How can I build the online reputation of my brand?
The way clients talk about your salon offline doesn’t always reflect what’s being said online. You may be delivering top-quality services and treatments on a consistent basis, but the question is: does this match your online reputation? In this day and age, it is incredibly important to ensure that your digital presence is first-rate, as it is usually the first port-of-call for new clients who might be interested in booking an appointment.
Statistics indicate that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal referrals. And 9 out of 10 people will still check out a salon online after someone gives them a verbal referral. But how exactly can you manage how people treat, react to and rate your business online?
First off, we need to focus on the channels that we know will have a major impact: Google, Yelp and Facebook. These three titans of social activity are your key to cementing a top-notch reputation online. And the quickest way to skyrocket your business up the ranks is by collecting as many five-star reviews as you can. Not only will this make your salon look better to the critical eye, but it is also one of the best ways to gain more visibility and exposure on Google so that if a potential client is looking for a salon in your area, your business has a better chance of appearing first.
Now you know reviews are the answer, how can you start collecting exceptional ones? That’s the simple part: focus on your very best clients. Instead of hitting every customer who walks through your door, be laser-focused on those you know love your brand. Then, simply email them or send them an SMS and ask for a review. Provide the link to your own Google Reviews – you can get this by googling your salon, scrolling down to the review section on the right and clicking “write a review”. Copy the URL at the top of the browser and add this to your message, and that’s it.
This is such a crucial area for your business, which is why we’ve developed a new online reputation manager feature at Phorest that lets you manage and automate the process through your software.
Christopher Brennan is executive producer at Phorest Salon Software and has a background in content marketing and lead generation.
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How can I best use seasonal window or product displays to boost retail?
Having a well-located window or space for retail display is a gift when it comes to presenting your seasonal themes and products. Yet, without proper planning, these spaces can easily become dusty corners with out-of-date information, which can reflect badly on your brand. Do distinguish between display and retail spaces, even if it’s just a separate shelf or table top. Displays can be creative and it’s not necessary to have every product on show in those areas. Great displays should be eye catching, memorable, and change every four to six weeks.
Retail is more about ease of browsing and clarity of information. Ensure that you have well-stocked and well-laid-out shelves with clear pricing. Your clients should be able to find what they are looking for, and good stock levels will help ensure you don’t miss a sale. Talk to your product houses about shelf talkers and take a walk round Space NK as an example of best-practice retail layout.
Think carefully about the message you are creating with a display. Promoting a specific botanical ingredient? Include growing plant pots alongside the products. Make sure they look great and don’t let them dry out. Use them when drawing clients’ attention to the ingredient and explaining why it is beneficial to the skin. Stick with one theme at a time to keep your message clear and keep clutter to a minimum. Fragrance, especially if it links to your display, can add even more appeal, so consider fresh flowers or a scented candle or diffuser.
Retail displays are often the first impression a client has of your salon or spa – so make yours count.
Liz Holmes is director of consultancy Commercial Spa Strategies and former spa director for properties including Rockliffe Hall. She gives business advice, specialising in spa launches
How do I take the best before-and-after photos to portray treatment results?
Taking great before-and-after pictures can bring more objectivity to the work you do. It gives you the opportunity to further engage with clients and reassure them that the treatment is working.
Taking photos can add 10 minutes to your treatment session, but will be well worth the effort. It’s best to include the client’s consent to be photographed for personal or commercial reasons in your main consent form.
To ensure the images look good, find a neutral-coloured, well-lit, wall with at least a yard of unobstructed space on either side of a fixed mechanical stadiometer. A stadiometer is a piece of equipment used for measuring human height. You’ll also need a couple of lightweight chairs, which can be moved, and a smartphone for taking the images. You’ll need both front and side views taken before, and after, each set of treatments. It’s good to take snaps within the session too.
Make sure the client’s back is straight for consistent repeat photo angles. If you’re dealing with double chins, for example, it’s best to position the tip of the nose on the edge of the stadiometer while bending the neck mid-way between the best and worst positions. Make a note of the stadiometer height for repeat sessions and always take the photo in line with the stadiometer bar, with no hair or clothes obstructing the area you’ll be working on.
Dr Bala Raju has been managing CQC-registered private clinics for 10 years. His main aesthetics clinic is KenKala in Kensington’s Royal Garden Hotel Health Club.
As spray tan demand increases ahead of summer, what are the best ways of pushing associated retail products?
