Beauty Business: Email Marketing - Reaching Out to the Silver Surfers

Ask any salon owner what type of client they should target with email marketing and the answer will almost certainly be the under 35s. Well, it’s only the young that are online, isn’t it? Wrong.

It’s an error that leads many salon owners to run email campaigns targeting only younger clients or which don’t reach older clients’ mailboxes at all.  But dismiss email as useful only to young clients or doting soccer moms and you risk missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. 

Thanks in part to texting and social media, email use is decreasing for every demographic except baby-boomers. It’s their favorite online activity.  Studies have shown the highest percentage increase in internet use is among older Americans. Baby-boomers (those born between 1945 and 1964) account for 35% of all internet users (add in those born before 1945 and that number increases to 44%) with 91% routinely checking their inbox and responding to messages. 

Effective targeting of older clients by email is all about accurately identifying their demographic, realizing their unique wants and needs and creating value - a process that begins well before the first email is even sent. Accurate client records - detailing age, services and preferences – are essential, with data collected during the first visit and regularly updated. 

Once you’ve input this information, segmenting it into specific groups becomes a matter of a single click rather than searching through hundreds or thousands of index cards in a shoebox.

Identifying the client group is just the beginning. Every campaign must be tailored accordingly, with information on age-appropriate services, avoiding any mention that they are getting older – they know that already. Older clients are looking for age-defying treatments and products (beauty spend tends to increase with female baby-boomers) or experiences that will make them feel younger. They want to hear words like “enhancing” and “timeless”. They’ll tune out when they hear look younger.

They are also interested in services such as color touch-ups and rejuvenation treatments, which luckily for you require more frequent visits.  Take advantage of this with automatic appointment reminders that email older clients sooner after their last appointment than younger ones. For example, you may choose to send baby boomers reminders to rebook at 4 weeks instead of your average 6 weeks reminder. They like to keep their image up and they statistically have the money to do so.

Keeping in mind the differing values of the older generations will also help you define your messages. The baby-boomer generation loves to learn new things. But while younger clients may prefer to research new products and styles on their own, older clients appreciate learning through your expertise. Younger clients may love learning how to use new online applications or booking software, but older clients are more hesitant, so find ways to guide them gently into these new ways of working.  Luckily, they love community and hearing by email what’s happening in the salon and with your team.  It makes them feel part of the group, and keeps them loyal and coming back for more.Paul Tate, CEO of Shortcuts

Paul Tate is CEO North America at Shortcuts Software, which has provided top-level software to salons and spas across the world, offering software solutions in nine languages to more than 12,000 clients in 46 countries.

[Image courtesy of Linkup Marketing]

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