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Monday, September 15, 2014

Go Digital

salon online digital marketing tips 1

     It’s time for a check up from the neck up. What are you really doing to grow your business? Are you all talk and no action? Are you on the whine bus with no cheese and crackers? So many want to throw the towel in before they even find the towel.  Here from Salon magazine online are the top 10 digital tools you should be using to get busy. Some of them are repeats, and yes they are repeats for a reason, are you doing them yet? If not jot down these top tools.
Get a Facebook business page.  Facebook shows up higher in search engines than LinkedIn even though LinkedIn is more for businesses. Set up your page, optimize it and link your salon website to it. Encourage your client to “like” it and your page shows up in their feed, advertising it to thousands of their friends.
      Sign up for Yelp. I searched salons in my town and found very few salons actually using this search friendly tool. The salon I formerly worked at only had two reviews and one was actually for me. Encourage your clients to post a review and start building a 5 star rating.
Show off your work on Pinterest. We are in such a visual business this one is a no brainer. Pin photos of your best work and soon you will have others repining your photos on their own boards for all to see. News spreads fast about you and your services.
Get Googling. Google is the search engine giant and sets the rules for how search engines operate.  There are review options as well, link options to your website and mapping tools to direct client right to your doorstep. 

     Look into a Google ad. You know, the ones on the right hand side of your search results.  Sign up forGoogle Adwords and you can have one too.  You can choose whether the link goes to your Facebook page or website. You only pay per click so it can be very economical.
Start an online newsletter.  You get them, everybody gets them so why not let your clients know what is going on in your salon? Most email managing software require you get permission to add them to your email list but once you have their away. Don’t bombard them seriously, make sure your email habits agree with their needs. Everybody is different so if you’re not sure, ask.                   Enewsletters are a great way to keep your clients engaged in what’s new. Study some of the ones you get, and open, and take away some great ideas.
Send out digital special offers, and no I don’t mean discounts. Special offers, special events and special new services or products can be enough  to entice a trip to your salon.
Don’t forget Twitter. Twitter is a great way to inform your clients what is going on with your business. Do you have open appointments in your day? Tweet about it. Encourage your clients to follow you and retweet your tweets.
Watch Beauty Tip Thursday Here

     Are you on YouTube? Another feed high on the search engine list your videos go to the head of the Google class. Youtube a new art technique, display your new colors or a new pedicure area. The list is endless. I know Maisie does a beauty tip every Thursday on YouTube educating her clients with the latest trends.
And last but not least do you offer online booking? I know people are leery of this, and everyone besides my mom has managed to figure this out. Most programs notify you of online bookings, so if your client has made a bit of a mess there is always the option of cleaning it up. Programs send out auto reminders to free up your time and cut down on no shows.
     This article failed to mention Instagram which is another huge social media platform for our industry. Adding hashtags about your services #gelpolish or #manicure  and don't forget to add your city so people searching in your town can find you.
So there you have it. The top ten digital tools to embrace according to SalonMagazine. So go digital, because that’s smart marketing.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Referrals on Fire

     September is a great month for referrals.  If you are not getting the amount of referrals you want it’s time to up your game. Contests are a super easy way to get more referrals. With all the social media today referrals can catch fire. Use social media to drive more clients to your salon.
You can structure your contest several ways. It can be simply the most referrals wins however rewarding efforts of all social media exposure will benefit your business in the long run.  Remember every contact you have on social media is a pathway to upwards of two hundred and fifty more.  Try using a point system to reward all social media uploads.  Making sure your clients tag you in their posts is an easy way to keep track. A simple spread sheet should be all you need to get started.
With Facebook reward each client with 2 points each time they post a new photo of their nails on their page.  Reward each like, comment and share with 1 point.  Encouraging engagement will help drive exposure.  Ask them to post a question with their photo like, How many likes can I get for this awesome set of nails? Or What do you think of this fantastic art or color? You will get a new notification with each interaction and the post will show up again in the feed of anyone that has commented.  This will give each post more longevity in the news feed.

