In the previous article in this series I talked about retail products and how you can maximise your retail sales at Christmas time. Since the article was published I have received a couple of tweets and emails asking why this wasn’t the last part of the series as it doesn’t come in to play until people are already in your salon?
This is a great question and one I should have covered in Part One. There are two reasons why I decided to talk about retail product, visual merchandising and retail sales first before anything else.
(1) I wanted to remind you to order your Christmas retail stock NOW before it is all sold out!
(2) If you wait until you have put in place your Christmas marketing and promotions and you wait until clients are already coming in to your salon it is already too late. You need all your retail products, merchandising displays, product knowledge, sales mentality and incentives in place BEFORE people come to see you to make the most of each opportunity.
Basically, the idea is to have everything in place before people start showing up to your salon!
Hopefully that makes sense . . .now to the next subject in this series . . .
Treatments & Services
I mentioned in the previous article in this series that as well as spending money on others at Christmas in the form of presents, the average consumer is also more prone to treating themselves a little bit more at this time of year. I suppose this is because we all subconsciously think we are spending money anyway, so why worry about the bills until January!
At this time of year, just like with retail products, you need to have a clear idea of what specific treatments you need to focus on to maximise your treatment revenue. Do be aware that this may have an effect on your whole business. You might want to adjust staffing levels to allow the maximum number of a certain type of treatment to be delivered, you may even want to consider amending your opening hours to allow for more appointments when your clients want them. Remember also that the more clients you can get through your doors in the next six weeks, the more opportunity you have to sell retail items too.
First of all we are going to look at what type of treatments are most popular at this time of year and then what we can do to maximise your treatment revenue followed by ways to boost this by creating some added value packages.
What treatments should you be focusing on?
Every beauty business is different. From the treatments you offer, to your location, to your personality. It is difficult for me to say one treatment is more important than another for your salon. However, a great place for you to start is to look what treatments you performed most last year at this time?
It could be that for your business the most popular treatments were 40 Minute Relaxing Massages. Or maybe you just couldn’t deliver enough manicures and spray tans? Go back (if you can) and take a look. Also pay attention to what was popular on which day of the week? Monday to Wednesday might have been your popular relaxing massage and facial days where as Thursdays and Fridays were full of party prep treatments like nails, waxing and make up.
But what if I only recently started up and I don’t have any figures for last year?
If you don’t have sales information for last year, don’t worry. You just need to think a little more creatively about what treatments to concentrate on. Again I can’t tell you exactly what treatments work best for your particular beauty business, but I can give you some factors you might want to think about.
Factors to consider will vary according to your specific type of business, your location, your treatment menu, your clientele etc. But for me at this time of year there are two key factors that make it different to demand the rest of the year:-
- Days are Getting shorter and colder (or longer and warmer depending on where in the world you are)
- Christmas time is party time!
So think about what treatments you offer and which are most suited to relieve that change of season, for example (in the UK, Europe and most of the US) relaxing warming massages or skin defence type facials to combat the change in temperature and sunlight. Then think about what treatments can be used to target clients for the party season. As already mentioned above these might be services like manicures & pedicures, gel nails, waxing, make up, spray and manual tans.
Once you have identified your key treatments for this time of year, don’t forget to consider what times of day and days of the week these would most apply to, its time to look at your staffing levels and working times.
Your Clients have Less Time
People are extra busy at this time of year preparing for Christmas, buying presents, planning and going to events etc. More than ever you need to make sure you and your team are available when your clients need you most. This might mean staying open later on a Wednesday or Thursday evening or having extra staff on shift for Friday? Hopefully you have a team that is flexible enough to work with you on this. If you meet resistance, maybe consider putting in place a special Christmas sales incentive or promotion to help motivate your team.
Now you have an idea of the key treatments you can offer and also an idea of how many of these treatments you can perform (based on your staffing levels and opening hours) you can consider creating some special Christmas Packages to help boost interest, customer visits and spend per visit.
Remember – Do Not Discount!
