Tuesday, April 28, 2009

FREE Ways to Engage your Customers

Let’s face it – we are all concerned with our pocket books. Fewer clients are coming through your doors. Customers are stretching out appointments. Marketing budgets have shrunk to keep up with cash flow. Negative economic news surrounds us almost every where to turn. What’s a business to do to keep customers engage while keeping an eye on the bottom line?

How about some FREE (or low cost) ways to build customer relationships!

Social Networking
Are you reaching your clients online? Social networking is defined as a web-based community that allows users to interact by sharing ideas, opinions or other content in an online environment. The hottest networks out there are Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or even your own Blog. These are all free to sign up and create your own profile. Any of your staff (even your receptionist) can update these sites daily. Invite your clients to join and start talking. Topics can be anything - services, styles, local events. Simply start the discussion and see where it goes.

Email is another free or low cost way to touch clients. Your messages can highlight salon specials, events, or provide an informational newsletter on your business. Did you roll out a new private label line? Update your credit card policy? Did your master stylist just have a new baby? All of these are great topics to share in an email newsletter. Email and newsletters are excellent marketing vehicles that can drive customers to participate in your social networking efforts. There are many low cost email providers. Check with your website company about email services or drop me a line. I’ll be happy to offer some recommendations.

Community Events
In the summer months many communities host picnics, walks, or fundraisers. Contact your local chamber of commerce or other city associations. Find out how you can be involved. Many events are free for businesses to participate. Host a booth and offer face painting, make up, or hair styling tips. The point is to drum up excitement about you business and get your name out there. Another idea is to partner with local cause-related walks or events. Choose a cause your business can get behind such as breast cancer awareness, locks of love, heart health etc… Start a donation drive at your salon, on your web page, and your social networks. Involvement will enhance your business image and support a worthy cause.

Host VIP Events
Every way you can add value to your clients’ lives is going to make your business shine. Instead of doing a full wine and dine event --stretch your dollars. Offer an Early Bird VIP event. How about a 7:00 am jump starter with coffee and bagels. Ask customers for email addresses or to participate in a customer survey. Provide a special gift to all attendees (those free trial samples taking over your back room). What about a Power Hour Lunch De-Stress Special. Set up a free or scalp massage between noon and one. Provide all attendees a trial sample gift for pre-booking a new appointment. Get creative with this! It doesn’t have to cost a lot to create excitement.

These free and low cost efforts engage customers in your brand. Contact your clients in meaningful ways, seek out their opinions, and creating interesting interaction with your business. Positive energy leads to positive experiences. You will ride out these economic stormy seas stronger than ever and with more loyal clients too!

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