I see so many small business owners, especially in the beauty industry, who struggle with defining a strong and clear brand for their business. I want to help with that, because branding your salon or independent beauty business may be the single most important thing you can do to ensure that your business continues to grow and succeed.
This is the sixth and final post in an epic series on how to build your salon or independent beauty business brand starting from scratch, all the way through branding your client’s experience every time she sits in your chair. Previous posts can be read here:
- Building Your Vintage Beauty Business Brand
- Choosing A Name For Your Salon
- How To Visually Brand Your Salon: Your Logo
- Branding Your Salon With Color
- How To Brand Your Salon’s Decor
If you’ve followed the Building Your Vintage Beauty Business Brand series, you know that most of what we’ve talked about until now has been focused on attracting new clients to your salon. It’s crucial that you stand out from the competition and entice first time customers to make an appointment, but if what those clients experience when they find themselves in your chair doesn’t live up to their expectations, they probably won’t be back.
If you’ve done your job and presented a compelling and cohesive brand identity, you’ve essentially made a promise to the client about what she can expect to gain by trusting you with her hair, nails, or face. Keeping that promise should be your primary focus from the moment she steps foot inside your salon. After all, a satisfied client is the best advertisement for your salon business. The following ten practices will help guarantee that you keep your clients happy, engaged, and returning to you for years to come.
- Offer A Friendly Greeting. No one enjoys the feeling of being unwelcome. Think of salon clients as guests in your home, and treat them accordingly. As soon as a client walks through the door, she should be cheerfully greeted and invited to your chair or a comfortable waiting area, whether by a receptionist or by her stylist. If you are busy with another service, give your client an idea of how long she can expect to wait for you to finish.
- Give Client Amenities. Go above and beyond to make clients feel pampered and appreciated. A short neck and temple massage with aromatherapy oils, or a small product sample at the end of a service will make her feel special. Keep a selection of beverages and small treats available to offer your guests. A hot cup of coffee or tea on a winter’s day, or a bottle of sparkling water will be appreciated and remembered.
Depending on your state’s liquor laws, you can also offer a glass of wine or a beer. There is even an opportunity to reinforce your branding here if you choose beverages or treats that relate to your salon’s name or brand story. Hey Stella Vintage Salon in St. Petersburg, Florida has done this beautifully by offering guests a cold Stella Artois beer. So clever!
- Give An Amazing Shampoo. Every client knows the Very Best Thing about a salon visit is the shampoo. So many stylists rush this step! What they don’t know is that an amazing shampoo and scalp massage will often gain them a client for life. Throw in a neck massage during the conditioning step, and your client will never go to anyone else.
- Do A Thorough Consultation. Spend time getting to know your client. Ask her about her lifestyle and daily routine. Encourage her to show you photos of the look she hopes to achieve, and be honest with her about what results you can realistically offer and the maintenance involved. Spending a few extra minutes at the beginning of a service ensures that you and your client are on the same page and can help prevent disappointment later.
- Sights, Sounds, and Scents. At least once a week, walk through the front door of your salon and look at everything anew, as if looking through the eyes of your target client. When we spend so much time in a space, we can become desensitized to small details that are obvious to others.
It should go without saying, but everywhere your client’s eyes fall should be sparkling clean and free of dust and hair clippings. Your decor should utilize your branding color scheme and reinforce your brand story.
Don’t forget about your clients ears! Music is an overlooked branding opportunity in many businesses. By creating a custom playlist, you can affect your clients’ perception of your brand. Instead of blaring top 40 radio or listening to your coworker’s favorite band on repeat, put serious thought into what music will reinforce your brand story. For example, a salon specializing in vintage styles should greet clients with melodies that hark back to the era of the hairstyles you create.
Finally, make sure that your space smells good. A special blend of essential oils in a diffuser can become your salon’s signature scent. Subtlety is the key here though, as many clients can be sensitive to fragrances.
- Educate Your Clients. Your clients leave your chair feeling like a million bucks, but often, the first time they shampoo and style their new look, they are left frustrated. Explaining the techniques and products you are using as you style their hair empowers them to look their best between salon visits, and reinforces your expertise. It’s also a great way to sell more retail.
- Reward Loyalty. Keeping your clients content is worth an investment. Happy, rewarded clients are more likely to return again and again, and are more likely to tell their friends and family about you. Implement a loyalty program offering discounted services after a certain number of services, or by offering salon gift cards for services or retail based on a simple points for dollars spent system.
- Reward Referrals. When your gratified clients send their friends and family to your chair, deliver the excellent service they’ve been promised, and then show the referring client your appreciation by offering a free service or product at their next visit. Are you seeing how creating one big love fest will grow your client base exponentially? When you overdeliver for every client, they will be thrilled to recommend you to everyone they know.
- Stay In Touch. One of the best business building activities you can do is to collect clients’ email addresses, and use an email marketing service like MailChimp or Aweber to send out branded newsletters letting your clients know about new services, special events, and the latest trends. Use social media to keep your clients engaged and informed. Create a custom hashtag for clients to use on Instagram for post appointment selfies, and remind your salon’s Facebook fans when it’s time to book for holidays and special events.
- Live Your Brand. Remember that every interaction you have with a client or potential client is an opportunity to communicate your brand’s message. Make sure your personal appearance is tidy and in line with the brand position of your salon. Choose your words carefully, and don’t fall into the trap of oversharing your personal life with clients. In everything you do, be kind and strive to do the right thing. Uphold the values of the brand you’ve worked hard to build.
Do you have any other ideas for reinforcing your branding during your clients’ visits to your salon? I read and respond to every comment!