt for new customers, running promotions to get them in the door? Obviously if you are about to or just starting out in your salon business, then yes building a customer base is very important – but pay heed to this post – once you get them do your utmost to keep them!

It is a common occurrence in our industry to see new salons pop up only to close within 18 months – why do you think this is? I think it is a combination of things – people underestimating how hard it is to establish and run a successful salon, crazy rents and rates, fierce competition in the industry and more. The investment it takes to open a salon can be huge and you ideally envisage yourself being in business for many years to come. So how can you ensure this?

Salon Marketing Keeps Clients Loyal Increases Profits

The answer is quite simple you want to turn customers into loyal clients and retain them – this is a vital ingredient in your recipe for long term success, so don’t overlook it! The strategy of doing so is known as Retention Marketing and it should be an important feature in your overall marketing plan. Well a lot of common sense is involved here and what I say you will probably have heard before. The first thing to drive home is that it costs 4-10 times more to acquire a new customer/client than it does to retain an existing one! Let’s think about that for a moment – where do these costs creep in? The cost can include advertising, discounting, networking, your time (that should be given a value too!) spent attracting clients etc. So it is always favourable to work to keep existing clients coming back to you than spend out on attracting more. The cost of retention is less as the heavy legwork and investment has already been made to get these clients through your door so now your challenge is to keep them!

How to Keep Clients Coming Back to Your Salon?

It goes without saying that your salon premises should be immaculate and inviting to all clients. I always advise that salon owners and staff to keep the salon and treat the clients as if they are being judged by a mystery client for a top industry award – they can call at any time and you won’t know who they are – so always bring on you’re A game! In an ideal world this should always be the case, but sadly it is not, complacency creeps it and slowly standards start to slide – you think people won’t notice, but they do and if they are not happy they will talk with their feet – straight through a competitors door! So don’t give them the opportunity.

The second thing to make sure of is let them know how much they mean to you – not through showering them with discounts and gifts but through simply saying it to them over the phone when they book, in person when you greet them and as they leave. Pay attention to what they say during treatments and make note of anything important on their client record that you can ask them at their next appointment – things like how was X birthday – did you manage to get that present you were looking for? We all like to feel special and as with most things in life, it is the little things that count!

Now this is important, VERY important – make sure you have their contact information including email and mobile – why? To keep building the relationship with them outside of the salon. A simple thank you text to ask them how they are after their wax, facial etc. and if the have any questions that you could answer? An email newsletter with top skincare tips at home, featuring your professional products (always make sure they have opted in for these emails) is a good approach too – maybe once a month with the focus being on giving out information and professional advice, not shouting your special offer at them.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 11.19.39Reward loyal clients for referrals and the money they spend with you. Set up a loyalty scheme where they earn points for each but don’t make it that they can use these points for their favourite treatment – work it that they use it for a treatment they haven’t had yet – open their mind to your treatment menu and what is on offer – the fact is if a client happy with your service and the treatments they regularly receive, you don’t need to discount these to entice them in.

So these are just some basic tips in terms of retention marketing – I am working on a larger collection of salon marketing tips in which I will go into further detail. I will cover areas such as the importance of your staff rebooking clients in and increasing their average spend.

For the moment it is important for you to recognise the power of your existing database of clients and its true earning potentials. Chasing new clients all the time is like chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – you would never be finished as it is a never-ending exercise! So spend your time wisely and focus 80% of your efforts on retaining clients and 20% on acquiring – your year-end will thank you for it! So plan a couple of hours, sit down and examine your database of clients. Separate them into regulars, once upon a time regulars and occasional / once of customers and decide what you are going to do to increase your bookings by say 20% over the next 6 weeks by purely focussing on the people these three lists. Brainstorm – what can you do to get them through the door within those six weeks and what will you do to keep them. I am not saying to forget about attracting new clients – but we all know that word of mouth from a happy customer is the best way to attract quality new clients – so you strategy for new custom will now be by having your existing client base recommend / refer new clients to your salon. Focussing on these strategies will have a profound effect on your business, bookings and profit.