Drive Repeat Business To Your Salon With Email Marketing
For many owners of hair & beauty salons, you will be relying on the volume business model. You generally don’t make hundreds or thousands of pounds per treatment (unless you are Stuart Phillips!) and instead you make a small profit on each and rely on getting lots of customers in your chairs every single day.
To make this kind of business model sustainable over the long term, you ideally want to encourage a lot of repeat business and build up a chunk of loyal customers that come back to your particular salon time and time again – the regulars. Having a solid email marketing strategy is a great way to do this.
Isn’t email marketing dead??
There are many ways to keep up the dialogue with your customers and in 2023 social media is huge, but don’t think that email marketing is dead; it most certainly is not.
If you are not building an email list and using it effectively to nurture that relationship with your past customers then you are most definitely leaving money on the table.
Let’s start this off by having a look at some of the main reasons that email should be in your marketing toolbox.
You own your email list
You can build up a large following on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media platform and do all kinds of marketing, but you never truly own that list – the platform does, and this is a big problem.
Take Facebook for example. If you have a page with 1,000 followers and you put out a post to that page, how many of those 1,000 people will even see it in their newsfeed? A teeny tiny fraction! That number has been getting smaller and smaller over the years as Facebook have realised the power of their platform for business marketing.
If you want your posts to actually be seen by your audience, you have to pay for it with cold hard cash using a sponsored post. Think about that for a moment… how much effort have you put into marketing your Facebook page only to now have to pay money to actually post anything that those people will see!
Facebook own your list, and the story is the same for any other social media platform. An email list on the other hand is 100% yours. You only pay for the email management account which is dirt cheap or even free. Mailchimp for example give you a free account for up to 1,000 subscribers and it’s just £10.50 for 5,000. Once you have the list, you can email to it as much as you like with no fees.
Email is (mostly) distraction free
In today’s fast-paced, scroll-heavy society, even if your posts appear in the news feed of your customer, how likely is it that they will even notice it whilst they are scrolling away on their phone with a million other things to draw their attention.
Email on the other hand doesn’t have anywhere near as many distractions. Sure, spam is still rife in the email industry but most providers such as GMail are getting so much better at automatically filtering out the spam that the average person’s email inbox is likely to be a much cleaner environment than their social media feed.
A social media platform can change the way their data is viewed at any time and they do this constantly. With every change, the way that your audience sees and interacts with your content also changes and you have absolutely no control over this.
If Facebook decide to increase adverts or put in another new feature to distract their users, there’s nothing you can do about it.
But email is different. Email clients do one thing and one thing only – show people their emails. The email inbox is not cluttered with a gazillion flashing widgets. Apple and Gmail account for over 85% of the market share of email providers between them and these are two very clean email interfaces.
This makes it far more likely that a user will actually click on your email as opposed to clicking on your post in a social media newsfeed.
If they do open your email, you now have that person’s attention, and again, without distraction.
Email gives you rich, multi media
With Facebook you can attach an image or a video, but the test of it is text. Instagram is just an image and Twitter is just a couple of lines of text. You have to squash your marketing message into these very specific formats whenever you want to send out a post. And of course, if the platform changes the rules…. well, you have to change your marketing procedures to match!
You don’t have to worry about any of this with email. Email providers now default to HTML so you can make your email as simple or as detailed and rich as you like. You can make your email as beautiful as a web page which means that the engagement rate is a lot higher.
Growing your email list
The first step to mastering the art of email marketing is to of course build your email list in the first place. Please bear in mind that due to the direct marketing rules mentioned above, it is absolutely vital that you have a person’s permission to email them!
No matter how an email address is obtained, you must always tell your customer that you’ll be using their email address for marketing purposes and allow them to opt-out at any point. Of course you don’t have to use words like “marketing” when you talk about this; you can just ask them if you can keep in touch via email with special offers and promotions for example. Most people will be perfectly fine with this.
Capture the email with every booking
No matter how you get your clients booked in – whether it is via some salon management software, a form on your website, a phone call or an in-person drop-in – this is your first point on contact with that customer and if it’s a new customer, this is your opportunity to ask for their email right from the start.
These people are gold for your email list because they have already proven that they are ready to spend money in your salon by making that booking with you. Research shows that once a customer has spent money with an establishment, assuming they are happy with the service, they are more than 60% likely to spend money with you again!
Marketing to your existing customers in order to drum up repeat business should always be your highest priority, but there are also ways that you can grow your list of people who haven’t yet sampled your services.
People love discounts and freebies, especially nowadays with the cost of living increasing every month it seems! This technique works especially well if you have a good social media following. We already published a comprehensive guide to running salon competitions so make sure to grab a cuppa and have a good read of that.
Create a helpful newsletter
This really starts to touch on the subject of content marketing which is a whole topic in it’s own right but I’ll just briefly state that you want to be allocating a part of your marketing budget towards creating some truly valuable content for your target audience.
