Five Dumb Errors to Avoid In Your Salon/Spa’s Email Marketing Strategy
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Email Marketing for your Salon or Spa?
If you can resonate with the above in any way, it’s best to check these pretty basic, yet widespread errors that people make in their Email Marketing Strategies.
1. Not Having One
Even if it isn’t working out for you yet, giving up on Email Marketing (or not trying it at all) is amongst the laziest mistakes you could make.
Client retention is the bread and butter of Salon and Spa Industries.
Email’s personal and one-on-one nature makes it the most powerful tool for improving your relationships with customers, and understanding consumer behaviour.
It doesn’t hurt that email is the cheapest, most abundant and most rewarding marketing channel; ahead of social media.
Not buying it? Check out what the numbers have to say:
The power of Email Marketing depends on how well you can use it. Before quitting, ask yourself if you are using these channels to their maximum potential?
(a) Direct Emails: These are the emails you send solely to promote yourself. Are your emails interactive enough to get the customers’ attention? Would you read them yourself?
(b) Transactional Emails: These emails are triggered, based on a customer’s action with your business. As they communicate important information, they have very high Open Rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters). Are you integrating your marketing with these emails to get maximum returns?
Now that you’re pumped up to give Email Marketing a go, watch out for these other errors.
2. Emailing Anyone and Everyone Under the Sun
The mentality that ‘the more you email, the more returns you’ll get’ will not get you anywhere. A shot at the bull’s eye beats a hundred in the dark.
A dedicated emailing list of specific, targeted clients, is a gold mine.
If you’ve been doing this, fret not,
Cranking up a dedicated Emailing List is easy with these steps:
(a) Build the List:
Building a list of leads takes a while; and building one of quality leads, a while longer. It’s, however, a simple task, that gives a lot more value than the effort required. Easy ways to populate your list are:
- As a routine practice, ask your clients for their email ID. It’s best to do this at the time of booking.
- If you hold events, giveaways, seminars or workshops, ask participants to fill a simple form that gets you their email ID.
Image courtesy Salon Exclussif.
- Automated lists are also easily generated by using online appointment booking softwares, like Appointy.
- Use Opt-in forms (through which people can subscribe to your emails) in your Website, Blog or Social Media Platform.
You can use these great Online Lead Generation Tools to create Pop-ups, Slide-ins and Head bars for Opt-in forms :
- Thrive leads: This is a WordPress plugin with list building capability, which further allows a favorable conversion rate.
- Layered Pop-ups: It is a WordPress plugin that offers beautiful themes for pop-ups.
- OptinMonster: It’s a very powerful tool for creating pop-ups and slide-ins for your website with lots of inbuilt themes. You could also use their intuitive builder to design your pop-up and slide-in with Custom HTML and CSS.
- Smart Bar: It is another tool used for adding scrolling headers to your website. The bar is easily optimizable for mobiles as well as desktops.
(b) Make an Impression, Take Permission:
Permission Marketing is a strategy where you get the consent of your lead to subscribe them to your emails. It gives great Open and Click-Through Rates, and not to mention, is mandatory in some countries. Permission is given in two ways:
Making people subscribe to your emails is easier by giving them some immediate incentive. This could be a handy ebook, discount coupons, etc. For example:
Image by Refinery 29.
Make sure to test your incentives to check if they actually work.
(c) Maintain A Healthy List:
- Brush off the dust: Remove non-existent, bounced or blocked emails. Many Email Marketing tools do this automatically. Be careful not to remove emails that bounced due to ‘mailbox full’ or ‘out of office’ messages.
- Let It Go: If leads do not open your emails for over 6 months, it’s time to remove them from the list. A systematic way to do this is to make a dated list of the customers that open your emails, for each email blast that you send out.
- Segmentation: Segmentation is splitting up your email list into more targeted groups. It’s useful to reduce the volume of emails sent and get better results. The above-mentioned tools are great for creating segmented lists. For example, you can segment your list into the following categories:
- Customer List
- Product Update List
- Newsletter Subscribers
3. Going in Blind
A lot of people hate the word planning. You might not be doing it for your campaign because you’d rather spend precious time doing actual work, but trust me, it’s quite the opposite.
Planning your Email Calendar (yes, that’s the fancy term) gives you the freedom of doing all the thinking at once, then simply optimising and pumping out great emails for your customers.
A successful emailing campaign is made by a SMART Email Marketing Plan.
- It’s good to plan the entire Calendar and email blasts (on a quarterly, half-yearly or yearly basis), with notes on the date, content, format, and recipients of the emails.
- Maintain lists of your Opens, Conversions and other statistics. Email Marketing tools are a great help, as they provide built-in analytics, drag and drop email builders and responsive templates.
Some widely used ones are:
- VerticalResponse: VerticalResponse provides automated follow-up emails, Landing Page creator and advance analytics.
- MailChimp: MailChimp provides great features like Subject Line Researcher, Marketing Templates, Integrated Ads etc.
- Litmus: Litmus has great features, including a Builder, that builds, edits and previews emails across 70+ platforms. Its Checkilst and litmus Extention features are also great.
These softwares offer free versions with limited features and come with paid plans according to the number of people you wish to reach.
(b) Motive-oriented: Before starting a campaign, keep in mind the objectives you wish achieve by emailing your clients. These may include:
- Increase your Customer Base and get Referrals.
- Bring visitors to your Website.
- Improve Client Loyalty.
(c) Adaptive: Your Marketing Strategy should have room for changes to drive improvements. Testing, and tracking your statistics is the only way to improving results.
A/B Testing: In an A/B test, you set up two variations of the one campaign and send them to a small percentage of your total recipients, to see which one sees a better response. Stats in this study by MarketingSherpa show the Subject Line is most frequently A/B tested.
