A steady stream of client bookings is crucial to running a successful salon, studio or barbershop. Yet it's a constant struggle to figure out how to book more appointments. We’ve put together 21 ideas to help you boost your bookings.
1. Train your team to rebook during appointments
Your best customers are the ones you already have. Studies show that the probability of selling to a current customer is between 60-70%, as compared to the 5-20% likelihood for new customers. In fact, increasing your customer retention by just 5% can increase your profits up to 95%! So when it comes to increasing studio or salon bookings, consider starting with increasing rebookings.
The easiest time to score a rebooking is during or at the end of an ongoing appointment. Your stylist or technician should be taught to bring up a variety of points that lead to rebooking such as:
- Timing of maintenance treatments. For instance, hair color needs to be renewed about every six weeks. A stylist can offer to book their next appointment six weeks from today to achieve perfect maintenance. In this particular instance, the stylist may even be able to book once every six weeks for the upcoming year or so if the client wishes to maintain the hair color that long.
- Popularity of the stylist or technician. Clients often have loyalty to a particular employee. If a certain technician is very popular, they should mention to a client that they book up quickly, so the best way to ensure a timely appointment with that person is to schedule before they leave.
Along with training your stylists to bring rebooking up, you also need to build rebooking into the checkout experience. When the technician walks the client to the checkout counter, they should mention to the cashier that the client wishes to rebook for a particular date. The cashier should then facilitate the process of scheduling the appointment before ringing the client up.
2. Use a loyalty program
A loyalty program is a way to thank and reward customers for frequenting your salon, studio, or spa. 79% of consumers say that loyalty programs increase their likelihood of frequenting a business, according to Bond.
Loyalty programs don’t have to be complex to be effective. A simple punch card program can work quite well.
Fantastic Sams, a hair salon chain, for instance, gives customers a point for every dollar spent on services and products. Each time a customer collects 250 points, Sams gives them $10 to spend on more services and products.
3. Offer a top-notch experience
The best way to earn a rebooking is to blow your client away with an incredible business experience. Train your staff to go the extra mile for your clients and offer complementary services like beverages to raise the level of service. (You can build these “complementary” things into your service pricing.)
Additionally, you should make sure all your employees take regular breaks. An overworked technician isn’t going to be able to perform the many physical aspects of their job nearly as well. (Not to mention, clients generally find it uncomfortable to know they’re the reason their stylist or technician isn’t eating lunch.)
4. Adopt online bookings
Whether rebooking long time clients or landing your first appointment, your appointment booking process must be as easy as possible. Online bookings are the preferred method of scheduling appointments because it’s highly convenient. A study by Booksy found that the majority of customers (44%) prefer booking online to any other method.
It’s also important to note that 40% of online bookings occur outside of business hours, so allowing clients to schedule appointments 24/7 can increase your bookings.
Using online bookings in addition to allowing people to book in person and on the phone makes things incredibly convenient for your customer. However, your booking process needs to be as quick and easy as possible while ensuring you provide information on what to expect with an appointment. Complicated or multi-stage booking processes can make customers leave without finishing their booking. It can also mean they think twice before booking with you in future.
The online experience you provide should be as great as your in-person service when they arrive at an appointment. This means making your service menu easy to access, providing clear pricing, allowing customers to book more than one service at the same time, and providing a confirmation both online and via email or text.
You can also make the experience better by sending an appointment reminder a few days before and a follow-up a few days after their appointment to ensure they were happy with it. Each stage is a valuable part of the customer experience.
Matt Janaway, marketinglabs.co.uk
Running online bookings is simple. Use a cost-effective appointment scheduling app (like Booksy) to start offering online bookings right away.
5. Make it easy for clients to book via mobile
Clients are increasingly using their mobile devices, so make sure you’re providing an excellent experience on the small screen. Use a booking platform that’s mobile-friendly and that lets clients book with ease even when they’re on the go. Failing to take this step could result in you missing out on appointments.
App notifications can help you stay on top of your day as well.
6. Get listed on business directories
Set up business profiles on the top local business directories. Doing so boosts your online presence and puts your salon, spa, or barbershop in front of more people. Most online business directories are very easy to use and you can get up and running with no technical knowledge required.
7. Use Reserve with Google
Integrate your booking software with Google, so that clients can book an appointment at your salon directly from your listing. There’s no need to come to your website to make an appointment; with Reserve with Google, everything can be one either on Google Search or Maps.
8. Use Instagram’s Book Now Button
Start taking bookings straight from Instagram. Booksy users simply have to select the Booksy action button on their business profile. Clients can then book right from your Instagram profile if they like your work.
9. Use Yelp’s Book Online button
Yelp’s booking feature can be a bit more cumbersome for customers than Instagram or Google’s, but it’s still important to offer scheduling wherever the customer is.
10. Have a waitlist
Another feature you should utilize to make booking a smooth and convenient process is waitlisting. With a waitlist, customers can sign up to be notified if a preferred time slot becomes available due to cancellation. Waitlisting means that you can remain fully booked even when other clients cancel or reschedule.
11. Adopt good SEO practices
90% of clients start their search for personal care or wellness companies on Google. To make sure your business is appearing in these search results, you’ll need to adopt good SEO practices for your website. Some SEO tips for barbershops, salons, and spas:
Update your website information regularly. Research shows that fresh sites get better rankings, and Google tends to prioritize sites that frequently update their content.
Add an FAQs page. Generally, the more (high quality) content your site offers Google the better. However, FAQs are particularly useful as Google has begun to pull them directly into the search results as snippets. In light of the pandemic, Google even began to specially index COVID-19 announcements. Now when someone searches your business, your COVID announcements pop up on the search page.