One of the easiest ways to do this is via a blog on your website – just like we’re doing right now with this post! As you add more blog posts over time, you’re building up a valuable resource on your website and you can re-purpose that content into an email newsletter.
Each time you create a content rich blog post, you can add an entry into your email autoresponder sequence. You can either copy the whole content of the post directly into the email, or just include an excerpt and include a link to the original post. Test which method works best for your audience.
Email marketing done RIGHT
There is one disadvantage to email that the social media platforms don’t share – the spam factor. Email is regulated by various rules and all email providers will adhere to these strict rules. If you become labelled as a spammer, you will lose the ability to reach your audience.
Most email clients now make it very easy to mark an email as spam with a single click and if they do this not only does it send all of your emails into the spam folder for your client, but the spam marker is noted by both the email client and also your mailing list manager if you are using one (you should be!)
If you get too many people marketing your emails as spam then your entire domain could become marked as a spam account and then you won’t be able to send emails from that address anymore, which of course would be very bad for business!
So, with that in mind, let’s look at how you can use your email campaigns to provide real value to your customers so that they will actually want to read your content, and never get anything sent to the spam folder.
I’m not going to go into the technical details of email marketing in this article – that would be a long post in it’s own right and is really a different topic entirely. If you already run some kind of salon management software then it’s very likely that it has an email list service built in, but if not there are many great options on the market to choose from such as Mailchimp (mentioned earlier), AWeber and GetResponse.
Email regularly, but sparingly
You want to email your list often enough that the recipients remember who you are but not so much that you annoy them. This is a fine balance but when in doubt, err on the side of less rather than more. If you are not sure where to start in terms of frequency, just put yourself in your customers shoes. When do emails annoy you? What causes you to hit the unsubscribe or the spam button?
If you don’t send out any emails for six months and then suddenly send a bunch of them in a week this is likely to trigger both a “who the heck are XYZ salon??” response and an annoyance response. You don’t want your customer to forget who you are.
I would suggest starting with a baseline minimum of one email per month (how often do your customers come in for a new treatment?) but don’t send more than a couple of emails in a single week even if you are promoting a particular event or offer.
Start with an introduction
Think of your new email signup like a precious newborn baby; you want to take very good care of it at this most vulnerable time! If that person happened to be a walk-in off the street they might not have paid all that much attention to your business name and might just forget about you a week after their treatment.
You can setup an autoresponder sequence to send out a couple of emails automatically at fixed times after the signup. So you might want to start by sending out a thank you for signing up and giving value right off the bat by giving them an exclusive discount on their next treatment.
Don’t do this right away as they probably won’t need it and may forget about it. Save it for a couple weeks later.
Another idea for the autoresponder is to invite them to follow you on your other marketing channels so here is the place to promote your social media.
Lastly, you can ask them to leave you a review on Trustpilot, or your Google My Business profile if they were happy with your service.
Use enticing subject lines
Unlike social media where every post is showed in full as the viewer scrolls, an email has to be physically clicked on to be opened and read by the recipient. When your email first arrives in the inbox, it is simply listed with the sender information and the subject line. This subject line is crucial!
If it does not grab the attention and entice the user to click then it is useless. Keep the subject line fairly short so that it can be quickly read whilst scanning down a list of emails. You need to find a balance between making your subject interesting enough to get the click but without looking spammy. A few things to watch out for:
- DON’T SHOUT – IT’S ANNOYING
- Don’t over-use exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!
- Don’t ever lie or mislead just to get the email opened
Most email software will give you stats about your open rates which will allow you to experiment with the copy that you use for emails and assess what your particular audience best responds to.
Don’t forget your branding
For all you know your brand new email subscriber mist have just popped into your salon for a treatment on a whim whilst passing and they never even took any notice of the salon name! Worse still, they might do that kind of thing on a regular basis and already be on the email list of several of your competitors.
Don’t assume that your reader actually remembers who you are when your email arrives in their inbox! Observe the following rules with every single email you send:
- Ensure the sender name is your business name and not your personal name.
- Always include your logo at the top of every email
- Always include a link to your website and main social profiles
Also if you have certain a certain colour pallete on your website or certain styles of font, then use those within your email template as well. Keep the branding consistent and they will learn to recognise your style. Familiarity breeds comfort which results in repeat business.
Test on multiple platforms
You will probably using a desktop or laptop computer to create your email campaigns but most of your readers are likely to be reading it on their phone, tablet or even a wearable device like a smart watch.
In the same way as you have to make sure your website design is mobile friendly and responsive, your email content also has to be easily readers on many different kinds of devices.
Make it personal
If you gather some personal information such as your customers first name when you capture the email address, you can incorporate this into both the body of the email and also the subject line.
