April 2012

Charlene Abretske

Beyond Your Chair| Jayne Morehouse


Are You Springing Forward?

Over the last month, I've received daily emails from Ulta and Sephora (I opt in to these as part of their VIP programs), numerous printed promotional pieces via mail and too many newspaper inserts to count from CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Target, Wal-Mart, Macy's, Nordstrom and other major retailers—including my grocery store—all heralding the start of spring—and the new looks that come with it.

Two local medi-spas have sent me emails inviting me in for their spring open houses with promotions for services to remove the dead skin of winter and all of the hair from my face and body.

I'm still waiting to hear from any local salon. Why is that?

Quite a few of my salon friends on Facebook have posted about their spring haircuts, color and texture, makeup shades, makeover opportunities and more. In fact, as I'm writing this, M.C. Hair Consultants just posted St. Patrick's Day specials for fans only. I can count on daily inspirations via Twitter and Facebook on everything related to beauty from Studio Taylor.

I cite those because they're both in the Cleveland area, where I live, and both do a terrific job with their social media on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and other social media are a great start. But I have to be their friend/fan and/or follow them on Twitter to know what's new.

What are you doing to encourage your clients to think spring—and specifically, to think about YOU as their go-to resource for everything spring?

Your competitors from the retail industry are constantly telling me that they have everything I need from the newest lip liner to the best sunscreen with this year's newest technology to hair care products that protect my color from the sun. They don't wait for me to visit their stores to begin to inform, entertain and educate me. They reach out and invite me in for the newest must-have items right away. Often, there's an enticing offer attached. Or they've made is appear that way.

Your retail competitors ensure that on any given day, they are top of mind, so when I do make a decision to buy beauty, they're under consideration as my resource. Yes, they spend millions of dollars a year to get their messages to me. But you have something much more valuable—a personal relationship, or the ability to form one with me if I haven't visited your salon yet. So, how do you get started?

First, be on top of the newest and hottest colors, products, technologies, promotions for spring and stock up. Then, call or email each of your top 20 or 50 best clients—not as a group, but personally—to let them know you're ready to beautify them in brand new ways for Spring.

Tell them how you've been thinking about them and be specific about services and products—"Mary, this is a great time to add some highlights around your face. I just learned a new technique that made me think of you immediately." If she's pre-booked her next appointment, say, "I know I'm seeing you next Thursday. Let's give it a try. I've also set aside a new lipstick shade that I think you'll love for spring. I can't wait to show it to you!" At the same time, include a special promotion for hair removal, a spring pedicure or another service that she might be getting somewhere else. Remember to ask her to follow you on social media for even more special offers and new information.

Even if she doesn't buy those products or services now, she's thinking about how you've made her feel. And isn't that what it's all about? That's YOUR competitive edge—and it's priceless.

Jennifer from my local Lancome counter calls and emails me every time she gets in new colors or has a new gift-with-purchase. She asks if I want to reserve mine now because quantities will be limited. I haven't purchased from her in more than a year, but she's just as cheerful. She's making a connection—and I remember it.

If you're concerned this is intrusive, I can assure you it's not. Your clients love to hear from you when they know you have some valuable information, opportunities or ideas to share. If you have any doubts, ask your clients if you may contact them the next time you have an idea to share or a new product they'll like. Then ask them if they prefer phone or email and get the number they want you to use. (Take good notes.) Just make sure you do call her before her next appointment, so she knows you were serious.

Every point of contact you make gives your clients the opportunity to say, "YES!" to you. Every purchase they make strengthens your relationship—and generates more referrals. Spring is the perfect opportunity to give it a try. Let me know what approach works best for you.

Jayne Morehouse is a columnist for Stylist Newspapers and the president of Jayne & company, a full-service brand communications agency for beauty companies and salons. Follow her on Twitter @JaynePR and @BeautyIQ and connect with her on facebook.com/jayneandco.