Back to School Marketing Tips That Make the Grade

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School is almost back in session, and with that comes a unique opportunity for salon owners: the chance to cater to parents of school-aged children who now have a moment to themselves. Whether you want to attract these clients with an e-mail campaign, a Facebook contest or a simple social media graphic, there are a number of ways to approach marketing strategies for the back-to-school season. 

According to Chris Brennan, content marketing manager at Phorest Salon Software, it's crucial to use the calendar to your businesses advantage. "You know, for a fact, that special events over the next 12 months will be on your client’s mind: Back To School, Prom, etc.," Brennan says. "It’s just a logical decision to join the conversation that's already taking place rather than distracting clients with a completely different campaign. It makes sense to connect with clients on what matters to them. Plus, it makes it easier for you—now you don’t have to come up with a brand new, original way to bring your business to their attention."

With so many different promotional tactics to choose from, it may be difficult to find the avenue that best suits your business. In Brennan's opinion, there's no harm in trying them all. "With the latest technology, we can now communicate with our clients across a variety of diverse formats," he says. "You don’t have to pick and choose between them. Instead, I would recommend that you use every tool available in your digital toolbox. The real secret to success is how you schedule and plan them." 

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Rather than overwhelming your clients with a promotional text and e-mail on the same day, Brennan suggests deploying a text at the beginning of the week and an e-mail at the end of the week. "We live in an ultra fast-paced world. A client can easily be excited about an offer they read on their phone, get distracted when something pressing comes up and immediately forget that they didn’t act upon the offer," he says. "That's why it's best to use other tools. In the days between your SMS and e-mail sends, use paid social media campaigns to reach your audience with your message."

Text example from Phorest: You’ve survived the summer! Celebrate back to school: Book any appointment today & get a glass of bubbly! 

The value behind social media campaigns is often overlooked when it comes to business. "Social media is a perfect outlet to promote your back-to-school specials," Brennan says. "However, I believe many salons are just scratching the surface with what they can do on these platforms." For one, if you're not boosting your posts on Facebook, you're not doing the most you can do to reach your desired audience. "It’s so tough to get the results you are looking for organically with the way Facebook is designed," Brennan says. If you have an Instagram account, Brennan stresses the importance of setting it up as a business account and linking it to your Facebook account. This way, you can you can use your boosted posts across both powerful platforms."

On top of promotions, you can also you can create a social media competition or a special "bring a friend" offer. "These will help your client retention rate while generating new business at the same time," Brennan says. To stay on top of marketing in your salon, Brennan shares five key points to keep in mind: 

  1. Mindset. "Remember that you are not selling a product or service, you are providing something valuable for your clients. You are helping them by taking care of an important task on their to-do list."
  2. Teamwork. "This is not a one-person campaign. Keep everybody on the team in the loop with what your salon is trying to achieve. Huddle up, talk honestly about the goal, and then update them regularly throughout the weeks," Brennan says. "The more they feel connected, the harder they will work to achieve the target."
  3. Tools. "Use the all tools you have: Email, SMS, Social Media. Together."
  4. Take Note. "See what other salons are not doing to promote their business," Brennan says. "For example, a lot of salon owners I talk to hate the idea of using video or being on camera. But video is one of the strongest, most effective tools you can use. So, if we know it works and we know a lot of competitors aren’t using it, this is where you can excel!"
  5. Have fun! "Marketing is only a pain if we think of it as a pain. Be real, let your personality shine through and smile—people like that."