My Book, Your Gift, Merry Christmas!

As you can see I’ve been really busy parcelling up all of the pre-booked copies of my latest edition of The Little Book of Client Retention and I loved every minute.

If you haven’t ordered YOUR copy, then NOW is the time.

My Little Book of Client Retention is jam packed with 50 ways to increase your client retention, and in the spirit of Christmas I will send it to you totally Free of Charge in time for Christmas, and ready for you to start planning new ways to maximise your business for the coming year.

Why am I doing this?

Well, Christmas is the time for giving and my true wish is that you, and every reader of Beauty Entrepreneurs has the MOST Prosperous 2017 by retaining as many clients as possible.

Christmas is also the time for reflection.

This means evaluating all that you have successfully achieved this year, along with all the things that you seriously need to change!

Wishing on a Star isn’t good enough to bring about the right change you need in your business, so I have added a few bonuses to the Book to help you along your way to mastering your business.

To claim my Christmas gift to you:

Simply enter your Name, Your Business Name & Address, plus your email and telephone number into this Ask Susan link and I will personally post your copy this week….

I think I may need to get Santa’s little helpers on board as well!

Here’s to your great business in 2017!

Susan x

New Year, New Ideas? Plan NOW!

How has your year been? Where will you be in 12 months’ time?

new-year-new-ideasIf you don’t have precise answers for those questions, then now is the time to get them. That’s now, as in early December, not January or February.

As a salon owner myself, I know this is already a really busy time but honestly, this is the right moment to properly reflect on the past year and plan for the one ahead. Waiting for calm after New Year is too late. Before you know it, you’ve drifted for another two months when you could have been tackling real improvements.

Make time to reflect

Don’t let this opportunity get away from you. You should already have a good idea of what worked for you this year and what didn’t go quite so well. Take the time to list it all down, including why you think things went the way they did.
Go through your list line-by-line, planning ways to strengthen the good stuff and eliminate the bad. It pays to be really thorough. You should aim to create a 10-point action plan containing everything you need for the coming year, including detailed milestones and timescales.

Be sure to create a similar list of all the wonderful things you want to achieve by the end of the year too, again with milestones and timescales attached. It’s so important to make sure that every improvement or change you decide upon is tied in to achieving your goals and ambitions.

Turn a journey into small steps

Once you’re happy that your objectives are clearly defined, it’s time to start breaking them down into bitesize pieces – month-by-month, step-by-step. I know this might sound scary or time-consuming or even impossible but trust me, it’s much easier to focus on small, achievable tasks with short-term deadlines than aiming for a much bigger, often more vague, far-off goal.

Imagine piecing together an enormous jigsaw. You start by finding the corners, then the edges, then picking out an obvious face or building… Before you know it, the puzzle’s nearly finished without you even noticing!
Whatever you choose to achieve, you want to make certain the results of every step are measurable. If you can’t prove that you’ve done something, or whether it was successful, then how can you judge your progress?

Think about your freedom

And finally, what about you? What do you want from the coming year? This planning exercise isn’t just for business goals but personal ones too. After all, the point of one is to benefit the other.
Be clear about exactly what you want out of the year for yourself; whether that’s sun-soaked holidays, time with the kids or just being more confident that your salon can cope without you for a few days. Wouldn’t you like just a bit more freedom?

Here’s to a successful year ahead. Happy planning!

Here’s to your great business in 2017!

Susan x

Ho Ho No-No: How to Avoid the Post-Christmas Bust

how-to-avoid-the-post-christmas-bustWe’ve all done it. In fact, it’s pretty much the seasonal staple of our industry.

The frenzied activity of the Christmas run-in, when our books are full to bursting and takings are boosted by runaway gift voucher sales, gives way to the icy standstill of January. Costs far outstrip revenue. The only customers crossing the threshold are those with pre-paid vouchers for free treatments. New Year always starts with a fight to get into the black.

Sound familiar? Sure, as I wrote in an earlier post, gift voucher customers are worth more than you might think, but there must be a better way, mustn’t there?

Fortunately, there is.

It took me a while to figure it out, but I got there and I promise it makes a huge difference. The secret is staying ahead of the game.

Think ahead

Rather than focussing solely on filling the salon before Christmas, put some work into booking your regular client appointments three, or even six, months in advance.

