Email marketing has become a staple of salon and spa marketing communications, and for good reasons. Not only is it a viable communication medium, it is easily automated and is one of the preferred methods of communications for clients. 2012 may not see the end of email marketing, but it may see the decline in the traditional applications of email marketing – the broadcast email newsletter.
Before you start panicking and canceling your monthly email marketing program, email marketing is pegged to increase in it’s prominence in the marketing portfolio this year, not decline. The generic, broadcasted email newsletter filled with the same message for everyone and the same offers for each person are going cold for several reasons and 2012 will definitely see the increase of attention on proper use of email marketing.
The first reason for this shift is the availability of email on practically every device and the increase of the number of different devices in one household. About 15% of email opens were generated via mobile device in 2011 according to marketingprofs, which means you have to consider how these emails look to your user when they are opening it on their smartphone, their tablet, laptop or desktop. Will they see it in a browser email system or do they open it with a desktop email program like Outlook? These sorts of variables impact the design and structure of your email as much as the content. The smaller the screen, the less people will want to read a lengthy email newsletter and the fewer links they’ll want to click on. Short and sweet will be the winner here.
Decreasing the number of email sent will be another trend over the next year. Why? Because people don’t care about you as much as they care about themselves, so they only want to hear about what’s relevant and applicable to them. Sure, there is some element of interest in what’s happening in the salon or with their stylist, but only when it impacts them. This trend of relevance will see a few changes in email marketing, including the increase in event-based emails, also known as trigger emails. These are emails that are sent based on a particular action or date, for example a birthday or purchasing a particular product. Both of these examples are highly relevant for that particular user, therefore their interest level is higher. In fact, event-based emails reportedly have nearly 71% higher open-rates and they can generate five times higher return on investment (ROI) than a standard weekly newsletter (marketingprofs). Does that sound like something you are interested in?
This sort of segmentation based on behavior, actions or events in that clients life also helps to reduce the amount of overall emails sent to the client, increasing the likelihood that they remain satisfied with the email program and don’t get annoyed with unnecessary emails. Before, a lot of segmentation happened based on standard demographics because the availability of data was much lower, but with the increase in technology available to the front desk staff, there is no more excuses. Send emails that are relevant to the type of client they are and provide information and updates that are pertinent to their hair and beauty regime. This sort of segmentation helps keep the relevance up and the amount of inapplicable ‘crap’ down in their inbox.
This doesn’t mean that you have to stop sending them information about services they’ve never tried, on the contrary, this is healthy for your relationship with your client as well as your bottom-line. Clients are interested in things they could be doing differently, new products/services/techniques and also options for changing up their look, but it can’t be way outside their comfort zone, or too basic for their profile. An example would be sending a promo for your new makeup artist to your clients recommending some winter shades, which can be hard to do without knowing their complexion and/or hair color. Instead of putting it all in one email, send a unique email to each category of client to appeal to their look so they don’t have to skim through the others in order to make it to the info for them. Make sense?
Email newsletters and overall broadcast emails are getting phased out because by nature they are too generic and consumers are looking for conversations in their inbox. Newsletters are like sitting in a classroom where the teacher blabs at the front of the room. Who has fond memories of sitting in class? Trust me, your clients would rather be at a cocktail party where their stylist is talking about their look and what they should be doing to be as beautiful as they can be…Email them about it.
So what do you do about this?
- Design your emails for the wide range of places your email could be read and when in doubt, go for the most restrictive format – the mobile phone. Think single column layouts with big buttons that are easy to touch, rather than click on. Keep your messages short with easy to read font and forget about the text-based hyperlinks – waaaaayyyy to difficult to click on with your finger or the awkward smartphone cursor.
- You can’t do all of this fancy, high-performing email marketing unless you have great information on your clients. Your front desk team is responsible for keeping excellent records on who your clients are, what they are purchasing, what they are up to, etc. so that you can improve the way you market to them. Better performing marketing equals better purchasing record, which equals more revenue, which equals a raise for everyone!
- Creating an email program that appears to be a unique email to each client doesn’t mean you have to email everyone individually. Use the personalization, or dynamic, fields in your email marketing system to create the illusion of a personal email and then segment your overall list of clients based on attributes so you are being both personal and relevant. For example, you can send an email to all clients about winter makeup colors, but you’ll end up sending four emails overall because you’ll send one to blondes, one to brunettes, one to redheads and one to darker complexions and everyone will get one with their individual name in it.
- Not all information will be housed in your client database, but will be in your marketing programs. For example, if someone clicks on the link to watch a how-to video, you can then send them a follow-up email on more how-to’s and target them for events in the salon or spa that focus on how to do certain hair trends or just an at-home blowdry. Use every bit of behavior information to give them what they want.
- Emails are great for creating traffic for your various marketing channels, including your website. Have one strong call-to-action in every email, meaning that you want to spell out what you want them to do next and give them a reason for it. For example, “Sign up today and get a product gift bag. Only 25 available!”
- Utilize conversations that are happening around you to encourage more conversation through your email channel. For example, a conversation happening on your forum, on your Facebook page, etc. You could feature the best question from your Facebook page as part of a targeted email on that concept so encourage them to join the conversation on your Facebook page. See where we’re going here?