The exercise above is designed to help you identify the key treatments within your business to maximise treatment revenue at this time of year. You identified the easiest treatments to ‘sell’ because we know people already want them – don’t make this any harder for yourself than it needs to be.
If you create a package of treatments that simply means you are discounting these treatments then you are just giving away money because people will buy them anyway. You should be creating a package that adds value to your client whilst either:-
- generating additional revenue for you over and above what you are offering or
- helping to reduce your overall treatment costs.
Here is an example of each:
Say you create a late afternoon or evening package that includes a manicure and a pedicure plus a glass of sparkling wine (check your local licensing laws here). You could charge maybe £7 more than the normal price of a manicure and pedicure together, but that glass of wine might only cost you £2.50. So by packaging it all up you have made the same as you would have made for the normal manicure and pedicure, but also an extra £4.50 on the glass of wine. It is only a small amount of money, but this example of generating additional revenue over and above what you are offering can soon add up.
Alternatively let’s say you create a package of a reduced price Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage if a client books in for a Luxury Manicure. Now while this looks like a discount, and technically it is, it is also a very cleverly disguised way of lowering your treatment costs. Traditionally a treatment like a luxury manicure has relatively high product costs coupled with low prices given the amount of time taken to perform the treatment. Conversely a Back, Neck and Shoulder massage uses very little product and can attract a much more favourable price. By putting the two treatments together you are averaging a much higher revenue per hour rate while helping to reduce your average cost per treatment all the while the client is getting a special deal and spending more time and more money in your salon.
It is up to you whether you use one or the other or both types of package . . . but give them some thought and I am sure you can come up with some really creative and clever offers.
Pro Tip: Don’t make your packages or promotions overly complex. If they are difficult to understand your staff will not promote them and clients won’t bother with them . . . so make sure you keep things simple!
Turn It up to Eleven
Now you have your key treatments, staffing levels and packages all covered, you need to get the word out to bring those clients in. Having the best packages, and most flexible appointment times are all a waste of time unless we fill those appointment books. This is where the power of marketing comes in to play.
Now, marketing is a HUGE topic and one that I don’t have the time to do proper justice to here, so to use your precious time most wisely here are a five actionable marketing ideas to help you get the word out about your treatments, times and packages today.
(1) Your Salon – Create leaflets or posters to have in your salon and give these out to your existing clients. Make sure your staff are telling each and every client all about your offers, promotions, events and opening times. Not only will this encourage them to come back but it will also help with . . .
(2) Word of Mouth – The more your existing clients that know about your offers, the more chance there is of them telling a friend. The best type of new business is a personal referral. You could consider giving this method of marketing a boost by implementing a Christmas referral scheme.
(3) On Line – Make sure your Christmas promotions and opening times are included prominently on your website, Facebook page and on your other social media channels. If you have a twitter page or Facebook page you can pin certain posts to the top of your page to increase the amount of people who see them. You can learn how to do this here.
(4) Local Media – You don’t always have to pay to advertise in local media. If you have a local newspaper, magazine or radio station . . . consider contacting them an offering them a prize of a free treatment or gift card to give away to one of their readers/listeners in return for mentioning your offers and promotions or for a free advert.
(5) Local Businesses – Just about every business has a Christmas party and just about every Christmas party means business for you. Contact all your local businesses and let them know about your special offers. Send them leaflets or ask if you can display a poster with your offers in their staff/break room. If they are big enough, maybe have an event or evening just for staff from that business or building.
These are just five ideas that I have used before and have seen get results in the past. There is so much more to marketing both at Christmas time and all year round. If you would like more information about how to plan and boost your marketing at Christmas I have uncovered two amazing resources for you. One is a free resource and the other costs a small amount of money, but both offer an incredible amount of value and go in to much more detail about marketing than I have been able to cover here.
- FREE Christmas Marketing e-Guide from Lockhart Meyer
- Ultimate Christmas Salon Marketing Webinar by Liz McKeon
In the next article, Part 3 of this series, I reveal exactly how you can use the information in Part One and Part Two plus one other secret weapon to help you generate even more revenue and even help you bank one third of your annual turnover in the next 6 weeks!
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