When it comes to bringing in more customers to your salon, there’s no more powerful influence than word of mouth referrals from friends. Most people are understandably wary about trying a new stylist, since the consequences of a poor fit can be devastating. A recommendation from a friend, therefore, is a much stronger lure than any special offer or discount when it comes to one’s hair. The salon business is uniquely personal, so salon marketing requires a personal touch. Here are seven ways to encourage word of mouth referrals to bring in more customers to your salon.
1. Offer Rewards for Referrals
Your customers may love you, but they have a lot on their minds and talking you up to their friends may not be a priority. Sometimes they just need a little incentive. Everyone loves a reward, even a small one. But, choose wisely. It should be enough of an incentive to make it worth their while to recommend you, but not such a good deal that they’ll set up a phony customer just to get the reward.
2. Encourage Customer Reviews
If you haven’t already done so, claim your Yelp page along with Google Plus and any other review sites, and optimize them with photos and helpful information. Then encourage customers to visit your sites and post reviews. Take advantage of the extraordinary circumstances when a client is extremely grateful and let them know how much you’d appreciate it if they would share their experience. There are many such opportunities, like when you squeeze in that last minute emergency appointment, or rescue someone from a bad perm or botched color.
3. Offer Introductory Specials
Lure in new customers with a “try me” special. Keep it safe and simple; let them get to know you before they trust you with their color or texture. If you have a deep conditioning treatment that customers are raving about, that’s a great way to give new clients a positive first experience. Combine it with a shampoo, trim, style or blowout and send them off looking and feeling fabulous. Post your introductory special on your social media sites, print it on the back of business cards for clients to give to their friends, hand out flyers or even send out postcards.
4. Leverage Social Media
People are increasingly mobile these days, so instead of chatting with neighbors over the back fence, they’re chatting on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Conduct a survey of your favorite clients and find out which sites they’re frequenting, and set up business pages on those sites. Encourage them to like your pages so they’ll receive updates in their news feeds. Post daily specials, announce new products and services and offer helpful beauty tips and advice; things that your followers will want to pass on to their friends. You can even share funny salon-related pictures and videos in hopes that they will also be shared. Be sure to take advantage of the new call to action (CTA) buttons to encourage readers to visit your website or even make an appointment.
5. Partner with Complementary Businesses
Team up with other local businesses in the neighborhood that potential clients might frequent, such as fitness centers, cafes, boutiques and such. Offer to place their business cards and/or promotional materials on your counter if they will do the same. You’ll both benefit from the extra business, and it’s a great way to promote your introductory special.
6. Mail Out Postcards
Take advantage of the U.S. Postal Service’s Every Door Direct Mail service to geo-target specific neighborhoods in your area with postcards advertising your introductory special offer. It’s inexpensive, extremely simple and a great way to ensure that you’re reaching potential customers in your geographical area.
7. Throw a Party
Who doesn’t love a party? Pick a theme, whether it be girls’ night out, a holiday party, a grand opening or the introduction of a new product or service, and plan a very special evening. Have plenty of staff on hand to demonstrate techniques, products, services or just give a complete makeover to a lucky winner or winners, and be ready to wow your guests with the results. Be sure to have food, cocktails and door prizes, and promote it well in advance. Use flyers, posters, mailers, email, text messages and social media to remind all of your favorite clients to attend, and encourage them to bring their friends.
Remember, as a local business you want to attract local customers. Get to know and become a part of your local community, because that’s where your customers are. And don’t forget to nurture and leverage your greatest source of new customers — your current client base!