I have a small list of things that I really enjoy doing as a small business owner; getting time with my staff is pretty high up there (we spend our summer meetings grilling burgers at state park or sipping handcrafted wines at Keuka lake) and watching them succeed comes in a very close second. But my all-time favorite thing is building a relationship with our guests. I know how cheesy that might sound, but the more experience I gain as a business owner the more things click in my head and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I truly feel blessed everyday to wake up and do the thing that I love and have the support of our clientele passionately behind me.
So here's a story about building relationships with our guests that I want to share, and why I want to reward you for being the amazing Aquarian that you already are:
When I was a baby salon owner I did a lot of things wrong. I don't care to go into a lot of my mistakes in this blog post but chief among them was naively overpaying for advertising. It seemed like a logical thing to do. When you open a new business one of your major goals is to get the word out. "Hey, we're new and we're open!" is what I payed $1000's of dollars to the paper and to radio to scream at potential customers.
Eagerly we signed advertising contracts, put up the good ol' open for business sign and sat patiently by the front door to watch people just stroll by. Business as usual. What was going on? As months rolled on I began to wonder how hard we would have to scream and how much it would cost. Sadly, those months faded without us seeing any return from advertising in traditional media. I soon learned that it was money being washed down the drain.
It's very frustrating to watch hard earned cash just evaporate in front of you, especially when your new business isn't generating enough to begin with! Whether we threw money at ads in the local papers or bought airtime on radio, our new guests were very clear on the issue: no one heard or saw our advertising! This was a troubling issue because we wanted people to know about how awesome we were - but we just could't seem to reach them!
Then one day I read something so brilliant in its simplicity it made me feel silly for not thinking of it first - why not ask our guests how they heard about us? So we did! What we learned was such a revelation it has stuck with us even now. "How did you hear about us?" we asked. Overwhelmingly you told us, "we saw your work on a coworker/friend/loved one". Many of our guests first interaction with us was from seeing our work on someone else. People weren't looking for our ads in the paper, they were looking at hair.
In other words we learned that it was YOU, our guests, who loved us so much you were doing our advertising for us! And it was really bringing people to our chairs! Whats more, you were working hard to promote us to anyone who said, "I love your hair, where do you get it done?"
Which brings me back to becoming a smarter stylist and business owner today then I was back then. I realized that instead of throwing money away on ad's that would never help to grow my business I could use that money to invest in our best advertisers. YOU!
If you are one of those guests who loves our salon and tirelessly promotes for us I want to sincerely thank you! Whether you visit us every 4 weeks or get a haircut once a year - THANK YOU! You should know that we truly appreciate all the hard work you've done for us. Clients like you deserve something more from us - and we're prepared to do it!
Now you can earn $25 in free AVEDA product every time you talk us up. All you need to do is stop into the salon and grab a stack of referral cards to keep in your wallet or purse - when someone comments on your hair just send them our way with one of your personalized cards. Voila!
Your friend will get $20 off their first visit with the card, and you'll get an email for $25 in free AVEDA products from us the same week. It's that easy! There is no limit on how much we will give you, we just want to say thanks and make you feel appreciated. You make it possible for Aquaria to keep growing, not advertisers, so please - take our advertising money.
*I would just like to say that although traditional advertising did not work in our situation I know some great people in advertising who work hard and deliver results for other businesses. In our experience it just wasn't for us.