     Reward each Instagram photo with 2 points each time they post s new photo of their nails. Give them a bonus point if they upload a video especially for the bling effect. Make sure they hashtag you or your salon and a few other nail related hashtags.  Again adding a question will get more engagement. Reward each like and comment with 1 point.
Do the same for each social media account your clients are uploading their nail photos or videos to.  Make sure to reward clients coming from a social media referral a special gift.  You can choose to give them a percentage off their first service or give them a bonus gift of cuticle oil or sample hand cream. I know it’s not always about the price so increase the value as a reward. Don’t forget to reward your clients as well, on top of the contest.  Run the contest for a couple of months, I don’t recommend longer than 3, it will be a bit of work to keep up with. Reward your top social media vixen with a free upgraded service, a splurge that they would not normally treat themselves to.  I would also reward the second and third place winner as well. Maybe a free gift card or free service.  It never hurts to reward all who participate even with a five dollars off their service. Thank yous can never be underestimated. They go a long long way in the appreciation department.  Don’t forget the referrals may not come today or tomorrow but at some point in the future so be generous in thanking your clientele for participating.

     Creating contests are a great way to build your business. Imagine if each one of your clients were to bring you just one new client you will double your business.  So harness the power of social media and create your own social media frenzy because that’s smart marketing.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Marketing Confidence

       One of the most important elements of marketing is confidence. Confidence in your brand. I know we all struggle at times with confidence, I am no exception.  Unfortunately we look around too much, compare ourselves to others and their success. Ignoring we all have our own unique voice, our own unique talents, and our own unique journey. We see some people that appear to have the greatest confidence that never waivers. But that confidence came at a price. And I’m quite sure if you asked them, they would tell you even they have their doubts. The difference is they don’t let doubt win. They forge battle with it every day.  So if you struggle with confidence know that you can win too. If you struggle with confidence know that there is an answer. It is education, knowledge and the persistent work towards mastery. 

      Are you struggling with service techniques? There is so much education available some at no cost to you but time and a connection to the internet. So many companies have YouTube videos that give step by step tutorials from the simplest to the most detailed techniques. Nail Art, sculpting acrylic or gels, pedicure techniques, massage steps.  Start with the companies whose products you work with and master these techniques. Dedicate at least one hour of the day to watch and learn. Then dedicate a few hours a week to actual hands on practice, whether you use a practice hand or a willing live model. 
     Are you struggling with communication? Communication is one of the biggest factors in building the clientele you want. Read books on communication. Study people and their temperaments.  I am in the process of reading a book about the difference between introverts and extroverts. Did you know they each use a completely different part of their brain in the thought process? It is much easier to communicate with likeminded people, but the challenge is, our clients are all different. Learning great communication techniques can build trust with a client and trust builds loyalty. Clients stick with service providers that they feel a connection with, so build better connections.

     Are you struggling with your finances? Hundreds of books have been written about business finances. Meet with a financial expert and ask for some recommendations to get started understanding the basics. You should know what your cost of doing business is and where your profitability stands. I’m not saying you have to become an accountant, but you do need to get a grasp on the numbers. Working with a budget and understanding your cash flow will give you more confidence in your business and life. 

      Are you struggling with marketing? Don’t know what’s working and what’s not? Take some time and dig into your client base. Learn how they found you and expand your base with those techniques. Again there are a ton of resources on marketing, I can recommend a few great books, mine for one. Ha-ha. But seriously, next time you are at a show don’t just take the classes for technique; sit in on a marketing or business building class. One idea can change your whole world. Work with a coach if needed, take a webinar. But don’t let your lack of understanding marketing lead to a lack of self-confidence. 
     Confidence comes from great skills and great skills come from education. Take a look at this list and pick one or two things you will commit to master. There is no better marketing tip than carrying yourself with confidence, even if you have to fake it till you make it. Confidence is key and building your confidence is smart marketing.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back to School Networking

