Engaging with both new and returning customers is crucial to growing your health and beauty business’s customer base. Here are four marketing tactics that build lasting relationships.
1. Loyalty programs:
Loyalty programs reward customers for their repeat business with discounts, rewards points or special events. They can be as simple as a paper punch card or as high-tech as a mobile app tied to a computer database. Make sure the loyalty rewards reflect your brand and motivate your target customers. For instance, offer $10 off after a customer makes $100 worth of purchases in your beauty supply store, or a free massage after the customer pays for 10.
Capture customer data like emails, addresses and phone numbers as part of your loyalty program. Offering regular customers free products or discounts on special occasions such as holidays or birthdays is always a loyalty-booster. For instance, give the celebrants a free bottle of nail polish with a manicure. You can also use geolocation websites to offer loyalty rewards; see our article on social media.
2. Socially responsible marketing:
Aligning your health and beauty business with a social cause can increase loyalty by convincing customers you care about the same issues they do. This is often easier for businesses in your industry, since there’s a natural alignment with many important causes today. Choose an issue or cause relevant to your business and to your customers. For instance, if you own a hair salon, you could work with a woman’s shelter to give abused women haircuts and help them feel good about themselves. Can’t decide on a cause? Ask your customers (or employees) for suggestions. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a big, global movement—in fact, since health and beauty businesses rely on local clientele, supporting small community organizations can be more effective.
Research the organization to make sure it’s legitimate. Then decide how you will support it—whether by collecting donations from customers, hosting a fund-raiser, helping at events or donating a percentage of your sales or profits. Publicize your relationship with the cause in all of your health and beauty business’s marketing materials, in signage in your location, and online. Also let local media know about your charitable activities.
3. Customer service:
Customer service can make or break a health and beauty business. Regularly examine your business with an impartial eye, or recruit a friend or relative to do it for you. Start outside and pretend you’re a new customer: Is your store or salon easy to find, with adequate parking? Is the parking lot well lit? Does it look welcoming from the outside, and appealing once inside? How are new arrivals greeted? Is your spa or salon’s waiting area clean and comfortable, and how do receptionists treat guests?
Call your business and see what kind of response you get. Is the phone answered quickly or does it ring and ring? Does the employee on the other end sound friendly, or glum, bored and disengaged?
Today, customer service starts online, so don’t forget to check out your website. Do the links work? Are your products, services and any special offers current? If you sell products online, is your shopping process and checkout simple? Is your contact information (phone and email address) up to date? If your spa or salon has an online reservation system, does it work?
Creating a smartphone application (app) for your business is the latest way to stay in touch with customers. Apps enable you to “push” information out to customers who signal they want to hear from you by downloading your app. Apps also help you reach consumers when they’re out shopping and looking for a place to buy health or beauty products.
There are many companies that provide custom apps for small businesses. Popular features to consider include “phone us” or “email us” buttons, online reservations features for a spa, embedding your Facebook or Twitter feed, discount codes or coupons, and interactive maps and directions. Apps can also be used in conjunction with loyalty programs to help customers track rewards points.