The brain utilises something called the “reticular activating system” to draw attention to things that mean something to us as individuals – your own name is something that is flagged by your brain in this way. What that means is that you can be scrolling through a long list of emails quite quickly and not really be reading the subject lines but if one of them has your name in it, your brain will notice and rest your eyes on it. Some examples:
- “Mary, here’s a 20% discount off your next hair cut”
- “Is your beard in need of a trim, John?”
- “Lucy, inside are 6 ways to make your hair colour last longer”
Focus on providing value first
One of the biggest things that business do wrong with any kind of marketing is that they take, take, take and forget to give value back. Attention spans are short and the unsubscribe button is easily accessible. If all you do is promote yourself without providing anything genuinely of value to your reader they will not stay on your list for very long.
Remember that time is precious and if your reader actually makes the effort to open your email then you need to make sure they are rewarded for giving you a slice of their time and attention.
What you need to do here is ensure a good balance between giving pure value to the reader and weaving in your own marketing messages. If you follow the advice from earlier in this article and start blogging on a regular basis, you can have your autoresponder all setup to send out on a regular basis automatically and then just send out email blasts when you have specific promotions that you want to run.
Include a call to action
No matter what kind of content you are sending out in your email, always invite the reader to engage with you in some way via some kind of “call to action” (CTA). Think about what you want your reader to actually do after they’ve read the email. Some examples might be:
- Click through to your website to read more
- Book an appointment
- Reply to the email with an answer to a question
- Vote or comment on a social media post
Whatever your CTA is, make it clear and accessible – a good sized button with easy to read text surrounded by sufficient whitespace to allow it to be easily noticed is a great idea.
Allow an easy way to unsubscribe
This one might seem counter-intuitive, after all, after making the effort to actually bring somebody new onto your email list you want to do what you can to keep them on there so why make it easy for them to unsubscribe? Here are three very good reasons:
- An unsubscribe option is required by law
- If they want to unsubscribe and you don’t make it blindingly obvious how to do so, they might simply hit the ‘spam’ button in the email client instead. This is very bad news as being marked as a spammer will permanently hurt your reputation and incapacitate your ability to conduct email campaigns in the future.
- If they don’t want to be on your list they are highly unlikely to spend money with you anyway. You want your readers to want to be on your list! Although email marketing is very cost effective, it still does cost money so you’ll want to have your list full of people eager to read your content so that you are concentrating your efforts on your target market.
Constantly test and tweak
Once you have built up a good number of subscribers on your list you can start tweaking various parameters to see what performs best. Your email management software can usually help you with this and may even be able to identify certain patterns that work best for you. Here are a few ideas for things you should be trying to optimise:
- What are the best days and times to send emails?
- What kind of headings work best?
- Do long form emails or short emails with a link to read more elsewhere work better?
- How many images should you include? What size should they be?
- Experiment with styling – fonts, colours etc, but remember to keep it branded
You’re never going to get everybody reading every email and you will always get unsubscribers – that is simply a fact of life online. But over time you want to be monitoring and hopefully increasing your open rates, engagement on linked to content, and of course your revenue.
Want help with your email marketing?
If you are busy running your salon, managing your staff and clients and are already spending lots of time on other marketing channels then implementing an email marketing campaign might seem like a lot of work that you don’t have time for.
If that is the case why not let us handle it for you? The experts at Salon Guru can help you with all aspects of your email marketing campaign as well as all of your other marketing work. Get in touch now to see how we can help.
Real world examples
Here at Salon Guru we manage the email marketing campaigns for hundreds of clients. Below is just a very small sample of the emails that we have sent out for our clients:
Mother’s Day Email
There are many special days throughout the year which might be of particular interest to your salon clientele. Mother’s Day is a very obvious one and is a great opportunity to boost sales. Follow our blog to be kept informed in advance of special days that are coming up that you should take advantage of.
One off events to promote
As well as special days that are held annually like Mother’s Day shown above, there will sometimes be big days coming up that are one off. The recent coronation of King Charles is one such example. It was a one-time event not likely to be repeated for many years but it was a huge celebration for the whole country. We really hope you were able to take advantage of it in your salon! But if not, don’t worry, just keep an eye on our blog to be kept up to date with any important dates to be aware of.
Send out a monthly newsletter
Even if you don’t have enough time and resources to email out promotions for every special event, what we do suggest is that you send out an email at least once per month to touch base with your clients. Here is an example of a recent client email we sent out to cover the upcoming month of May.
Promote your late deals
If you have some last minute promotions for your clients to take advantage of then obviously an email and social media campaign are going to be the best ways to let your customers know about them.
Keep your customers informed of any important news
If you have have anything exciting going on in your salon then it’s good to keep your customers in the know. Have you won an award? Brought on a great new stylist? Had a celebrity in your salon? Below is an example of a salon who has recently celebrated 12 years in business.