Does your hair or beauty business suffer from a quiet January? Alice Kirby from Lockhart Meyer Salon Marketing shares 5 ideas for a better start to the New Year.

How to boost salon business in the New Year

Do your profits nose dive come the New Year? If you want to keep your business buzzing in January now is the time to start your marketing preparations. Don’t wait for January – it’s too late. Here are 5 practical marketing ideas to keep clients spending in January and Febuary.

1. Adopt the health and fitness sector’s approach

New Year is traditionally a testing time for salons and freelancers with clients watching the pennies after the Christmas spending frenzy. It can feel very dispiriting.

Yet I often compare our industry with the gym and fitness sector. January is their biggest month with more enquiries and sign-ups than at any other time. They manage to part clients from their cash without too much difficulty. So why can’t the hair and beauty industry?

Both industries are in the business of making their clients look and feel great and helping people to make the most of themselves. So take this approach for your January promotions. Talk about “New Year, new you”, “makeovers” and “a fresh start for 2015.”

2. Everyone loves to bag a bargain

I don’t usually advocate discounting if you can avoid it. But New Year is an exception, especially if last year you stared at an empty salon.

After all the retail industry isn’t afraid of discounting in the post-festive binge. New Year is boom time for shops. From John Lewis and Top Shop to Harrods and Matalan they offer sizeable seasonal discounts. It clears out last season’s stock and keeps cash flow positive.

The trick to a successful January sale for your hair or beauty business is to:
  • Only offer reduced price services on the days of the week you’re quiet.
  • Restrict the services you discount. It isn’t necessary to reduce all services.
  • Only discount team members who have gaps in columns. Your more senior, experienced therapists and stylists usually don’t need to offer reductions to stay busy.
3. The early (Christmas) bird catches the worm

The biggest mistake most owners and managers make is to wait until New Year to announce their sale. I recommend starting in the autumn and marketing hard right up to the moment you close on Christmas Eve.

How can I promote my sale?

I’m a great believer in a bespoke Christmas card which incorporates your offers. It’s a friendly festive thank you to your hair and beauty clients which also ‘advertises’ your January sale.

  • Save yourself the postage and hand your Christmas cards out to clients throughout November and December.
  • Include at least two offers, and preferably three, for maximum appeal.
  • Don’t rush the terms and conditions. I always recommend printing them inside your card so no-one is disappointed when they come to redeem them. I often see the words “terms and conditions apply” used on offers. This just leads to misunderstanding so do include detailed Ts and Cs.
4. Email marketing may be old-hat but it works. Beautifully.

“Think about it. When you send an email, you reach your audience in one of the most personalized ways possible. Our email inboxes are literally in the palms of our hands. We’re glued to email at work, after work, first thing in the morning, and right before bed. It’s an understatement to say that email is a powerful marketing channel,” says marketing expert Neil Patel.

Take advantage of this powerful cheap tool. If you broadcast an e-newsletter around the 20th December promoting your offers your clients still have chance time to book for January before you close for the holiday.

Of course, push your New Year bargains on your salon social media too. But a large email database is hard to beat when it comes to marketing your hair or beauty business.

5. Use Gift Cards to increase a quiet New Year

This is one of my favourite marketing tips and I use it with my clients with great results. It puts cash in your till before Christmas and puts ‘bums on seats’ in January.

It’s simple but so effective. Have a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer on your gift vouchers.

The secret is to run it for just one day only in December. Promote it hard beforehand to create plenty of interest. If you’re having a Christmas event in salon then this promotion is perfect for that.

The clever bit is in the terms and conditions:
  • These ‘double-value’ gift cards can only be used in January or February.
  • Plus they are not valid for retail purchases and can only be used for hair or beauty services.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and a cracking New Year

If you want to have a busy business come January you need to be putting the work in pre-Christmas. A successful business doesn’t just happen. You need to go out and promote yourself. This may feel hard to start with but remember, “The most interesting things in life happen just outside your comfort zone.”

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