Month: February 2021
It’s no secret that running a hair or beauty business is a lot of hard work, especially when you’re just starting out and learning the ropes. The hardest part? You don’t know what you don’t know — and that’s when costly mistakes can happen. As a fledgling business that’s trying to build a loyal client base, you don’t have much margin for error. That’s why it’s so important to get it right from the start. Luckily for you, we’re here with a list of the top ten rookie mistakes that hair and beauty entrepreneurs often make, along with pointers on how to avoid them. Table of contents Double booking clientsNot taking card details at the time of booking Not implementing local SEO Not having a presence on local business websites like Yelp and Google My Business Missing booking opportunities by not using the book now button Failing to keep in touch with clients via email Not working towards getting reviews Not promoting your positive reviews Not having booking buttons on social media Ignoring online booking data 1. Double booking clients Double bookings are one of those rookie mistakes you definitely want to avoid as a service provider; it’s both stressful for your staff and has an extremely negative impact on the client experience. But to avoid double bookings, you need to understand why they happen in the first place. Usually, it’s due to a mixture of the following: Human error. As smart and innovative as human beings can be, we’re also prone to making mistakes, like scheduling clients at the wrong time or date or penciling in the wrong service. It’s difficult to change human nature, but using modern online scheduling software (like Genbook) will help you to catch these mistakes and prevent scheduling conflicts. Appointments taking longer than planned. There are a variety of reasons why appointments may run over their allotted time; you could be short-staffed, be using a salon space that isn’t optimal for your needs, or have made changes to the service that lengthens the time needed to complete it. It’s important to take note of these conditions and their potential impact on your appointments before they happen. This gives you time to create solutions, such as deciding what services you can/cannot fit into wait times during other appointments. Another way to avoid this mishap is to schedule some buffer time for tidying up after every appointment or for covering unexpected delays. Clients turning up late. When appointment slots are carefully calculated to maximize profit-generating activities, late clients can seriously throw off your schedule. While it’s impossible for salons to completely eliminate this eventuality, sending a friendly email or text reminder the day before helps to reduce the odds of it taking place. It’s also worth adding to your booking T&Cs that appointments will be considered “canceled” if the client doesn’t arrive within 15 minutes. This can be tricky to manage from a customer service standpoint but prevents late clients from interrupting other appointments. 2. Not taking card details at the time of booking This is a small business mistake for a simple reason; if a client is a no-show or cancels at the last minute, you lose revenue. By taking a client’s credit card details at the time of booking you have the ability to charge a cancellation fee or a deposit for the service. As well as helping you to cover the cost of the lost appointment, this also acts as a useful deterrent. However, be aware that some people might feel a bit uncertain about handing over financial information. Your salon or spa should provide clients with a thorough explanation of why this policy is in place, and even more importantly, how you’ll keep these details secure. Below is a great example from Gingers Hair Salon, which has a dedicated page on its website explaining its booking policy, the circumstances where clients will be charged, and how card information is stored: In addition to having a page on your site, make sure to state your policies on your booking page. This way, if you do have to enforce your policies, there are no surprises on the client side. Here’s an example from Tans by Kait. 3. Not implementing local SEO When looking for a service provider, location is usually the first criteria consumers focus on. Most will want to book in somewhere that’s local to where they live or work for the sake of convenience. In fact, 72% of consumers who search for a local business will visit a store within five miles. So, if a potential client types “hairdressers in Brooklyn” into Google Search and you are a Brooklyn-based hairdresser, you really want to be high up in those results. This is where local SEO can make all the difference — and a major marketing mistake to overlook. Local SEO refers to the ranking signals that Google searches for in relation to location-based search queries. SEO can be a big driver of in-store traffic, so take steps to beef up your presence on local search results. Putting your salon or spa on local business listings such as Google My Business and Yelp is a big help in this area (more on this below) as well as using localized keywords on your website. 4. Not having a presence on local business websites like Yelp and Google My Business Local business listings are a great way to enhance your salon or spa’s credibility amongst prospective clients. Furthermore, people who are consulting sites like Yelp and Google My Business are much further along in the buying journey; they’ve identified a need, and are actively looking for ways to address it. So, if you aren’t visible to this group of clients, you’re missing out on some easy conversions. It’s pretty straightforward to set up a listing on both Google My Business and Yelp. However, there’s a lot that separates a great business listing from an average one. For best results, consider the following: Fill out all fields (including the optional ones)Including high-quality photos of your establishmentEnabling direct booking e.g. Reserve with Google For more tips, check out our guide on how to optimize your Google My Business listing. And if you’re looking for a great example of a Google My Business profile done right, take a look at Manly and Sons Barber Co—barber extraordinaire and proud Genbook users. In addition to having a complete profile that includes reviews and photos, Manly and Sons also has a booking button right on its listing so clients can schedule an appointment straight from Google. 