Consumers say they prefer email over any other marketing channel. That's part of what makes email marketing such a powerful tool for your salon, spa, or wellness business—if you're using it in the right way. Your email marketing strategy is critical to connecting with prospects, winning back lost clients, improving retention, and increasing your revenue.
Looking to develop—or revamp—your email marketing program? This free email marketing guide breaks down everything you need to know before hitting send. Learn about:
- The three types of email campaigns you should be sending to clients: direct emails, newsletters and one-off campaigns, and automated campaigns
- Best practices and tips when it comes to building your subscriber list, including asking permission, giving clients a reason to join (hint: a discount or something free is a great start), setting expectations, and offering an opt-out
- Scheduling emails, including which days and times work best for maximum reach to clients
- Creating must-read emails with content customers love and subject lines that yield high open rates
- The types of content that clients want in their inboxes, including updates on new services your salon, spa, or wellness business is offering, info on sales on retail products, and content that's true to your brand (and not too long)
- How to create eye-catching, beautiful emails (templates for the win!) that are easy for clients to read, feature your brand colors and fonts, and include your social media accounts in the footer
- Why it's important to have a call-to-action or CTA that makes it easy for clients to know what you want them to do next, whether it's to book their next appointment, take advantage of a product promo, or select an add-on
- Taking your emails to the next level with HTML, allowing your salon, spa, or wellness business to start something completely custom
- The importance of automating your email marketing with drip campaigns with custom rewards, birthday wishes, or timely upsell offers for clients
- How to target the right clients with the right message at the right time (you can create email lists to reach the inbox of a first-time client to follow up after the first appointment or re-engage with a client who hasn't come into your salon, spa, or wellness business recently)
- How Marketing Suite makes it easy for wellness and beauty businesses to analyze email marketing results, seeing just how many customers opened and clicked through the emails, the unsubscribe rate, how many appointments came from your marketing efforts, how many clients were rescued, how many customers took advantage of referral offers, and more
Make email marketing work for your business, keeping your clients engaged and boosting your revenue. And for more tips on how to leverage Marketing Suite during COVID-19, check out our Marketing Suite Playbook for Salons, Spas, and Wellness Businesses.
Developing your email marketing program
For most businesses, there are three types of campaigns that make up a successful email marketing strategy. Each category has its own unique and important purpose:
Direct emails are sent from a staff member and can be an integral part of your sales process. By reaching out directly, these emails create a more personal experience for customers.
Newsletters and one-off campaigns offer a chance to provide ongoing value and education and to promote upcoming events and services.
Automated campaigns enable businesses to work smarter, not harder. These preset campaigns are sent automatically to customers throughout the various stages of their customer journey.
All three campaign types make up a well-rounded email marketing strategy. For example, a business might send a combination of emails, including:
- An automated campaign to immediately welcome clients after they book their first appointment, with a followup triggered a week later offering a discount on their next service
- A direct email from your front desk to make sure the customer loved their experience and to answer any questions they have
- A monthly newsletter to share upcoming events and exciting new offerings
More about direct emails
Incorporating emails sent directly from a staff member’s inbox is a powerful way to build meaningful connections and take your sales process to the next level. Although these emails may follow a template, customization is key— use your customer’s first name, ask about a recent service or product purchase, etc. Whether they’re a brand-new customer or a long-time client, a simple, direct email can have just the right personal touch to make a big impact.
Email marketing best practices
Building your subscriber list
The success of any email marketing strategy starts with a subscriber list. Don’t be discouraged if your list is small at first; it’ll grow organically as you communicate the benefits of opting in and continue to provide meaningful content. When building your list, be sure to:
Ask permission. First and foremost, permission is key. Your customers don’t provide their contact information lightly. Legislation like Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, or CASL, and General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, requires businesses to receive express consent before sending marketing or promotional emails. Marketing Suite has CASL and GDPR-compliant practices built in.
Ask everywhere. Consider all of your customer touch points and see where you can ask them to sign up for your email marketing. Again, make sure your customer is actively checking a box or clicking a button to express their consent.
Give them a reason to join. Sometimes the content in your emails is reward enough. That being said, incentives work really well, too. Try a giveaway or freebie to encourage prospective and existing customers to opt in. Be straightforward.
Set expectations with your subscribers. Tell them how often you’ll be in their inbox, the type of content they should expect, and how it will benefit them. Then, stick to the cadence and the content you’ve promised.
