The COVID-19 crisis has completely redefined how beauty businesses operate. Consumer values and expectations have also shifted significantly. You, for example, now risk losing clients if your waiting lounge is always packed. Clients are looking for salons that have clear social-distancing policies in place. Besides, due to extended lockdowns, clients are now used to the convenience of online shopping.
In-store retail sales are on the verge of collapse, leaving salons with only the option of marketing their retail products online. And with the continued advancement of communication technology, clients are now more connected than they ever have been. Rapid communication among clients will consequently make it a lot harder to manage your online reputation going forward. These are some of the new challenges that technological changes during the time of COVID have precipitated.
With that in mind, it goes without saying that beauty businesses need to redefine their digital marketing strategies. As a salon owner, you need to adapt to the changing customer behaviors in the industry. You need to leverage technology in order to sustain your brand awareness campaigns, manage your online reputation, and eventually attract more clients. This article explores 4 ways that the beauty industry (you, salon owner) can use technology to attract new clients.
1. Online booking
Essentially, online booking is the final and probably the most critical part of online marketing. Clients fall in love with your services upon interacting with your marketing materials, but then the question they all ask is: How can I book your services? Most of them will opt to take their business elsewhere if they have to call or drive to your salon just to book an appointment. Similar to the personal training tracking software being used by trainers in gyms and fitness centers, a good online booking system will allow you to add CTA buttons on your social media posts, e.g. “Book Now”, and link your online content to your booking page. That increases conversions from your social media marketing initiatives. Furthermore, online scheduling allows you to manage your floor space and available equipment better to avoid crowding.
2. Visibility on Google
There are a ton of potential clients looking for your services on Google. You will lose big if they cannot find your salon within the first search results of Google and other search engines. And visibility doesn’t happen by good luck. It takes a whole lot of deliberate efforts to catch the eye of the Google ranking algorithm.
Assuming that you already have a business website, because it is almost mandatory to have one these days, ensure that your website is informative and easy to navigate. Such a website is, for one, a huge boost to your online reputation. And on top of creating the best first impression for your salon, a responsive and informative website significantly improves your salon’s visibility on Google. You can make your website more navigable and responsive by pulling down any obsolete content- generic photos, unnecessary advertisements, and substandard blog posts. Such content slows down your website and adds no value to your marketing efforts.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a functional website for your beauty business, you should know that creating one isn’t as hard as you’d imagine. There are tons of free website-building tools that require little to no technical skills, e.g. Wix and WordPress. And even without these tools, web design and maintenance aren’t too expensive to justify your lack of a business website.
Now that you have a business website, how can you use it to attract and retain clients?
Create a booking page on the website and ensure that it is ever updated with all the business info a new client would find useful. That includes your business location, the services you provide, payment options, and business hours.
- Share your Google Calendar on the website for a more convenient self-booking process.
- Update the website with quality, professional photos and videos taken in your salon.
- Be visible on Google Maps by registering your salon on Google My Business.
- Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Most of your online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.
3. Digitized incentives
Incentives such as client loyalty programs help beauty businesses attract new clients, retain existing clients, and win back lost customers. They breathe life into stagnated marketing strategies. But these incentives can be challenging to keep track of, especially if you do it manually. The good thing is that you can use salon software to digitize and manage all your incentive programs.
Salon management software help beauty businesses:
- Create incentives for employees: The software tracks how many clients an employee books, how many rebook, and how much inventory they sell. You can use this information to incentivize employees to upsell more and drive more bookings and rebooking. You can set thresholds on the software and rewards for each threshold.
- Incentivize clients to review your salon: Quality online reviews give your beauty business the online credibility and authenticity that clients look for when shopping for new service providers. That’s why you need to post as many written reviews and video testimonials on your website and social media pages. Your software provides clients with a platform to leave you real-time reviews. That gives you full control of your salon’s reviews. Most importantly, it gives you a clear picture of what you need to do in order to incentivize clients for more, better reviews.
- Membership programs: One way of converting new customers into repeat, loyal customers is to offer memberships whereby a client saves when they pay for services upfront. A client in the top membership level (say, gold membership) could save $200 for paying for services worth $1,000 upfront. A platinum member could save $200 for prepaying for $1,500 worth of services, for example. It is easier to manage such membership plans using salon management software.
- Referral marketing: Using your salon management software, you can share referral links with clients and track those links all the way from when you sent them until a new client sits in your styling chair. Existing clients can then earn rewards for every new paying client they bring.
4. Content-driven marketing
Technology has enabled beauty businesses to create and share great content, and then use that content to drive conversions. Quality content earns you the respect and admiration of beauty enthusiasts and, as a consequence, gets them more inclined towards doing business with you. Good content also increases your salon’s online visibility and website traffic.
How can you turn up the quality of your content?
- Whatever kind of content you create, whether for your social media channels or website, always ensure that it is educational and entertaining.
- Create a YouTube channel and use it to share product demos and beauty tutorials with interested clients. This is a good way of using YouTube- the second largest search engine after Google- to drive your brand awareness campaigns.
- Don’t forget to encourage client feedback, surveys, and interviews. Use the insights you gather from the feedback as an inspiration to create useful blogs, videos, and other online content.
- Encourage user-generated content. Your loyal clients will attract more of their friends and social followers to your salon by posting high-quality pictures and videos captured in the salon.
- Leverage webinars to display your unbeatable understanding of beauty trends and other beauty-related topics.
As the digital world continues to revolutionize beauty and beauty businesses, it is your responsibility as a beauty business owner to ensure that your business is on the right side of tech advancement. Ensure that the tech you invest in brings you more online traffic and conversions. That is how you will level up your beauty business.