Salon Communications: How to Prepare Clients for your Reopening
So you’ve been given the green-light to re-open the doors to your salon and allow clients back, you’ve exhaustively cleaned your shop and reviewed new sanitation guidelines with your staff. Now it’s time to initiate communications with your clients to help prepare them for what to expect once they arrive for their post COVID-19 appointment. Staying open will not only require herculean cleaning efforts from your staff, but will also require your clients to adhere to new safety guidelines intended for suppressing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many of your clients have been confined to their homes for the past couple of months and will likely require some reassurance from you as a business that you are prepared to keep them safe.
What you need to be informing your clients on
In order to best prepare your clients for what the new normal will look like when they return, they will need you to walk them through expectations. We here at Salon Iris have compiled some best practices to consider when reaching out. Our experts here at Salon Iris have also published a “Getting Back to Business for Salons and Spas” Webinar where we’ve interviewed our own experts on what salons are currently doing to brace for the return of their clients. Below you will find tips from our very own Salon Iris marketing team who want you to be best prepared in this stressful time.
1. Reassure your clients of your new cleaning regimens
2. What are the services your clients should expect to see available to them
3. How your clients should book their appointment
Communication Tips from the Salon Iris Marketing Team
Prepare for the unexpected.
Steve, Salon Iris Marketing
If you’re used to seeing certain clients every few weeks, and it’s been a few months, you expect to see longer growth and color in dire need of attention. You expect some clients to race back to the salon, and you expect some to remain at home for the foreseeable; and there are some you’ll never see again. You might be able to predict which clients will react which way.
But there will be circumstances you can’t possibly predict. But you can prepare.
You may have shell-shocked clients going in radical new directions after weeks of lockdown. Think Natalie Portman in V is for Vendetta. It’s likely many will look at beauty very differently. This pandemic created a social upheaval unlike any other, it’s natural the consequences will be wide-ranging. If your extensions fell out weeks ago, and your partner has been assuring you since that “you’re beautiful just the way you are” – maybe you don’t go back to extensions. If your lashes fell out slowly over the course of the stay-at-home order, and you’re facing a $400 installation appointment (after paying 2 months on a subscription you couldn’t use), you might rethink that look. Then there’s the obvious financial uncertainty that will impact spending habits. Many will be cutting household budgets, and nail salon visits may become a thing of the past for some.
There’s palpable anxiety and stress everywhere right now -that can manifest itself as anger. People, including (especially?) stylists, are going to be on edge for a long time. Tempers might flare more often, so have a mental de-escalation plan you (and your team) can use to keep situations from getting worse. Managing a salon team, never a very simple thing, will become exponentially more fraught during this re-entry.
I cannot tell you what’s going to happen. I’m as bewildered as anyone about what CV-19 means for our future. I can tell you to prepare for everything you can think of. I know how obvious that sounds, but preparation starts with anticipating every possibility. Model scenarios where the top 10% of your clients suddenly represent 90% of your revenue for the next six months. What various revenue impacts will trigger what cost cutting? What client retention strategies can you use to combat 30% lower ticket averages? Make a plan for any occurrence, and when it happens, you’ll be as ready as you can be.
Better Your Email and Text Communications
Camilla, Salon Iris Campaigns Manager
The Covid-19 virus has many people reconsidering every interaction and as businesses begin to re-open across the US, keeping your clients informed is the key to maintaining your relationships and retaining client loyalty. Here are some tips to help you communicate effectively and win back your customers for a busy (and profitable!) reopening:
Catchy Subject Line – On average, email open rates are between 15-25%. As consumers inbox’s fill up – how do you get your email opened and engaged with over the competition? You need to stand out! The first step to a great email is a great subject line, in fact, 33% of email recipients will open emails because of a catchy subject line. Choose subject lines that create urgency, incorporate a question in your subject line to rise curiosity, use personalization by adding your client’s name, or end your subject line with an eye-catching emoji.
The Right Time – During a time of crisis, when you communicate with customers is as important as what you communicate. You can look at tons of statistics for the best day and time to send an email to your list, but my advice? Although these statistics can help you decide, its best to draw on your own data rather than just go by case studies. Start testing different send times or run reports for prior emails to see what days and times have performed well in the past. This is where a business management software with email marketing and open rate reporting capabilities can help!