This way, rather than be faced with a blank void to fill in January and February, you can slot those gift voucher clients around the steady income generated by your regulars. Because you’re giving priority to your loyal customer base, you can frame it with them as the reward it is, rather than any sort of imposition.

It really does work. And the best thing is, you can use this approach to help plan your business throughout the entire yearly cycle, flattening out peaks and troughs.

I know what you’re thinking. How do you persuade clients to book ahead? It’s all about getting your salon systemised and there are two main strategies.

Write a great script

Not a film script, a rebooking script. If you and your team can clearly explain to clients that you value their loyalty and don’t want them to miss out on their preferred time and day, the threat of scarce availability encourages booking ahead.

You can deepen the sense of scarcity by initially offering a small selection of times on the chosen date, instead of posing open questions such as, “What time would you like that day?” Of course, it’s sensible to suggest times that you expect your customer will want.

Best of all, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you’re booking key slots weeks in advance, your schedule always remains loaded and it’s genuinely tougher to get in.

Reward loyalty

The second best-practice is to incentivise early rebooking. A great way to start is by offering extra loyalty points. If you don’t yet have a loyalty scheme, this excellent article both explains why you should and showcases some clever apps that make it easy for you.

Be sure to price treatments so that you’re still making a profit by getting clients to block book, offering either a small gift or special price as the incentive.

Once you’ve got your booking in place, there’s still one more trick up your sleeve: retail. Don’t forget, as well as being outstanding festive gifts, the products you sell are used by your customers, their friends and family all year. So get a bold display in the eyeline of clients waiting for treatments and preparing to pay. These wonderful revenue boosters should be working for you every single month!

So there you have it. With a bit of simple planning, you can give yourself not just a merry Christmas but a prosperous New Year too. In fact, once fully in place, this approach goes a long way to securing a fantastic, stable base month-after-month, year-after-year.

Good luck and here’s to your great business in 2017!

Susan

Maximise Your Gift Voucher Sales this Christmas!

Wouldn’t you like your share of a £5.4 billion gift voucher market?

christmas-giftvoucher-salesThat’s what’s at stake in the UK gift voucher industry every single year. And with 50% to 60% of all gift voucher sales made in the final push towards Christmas, perfecting these crucial last few weeks can guarantee a five-star finish to your festive period.

Incredibly, according to the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association, growth in gift voucher sales has doubled over the past decade, with Health & Beauty again one of the top performing sectors last year.

So how can you make sure you get your slice of the (mince) pie? Here are my six top tips for maximising your gift voucher sale this Christmas:

1. Dazzle with eye-catching displays

You know how great vouchers are for your business, your clients know how great your service is, so why are you hiding those amazing little cards under the reception desk?! Get them out, dust them off and put them front and centre. Produce an attractive display that’s impossible to miss – if clients are asking whether you sell vouchers then you haven’t made it obvious enough! Don’t forget, voucher buyers may well be introducing new, long-term clients to your salon.

2. Shout about your vouchers!

Year-after-year, vouchers are the most requested Christmas present. They’re also extremely personal and versatile. Your salon is a great option for seasonal voucher giving because, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to treat a loved one to a luxurious pampering that makes them feel special? So drop the subject in to conversation. You might just make that little lightbulb go off for someone.

Don’t restrict your efforts to only attracting women, either. While they may be slightly more likely to buy vouchers, this is offset by the increased amount men spend – 12% more per gift card, in fact.
Most guys don’t relish the thought of Christmas shopping so making the process as easy as possible will go a long way to make your business the first stop on their shopping list.

3. Goody bags are good for business

If you can pack an added bonus with your vouchers then you’re creating something even more special to tuck under the Christmas tree. Get in touch with your suppliers, see what samples they can send you and pack them up nicely to accompany every voucher sale. Both the gift giver and the recipient are sure to appreciate the extra touch of festive cheer, boosting your reputation even further.

4. Get wrapping

Another way you can make a lovely, personal gift look and feel truly exclusive is to provide a free wrapping service. For the price of a length of ribbon and a roll or two of good quality wrapping paper you can enhance the whole experience from point of purchase onwards. It only takes a moment longer and you might even be able to prep some of it ahead of time.