5. Missing booking opportunities by not using the book now button For service-based businesses, you need clients to strike while the iron is hot and lock in that appointment. So, the last thing you want is for them to lose patience and go elsewhere because it’s too difficult to contact you. For example, it isn’t convenient for consumers if they can only book an appointment via a phone call; people increasingly want to book appointments on-the-go and not interrupt the flow of their day. So, not allowing people to book themselves into your establishment through your website is a real rookie mistake. To really drive conversations, make sure that you add a “book now” button to your site in a really prominent location on your homepage, as shown below by Earth Organic Hairdressing: 6. Failing to keep in touch with clients via email Email marketing is truly your salon’s best friend. Running a successful appointment-based business relies on being able to nurture a loyal base of repeat clients. Why? Because customer acquisition costs your business around 5 times more than retention. Email is much more targeted and personal than a post to your Instagram page or website, making it one of the best marketing techniques for nurturing existing clients into a new sales cycle. Best of all, it’s completely free to use — and a major small business mistake to neglect. So, what could you include in your email communications? Here are some ideas to get you started: News and current eventsHair/beauty top tipsNew promotionsWhat’s new (locations, staff, products, services etc.)Loyalty program updates Pro tip: Genbook has a Smart Marketing feature that lets you send compelling and personalized emails with ease. Our customizable email templates make it simple to send engaging messages that drive bookings. And if you’re looking for additional templates that are crafted keeping in mind your unique business personality look no further than our evergreen email templates that do just that! 7. Not working towards getting reviews It’s no secret that word-of-mouth marketing matters, especially for service-based businesses. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers say that they trust recommendations from fellow consumers more than traditional advertising. As such, if you aren’t putting in the effort to request reviews from your clients, that’s a lot of potential business you’re missing out on. So, what is the best way to encourage clients to give you a review? Just ask. It might sound obvious, but many businesses forget that simply asking their clients in person is one of the easiest strategies out there. For best results, try timing it at the end of the appointment (once the “big reveal” has taken place!) Offer an incentive. If your clients need a bit of a push to get involved, or you’re running a dedicated marketing strategy, consider offering them some low-hanging fruit, such as: Extra loyalty pointsGoing in the draw for an exclusive giveawayA discount off their next service Make the process as frictionless as possible. If leaving a review involves too many steps, clients are likely to give up. Try sending an email or text embedded with a link immediately after an appointment (which can be done via Genbook). 8. Not promoting your positive reviews Ultimately, it’s those glowing reviews that will really help your establishment to gain traction. But it’s a big rookie mistake if you don’t put them where people can see them. Positive reviews should have a presence across all of your marketing platforms. For example, you should consider adding a “testimonials” page to your website that you can keep adding to over time to showcase your track record of excellent service. Best of all, reviews make for extremely valuable marketing content. You can include one or two recent reviews within your email communications to clients, or turn them into attractive pull-quotes for Instagram, as shown here by Salon 215 Elite: Another great way to showcase your reviews? Use your booking portal. This is an excellent tactic for instilling confidence in your would-be clients and increases the likelihood that they’ll go through with their booking. Have a look at this example from Bronze Buns Spray Tanning Redlands. 9. Not having booking buttons on social media CTAs (Call-To-Actions) are really important for driving clients to take action in response to your marketing efforts. Without a CTA, you’re leaving a potential client unsure of what you want them to do. It’s the equivalent of leading them to a door that doesn’t have any visible means to open it. If you don’t have a “book now” button on your Instagram and Facebook accounts, you’re missing out on fostering some valuable conversions. On social media, This CTA is especially effective; it allows your business to maximize convenience for your clients by offering them a seamless transition between browsing and booking — something that consumers demand more than ever. Moreover, CTAs help to differentiate your social media profile as someone who’s open for business rather than just an inspo page. You can add a “book now” button on Instagram if you use a partner scheduling software like Genbook. For Facebook, you can find instructions here. 10. Ignoring online booking data Although you may not have many occasions to think about it, booking data can tell you a LOT about your business. It’s a record of client activity, staff performance, and service popularity all rolled into one. Considering the valuable insights it provides, it’s a major small business mistake to ignore it. For example, a quick look at your booking data can tell you which days and which times of day are the busiest or quietest for your salon or spa. This helps you to make appropriate decisions concerning your staffing levels and when is a good time to dedicate to housekeeping or business activities, resulting in increased productivity and better organization for your business. So, take a good look at those numbers. You might be surprised by what you find. Bringing it all together Running any kind of small business has its fair share of ups and downs, but taking note of the rookie mistakes above will help you to avoid any major mishaps in running your salon or spa that could cost you money or your reputation. Implementing even some small contingency plans will go a long way to your making sure that your client interactions run smoothly, which means more loyal clients for your business. Did you know that Genbook gives you several tools to avoid these small mistakes? From online booking and payments to marketing and client retention, our platform can help your salon, spa, or barbershop thrive. Try it for free today!
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