The Right Tone – Now you have your catchy subject line in place and a good send time, you need to think about your brand’s tone. Recent weeks have been tough for everyone and as we try and navigate to a new normal, you need to communicate with empathy and transparency. As everyone is being flooded with emails regarding COVID-19, remain considerate in how often you’re sending your emails, make sure the goal of your email is to remain helpful and informative, and ensure you tailor your language to the situation as it evolves.
Be Clear & Transparent – To maximize the impact of your email, make sure you have a clear goal in mind and keep that focus throughout your message. If your email campaign’s goal is to increase bookings for when you reopen, make sure your email has a clear call to action directing them to book an appointment through your online booking website, social media accounts, or by phone (however your business functions). Keep your emails short and to the point, with the most important information closest to the top.
It’s impossible to predict what is going to happen, but whether your business is opening within the next few days or weeks – the above guidelines will help you start crafting your communication plan. Just remember to leave room to pivot as the situation changes and ensure you are always showing the humanity behind your business brand.
While emails are a great way to communicate – texting is becoming more and more popular among businesses as it provides a greater sense of urgency, with 90% of texts being read within 3 minutes of being received. Utilizing text campaigns alongside your email campaigns is a great way to get the word out efficiently and reach more of your clients.
If you are considering texting your clients regarding your business reopening, you will want to make sure your texts are brief and focused. When it comes to texting, your message should be no longer than 160 characters – so there isn’t room for any extra fluff. Make sure your text communications clearly state your focus for reopening your business and keep your frequency and timing appropriate to your client’s expectations.
Some other things to keep in mind when texting your clients? Get permission! Always make sure your clients have opted in to receiving your texts and always make sure they have a way to opt-out. This is where a business management software with text marketing capabilities can assist you in setting up an automatic system to allow clients to reply with a particular word such as “STOP” to opt-out. You can also encourage opt-ins via email marketing campaigns letting your clients know the value they will gain from receiving your text campaigns.
Optimize your Website for New Business Opportunities
Brock, Salon Iris SEO Strategist
Many of your existing clients know where to find your business and hopefully follow your social channels or are subscribed to your email list and are all set with how to book their appointment.. But you may see a surge of new clients as not all salons/barbershops are prepared to open and sadly some may never reopen due to financial hardship from this pandemic. The first place these new clients will go to find you is with a search on google to find “salons near me”, this keyword is entered into google 2.7 million times a month. Be prepared for increased traffic to your website and be sure your google ‘my business’ account has been updated with accurate address, phone number and link to your website. Additionally, once new users arrive at your website there are a few things you can do to capture new business.
Once the new potential client arrives at your website’s homepage it takes about .05 seconds for them to establish an opinion about your website and evaluate whether or not you offer something they want to purchase. Normally a new client is just establishing whether you have potential to offer what they need, but new clients now are going to be primarily interested in finding businesses that are open. Additionally, 100% of your web visitors see the top hero space of your homepage, but as soon as they have to scroll down it drops to 66% which means your COVID “We’re OPEN” message needs to be above to fold in this hero space. Consider replacing your existing hero banner with covid specific language prompting them to see that you are open and ready to make appointments.
Amplify your Message on Social
Bria, Salon Iris Social Media Manager
Building social awareness is the fastest way to reach your clients. Your clients are typically on social media, and itching to find out the next update on when you are reopening. Find a way to build momentum, by sharing some of your favorite styles you’ve done 2 weeks prior to opening. Share your excitement about how you can’t wait to style hair and do what you love! A week before reopening, give a date letting your customers know you are preparing to reopen for business. Let them know bookings are open and that you are ready to serve. Most importantly, let your clients know in a creative way, how you are staying clean. Create a fun video of you explaining how you clean your salon, and what you plan to do before and after each customer. Use your Instagram stories to share what you’re doing one by one. Because you are on social media, be open and honest. You want your client to be 100% sure that their stylist has their best interest in mind. Following these steps on social media, will have your salon up and running in no time!
If you have the opportunity to do so, now is the time to position your salon for success. We are all currently living in chaotic times with one constant; clients are nervous to return to business as usual. By reaching out to your clients and informing them on your new cleaning regimens you’re reassuring them that you are doing your part to be a responsible business owner. Your clients are likely unsure how to approach booking their appointment as everything has changed, provide them with the tools they need to book their next appointment. By stepping up your communication, you are providing a sense of normalcy in a time of uncertainty and your clients will appreciate any fleeting moment of normalcy you can provide them.
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