Leading salons such as Lakme, BBlunt, Enrich and Bodycraft are planning a seismic shift in day-to-day operations to inculcate safety measures, as they seek to woo back the fear-enveloped customer amid the coronavirus outbreak. The five-billion-dollar salon industry, which has been under lockdown for eight weeks, anticipates sales to recover only by fourth quarter. “Post Covid-19, salons will be expected to maintain a high level of hygiene as it is a high-touch industry,” said Sunil Kataria, the chief executive of Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL) which has a 30% stake in salon chain BBlunt. GCPL has always advised its partner salons to use one-time-use personal protective equipment (PPE) and disinfect high-touchpoint zones every three hours.
Top salon chains will ban entry of customer companions, children below 12 years of age and on-premise consumption of food and beverages, said the Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council (B&WSSC) that functions under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. It counts Lakme, Enrich, VLCC, YLG and Naturals among its members. The industry estimates the number of salons in India at 65 lakhs, of which only 30% are registered. Like liquor retailers, salons may see serpentine queues once they reopen. Nonetheless, most organised players expressed no ambition to pursue at-home service model offered by the likes of Urban Clap. The new safety protocol will, however, increase their operating cost, resulting in a price hike and straining the customer wallet amid salary cuts and layoffs.
As Sunil Kataria says these are Post-Covid salons. Keeping this fact in mind there are 5 things that will guide you in marketing salon:
1. Brand Consistency: It is near impossible for salons to succeed from walk-in business alone. Potential clients need to know where you are, and why they should come to you. Building a reputable and recognisable brand is key to developing successful marketing strategies for your salon.
It is no longer optional to have a website for your salon, and moreover, an online presence. Keep this in mind while you read on a powerful salon brand online works the same as offline. You need a straightforward, continuous look, message, and feel. Upon seeing any of your marketing material, everyone should know what you do, and what you stand for. A potential client browsing your salon website, clicking through to your social media, and even walking through your doors, should find that it looks and feels the same. Everything you use to communicate to your clients should have the same vibe: emails, social media posts, SMS messages, salon signage, and even the way you talk on the phone. This is key to developing a memorable brand, and one that clients enjoy interacting with. Salons are all about image and when they are seeking out your services, so are your clients. Use this customer avatar guide to find out what your perfect client looks like and build an image that will appeal to that customer. You want clients you really click with, who appreciate your services, are happy to spend money and who will spread the good word to friends.
2. Website: A website effectively allows you to be open 24/7 for both new and existing clients. A successful website will inspire visitors to book an appointment. No matter the size of your salon or the services you offer, what you are providing to clients is an experience. Your services may be the same as the ones available down the road, but the experience is unique. This is what you are selling, and this is what you are promoting on your website. A salon website must feature high-quality images of both your location (inside and out) and your services. Remember to appeal to your target market: display a more creative style for younger demographics, and the opportunity to relax and relieve stress for older professionals. When your customers are looking at your website late at night on their smartphone, they have no tolerance for a display that requires pinch and zoom just to read what services you offer. Once someone leaves your website without making a purchase decision, there’s little chance of them coming back. Good website development ensures your website suits whatever device your customer is viewing it on. Acronyms can be intimidating, but SEO is not as complicated as it sounds. It simply means making your website as user-friendly as possible. That means making sure the content on your website matches what people may be typing into Google, and ensuring your website loads quickly and is easy to use.
3. Social Media: Whether we like it or not, people are glued to their phones and there are screens everywhere. If you do not rep your business in social media, you are not only missing the conversation people are already having about your business, you’re missing the chance to win new clients. Think of social media as a shop front for your business. It gives you the opportunity to put your business forward in the best light possible, and it shows potential clients an enticing snapshot of what you have to offer. Too often however, salons create brilliantly professional profiles, and then ruin them by posting trashy new headlines, gossip, and poor imagery. You should keep things light-hearted on social media, but it is important to approach it in a business-like manner. Starting a social account and leaving it to grow cobwebs does not do your brand any good. If you do not care enough to post frequently, why should anyone care to follow you? Social media is fast-paced, and the content is only relevant from one day to the next. Does this sound like too much effort? The good news is that if you are organised (by using a social media post planner), posting frequently doesn’t have to take a lot of time and energy.
4. Customer Marketing: It’s easy to get caught up in marketing to new clients, but often you’ll take your existing clients for granted. Big mistake! Who better to convince to purchase your services than those who have already been convinced before? A huge part of running a successful salon is repeat business. Online booking systems allow you to capture clients contact information, so here is how to put it to good use. Email marketing is not dead! Keeping in contact with clients through email newsletters is a great opportunity to share those bits of your business, that they might miss out on simply because they are not in your business every day. They will love being kept in the loop and you will benefit from the trust you build. You can have the best services and products, but if you are not communicating this value to potential customers, your hard work will have little reward. SMS marketing allows you to have two-way conversations with your customers through a device that they have on them all the time. Everyone loves getting a good deal. A loyalty system is one great way to keep clients coming back. Use the email/SMS marketing strategies to send existing clients special offers and you will be guaranteed an influx of regulars.
5. Word of Mouth: Businesses thrive on referrals and word of mouth, especially smaller businesses who have clients that are likely to know others in need of their services. It is imperative that you give your clients an incredible experience so that you hardly need to ask them to refer people, they’ll want to. Co-marketing is a partnership between at least two businesses or brands with the objective to share one another’s resources, and customer base. Hotels near your salon might be keen to refer your services if their guests ask about good salons or spas nearby. The hotel does it’s job by helping their guests find what they need, and you can benefit from a new client. Successful co-marketing campaigns generate “win-win-win” situations that offer value not only to the partnering businesses, but also to your clients. It is not unusual for people to go to a salon or spa together. That is the idea behind the popular ‘bring a friend’ promotion where a client gets a certain percentage off their service if they bring a friend. You can also run a referral promotion where a client gets, say 10% off for every friend who comes to the salon and mentions the client’s name. Word of mouth does not always mean offline. Good online reviews are a must for any business advertising online. 97% of customers read online reviews when researching a business. If they cannot find reviews of you, you might be knocking your salon out of the running. Opening yourself and your business up for online reviews might sound nerve-wracking. Giving people a forum to express themselves means that everyone gets to have a say. No business can please every single customer; so yes, you will end up seeing some negative reviews along with the positive. But even negative reviews come with a silver lining – a chance to handle them in a way that reflects well on your business and customer service. No need to shy away from any potential ‘bad’ press. Do not be afraid to ask your customers to leave reviews. It is probably not the best idea to ask when they are in the store, but it’s a perfect way to utilise follow-up messages.
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