Find your salon’s point of difference
Have you ever sat down and asked yourself: why would people want to choose my salon over the others? Of course, you provide awesome treatments, have years of experience and put your heart into your work, but the harsh truth is – this can be said about most salons and their owners. The competition on the market is huge and being great at what you do is no longer enough. The industry is oversaturated and numerous talented workers and skilful business owners have to compete with one another. To earn a solid reputation and a substantial number of customers, you need a special selling point that will make your salon stand out of the crowd – a characteristic everybody will associate you with. You need a point of difference.
What can be a point of difference?
A point of difference serves the purpose of giving your brand a distinct voice, allowing customers to pick you out from the crowd. So, as you can see, you are not limited to one aspect of your job, but can look for something special in numerous different fields. However, remember that a good point of difference is one you can define and prove. Things such as “friendly atmosphere” won’t work if they are self-proclaimed – and if countless other business can say the same as well. The basic rule is that the less concrete and distinctive the claim, the more solid proof you need.
Also, your point of difference has to have a real value for a client – remember that it should be more than just a gimmick to advertise your services. It’s a business strategy, so don’t waste your time on creating some generic terms and calling it a day. Things like “years of experience” will work only if the highest standard of your services is actually noticeable and really distinguishes you from competitive salons in your area. You will need numerous positive reviews and testimonials to prove it. With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at some examples of what can be your point of difference:
Experience and popularity
- You have been in the business longer than anyone in your area
- You are well-renowned in the industry
- You are a part of a well-renowned industry association
- You have written a book (industry-related)
- You create online content (industry-related)
- You have trained or worked under an industry celebrity
Higher quality and better processes
- You use high-end products selectively
- You put a huge emphasis on safety
- You put a huge emphasis on the consultation process
- You run very detailed customer records
- You provide technological amenities (eg. online booking)
- You are known for addressing all customers’ concerns, even after the service
- You specialise in one particular area and you are a master at it
- You specialise in an area unique to your business
- You offer a very wide range of services
- You offer a very selective (exclusive) range of services
- You offer a one of a kind treatment
- You sell a very exclusive range of retail products
- You target a defined niche
- Your salon is located in the city centre
- Your salon is located in an interesting, historical location
- Your salon is located near a popular shopping centre
Branding and theme
- You have a strong theme in your salon (eg. retro, futuristic, nature)
- You have an interesting interior design
- Your salon is eco-friendly, pet-friendly, children-friendly, etc
- You openly support a particular social group or minority
- You engage in some social campaigns
When deciding on what should be your point of difference, it’s best to combine a few different aspects that go along perfectly. For example, if you choose an emphasis on safety as your selling point, combine it with running detailed customer records and using technological amenities to keep all the information safe and up to date. This way your point of difference is more effective and distinctive.
For some points of difference, it is absolutely necessary – it would be really hypocritical to become a pet-friendly salon and keep selling retail products that are tested on animals. Some selling points require the “go big or go home” approach, so make sure to do your research and choose wisely. Don’t pick a point of difference you don’t associate with and won’t be able to maintain – supporting a certain social group for the sake of good publicity will only bring you frustration (not to mention it’s a really poor thing to do from a moral perspective). Moreover, remember that choosing a certain point of difference can make you lose clients or even employees – it’s rather inevitable when you are choosing a distinctive niche and if you engage in any social issue.
Now, depending on whether you have decided that your point of difference will be a feature you already have (such as a unique specialisation) or something you want to introduce (such as a complete rebranding into an eco-friendly salon), you have to either enhance it or start from scratch. Take a good minute to gather ideas and think about their execution.
For example, let’s say you have decided to change your salon by providing only colour corrections – firstly, you have to make sure your team is okay with this course of action. Secondly, you need to provide additional education to make sure all members of your staff are experts in the field. You will have to purchase all the necessary products and equipment and make sure you are up to date with all the latest techniques. You may even want to do a slight rebranding to make it clear that you are focusing on a specific field – an updated name or logo will be a great beginning. If you can afford to change your interior a little, it’s also a great idea to do so – for example, create a “wall of fame” fully-covered with photos of the most impressive colour corrections you’ve done.
The art of promotion
Introducing your point of difference is just half the battle. Your selling point won’t be effective until you spread the word about it. Moreover, if you are making a huge change (such as focusing on one type of service exclusively or rewriting your services menu) you simply have to inform your clients about it.
For the promotion, you will, of course, engage all your social media fan pages (Facebook, Instagram) and update your website – however, your loyal regulars should get the remark first-hand. It would be smart to do a text message marketing campaign – which is really easier than it sounds, at least with the use of Versum. With the software, you can use beautifully designed pre-made templates for your emails and send bulk text messages with just a click of a button.
Your unique selling point
If you are afraid to make a full rebranding, begin small and test the waters – for example, start an intense promotion of a service you would like to become your salon’s focal point and future point of difference. Checking your statistics in Versum, you will be able to tell if there is a boost in interests or maybe a drop in sales. Also, don’t forget to check your reports on the popularity of services – they will give you a very clear insight on what your clients think should be your flagship.
People love salons with a theme – it’s a fact. Businesses with a unique feature receive a marketing advantage right off the bat. Don’t be afraid to look for your own niche instead of trying to target everyone – salons that specialise in a particular area are more likely to have loyal clients. Remember to do thorough research, check your statistics, talk with your staff, do some testing and if the idea seems to have potential – dare to be unique. Quoting the great Coco Chanel – in order to be irreplaceable one must always be different!