Posts tagged events
The Events Every Salon Should Host, Featuring Tena Pettis
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Have you thought about hosting events at your salon, but weren’t exactly sure what to do or why bother? Hosting events offers tremendous benefits for your salon, and Beyond the Technique is excited to share Tena Pettis’ innovative ideas for the events that every salon should host!

Why Host Events?

Tena is the owner of Capture Salon in Stillwater, MN where she feels that her salon is literally a hidden gem. When Tena purchased Capture Salon from the previous owner, she found herself explaining their location by describing the two stores on either side of her building. Everyone knew those other two stores, but had no clue there was a salon between them—total bummer, right? Reflecting on this unpleasant reality, Tena quickly realized that they were simply missing out on people seeing their gorgeous space. (It is seriously gorgeous!) So, in Tena’s words: “events were a big no-brainer.” Just by getting people into the salon, you start to build a relationship. Long story short: events build exposure.

Celebration Events

Celebration events are probably the most obvious and widespread events for salons. One of the most common celebration events is hosting a party for your salon’s anniversary. For Capture Salon’s anniversary, Tena explains that they “go a little bit more out” by hiring a caterer, serving wine and beer, and hosting a musician!

Another creative celebration event is hosting a party for a new stylist on your team to welcome her on board! Tena explains that this event will be a little bit more private, and they plan to invite the new Stylist’s family, friends, and close clients. By hosting an event, past clients can easily find her and follow her to Capture Salon! Also, this is a great opportunity to fill her books (win-win!).

Because you can never run out of reasons to celebrate, Tena and her team thought of one more fun event: Top 100 Clients! Tena is going to pull a report of their Top 100 clients from the previous year and invite them to the salon for an exclusive event. Their plan for the night: “just LOVE on those Top 100 clients!” What client wouldn’t love to be appreciated and spoiled for a night?

Education Events

As industry professionals, we often think about educating Stylists and salon owners, but we also need to think about continuously educating our clientele. A recurring education event that Tena and Capture Salon host are Essential Oils classes. Right now, Essential Oils are really trendy and everyone is talking about them. To meet this demand, Tena hosts one or two classes a month where oiler newbies and pros can come to learn more and sell their product. Tena explains that those who attend are always walking away with tips and tricks as well as exposure to their salon.

While Essential Oils classes are a perfect fit for Capture Salon, Tena stresses that you can educate clients about anything! For example, Capture Salon is also hosting a Smokey Eye Class. This event will be a great way to promote the makeup lines sold at Capture Salon and get Tena’s Stylists really fired up about an event they can lead! Educational events assist in branding your salon as experts who clients can come to, follow, and learn from.

Collaboration Events

Just like education events, the opportunities for collaboration events are truly endless, and you can get as creative as you want! The aesthetician at Capture Salon is working with a local nutritionist to host events about health and wellness. Even as a collaboration event, this class will also educate their clients about a holistic approach to beauty and wellness.

Beyond the Technique founder, Kati Whitledge, is also the owner of Be Inspired Salon in Madison, WI where they host an annual collaboration event. Kati explains that every year, Be Inspired Salon hosts a charity Cut-A-Thon. 100% of the proceeds from that event are donated to a local charity which is voted on by their clients. Kati explains that this is a great way for her Stylists to give back and create a great community feeling.

Planning Your Event

Budgeting. Tena explains that every month, she sits down with their bookkeeper to create a budget for food, wine, and beer for events. Typically, their monthly event budget is $250. While they don’t always use the full $250, putting this money aside creates a buffer for the months when they want to host a larger event. Also, Tena suggests that when hosting collaboration events, you try to solicit a small contribution from your partner since you are providing the space. Salon events can be as low-key or glamorous as your creativity and budget allow!

The Logistics. Planning ahead is crucial for a salon event to be successful! A tip that Tena recommends is printing a paper calendar for the year to map out your events. Being able to plan for the full year allows you to visualize the times of the year when it makes the most sense to host certain events. For example, you may choose to host your Top 100 event in February because the month is associated with love and host your charity Cut-A-Thon in October when things are a little slower. When you start seeing your events on paper and actually planning it out, the whole process seems a lot easier!  

