Mobile marketing is to tanning salons as peanut butter is to chocolate… a perfect combination. Your demographics are young, tech savvy, and very up to date. Your marketing strategies should be the same. You have the perfect time setting to use mobile marketing, and fortunately the cost is low and the returns on this kind of advertising and customer relationship management is huge.
Start by creating SMS to text prospective customers. This will be far less time-consuming and less expensive than creating television and radio ads. Customers who are most interested will also have the opportunity to respond immediately. Everyone has a mobile phone nowadays, and most people use them with great frequency and for many reasons. Mobile marketing campaigns can bring great results in no time at all, because the results are almost immediate.
Once you have an audience, keep them engaged. Encourage your clients to schedule appointments and pre-pay for services on their phones. You should also use SMS to notify customers of availability, appointment confirmations, receive updates, and to help them track the progress of their loyalty memberships and rewards. Use Facebook to attract followers. Hold contests to find models for your promotional pieces, reward people for letting you post their ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, and feature product and service giveaways. You can also let customers enter contests and win goodies by texting short codes.
Sex Sells, but Puppies are Cuter
We have pretty much been inundated with the overused images of sexy girls who look like they live in Aruba, dancing off billboards, print media, and internet ads trying to get us to tan. They are probably somewhat effective, or at least they were at one time, but you should be telling people what makes your salon different. Think outside of the tanning bed, use pictures of yourself, your staff, your dog, anything to make people feel more comfortable with your image. Also, make sure to them what makes you different. Everyone offers free tans, but not everyone offers the same incentives. For example, child-friendly environments, free bottles of water, or a wonderful reward program. Use social media to get your word out, and make your print and other avenues of advertising consistent with your online messaging.
Know Your Role
You are the expert in your field. People get a lot of information about tanning from a lot of different sources. Your job is to always be
honest, and genuinely help your clients make good decisions when it comes to tanning. You and your employees should all be knowledgeable about skin types, care and maintenance, products, and basically anything tanning related. Make that information available to your customers on your site and invite clients to text in their questions. All you have to do is return the answers within a reasonable amount of time and include a link to the information on your web site. Also, tweeting content to help promote your business is important.. And yes, blogging is also a must.
Can I Keep My Underwear On?
It might not surprise you to know that many first time tanners are really intimidated by the many options and products available… Do they have to get completely naked? What lotion is right for me? What color will I be? What process is best? Should I get a spray tan? What makes one bed different from another?
You can make your new clients comfortable by linking QR codes to short, informational and even promotional videos. The ideas are endless. Create a video of a model (your employee or you) talking through each process of each tanning method and how to use the beds that you have available in your salon. Link it to a QR code in a new customer packet and include it on your website, this way potential customers with the same questions can easily access the same information. Post these kind of videos promoting products in your waiting area and in private areas of the salon. You will find it’s easy for even a long time customer to upgrade or purchase more products once they understand what it is that you’re offering. You’re also saving first time customers from having to ask what they might perceive as embarrassing or silly questions in a lobby full of people.
Your clients are not just tanning, they’re going to the gym and doing their laundry too. Partnering up on your promotions with other businesses in your area can be very successful. Contact gyms, nail salons, hair salons, day spas, clothing boutiques in your area.You can work with them on a referral program by paying a dollar amount for each new client they send your way, or offer them free services, or simply cross market your services. Notify your clients via text or email about your strategic partnerships, and offer them savings when they visit both of your businesses within the same day or week.
Tanning salons have a unique customer base, and that opens up many marketing opportunities that some other industries might not have. Try some of my suggestions and brainstorm specific strategies that you think might work best for your salon. Your client base will be sure to grow… and glow.