Offer opt-out. The CAN-SPAM Act requires an unsubscribe link in the footer of each of your emails. It’s better to let readers remove themselves from your list than have them mark spam, which can negatively impact the deliverability of your future emails.
Scheduling your emails
The timing of your emails is often just as important as the content inside. When you distribute an email campaign on the right day, at the right time, more subscribers will open, read, and engage with your content. When’s the best time to schedule an email? It depends. Every subscriber list is different and what works best for one business might not work well for another. It’s important to test regularly to find out when your list responds best.
That being said, there are a couple of best practices to give you a foundation:
Weekdays tend to work best. A recent study shows that weekdays are best for both open rates and click-through rates. Although the day doesn’t make a significant difference, Friday saw slightly higher rates for both.
While the day of the week is a bit flexible, timing is a key factor. The research indicates that mornings, especially early morning delivery times, achieve the highest open rates. With this in mind, it’s worth scheduling your distributions in the morning to reach your clients.
Test—and retest. Once again, you’ll need to test various days and times to figure out which works best for your unique subscriber list.
Creating a must-read email
Ready to craft a compelling and impactful email? It starts with a few, simple best practices. Keep these in mind when drafting your next campaign, and you’ll feel extra confident hitting send.
Subject lines are key
A subject line can make or break your email. So much so that 35% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. Optimize yours with these tips:
- Be clear and clever. This is the time to be creative, not cryptic.
- Keep it short (four to seven words). After seven words, your subject line will likely get cut off, especially on mobile devices.
- Avoid spam triggers. These will impair delivery on services like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. Steer clear from all caps, excessive exclamation points and question marks, as well as hyperbolic phrases like “act now”, “lowest price”, “free”, etc.
- Utilize smart subject lines. Choose from a drop down of 12 personalized, AI-powered subject line recommendations to boost open rates.
The content in your email determines whether or not your reader will engage with what you’ve sent. What’s the ultimate goal of your campaign—Drive clicks to a checkout flow? Boost customer referrals? Increase bookings? Think of the specific action you want readers to take, then write content that aligns.
When building your email content, consider:
- Does this provide real value? Make sure you’re sending emails that your clients want to open. Sending information about a new service you’re offering or even a sale you’re having on retail products is perfect for an email.
- Is it too long? Like you, your audience is busy; they probably don’t have time, or want, to read an extremely long email. Keep your email short and simple and link out to your website for more context when necessary.
- Is it true to my brand? Your email marketing should highlight your brand personality and align with the voice on your website, your social media, etc.
- Is it intuitive? If you’re emailing a new client—make sure to send it after their first visit, not their third. Using the First-time Visitor Welcome automation can take the guess work out of this for you.
Design is important, too
Content may be king, but your email’s aesthetic will either support or distract from your message. Compelling email design grabs attention and motivates your reader to respond to your calls to action (CTAs). Consider these elements:
Organization: First and foremost, your email should be organized and easy to read. Here’s how:
- Start with a header at the top of your email to ensure the reader knows who it’s from as soon as they open it.
- Separate content into sections with clear titles that introduce the body copy. Remember: less is more; emails with less than 200 words perform best.
- Include high-quality and branded imagery but only when it adds to your content. Use Marketing Suite’s built-in integration with Unsplash to access a library of millions of high-quality, royalty-free images. Your text-to-image ratio should be about 80% text and 20% imagery to avoid triggering spam filters.
- Finish off with a footer that includes links to your social media accounts and website.
Font: To ensure readability, stick to one font throughout your email and use common options like Arial or Helvetica. Font size is important to consider as well, especially on mobile. For body copy, use at least an 11-point font. For headlines, use at least a 22-point font.
Color: You’ll want to keep your colors on brand but never at the expense of legibility. Marketing Suite can help you stay true to brand with opportunities to use your specific hex codes for buttons, backgrounds, text, and more. Stay away from using too many colors and from using anything too bright. In general, the most easy-to-read combinations are dark text on light backgrounds.
Calls to Action (CTAs): You want readers to take action from your email—CTAs are the way to make it happen. Whether it’s to click to your website for more information or to make a purchase, each CTA should have a specific purpose that makes it simple for the reader to engage.
CTA best practices:
Keep CTAs clear and simple. Make sure they’re easy to read and easy to click. Placement is also key; keep your CTA “above the fold” so if opened on a desktop computer, readers won’t have to scroll down to take action.
