10 tips to prepare your salon for the post-Holiday slow season
December is most probably your busiest month in the year. The festive atmosphere of the winter Holidays makes people more willing to pay a visit to a hair or beauty salon. Your regulars may have started booking their appointments even a few months prior, and in November you are hit with a literal storm of people wanting to make an appointment. Then you spend the whole month running on coffee and gingerbread cookies that your clients keep generously feeding you. And then comes January, when your salon is so quiet that you can hear your income shrinking every minute. It’s the same story every single year.
Is there anything you can do for the beginning of the year to not be so harsh on your business? The answer is yes – but you have to plan ahead. Worrying about the slow season when it already approaches won’t do you any good. This year be smarter – start working on avoiding the January downturn right now!
Take advantage of the busy Holiday time
Sell gift cards (strategically)
Gift cards get very popular during the Holiday season, as they make a versatile and classy present. You are likely to sell more of them in December than the last eleven months put together. Some hair and beauty professionals avoid selling them, as they can be difficult to keep track of, but if you are using salon software such as Versum, you can manage them easily within the system (you can read more about it here).
Now, the trick is to create a very attractive offer on your vouchers, and make them redeemable only in January and February. This deal has to be better than any other ones you may be currently offering, so that clients will feel tempted to purchase them. Remember to advertise the slow season voucher properly and make it very clear that they have a strict expiration date – your customers have to understand the rules of the offer.
If you are using Versum, all you have to do is set the gift card validity until the end of February, and voila – you don’t even have to focus on tracking their expiration date, the system will do it for you.
Whenever you are working with a client during your Holiday time bonanza, mention that January or February will be the perfect time to come for the next appointment. If you are doing a hair colour, it will be just the time for a root retouch. If you are doing a facial, it will also be just the time for another round. Most beauty services require regularity to achieve and/or maintain the effect, so it’s not only profitable, but simply logical, to suggest your December customers to book another visit around January or February. What’s more, while in a festive mood and being provided excellent customer service, your clients will be much more likely to make an appointment on the spot.
Using Versum, you can go even further – the Marketing Automation add-on allows you to run a “Recurring appointments” campaign. If you target your December clients with it, they will receive a special reminder inviting them for another visit at the perfect time. So even if your customers will not rebook on the spot, they will get a carefully worded message with an invitation that will be hard to refuse!
Reach your loyal clients
Target regulars with a clever campaign
After the December pandemonium, some of your loyal clients may feel a little left out, especially if they didn’t manage to make their appointment in time. It’s a good idea to focus on them when things get calmer. Make them feel special – send them a text message saying that to celebrate another great year together, you want to invite them for a visit with a special offer. Instead of giving them discounts, add something extra – like a goodie bag or a little additional service.
Running such a campaign will be a breeze with Versum’s bulk messaging option. Use the advanced client filters to find your regulars, prepare a template message and send to them all with just a click of a button.
Promote your loyalty program
A well-thought-through loyalty program is the best way to take care of your regulars and get new clients at the same time. All it takes is to focus on rewarding friend referrals.
When using the Versum Loyalty Program add-on, all you have to do is to activate the program and then take a look at the awarding points settings – there you can decide how many points are rewarded for a given activity. Then you specify the tempting rewards – and all there is left to do is to start advertising your program. To inform your loyal clients about the program, once again, target them with bulk messaging – and don’t forget to post about it on your social media fan pages!
Win your lost customers back
Nothing hurts just as much as losing a regular client. Sometimes people just need a change – but you can win their attention back. Slow months are the perfect time to try.
The first thing to do is to find customers who haven’t booked in a while- you can find this information in your Versum customer records. Then all you have to do is to activate the “Stop losing customers” campaign in the Marketing Automation add-on. The campaign allows you to send automatic messages to customers who stopped visiting you – remember that retaining clients is even six times cheaper than acquiring new ones!
Aim for suitable marketing
Run a “New year, new you” campaign
At the beginning of every new year, many people feel the need to change something in their lives. Take advantage of this situation and run a campaign, inviting them for a metamorphosis. Depending on the type of services you provide, it may be about changing your appearance instantly (new hair, nails or lashes) or investing into a long-term process (physiotherapy, skin and body treatments).
For such a campaign, once again – go with bulk messaging and posts on social media. Share the pictures of your previous clients, showcasing that you can do wonders. Mention that a change in image supports the change in habits and helps to begin a new chapter in life. Most people who hit the gym for the first time in January get discouraged pretty soon – but your business has a big chance of getting some loyal clients instead!
Host a New Year event
You rarely have time to even consider hosting an event in your salon, so now it may be the perfect moment to finally do so. You can read more about the organisation of such a party here. The main goal of hosting an event is to spread awareness and establish your position on the market. However, oftentimes your guests become your regulars – after having such a positive experience during their first visit to your business, they are willing to keep coming back. Remember to always follow-up the event with a “thank you” message and an invitation to visit you again! Let the great first impression last.
Take advantage of the free time
Having fewer clients for a short period doesn’t have to be something purely negative. Think about it this way – you finally have time to focus on some organisational matters. For example, you can take care of your social media fan pages!
Take a look at your Facebook and/or Instagram page. Be honest with yourself – does it look appealing? What does the potential client see when they visit it for the first time? Maybe there is room for improvement? Check if all of the information provided on the page is valid and up to date. Use this time to get to know more about Facebook algorithms, so that you will be able to post content that ensures success. It’s also a good moment to consider your online marketing strategy – maybe this year you will run your pages a little differently?
Refresh the salon’s interior design
A new year may be just the perfect time to refresh your salon’s look a little bit. Now you have the time to look at the interior of your own business with a fresh eye – maybe it’s time to rearrange furniture and equipment? Maybe it’s time to paint the walls a different colour? Or perhaps you need a complete renovation because the current design no longer does it for you? Even the smallest salons can turn into a masterpiece with the right interior choices – the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to be creative and explorative!
Take care of your staff
After the very intensive Holiday time, your employees definitely need a little appreciation. It’s a perfect time to encourage them to go on a holiday break to unwind after the December madness.
Slow periods in hair and beauty salons are also ideal for working on your relationship with your staff members. Provide them with training and opportunities to further advance their skills. Bring in industry experts and have them teach new techniques, work on ideas on how to improve customer service and provide updates on the salon’s branding and strategy. Lastly, spend some quality integration time with your employees – one day off business won’t hurt and will remarkably boost the team spirit!
With the right tools and frame of mind, you can turn the slow season into a very fruitful time for your beauty business. It’s important to think strategically, act fast and make good use of digital facilities created to help your business flourish. Give Versum a go and see how big of a difference it makes for your salon!