     Back to school means back to networking. If you are a newer salon or if you have never networked with the schools before now is the time to get your plan together. September is a busy month for back to school so while you are getting your back to school specials rolled out take some time to get a marketing plan together for your area schools. Don’t just hit one, hit a few in your area.  Get inside and get to know the decision makers.  Fall is a great time to volunteer for fundraisers. Consider setting up a nail art station at a fall festival. These are usually set up by the PTA or PTO’s and getting the Presidents name is just a phone call to the board of education. If you have a child in that school consider joining the PTA or at least volunteering in some way.  You will network with some of the top influencers on your town.  It gets you in touch with all the events and their coordinators.  I still have the benefit of those relationships many years later when they need a beauty professional; I am top on their list due to the many hours I contributed and continue to contribute even today.  Remember the children you meet today are clients of the future. Leaving them with positive experiences and good education will leave a lasting impression.  You might even inspire some to become beauty professionals themselves.  
     Set up a teacher appreciation evening or Saturday afternoon. Teachers are some of the hardest working professionals around…they have to put up with our kids after all. Don’t limit yourself to public schools. Visit child care centers, beauty schools, dance schools, anywhere there are teachers. Treat them to an evening of mini mani’s and paraffin dips or exfoliating hand treatments and mini pedis, and don’t forget to include the guys. Once men get a taste of our spa services they will be hooked.  Raffle off a full service and leave them with a goody bag with a mini cuticle oil, hand cream and a discount for their first service.  Remind them you are available for teacher appreciation week and would love to contribute pampering services that week. I have taken several hours out of my day to go to the school and set up a mini spa experience that was truly rewarding. Several teachers came in for full services and continue to be clients today.  Even if they are not interested in services at the time encourage them to pay the offer forward to a friend or relative. 
Many high schools have a fashion club that meets after school. Contact your local high school and inquire about it and who the contact person is. Often times you can come in for a nail talk and educate these young people about proper nail care, sanitation and the ins and outs of artificial enhancements and current nail trends. This is the group that usually puts on the prom fashion show in the spring so you are well places for working with them and getting your name into this community. 

     Last but not least the schools are a great way to connect with the Girl Scout organization as many meetings are held there after school. As a former leader I can tell you these thankless volunteers are always looking for suggestions and help in the meeting department. Offering to come in and put together a manicure party will help them earn their health badge. Pairing up the girls with a manicure buddy and helping them learn proper nail care is rewarding for all. My niece was in my group many years ago and she actually just mentioned the skills she learned at an event last Sunday. Being of service to the community is really what being in a service business is all about. The more you serve, the more you deserve. So seek out opportunities to get involved with the school community and offer your knowledge and passion because that’s smart marketing.
For more info on books, speaking or training click here

Monday, August 11, 2014

Social Media Don'ts


      While scrolling through marketing sites for inspiration I happened upon a post that spoke to me. As business professionals we are inundated with so many messages, yet we rarely take the time to really scrutinize the advice. Social media marketing is not one size fits all, not even one size fits most. As a matter of fact some social media tips are downright wrong for many small businesses. So what are the tips you should ignore? came up with 6 Terrible Social Media Tips Small businesses Should Ignore.
1     1. Never reply to comments or messages from followers.  Playing it cool may work in some relationships, but business relationships are not one. You absolutely should respond to comments and questions in a timely manner. Maybe not right away, you don’t want to train your audience you’re always going to be able to respond real time. Take one or two times during the day if you can, or at least within 24-48 hours to check in to your social media sites and respond to every comment or question.  Responding shows you care and you are serious about your business. It also keeps that personal touch with your audience and keeps your audience engaged. There is nothing worse than the feeling of being invisible.
2.       2. Don’t strategize-post whenever you are inspired. Inspiration is great, but it won’t provide the consistency necessary to build customers. You must be focused on what you need to accomplish and how you are going to do it. You need to post on a regular basis, inspired or not. Look to scheduling tools to help with effective social media campaigns. This leaves you free time to get inspired.


3.       3Post every hour on the hour.  Over posting is a problem, just as much as under posting. Nothing screams unsubscribe like overwhelming your feeds. Posting too often dilutes the importance of each post and you may run the risk of being hidden in news feeds or worse yet being called a spammer.
4.       4. Social media is all you need. While social media is a powerful marketing channel it is not the Holy Grail. You need to drive your audience to a landing site whether it is your website or blog or online booking site. Other offers on these channels will help convert people merely reading your content into paying customers.
5.       5. Your likes and followers are all that matters.  You certainly can’t pay your rent with likes or buy groceries with followers.  Social media is after all about conversion. While likes and followers may tell you how well you are doing to attract clients it’s all about conversion if you want to grow your business.
6.       6. Only talk about yourself. If you monopolize the social media conversation you quickly become that egocentric person at the cocktail party people can’t wait to get away from. This is the fastest way to turn off potential clients. It’s about the customer in the end.  Your conversation should be client focused, understanding their challenges and providing solutions. Your content should be informative and educational while self-promotion is kept to a minimum.

So don’t get thrown off by all the so-called social media experts. Take the time to sift through the noise and hear the right message that fits your business.  Then take on your social media tasks with focus and clarity because that’s smart marketing.