5. Wish lists for the win

This is a great idea, especially for your regular clients. Not everyone gets exactly what they’d hoped for at Christmas, do they? I’m sure we’ve all been there! So why not encourage clients to create their dream wish list of favourite products and services from your salon? They can share their list with whoever they want and you can keep a copy at the front desk, ready to tick items off as friends and relatives call up or pop in to buy tailored vouchers for luxurious things their loved ones adore.

An easy way to a happy Christmas!

6. Love your loyalty card holders

Do you run a loyalty card scheme? Consider promoting a limited-time offer of double loyalty card points with every gift voucher purchase. Maybe you could provide an even greater benefit if they use the points during the quieter first month of the year? That way, your voucher buyers feel like they’re getting a nice treat for themselves too.

If you’re wondering why you’d bother putting additional effort and expense into giving your gift voucher customers so much added sparkle then consider these final facts: 83% of gift card buyers expect to buy more than one card. And 57% of gift voucher recipients spend over and above the voucher amount, on average shelling out a whopping 42% more!

Convinced yet? You should be. So get out there and make the most of your gift voucher sales before Christmas passes you by!

Here’s to your great business!

Susan x

3 Tips to Glitz Up Your Facebook for Xmas

If you haven’t done so already, it’s now time to focus on your Christmas marketing. We all like to glitz up a little for those Christmas parties and it’s a time that can spike your sales if we prepare well.

So how do you go about creating a compelling, visually exciting Christmassy Facebook page? Catherine Trebble is the top marketing & social media expert for our industry, and she’s kindly agreed to give us her 3 Great Tips to Glitz Up Your Facebook for Christmas. Over to you Catherine…

Your business Facebook page is a great place for a Christmas marketing campaign, but Christmas is a visually noisy season so you’ll need some extra pizzazz for your page to stand out from the others.

Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Start simple

Create a customised Christmassy cover image – but give this the personal touch. Seasonal stock photography is in everyone’s faces during Christmas, so show how different you are by creating some personal, salon-based photos. You could take a good-quality picture of the whole team together dressed in Santa hats, or singing carols, with a warm greeting text overlaying the picture. If you pride yourself on your amazing Christmas tree, that will make a good picture too if you (and your team) are in the shot.

Even jazzing up your current profile picture with some Christmas spritz will make a difference.

And don’t worry – you don’t have to be a Photoshop genius to create engaging, sparkling photos. The Santa hats were added to Finishing Touch’s current Facebook cover image by using Canva. But more about that later…

finishing-touch-christmas

 

  1. Seasonal poll

Christmas is a great excuse to engage with your clients in a light-hearted way – and perhaps gain some client intelligence at the same time. A poll is a very simple and interactive method of gaining client traction and, with a Christmas twist, you’re sure to gain more Facebook followers. Polls and fun surveys are shareable, too.

First, think of a question – related to your business, of course but you could add some extras.
Here’s an example:

Christmas is stressful! How would you like to destress?

 – With a soothing, relaxing massage

 – With a beautiful manicure, so I don’t have to worry about my nails

 – With a toning facial, so I don’t look so tired!

– Hire a chef!

 – Get away to somewhere warm and skip the whole thing!

Alternatively, you could run a poll on the most Christmassy shade of nail varnish that you use at the salon, favourite treatments to glitz up for Christmas, or even offer a poll on the most Christmassy refreshments you serve – you could even let your clients decide what you serve for the Christmas period.

Don’t forget to make it visual with a stunning and relevant photo and serve the poll results up as a festive infographic.

 

  1. Talking of infographics…..

One way of building a client base is by adding value. An easy way to add value is to create and give away free an infographic showing beauty hints and tips; such as holiday makeup, how to look after your skin, or the countdown to Christmas nails. This might sound daunting but don’t worry, you don’t have to be a designer to create a beautiful infographic.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-13-50-21

Tool up

Customising photos and creating infographics are no longer the territory of the graphic designer. There are many software tools out there that can do all the hard work for you. Try some of these tools to make your photos pop. Here are a few of our favourites:

The best thing with any new software is to experiment and play. Take some time now to sit down and start creating, and get a feel for the software that is right for you. At the same time, brainstorm some ideas for your Facebook page, and you’re all set for a Facebook page that zings this Christmas.

 

I’ll be interviewing salon marketing expert Catherine Trebble this week, if you have any questions you’d like me to ask her on any aspect of marketing or social media, click on the Ask Susan link to get your question included!