Marketing. Did we mention Tena is also the founder of a social media and graphic design firm? (Yes, she is a rockstar!) For this reason, we couldn’t wait to ask Tena how she markets her events. Tena’s answer: “We are pretty aggressive with our Facebook events.” Tena offers some insider advice about Facebook events. For example, she notes that it is important to post in the event everyday to give people little updates, entice them to the event, and make sure that they don’t forget! Also, Tena explains that you can message everyone in a Facebook event, but the message appears to be personalized. In other words, no one knows that it was a mass message. Tena suggests sending a message similar to: “Will I see your beautiful face on Saturday?” or “So excited to see you at our event on Friday!” It is a little bit intricate and Tena explains that you can only do this on a mobile phone; if you want to try it out, here are some directions.

Stylist Buy-In. A really important piece for Tena is making sure that her Stylists have bought into the idea of hosting salon events. Maybe you can relate to Stylists who are great behind the chair, but look at events and think: “Ugh, this is just another thing that I have to do.” To address this challenge, Tena makes time for a team debrief following an event. At this meeting, she will ask her team how the event went, what happened, and who they met. Tena finds that her Stylists often explain appointments they booked or new connections they made. Being able to reflect on the positive benefits of the event allows her team to understand the opportunities to get new clients in the chair!

We hope that Tena’s insights spark your own creativity and leads to a productive, profitable, and eventful year! To get more industry advice, make sure to follow Beyond the Technique and listen to our weekly podcast!  

Craving more innovative ideas from Tena? Check out her website to get connected with her community and listen to her podcasts!

Listen to the full interview with Tena Pettis on Episode 65 of Beyond the Technique’s podcast.

How to Use Guerilla Marketing to Grow Your Salon Business

What Is Guerilla Marketing?

Are you familiar with guerilla marketing? If you’re not, you should be. Entrepreneur defines guerilla marketing as an unconventional way of performing marketing activities on a very low budget. It can be a great business strategy for salons, especially new ones! In this post, I’m going to tell you how I used guerilla marketing to grow my business, and provide you with five simple steps to help you start a guerilla marketing program for your own salon.

First things first – why try guerilla marketing? One good reason is that it can be done on a shoe-string budget. Money can be tight for many new salon owners, and guerilla marketing (if done right) can be efficient and cost-effective. And due to the nature of guerilla marketing, it’s a great way to build brand awareness in your community AND build local partnerships, which can be another powerful tool.

So, with those benefits in mind, I decided to try it out for my own salon! When I started Be Inspired Salon no one in my community knew about us. So, my team and I started to go around to neighboring businesses and talk to members of the community. We gave away brochures and gift cards, NOT discounts (you all know how I feel about discounts). It was a risk to give away gift cards, but we knew that if we could get them in the door it would be a game changer.

That tactic worked, but we needed to step it up a notch. We decided to attend local networking events with the goal of building relationships, not selling services. But here’s the thing, we got a little bold with our new strategy. We attended these events dressed like cocktail waitresses. We had on nice Be Inspired Salon branded shirts and professional name tags, and we carried around trays with free product samples and whiskey glasses to collect business cards. (I said we were bold!)

We definitely drew attention, but in a good way! And don’t worry, we didn’t get in trouble. The hosts of the events thought it was a very clever idea. Anyways, it was a great way to start conversations and get to know the people in our community. We would tell them about the salon, offer a product and ask them to enter their business card for a chance to win a prize. We would alter the prize based on the audience, but usually it switched between a free hair cut or a product bundle.

Take a guess as to who won? Everyone! That’s right. When I first started guerilla marketing, I made everyone a winner. We were new, and we had plenty of openings. And it turned out to be a great success! We started getting new, paying clientele in the door.

Five Steps to Guerilla Marketing

But there’s a little more detail to how I made it happen. Here are the five simple steps you can follow to repeat what I did for your business.

1. Find events. I’m very lucky to live in a professionally driven community. There are always networking events going on. But if you are looking for ideas, check your local business chamber or search for local organizations on LinkedIn. It’s also a good idea to check out Business Networking International (BNI) – they have chapters across the US.

2. Set a strategy. Networking can be intimidating, so it’s a good idea to have a plan before you go to events. First, set a goal of how many people you want to meet and/or cards you want to collect at each event. I started out with 10. Then, decide what you are giving away, and like I mentioned before, personalize it to the crowd. Finally, brand the heck out of everything you give away! I had little stickers made that included my salon logo, address, and website and put them on everything my team gave away. It’s a simple and affordable way to grow brand awareness.

