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The beauty and spa industries are highly competitive environments, and if you want your business to thrive, you’ll have to bring in your A-game every day. The life span of companies in this industry can be very, very short because the learning curve is very, very steep.

That’s why I’ve compiled some practical tips on how to get a thriving salon or spa — and keep it that way.

1. Educate People

It’s surprising to see how little people know about the beauty salon and spa industries and what’s involved in the offered treatments. Too often, people rely on hearsay, misinformation, and mistaken assumptions when considering the benefits of a specific “radical” treatment and how their bodies will react.

Try setting up educational seminars and events with a certain kind of treatment to combat this problem. Allow people to learn about the process from licensed (or at least knowledgeable) professionals. Once they know more about it and have a small taste of what the results will feel or look like, they will be more open to doing it again—at your establishment. Start a Youtube channel and share your knowledge. Build authority!

2. Don’t Give Prices Outright

This may sound like an underhanded trick, but there are distinct and good reasons for you not to divulge your prices over the Internet or the phone. It is pretty different for a service company like SpellBrand, where we post our prices on our website because the business model works differently.

Firstly, you want to avoid people evaluating your services by price alone. You and your competitors risk devolving into a price war, and in that scenario, everybody loses. Beauty and spa brands are all about value, and it’s challenging to communicate that with numbers looming over everything and to understand value-based marketing. This applies to most businesses, including our design and branding business. That is why we stopped having a package system on our website and chose the “request quote” model.

Secondly, it’s in your customer’s—and business’—best interest for her to visit the store to get a quote. Beauty and spa products are highly subjective, and getting the results your customer wants may involve a different mix of services than other customers.

Thirdly, getting them into your store and the chair increases your chances of making a successful sale and upselling. It is traditionally more challenging for customers to say “no” when they’re already at the location with the specialist. You might be able to sell them on a range of services, even if they only walked in to get their nails done.

3. Know Your Niche

Servicing a niche does not necessarily mean specializing in one type of treatment (although that is a perfectly viable way of doing business). There are many ways of carving out a niche with the correct elements.

Ambiance. Spas are incredibly attentive regarding ambiance since most of their clients go there to relax in a wholly different environment. Some establishments use Oriental decorations, while others prefer a wintery, log cabin-esque environment.

Age group. Some spas and beauty parlors cater to specific age groups. They offer services and products that are popular with that generation.

Subculture. Perhaps your beauty parlor specializes in doing emo styles or punk. In that case, you’re developing a niche based on subculture. This is a very effective way to build a loyal customer base, as many subcultures are tight-knit communities that could pass your name along via word-of-mouth.

4. Promote, Promote, Promote

Never stop promoting and cross-promoting. Always have something going on: a sale, a discount coupon, or a free trial. Communicate this to your customers via social media and other available channels and get your beauty salon logo out there and become your brand evangelist. Beauty and spas are seasonal businesses, and it’s essential to keep warm bodies coming in during the off-peak periods.

5. Reward Loyalty

Beauty customers are some of the most steadfastly loyal customers you will ever encounter—but they are also the most fickle. They might be visiting your place for years on end with a smile on their face, but one bad experience can drive them into the arms of your competitor.

Reward customer loyalty through freebies, gifts, and special discounts or coupon marketing. But most of all, reward them with attention. Get to know them as people. Become their friends and beauticians—even if you’d never hang out with them in real life. They are there for the experience, as well as the services. Reward their loyalty by making every stay a pleasant one.

6. Protect Your Reputation

Nothing can sink a spa or beauty salon business faster than a soiled reputation. The danger can come from anywhere—a rude employee, a bad perm, poor hygiene… Or it may not even be your fault. Once the damage is done, you’ll have to pull off some shrewd crisis management to keep your customers and be more responsive.

The best thing to do is to be as blameless as possible. Train your employees in proper customer care and service. Hire experienced beauticians and aestheticians to perform the services. Don’t skimp on products and tools. Observe good hygiene in all aspects of your operations. And above all, pay attention to what’s being said outside your shop. It’s hard to protect your reputation when you don’t know what that reputation is.

7. Retain Good Employees

Good employees are worth their weight in platinum—especially if they’re popular with the clients. “Celebrity” employees can bring in a disproportionate number of clients by their presence alone. Even if they are not currently working that day or can’t handle all the clients themselves, they still bring exceptional value to your business by drawing customers in.

On the flip side, the departure of a star employee can be ruinous for a salon. A large number of clients may decide to follow the employee to wherever it is they are moving and take their money with them.

Treat all of your employees well, but treat your star employees better. Acknowledge and reward them for their work, but don’t count on always being there. Be sure you groom one or two “understudies” with their own sets of clients who have the skill and charisma to catch your star employee’s clients should the star decide to move.

There you have it! I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have additional comments or suggestions for this or future articles, please leave a comment or send us an email.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & CEO of SpellBrand. Since 1998, Mash has helped conscious brands differentiate themselves and AWAKEN through Brand Strategy and Brand Identity Design. Schedule a Brand Strategy Video Call with Mash.