To track the results of your tests, and email campaign in general, the main stats that you should keep an eye on are:
- Open Rates: Your open rate will tell you how catchy your Subject line is, and how well you’ve engaged the leads. If the number is low, it means that people have started to delete upon receipt.
- Click-Through Rate: It is the ratio of users who clicked on a specific link to the number of total users who viewed your email. If your CTR is low, it means that your message (Call to Action) was either not targeted enough, or simply not communicated.
- Unsubscribes: If your unsubscription rate is high compared to your opt-in rate, then you’re not providing value to your customers, and it’s time to revise your content.
(d) Regular: Maintaining a regular emailing frequency is more important than you might think. Research shows that changing your emailing frequency leads to increase in the number of Unsubscribes.
Less is More: While you might be impatient to get your client’s attention, sending emails too frequently is disastrous. In fact, it is the leading cause of unsubscribes and being marked as spam, as seen in this survey by TechnologyAdvice.
But how much is too much?
The current average frequency for emails sent by professional email marketing agencies is 1-3 times a month. Research shows that behavioral and triggered based marketing works significantly better than mechanical, serialized campaigns.
The best way to see what works for you is to Split test your emailing frequency, and mixing up the type of content that you send.
(e) Timed: The research on the best time to send emails is highly contradictory. This happens because each industry is different, and so are the behavioral pattern of their clients. Again, the best way to perfect your timing is to A/B test on your client pool. However, a few pointers to send you in the right direction are:
- According to a study by MailChimp, the middle of the week is the best time to send your emails.
- Most people check their emails in the time-slots 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. It’s best to avoid sending emails late in the evening because they’ll be buried by the time your customers check their accounts.
4. Being A Bore
With great power, comes great competition.
According to a study by DMR, an average working individual receives 120 emails per day. Your emails should stand-out. With the right mindset, it’s also the fun part of Email Marketing, where you get to be creative.
(a) Great Content and Great Images:
To make great content, use fewer words, and let the pictures do the talking. The email should be scannable -like the one below by Urban Nirvana– with pictures, headings, numbered/bulleted information and a distinct Call To Action Button.
Providing benefit in emails is very rewarding. It takes a little more effort to work on informative emails than simply forwarding ‘Pick Me!’, but it’s a price well paid to stay in your customers’ minds. Value can be given in a number of ways. As a few pointers:
- Transactional Emails
- Newsletters with valuable tips
- Special offers
- Discount coupons
- Event Invitations
- Information about new services
For example, this email by BlueBird Salon combines nuggets of informational value with the promotion of their services and integrated offers.
(b) Give Value, Not Pain:
While it’s important to give customers value in your emails, it’s also important to give them the link to unsubscribe to them. Making it impossible to unsubscribe to your emails is not going to give you loyal customers.
In fact, make the process a feedback session, by taking a quick poll (limit it to one multiple choice question) from the people who click the unsubscribe link.
5. Optimise? What Optimise?
The tricky thing about email marketing is that you might be making fabulous content, but it’s simply not getting through to your customer. Now that you’ve poured your heart out in giving your customer value, here’s how to make sure it gets to them:
(a) Stay out of the Junk Folder:
- Practicing permission-based marketing is the best option to avoid accidentally or purposefully getting spam-filtered. Ensure your email isn’t solely made up of images. This is a well know tool that spam filters use to discard content.
- Email Marketing Services let you customize emails to add subtle differences in each email (client name, details etc.) and hence, avoid getting spammed.
Make sure you comply with the Anti-Spam Laws in your country.
Here’s a link to check-out the Opt-in Laws in the US and Europe.
(b) The Start Line – Subject: The Subject line is the pilot of your email campaign. If it doesn’t get the reader’s attention, nothing that follows will. Make sure your Subject line checks the following points:
- Avoid using exclamation marks, capital letters, the words-‘Free’, ’Discounts’ or ’Reminder’.
- Keep it short, simple and friendly. 🙂
- It’s also good practice to have the sender name be a person, rather than your salon or spa. It adds a personal touch to the email.
(c) Integrate with Social Media: Social Media extends the reach of your emails. Most Email Service Providers include statistics on who has shared the emails frequently, as well as the effect their sharing has had on other key metrics (opens, clicks, conversions, etc.). Social Media can be easily gelled with email by:
- Including Social Icons in Emails
- Asking Email Subscribers to Share and Connect
- Sending a Dedicated Email Campaign.
The weather forecast emails by Poncho have a charming way of integrating social media, that aligns with their overall goofy theme.
(d) The Finish Line – Call To Action: The CTA is your final instruction to your reader. Whether it’s to book a visit, confirm an appointment, refer a friend, or purchase a product, make sure it is clearly outlined. For Example:
“Checkout our Blog”
“Book An Appointment”
“Up for a Free Session?”
(e) P.S.: Notice how this Postscript got your attention? It’s a fact that after an email body, the eyes automatically travel to the Postscript. Add or reiterate your CTA here to get the most attention to it.
(f) The Same Ol’ Same Ol’ Screen: The UK Consumer Device Preference Report shows that 71% of marketing campaign emails were opened on a portable device in the first quarter of 2015.
Image Source: Movable Ink
You’re missing out on a huge chunk of attention if your emails are not mobile-friendly.
If you are a non-techie, using Responsive Email Templates is the best, most hassle-free option. For example, the one below optimizes automatically for desktops, tablets and mobiles.
They can be bought as a separate service, included in Emailing Tools or included in Softwares Services under Email Marketing.
Now that you know what not to do, don’t let all the information get you down. While knowing about errors is good, what’s important is to look past them and actually send out those emails. 🙂
Tell us in the comments below about something awesome that works for your Salon/Spa’s email marketing.