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For business owners, the start of a new year usually spurs on some excitement and drive to inject some fresh ideas, concepts and initiatives, and in our industry, this can often mean new services, new devices, and fresh treatment menus. Organising these changes within your salon or clinic is often the easiest part, but we know many that struggle with all of the marketing that comes with a new launch. Where do you start? How should you add it to your menu? Who should write the copy for it, along with the website? How should you go about publicising the new service across social media and in your area? Well, this month we’re here to help you do just that.

We chatted to Tahlia Crinis, Founder of Boss Media and PR guru for countless household beauty brands like Biologi, Lux Aestiva and Melissa Allen, who has shared her wisdom with us when it comes to launching new services. From digital marketing and copywriting to in-salon events, here’s how to nail your 2021 service launches.

One of the first steps to launching a new service is updating the menu and website with the details, but we know countless business owners that struggle with copywriting and putting together eloquent descriptions for services and devices. Tahlia’s advice? Know your strengths! “If copywriting isn’t something you’re good out, always outsource these services. Your time is worth money and there is no point spending hours on something that you could easily pay an expert for (who will likely do a better job). A good basic guide for any copy is thinking about the who, what, when, where, why and how – ensuring you don’t miss the key details. Also consider why your service might be different or better – perhaps it’s cheaper so you’ll want to highlight the price or payment options, or perhaps you’re the only salon in the area that offers that service. Sometimes you might feel like you’re spelling things out for the customers, but this is what you should do! Make the information readily available to them so the only questions they have to ask is ‘when can I book in?’.

When it comes to generating some buzz, Tahlia recommends getting creative and following a holistic approach. “Each strategy is usually different depending on what you’re offering. Teasers are great, so long as they’re exciting and can build good momentum. However, there is always a risk that they can go on for too long and the audience gets disinterested. Any great strategy will be creative and utilise all the touchpoints to launch with a 360 view in mind – so educating staff, generating excitement in-salon, teasers on social, using social media influencers, newsletters and local publicity (if you can). A great way to generate buzz is by coming up with a new spin on what you’re launching – whether that’s a new skincare buzzword or trend that your salon can pioneer, it can be the thing that can help you to stand out from your competition. Don’t be afraid to do things a little different! Being creative can get you noticed so if you come up with a brilliant idea that might not have been done before, give it some serious consideration.” 

Before deciding to launch a service, many choose to conduct market research to improve their chances of success, making sure the service is well received by your local market before committing. Tahlia recommends having your team engage with your clientele to dig deeper into their needs and preferences. 

Ensure staff really talk to customers to understand their needs. Client surveys are also great, so long as there is an incentive for customers to fill them out – put together a prize pack as a way to entice them to complete the form. Knowing your business and your customers’ needs is fundamental to your success. Understanding your customer is the key to giving them incredible service which in turn results into strong customer relationships and new sales through positive word-of-mouth recommendation. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising any business can do – and the best bit – it’s free.

Launch events are another source of debate and confusion for many, but for others, launch events for new services can be hosted with great success in our industry. Tahlia recommends considering all elements carefully before diving into an event. There are so many elements that need to be considered when looking at hosting an event, so it really just depends on an individual business’ circumstances. You need to really look at whether it’s commercially viable, whether it’s going to give you ROI, whether it’s the kind of event that people want to attend and the list goes on. Holding an event just for event’s sake is never a good idea. You want to ensure you can offer something new and exciting, informative, or otherwise a completely out of this world experience. This year has forced the industry to host events virtually and the silver lining is that it has allowed us to relook at what we’re offering and ensure we’re providing something valuable to attendees. I do think 2021 will be a little different because people are craving social connection – an event could be a great way to reconnect and re-engage with your customers (so long as it’s in a safe way).”

The benefits of hosting an event, says Tahlia, can range from networking, face-to-face engagement, an opportunity to convey your vision, promote your services, build excitement and even garner local media coverage. “An event puts a face (or faces) behind the brand which can personalise things and build stronger connections with your customers. What’s more, it will typically create long-lasting memories for the attendees which can allow your brand to be at the forefront of people’s minds. The best way to go about an event is really asking yourself if what you’re offering is worth people’s time. These days everyone is so busy, so you’ll want to ensure that you’re valuing your attendee’s time by offering something entertaining, informative or unique. Also consider whether it truly needs to be an event – there are so many creative ways that you can launch a new service to your clientele, such a creative mailer, a giveaway, or a virtual event.”

“For any event, the first thing that needs to be considered is your budget. Work out your maximum budget spend and get a spreadsheet together to start itemising costs. This then allows you to figure out the other components – venue, how many people to invite, catering etc. Make a tab for each component (venue, guest list, catering, entertainment, host, goody bags etc) and track the costs. This is the easiest way to compare suppliers and keep on top of things. Being organised at the start will save you a lot of hassle later on.

Create a checklist of everything that needs to be considered, right down to whether you need napkins, or a speech written. A successful event always depends on how well it is organised.

Always make a plan B for any of the unknowns, especially weather. Weather is something none of us can control so if elements of your event will be outside, ensure you have wet weather contingencies in place. Always allow for extra attendees just in case (whilst your event might be strictly invite-only, you don’t want to turn people away at the last minute if you can help it). And finally, know who is in charge of what – making any assumptions about any of the components only leaves room for error. Assign each employee with their own tasks or ensure you have your checklist to tick everything off once it’s done.”