August is one of the busiest months of the year. There’s not one big holiday to keep everyone on the move, but there are a million little things going on, such as barbeques, back-to-school shopping, last-minute camping trips, pool parties, waterpark visits, and so on and so forth. If you’re a small-business owner, you also have to keep marketing and developing your business while everything else is going on. Summer fun is no excuse for letting things slip at your salon in Lawton. It’s important to take a few days off here and there, but keep in mind that big businesses don’t take summer vacations, so little ones can’t, either.
It’s good to take your cues from big businesses in a few ways, actually. Maybe you’ve seen articles about the ways that companies such as Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Netflix handle their marketing, advertising, and customer care. Do you read them? Sure, it can seem pointless to see what the biggest companies do to market themselves. They have scads of money to throw into customer and marketing programs, after all. But the truth is, small businesses such as salons in Lawton can gain a lot from applying the same kinds of strategies used by the big kids. Here are a few marketing and development strategies culled from some of the top-performing businesses in America that are easily applied to your mini salon suite in Lawton!
Make It About Them: Clients love it when you remember their personal preferences. Big companies have lots of software for tracking that, but owners of salons in Lawton could simply keep a journal or a spreadsheet containing notes from client sessions. Just jot down any interesting tidbits you pick up about clients’ lives. Asking clients questions like, “So how did the big meeting go?” or “Did you like that different cut we tried?” will make them feel like you really value their business. Try to take note of family members’ names, clients’ birthdays, those sorts of things. In reality, a small business can create a personalized experience in the way big businesses just can’t. Use that as an incentive to have your clients come back again and again!
Follow Up: It’s great to jot down notes after an appointment so you can prep before your next, but it’s also important to use the data you acquire. Saying, “Happy birthday!” is great, but sending your clients birthday emails that include a coupon or a free service is even better. It’s also nice to jot down the date of a client’s first salon service with you, and then somehow celebrate every “client anniversary,” perhaps again with a coupon or free service. Your clients will feel that their business really matters to you.
Respond Quickly. Response time is one of the most important aspects of the service industry, according to countless client surveys. It’s human nature to hate to be kept waiting, so make sure you get back to your clients quickly about appointments and services. Respond as soon as possible to texts, phone calls, and email messages. We know it’s hard! Big businesses have tons of people answering their phones and responding to emails around the clock. There’s no way an independent salon owner can compete with that, and most people don’t expect you to. Just do your best to get back to people on the same day or the next day at the very latest, and you’ll do great!
Be Prepared. This is one of our favorite pieces of advice: Make sure you have an “Oops Package” ready to go just in case you make a mistake that upsets a customer. Everyone makes mistakes. A small gift and a short note will show a disgruntled customer that you genuinely care about making things right. Sometimes just saying “I’m sorry” is not enough, so preparing a little package, nicely presented and filled with desirable items, can really mend fences when things have gone wrong.
Anticipate Their Needs. Maybe this seems like a no-brainer, but many people in the customer service industry forget it. Our clients often look to us for what they should be doing with their hair, nails, or whatever else. When you run a small business, you often get to know your clients better than you could if you were working for a big company. Maybe you see a nail color you know a client will love or a style that’s a fresher redux of a valued customer’s favorite ‘do. Taking the time to talk to clients about things that remind you of them or even just workshopping their hair ennui or nail envy into a positive change gives them the biggest reason to come to you. That’s the boutique experience they want from a small business. Plus it will show your clients that you care enough to keep track of things and stay at the top of your game!
Use Your Resources. A big company has many resources: time, money, a huge staff. You don’t have those things, but you do have other resources. That includes your customers! Think about it: The more you talk to your customers, the more you learn about them. They come to you for style and health advice, and you might be able to turn to them, too. While they’re in the chair, talking about the things that go on in their lives, you can ask them questions. Maybe you have a good plumber – or a tax preparer or a lawyer – sitting in your chair. If you ever need someone like that, building that relationship can be a great two-way street. If they’re an independent crafter, get some of their candles, picture frames, or essential oils to spruce up the store, or use them as holiday gifts for your friends. Referrals are great, too, so maybe they have a friend of a friend who might be of use. You simply need to ask them! And then they can do the same with you.