12. Utilize email marketing
For years, email marketing has been the channel with the highest ROI for digital marketers. In 2017, Campaign Monitor found that 66% of consumers prefer to receive email messages from brands over any other type of communication.
Salons and studios can use email marketing to boost bookings in a couple of ways.
First, simply by staying in regular contact with your clients keeps you top of mind. A once or twice a month check-in about popular services can encourage clients to book.
You can send out updates about your business’ schedule. For instance, if you start staying open later, you can send out an email about that with your booking link.
You can also send out promotions you may be running for services. By telling your clients about a promotion where they are likely to see it, you’ll increase bookings.
You don’t need to be an email marketing expert to use this channel to your advantage either. Booksy's Smart Marketing feature comes with a number of pre-made templates you can customize even if it's your first time making a marketing email.
13. Be active on reviews platforms
Review platforms are an important part of the modern research process when finding a vendor or service. 56% of customers read at least four reviews before they make a purchase.
Yelp and Google’s native reviewing platforms currently reign supreme. There are a few things you should do on these platforms to increase your odds of turning researchers into first-time visitors.
Claim your page. Not only can you fill in all your details when you claim your page on Yelp and Google, but you’ll also be able to respond to reviews.
Request reviews from your customers. You can set up an automatic Smart Marketing email to go out within three days of an appointment with a link to the Yelp review form.
Respond to reviews — particularly poor ones. Don’t antagonize a bad review further or otherwise try to prove the reviewer wrong. When you respond, you’re getting a chance to show researchers how you handle problems.
14. Get on social media
Social media is an important tool for personal care and wellness businesses, particularly those that offer very visual services like nail art. An active profile on Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, Pinterest, or Facebook can help boost your SEO and get new bookings. In fact, tattoo parlors in the US recently discovered that 70% of their new clientele came from Instagram!
Here are a few tips to drive social media success:
- Post regularly. The algorithms of most of the platforms favor profiles that post regularly.
- Use any geo-tools to your advantage. Tag your location or put it in a hashtag.
- Share high-quality photos. You don’t need professional photos, but share something that demonstrates the quality of your services.
15. Drive customer referrals
A referral from a friend is an incredibly powerful thing. According to Nielsen, people are four times more likely to purchase from a brand when they were referred by a friend.
You can encourage your happy customers to tell their friends about you by running a referral program. For instance, when a client refers a friend, both they and the friend receive a discount on a service.
16. Run promotions
The right incentive, discount, or offer could be just the thing to get clients to book. If it makes sense for your budget and margins, see if you can run promotions to encourage client bookings. To ensure that your promos don’t eat too much into your profits, consider running conditional offers such as:
New customer offers. This promo is only valid for new clients.
Bring a friend promotion. Let your clients and their pals enjoy discounts if they book services together.
Spending thresholds. Your clients can unlock a discount once they’ve spent over a certain amount (e.g., “Save 20% when you spend $100 or more).
Service-specific or product-specific offers. Run discounts on select products or services. (e.g., “10% off all balayage services”)
Service bundles. Encourage customers to pay for services packages up front by bundling them. For example, you could offer 5 treatments for the price of 4, if clients purchase immediately.
17. Try SMS marketing
It may be worth testing SMS marketing in your beauty or wellness business. Encourage clients to opt-in to receiving messages from you, then text them whenever a special offer comes up.
Check out this example Newport Float Therapy. The company periodically gets in touch with clients via text informing them about various promotions and events.
18. Invest in advertising
In some cases, you need to spend money to make money. If you have room in your marketing budget, consider running ads to get in front of a wider audience and drive more bookings. You have plenty of options here including, Facebook Ads, Google PPC, or even traditional advertising in publications.
Whatever tactic you decide to use, make sure you have a solid understanding of your target market so you can come up with ad copy that speaks to them. You’ll also yield better results by being targeted with your efforts. Opt for local ads in your area and try to narrow down your audience to your ideal clientele.
19. Tap into your online booking analytics
The ideas and insights you need to increase client bookings may be closer than you think. If you’re using a modern booking platform that offers analytics features, dig into your business data to figure out your top services, customers, etc.
From there, you can come up with offers or campaigns that encourage clients to book. If you know what your top services are, for example, you can start promoting them even more.
20. Run a co-marketing campaign
Join forces with non-competitive businesses to access a wider client pool. With the right partner, you'll be able to increase your reach and depending on your arrangement, you may even lower your expenses.
As for what type of campaign to run? That depends on your business and your partners. But some examples of interesting co-marketing ideas include:
- Running a contest
- Giving out freebies or samples
- Crafting a discount package
21. Keep up with trends and seasons
Pay attention to trendy or seasonal services in your field, and see if you can start offering them in your business. Certain types of hairstyles and wellness services are bound to make waves in 2021.
Many experts agree that sustainability and mindfulness are important to modern clients, so it may make sense to incorporate these things into your practices. For instance, if you’re looking to be more sustainable, then you can start using eco-friendly products when servicing clients.
Keeping up with trends helps you stay relevant, ultimately increasing your bookings.
Filling up your schedule is a crucial part of running a hair, beautiful, or wellness business. The good news is, there are numerous ways to encourage people to book. Our hope is that the ideas outlined above help keep your books full.
And if you need better tools to drive bookings and sales, check out Booksy. In addition to online booking features, our platform offers several capabilities to help you acquire new clients while retaining existing ones.