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Want to make money, retain more clients and attract a few new ones along the way? Hosting in-salon classes and events for your clients can do wonders for your salon.  These events are nothing new to our industry, but if you still find them to be more pain than pleasure, you’re not alone. So what is the key to holding a successful salon event that will get you the best return on your investment? It all comes down to planning.

Choose a theme
Whether it is around a calendar event like Halloween, or a more general concept like ‘Girls Night Out’, the best events are always focused on a single theme that resonates with your clients.
When starting your planning, start with the client. Think about issues and topics that your clients care about and will get them in your door. Then, consider how these topics can be angled into a theme that will harness your team’s talents and sell products.
For instance, if you cater to a family-oriented market and you’re looking to host an event in September, consider doing a make-up workshop where your team demonstrates techniques on models or even attendees. Then, hand out at home how-to sheets with all the products used or make re-bookings on the spot for a day of the event appointment. Similarly, you may consider doing a Mother’s Day themed event with special mother/daughter package service or retail deals.

Lock down the details
Once you have decided on a theme, you’ll need to plan out all the aspects of your event. First, determine your budget. What you are willing to spend, and what should the return on investment be? From here, decide what items fit within your budget and are required for the event’s success.

Investigate cross-promotional opportunities
Need an item for an event but your budget is running thin? You still have options. One of the best ways to save money is to partner with local businesses for a cross-promotion. If you have a favourite restaurant nearby, consider asking them to cater your event with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails in exchange for distributing their marketing materials. Additionally, local fashion boutiques, coffee shops or liquor stores may be interested in donating a door prize or raffle item.
If your budget is extremely small or even nonexistent, reach out to these businesses about offering your services at their events, such as free make-up lessons at a boutique’s fashion preview party. This not only adds value to their event, but also gives you direct access to their client base.

Get the word out there
To get the right crowd to your event, ensure you reach out to your guest list in a number of ways and give them plenty of notice. Email and SMS marketing are cost-effective ways to do this, without going over budget.

Make it easy for your clients to RSVP
One of the keys to filling your event, and ensuring your attendee list is accurate, is making the RSVP process as simple and convenient as possible. Shortcuts clients have the option to do this using our new online ‘class booking’ feature.  Using the feature, our clients holding workshops or events are now able to invite their clients to secure their spot online, without ever picking up the phone. Not only does your front desk team save time on the phone fielding client RSVP calls, but your clients also aren’t limited to calling you during salon opening hours.  

Create a run sheet
One of the common pitfalls of event management is a lack of a running plan for the event day itself. Beat this by creating a detailed run sheet starting with the pre-event set-up and running all the way through to clean up. You will no doubt have a number of activities during your event, such as serving of food and demonstrations, and these should all be included and allocated a time.

Post-event
You might be exhausted, but the days following the big event are the best time to sit with your team and debrief on the event. What worked and what didn’t? Where could money have been better spent? And of course, don’t forget to thank clients who made it out; the success of any event wouldn’t be possible without them.
Article supplied by Jo Burgess, Shortcuts Software.

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