3. Follow-up. This is the most important step to make your program successful. How many times have you had a conversation that ended with, “We should meet up sometime!” Only to never have that happen? The same goes with business networking. After my events, I like to find them on social channels, usually LinkedIn, and I send them a quick note. Something like, “Hey! It was nice to meet you last night. I want to connect.” And if you don’t feel comfortable using a social platform, email is another great option.

4. Set a schedule. Frequency is another key to success. When I first started, my team and I were going once a week. And if you’re thinking I’m crazy, you’re not wrong. It was a lot, but it did lead to results. But I know that everyone doesn’t have that kind of time, so at a minimum, I would suggest going once a month.

Once business picked up, I thought I didn’t need guerilla marketing anymore. I was wrong. I rode the first great wave of new business, and after about six months of no networking, business slowed down. I couldn’t figure out why. I talked to my business coach, and he pointed out that the only thing I stopped doing was guerilla marketing. So, the lesson here is that even when business picks up, you can’t stop networking. You need to keep a consistent frequency, even if it’s once a month.

5. Get your team involved. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. I recruited my Stylists to help for several reasons. First, it can be scary to go to an event by yourself, so the buddy system is never a bad way to go! Second, I wanted them to be more invested in the business. I started to notice that if I met someone at an event, and they came to my salon, they expected to see or work with me. As I got busier, that wasn’t possible, so it was important to have my Stylists at events as well.

We have an event sign-up at the salon with the expectation that at least two people have to go to ONE event per month. This way you don’t have to go every month, but your salon is still being represented in the community.

If done well and done consistently, guerilla marketing can help you grow your salon business! If you’re looking for more detail on how to get your program started, check out “Episode #74  - Have You Been Guerilla Marketing?” on the Beyond The Technique podcast!

Five Ways to Increase Client Retention

In the salon industry, the struggle is real when it comes to client retention. In fact, the likelihood of a new guest returning to your salon after her first visit is less than 30%! If that number makes your cringe, don’t close your eyes—keep reading! We are sharing 5 Ways to Nurture Relationships to Increase Client Retention featuring industry expert, Tena Pettis!

1. Sales Calls

Yes, you did read that correctly. Each of Tena’s Stylists at Capture Salon makes sales calls every week! While this seems scary to a lot of Stylists, Tena assures you that it really works. In less than one year, Tena’s Stylists went from 17% booked to over 50%. Most software allows you to generate a report of clients who have not visited you in the last 6 months—these are the people who you want to call and get back in your chair! A simple phone call—or voicemail—will remind the client that you are thinking about them and have time to serve them!

2. Events

Hosting events is a great strategy to be a proactive business owner rather than a reactive one. Many clients are just looking for a fun night out, so why not provide one in your salon! Not only does this build exposure, but it reminds your current clients about the awesome services that you provide. By inviting clients into your space, you are nurturing a bond that will last long after the event ends! Tena suggests having a planning meeting before every quarter to decide when to host events and run promos.

3. Referral Program

Tena stresses that her salon really wanted to make their Referral Program stand apart from their competitors’. Tena’s team created a unique referral card that granted the new client $20 off and the client who gifted the card $10 off. To make the program feel extra special, they only allowed each stylist to give a set of 10 referral cards to 10 of their clients. By limiting the number of referral cards, the Stylist made their top 10 clients feel extra special, and the client saw more value in handing them out!

4. Email

Email marketing is not dead. Have we mentioned that Tena is also the founder of Tena.cious, a social media and graphic design firm. Take it from the expert—you still need to send your clients emails! People check email every day, all day. In your emails, you can send updates about events, product promotions, and even highlight your Stylists. If you are new to the email game, Tena suggests starting with two emails a month and eventually bumping that to once a week. Do not be scared to send emails; your clients wouldn’t have provided their email address if they didn’t want to hear from you!

5. Mail

Good old fashioned, snail mail. At Capture Salon, all Stylists send handwritten cards to new clients about one week after their visit. This is a great opportunity to thank the client for visiting and invite them back for their next service! In addition to new clients, Capture sends spontaneous cards to returning clients. Sending branded cards is a great way to be in front of the client again, and it shows that you are thinking about them. You can even slip in event cards and information about promos.

Which one of these strategies are you going to try first? Tena remind us that the only free strategy is sales calls! Remember, if you want to be successful, you have to be willing to do what others cannot do or will not do. After all, the key to substantial success lies Beyond the Technique!

What other strategies do you have to nurture client relationships? Comment below or share with us on social media! To hear even more of Tena’s tips, listen to her on Beyond the Technique podcast Episode 51.