Competition is healthy because it forces you to innovate, keeping you on your toes, so that you don’t get complacent. It also encourages you to provide the best you possibly can for your clients. However, it can also be frightening and frustrating when you know you are losing out on precious revenue that is going to other local salon businesses. If you want to grow your market share in your locality, then you must lean into your competitive advantage and get the edge in your area. There are a number of ways you can do this.
1 Solicit client opinions to clarify your strengths
Clients come to your salon over and over again for a reason, so knowing that reason is important to your continued success. Ask them to complete surveys or questionnaires, or put a focus group together to get a real sense of what everyone likes so much about your salon. Then review your reports to establish your top selling services and products. Knowing what makes your salon special shows you what you need to focus on selling, and what you could even drop or forget about selling.
2 Run a competitor analysis to find your edge
Ask yourself why a client would choose another salon instead of yours. Compare the services and brands that your competition offers to see if there's something that they have that you don’t. Take a look at their advertising to see what their customers are identifying with, and observe which social media platforms they advertise on frequently. Take a look at their online reviews and make sure you score higher. You don’t have control over what makes your competition attractive to others, you just need to have the edge. So develop your USP (unique selling point) – if you have something your competition can’t replicate, then lean into it. Consider spending some revenue on promoting this to attract more of your ideal clients.
3 Cultivate a caring and professional culture
Providing outstanding customer service is key to your business. Encourage your team to build relationships with new clients and recognise returning clients. Set up loyalty programmes – the more goodwill you can build, the more repeat business you will get. Train your team to be kind and respectful to clients, and to comfortably sell all your services and products. If you do everything you can to ensure your clients leave feeling happy, they willl look forward to returning and be happy to recommend your salon.
4 Give your salon a makeover
If you let your image or salon look tired or out of date, what message does that communicate to your clients? Before it is needed, invest in a makeover, overhaul your company image and branding, and make sure your salon is a welcoming environment for clients.
Also consider giving your website an overhaul, as a well-organised and efficient platform is key to attracting new salon and online customers, and maintaining a prominent digital presence.
5 Keep marketing, keep going!
A great marketing plan attracts a steady stream of clients, emphasises your USP and positions your salon as the first and best choice in the client’s mind.
Marketing never stops, and there are endless options for different activities, such as word of mouth, texting, local press, point-of-sale material, local radio, outside signage and, of course, social media. Pick your platforms, set up business accounts and encourage clients to like your pages and post reviews. The more engagement you can cultivate online, the better.
6 Appeal to the senses
What is the desired ambience of your salon? Do you reinforce this through effective use of music, lighting and décor? Remember to appeal to all senses. For example, think about the fragrance of your brand, and introduce these aromas to reflect the ambience. Be aware that what your clients are listening to can influence the amount of time and money they spend in both your salon and retail area.
Standing out from the crowd is important because clients are savvy and have a lot of choice. It is necessary that you send out a very clear message that your salon is here, and you are great at what you do. Learn to positively differentiate your business from your competition – then you don’t have to worry about that competition.
Liz McKeon is an author, business coach, trainer and mentor, specialising in the hair, beauty and spa sector. For further information visit lizmckeon.com or call +353 86 386 1243.