Paving the PR Path!
Hairdressers who retain clients do so by having good technical services, as well as customer service. In fact, 80 percent of a hairdresser’s ability to retain guests is based on the service itself, rather than the result of the service. The way a stylist connects with guests and actually performs services, and the way they make a client feel, accounts for as much as the actual end result of the service. People want to feel connected and part of a community and they want to be comfortable and recognised—that’s what keeps them coming back.
However, good public relations (PR) will make them aware of your salon, your brand and its offering and your reputation in the first instance. Good communications will let people know that your salon (and its products or services) exists. And even after visiting your salon, a sustained, strong messaging can turn one-time clients into loyal and happy fans.
But smaller companies, limited on time and resources, don’t always get round to doing it properly. This is where PR practitioners can help. From getting clients in the press to building online reputations, they can help distinguish businesses of all sizes from the competition.
What is PR?
PR is really simple. It’s the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between your salon and its customers and potential customers. It also lets suppliers and potential employees know of your salon and its reputation. This is done through the general media, both trade and consumer and also the online media. Overall, it focuses on building trust, reputation and stronger relationships with your target audience.
The rise in digital media has shaken up traditional ideas of press coverage. PR professionals have more opportunities than ever to help businesses achieve their goals. Traditionally for hair salons, glossy magazines and print newspapers dominated the media landscape, but today it’s a massive mix of multi-channel platforms, from print to online to audio.
With hair being such a visual business, it allows for lots of opportunities to get coverage in print
and online to best demonstrate your skills and the overall look and feel of your salon – your brand image. Of course, it’s important to decide that initially, and focus your efforts in terms of visual content and selected media accordingly. Do you want to aim your business at young men and women or alternatively, more classic customers who are older and maybe, more loyal?
Good PR agencies will focus on media and public relations – getting their clients into the media so that members of the public are more aware of them. It uses several approaches such as pushing out stories and images to target publications and making a client’s online presence and reputation as strong as possible. Sometimes, it’s about training clients to effectively face the media in interview situations or at events. It’s also about joint promotions – there is an obvious marriage between fashion and beauty and it’s about creating situations where both can shine, for example, shoots and fashion shows.
Results are measured by effective coverage across all media – print, tv, radio and online. Some salons are more focused on selling as an end goal. They want to highlight certain products and services and use influencers to talk about them, as well as bloggers and vloggers. With YouTube set to be the next big media, vloggers are becoming increasingly important and as they are visual, are perfect for hair salons to showcase their skills. Influencers are mostly represented now by agencies and charge according to their following. A good PR will know the ones who have potential to sell and who are actual opinion leaders, ones who are trusted by their audience, who have local and national Irish followers and who have built up their audience organically and not purchased their followers.
The goal of good PR is to interrupt a consumer’s research phase when they’re considering buying a new product or service, most of which happens online or on mobile. PRs want to make them aware of our client’s offerings and to persuade them to buy or to try.
Quantity of coverage is important, but quality is more so. It’s not just about product placement; it’s important to see clients’ products actually being used, or their services being written about, by key influencers and journalists. Ones who are important to their target audience and who can introduce a new brand or experience to them. Irish media like Xposé, Ireland AM and the Today Show are key sellers for beauty. Glossy magazines and regional press are also important and radio can be effective, too. The important part in all this is the pitches – making a pitch that the audience will want to know about or read about rather than focused entirely on a service you are trying to sell. For example, an article on thinning hair with tips and product information is more valuable to a journalist than a press release detailing your fifth birthday or a list of your services.
Regardless of the type of PR you go for, it’s important to set out your goals from day one. Are
you interested in reputation, sales or awareness? Maybe it’s an increase in your salon’s brand visibility and trust. Whatever you decide, work with your PR company or person so that you are both clear on the end goals and timeframes. Remember that the press work in advance – two to three months for glossy magazines and two to three weeks for weeklies; radio and TV are about a month ahead.
Strong PR support can make a real impact to your business. Getting the right people on board as early as possible to work towards a defined goal sets a business or project off on the right foot, and may even drive the decisions that dictate whether a salon succeeds or fails.