Promote an offer. Use Offer Builder to spotlight existing promotions within your software directly in the email. Marketing Suite’s email editor automatically generates a CTA button that makes it easy for clients to go straight to a checkout site.
Limit your links. Don’t exceed more than three CTAs. The more you include, the less likely your reader will take action on any of them. If you find you have more than three things you want readers to do, it might warrant a separate email altogether.
Prioritize their order. Your first call to action is often the most engaged with. If you have more than one CTA in your email body, make sure you put your most important one first to give it the attention it deserves.
Test on mobile. Your CTA formatting might look great on a desktop computer, but that doesn’t mean it will translate to mobile devices. Use the Marketing Suite preview page or send a test email to ensure your message is clear and looks good on any device.
Taking your emails to the next level
HTML empowers you to code your own email from scratch—giving any message a custom, branded look and feel that aligns with your brand’s personality and goals.
Here are a few ways in which HTML takes your email to the next level:
- Better design. Use the layouts, colors, and fonts that perfectly reflect your brand and help you connect with your customers.
- Smarter emails. Include coded tools to track readership, clicks, engagement, and many more sophisticated attributions.
- Higher engagement. Showcase appealing designs that are optimized for a great viewing experience and that load seamlessly to help you get your message across.
Automating your email marketing
So you’ve decided to automate your email marketing. With Marketing Suite, you’ll be able to bring back lost customers, drive word of mouth, and keep clients up to date with the latest happenings at your business. Some features to look for include:
- Customizable templates that align with your brand. You’ve worked hard to develop your brand—your email marketing should be an extension of just that. Marketing Suite has an integrated email editor and customizable templates to get you started.
- Personalized email campaigns. Just because an email is automated, doesn’t mean it should be any less personal. Even better: Marketing Suite empowers you to pair your emails with personalized text messages to reach customers wherever they are.
- Drip campaigns with custom rewards, birthday wishes, and/or timely upsell offers. Nurture prospects and customers, no matter where they are in their journey. Whether you’re looking to, convert new visitors to members, or encourage referrals from loyal customers, drip campaigns send the right message at the right time. The best part is you can set and forget them; using smart lists, your automated software will do the rest.
- Drill-down reporting on each of your automated messages. Use data-driven insights to optimize each step of your email marketing to better engage and connect with your clients
Targeting the right audience with the right message
Smart lists are automatically created and updated, based on criteria pulled from your software. These lists sync with your business management system and enable your automated emails to be customized to the right customer based on a variety of factors, including visit history, feedback rating, and more.
We recommend starting with a few key lists:
- First-time clients: Target clients who came for their first service to follow up with them about the experience.
- Customers who booked an appointment: Connect with your active clients and keep them coming back for more.
- Clients who booked a particular service: Reach out to clients based on prior services and promote similar services you think they’ll like.
- Clients who haven’t visited recently: Re-engage with clients who haven’t visited in a specified number of weeks.
- Clients who purchased a specific product: Personalize your connections with clients based on their purchase history, such as informing your base that you are now carrying new products in a line they’re sure to love.
Analyzing your results
Setting strategic goals for your email marketing program is important to decide whether or not your messaging is effective. Marketing Suite makes this easy with dashboards that show key statistics to help you determine if your emails are as powerful as they can be. A few key metrics to keep an eye on include:
Open rate: Your open rate shows the percentage of recipients who opened your email and can help determine what timing (day and time) is best for future distributions. What’s ideal? About 20% is the average open rate.
Click-through-rate: Click-through-rate, or CTR, is a metric that measures success directly by showing the percentage of recipients that engaged with your content by the action of ‘clicking.’ Did your content resonate with your audience? Your CTR will let you know. The average CTR, across all industries, is about 8%.
Unsubscribe rate: Unsubscribes represent the subscribers who’ve requested to opt out of receiving your emails. A few unsubscribes here and there is to be expected; a jump in your unsubscribe rate, however, is a sign to revisit your strategy. The average unsubscribe rate is 0.02%.
New visits: The number of visits booked by a client as a result of receiving a marketing communication.
Rescued clients: Clients who were dormant but have re-engaged with your business as a result of one of your emails.
Referral offers shared/claimed/booked: Clients who’ve either shared or taken advantage of referral offers.