Off to Market by Helena Biggs, Part 2
Make clients aware of your offerings and show off your success with marketing techniques to help boost your business. Scratch Editor Helena Biggs reports (part 2).
You may be a dab hand at nail services, but without informing others of your offerings, only friends, family and those ‘in the know’ making a booking.
“Marketing is the cornerstone of any good business, no matter what industry you are a part of,” reveals Liv Hopkins, marketing manager at Izabelle Hammon Ltd.
“Marketing is how you promote your skills as a nail technician, share new products with your clientele and encourage business growth. It can help turn your business into a brand. The sky is the limit!”
There are two ways in which blogs can help raise awareness of your offerings. The first is to create your own blog on your website, detailing all your new launches and offerings – as well as business news of interest to clients – as and when they happen.
“We introduced our own blog, called The Low Down, which gives us another opportunity to showcase the great work our team is doing and to prove we are an authentic brand with a real passion for what we do,” reveal Jennifer Linton and Jaye Macdonald, co-directors of Linton & Mac, Aberdeen. “Setting up a blog for your salon is a low-cost way to keep your database of contacts up-to-date with unmissable opportunities and show off your expertise.
“The blog features industry news, the latest trends, what is happening in and out the salon, alongside showcasing events and other local businesses and points of interest.”
If you’re not too confident when it comes to hitting the keyboard, utilise existing bloggers in your area to promote your services to a relevant audience. Simply search for a reputable blogger in the local area via Google or social media, and invite them in for a complimentary treatment on the proviso that they write a positive blog post on your business and services, with links to your website or social media sites.
“By posting about your business, a local blogger can introduce your brand to potential clients and also drive traffi c to your website,” reveals Bridget O’Keeffe, beauty blogger and founder of Blush + Blow salon in Fulham. “The exposure that they give is unlike any other kind.
“Bloggers can increase the profi le and reputation of your brand, help generate sales and create a buzz about your business as a beauty hotspot that must be tapped up. For potential clients, reading blogger reviews can create excitement as well as awareness.”
Scratch Stars Awards finalist and fellow blogger, Natasha Lee, agrees. “Maximising your online presence is always a fantastic, business-savvy idea. However, it can be difficult sometimes to extend your reach to potential clients beyond your own social media platforms, such as Facebook. Getting mentioned across different sites online helps to build your profile on Google, and a good blogger understands and implements excellent SEO (search engine optimisation) into their posts.
“A blogger could really help your business achieve a higher position on Google search listings, and therefore expose your business to a whole new audience. It also looks very professional for your business to be featured on an independent blog, and is something that you can promote on your own website and social platforms.”
The easiest and most accessible marketing tool is, in fact, you! A well-groomed appearance – particularly in the image-conscious beauty industry, speaks volumes about the services you offer.
“Good presentation inspires confidence in your ability and trust so the customer feels they’re getting the best possible service,” reveals Helen Harker, design manager at Simon Jersey. “It’s also a way to develop and reinforce your brand image and can even lead to greater earnings.
“In a study we commissioned we found that 21% of people will leave a bigger tip if the worker looked ‘smart and tidy’.”
What’s more, use your position as a hands-on nail technician to show off the latest shades you stock by wearing seasonal hues or nail art looks. If they catch attention, it gets you talking to your client about your new collections and offers the opportunity for upselling in regard to nail art designs.
“When it comes to your own personal nail care, remember that your hands are a reflection of your business,” adds Natasha Ray, general manager at Hammer and Nails, Hollywood. “Your personal image will only amplify your visibility as a professional.
“Your appearance speaks before you even open your mouth. Whenever I’m hiring staff, I like to touch on why appearance plays such a major role in your development of a clientele, but also a job in a reputable salon.”
If you’ve introduced tanning or brow services into your salon, for example, ensure your staff members how off these new services. “In the salon, we all wear name badges that state what we do, with tunics and skirts by Simon Jersey to show off our spray tans; advertising another of our services,” reveals Charli Jepson, Phd master educator at Nail Harmony UK and owner of Charli and The Beauty Factory.
“Potential clients are everywhere; from behind you in the queue at the bank, to standing next to you on the school run or at the checkout assistant in the supermarket,” reveals Angie Gunter, head of education at INK London. “If your nails, for example, catch the eyes of others, ensure you’re carrying business cards to hand over to those that comment!”
Listing your business and treatment offerings on a bookings website can enhance your business profile and help gain you clients that may not have been aware of your services. These websites allow prospective clients to search for treatments by area or cost, for example, and book online. They simply take a small percentage of the booking as a hosting fee.
“Appointment booking apps can be so useful, particularly when your business is getting busier,” reveals Liv Hopkins, marketing manager at Izabelle Hammon Ltd. “You may not always have time to answer the phone if you’re in back to back appointments all day, but you don’t want to miss out on revenue because of clients that couldn’t reach you.
“Booking apps are more convenient for the customer, and most apps have automated text or email reminders to keep your customers informed and help avoid no-shows.”
Ideal for independent workers, mobile nailists and busy salons, salon software systems can be accessed from mobile devices and tablets – and offer marketing opportunities at the touch of a button.
Salon software systems do more than just manage client bookings. Many are built to identify when clients haven’t attended in some time, and can send reminders, and there are a number of e-marketing opportunities, such as e-newsletters and automated text messages that detail your latest offers to clients to entice them to book.
If you deliver a great service, the promotion from happy clients will help inform others of your offerings, and the best part is – it’s free!
“Your current customers are your biggest advocates, so encourage them to share your work with their friends and followers,” suggests Liv Hopkins, marketing manager at Izabelle Hammon Ltd. “Try offering your current customers incentives, such as a ‘recommend a friend and get 20% off’ scheme, to encourage them to bring new customers to your door.”
Keep customers loyal by rewarding your regulars and big spenders with loyalty schemes and perhaps an invite to a special VIP salon event, where they receive a free mini treatment and money off your retail lines as a ‘thank you’ for their support. It will make them feel valued and enhance a rapport with you – which could keep them faithful. What’s more, you’re still sure to rake in some cash from a salon event through retail sales and attraction from passers-by!
“It may be a bit ‘old school’, but who doesn’t want to receive a card in the post on their birthday, or at Christmas?” ask Jennifer Linton and Jaye Macdonald of Linton & Mac.
“Everyone loves a personal approach and a handwritten card is a great way to show a customer how important they are, and that you are thinking of them on their special day.
You can also use mail to post out invites for events you are holding, such as an anniversary or birthday, a local business collaboration, or to celebrate a recent award win.”
At a time when clients are often too busy to pick up the phone and want to book treatments at a time convenient to them, having a presence in the online realm is essential.
The first thing a prospective client may do when seeking a service in their local area is to do a web search, so you need a website – however basic – to list your services and contact details. “It may be worth paying a web designer to get your website up and running, ensuring that it’s professional and kept up-to-date,” recommends Angie Gunter, head of education at INK London. “Make sure key words feature on your site for relevance and so clients can find you easily via a search engine. “It is important to make sure any nail pictures you use on the website are our own and have been created by you. After all, you may find yourself being asked to re-create the look!” In addition, if you are using imagery or logos from the brands you use, always seek permission and follow the correct protocol from the brand.
“Websites are a wonderful way to give clients – both old and new – an insight into your business,” adds Annie Carr at O’Nine. “They can offer information on what treatments are available, opening hours, how to find you, your contact details and also give you the opportunity to showcase your salon in picture format. Keep it informative, fresh and updated. Nothing is more frustrating for a client to call to book a treatment that you no longer offer.”
Read Part 1 of Helena's article on marketing your beauty business here.