There are so many ways to encourage customers who’ve had a professional spray tan to buy into an enticing retail line for prolonged results. Emphasise to your client the benefits of using at-home products in preparation for their tan and in maintaining their tan by using the suggested aftercare range. This should be done at the point of booking, during the tan, and after treatment. When you remind clients of their appointment with an email or text, also highlight the key retail items available. After the tan, you can show clients testers and allow them to try the formula as you are educating them on the benefits.
Create attractive till point and window displays, as well as in the room where the tanning will take place, so your client can see retail as a natural extension of their treatment. Another idea is to provide a gift with each treatment – sample sizes of products are an ideal way to introduce retail offerings to clients. Why not also include a “bounce back” voucher for money off the full-size version.
Be creative. You could host fun events like an interactive “bronzing” workshop with clients where they pay £10, which is redeemable against product on the day. During the workshop, you can educate participants on things such as how to prep for a sunless tan, the best method for streak-free results or the benefits of lotions versus mousse, then link-sell to bronzing make-up to complement their tan.
Mandy Cook is sales director of Gerrard International and has been with the company since 1993. She is involved in new product development as well as being responsible for a 25-strong sales team.
How can I avoid overprocessing lashes during a lifting treatment?
Lashes that have become overprocessed will typically look dry, damaged, visibly unhealthy or even frazzled. Over-processing can also cause over-curling or lashes being fixed into an unruly direction. In recent years, we have seen an influx of products that claim faster processing, with shorter treatment timings and increased salon revenues being the focus, but this is to the detriment of natural lash health. The chemical process of lash lifting is to change the direction of the natural lash by breaking down the disulphide bonds within the hair and reforming it into a new position. If too high a percentage of the active ingredients employed in breaking down and reforming these bonds is used and left on too long, damage will be caused.
Once the cuticle of a lash has been damaged, it will not return to a smooth, healthy finish. It will cause a porous surface, resulting in weakened hair that is open to any products that might meet the lashes over the coming weeks through hair washing, face washing and make-up removal. This will all make the damaged lashes worse. If overprocessing occurs, it can’t be repaired.
Conditioning elixirs and serums will improve the appearance slightly, and help encourage new growth, but you will need to wait out the lash cycle.
With more than 10 years’ experience in beauty education, Julia Moran is director of the Creative Academy Manchester and the key driver behind the Lashus brand, manufactured by Sweet Squared.
What is EMS fitness training and how could it fit into my spa business?
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) training is a new fitness solution for spas, medispas and salons looking to offer a 360-wellness service. It involves 20-minute, weekly sessions, where individuals can sculpt their bodies and reduce fat levels without the long, arduous gym sessions usually required to see similar results. EMS technology originates from sports performance and works by contracting muscles through an electrical current.
Clients wear a specially designed vest and belt that has a sensor for all eight of the major muscle groups. The electrical current encourages muscles to contract harder for longer, so they spend more time under tension and work at a higher intensity than normal. The result is a more effective whole-body workout. Each session is delivered by a trainer on a one-to-one or one-to-two basis, providing a personal and bespoke workout, perfect for your regular spa or clinic clientele.
EMS is also an extremely effective form of rehabilitation, offering specific muscular stimulation programmes that are designed to help with muscle relaxation and rejuvenation. There is significant research to suggest it can also help improve lower back pain. EMS sessions require very little space so spas can make use of underutilised treatment rooms, introducing incremental sales opportunities that can significantly improve overall monthly treatment revenue.
Caroline Richings is health, fitness and spa consultant at EMS specialist Miha Bodytec and has more than 25 years’ experience in the fitness and spa sectors.
I’m thinking of running a small beauty business from home. What do I need to consider? 58 Ask the
Working from home, and setting up your own business, can be so rewarding but there is quite a lot to consider. My top pointers for someone starting out are:
1. Contact your local council. Ask whether you need to pay business rates, have a health and safety check, or get planning permission if you intend to extend.
2. Check your policies. If you rent, check with your landlord that you can operate an at-home business. For homeowners, check with your mortgage and home insurance providers that running a home business does not affect your policies. If you intend to operate from an outbuilding, you can get separate business insurance.
3. Register as self-employed with HRMC gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader
4. Get yourself out there. Nobody else is going to shout about your business so you need to.
5. Become laser-focused on who you serve. Though it’s tempting to try to do so, you cannot be everything to everybody or your marketing message will just become too wishy-washy.
6. Be clear on your pricing. Calculate how much it costs you to do each treatment and how much you want to earn. You need to make profit or you will not have a business.
Enjoy the journey and don’t be discouraged by any mistakes, you will learn with experience.
Kerry Beavis is a therapist who works from home, and was Professional Beauty Therapist of the Year in 2016. She is the founder of coaching company The Revive Co.