June 2008

Making Over Your Virtual Salon

by Mandy Zelinka

In today’s technological word, you must remember that your salon’s walls do not wholly encompass your business. There is another virtual world you must also address.

With technology moving at the speed of light these days, it would be irresponsible to think that making over your salon only includes the inside of the physical establishment. The experienced owner will recognize that updates to your virtual salon (your website) are also necessary. Besides the obvious importance of frequently updating photos, a whole range of additional e-marketing tactics have also been established, and should therefore become familiar to any tech-savvy business owner.
Although effective in its own right, a newsletter, or e-zine, is slowly finding itself in the shadow of the blog. Both are cost-effective tools, and a responsible approach is always to pick up a book on a subject if you are not completely familiar with it. You can easily add blogs to your salon’s official website, and there are many hosting sites to choose from as well. The most exciting part of blogging is that the most impactful way of utilizing them is to simply write with your own voice. No longer does this have to be a stiff process, but can actually be fun.

In the blog section of Catherine Seda’s book How to Win Sales and Influence Spiders, she wrote, “You will create a bigger impact and leave a lasting impression when you stop speaking in a corporate voice. Go ahead, get personal.” Blogging allows you to keep your readers, or clients, updated as often as you wish, without having to pay your web designer for the maintenance. It also gives you the opportunity to get feedback from clients and allows you to better create content for your e-marketing. Seda went on to say, “Creating community is the next generation of e-mail marketing.” Getting personal allows subscribers to get to know us.

If you do decide to send a newsletter, however, you need a list of addresses to which you will deliver the letter electronically. The easiest way to build your e-mail list is to put a sign-up sheet at your reception desk. Another great way is to make a stylish point of sale sign and use it next to the sign-up sheet and on the mirrors of your stylist stations. This is an extremely effective tool as it generates instant buzz with clients; then at checkout, they are excited to sign-up. Clients go to your salon for a reason, and many like it when you keep them abreast of what is new.

A more advanced means of gathering addresses is through spiders, internet bugs that glob onto text. If your website, blog, or anything you put on the web has good key words, it will benefit you in the search engine ranks. You can and should put an e-mail sign-up on multiple pages of your website, including your blog. The best way to utilize this tool is to have fun with it. Your clients come to you because they see something good in you as a person, and they will welcome hearing from you in their inbox.

Mandy Zelinka is owner, head of marketing and stylist at 77. For more information, visit www.mandyzelinka.net.