Nuts & Bolts - Case Study: Hairdresser’s Digital Efforts Cut It
Challenge: Acquire leads.
Solution: Build a digital strategy that’s integrated with print.
Results: Increased customer database to 5,000, up 200 percent from January 2009 to September 2010. Secondarily, program registration timeframes instantly decreased from six months to six weeks.
Eight minutes. When Kris Sorbie heard that’s how long it took for a hairdresser colleague to have four would-be clients vying for her canceled appointment after she posted the opening on her social networking accounts, Sorbie felt it confirmed what she already knew: It was time for the whole profession to “get on the bandwagon.”
“Because it’s not going to go away,” says the award-winning hairdresser and industry educator. “This is the future. Certainly, that’s what I believe. … If we’re going to appeal to young people to come into our salons as clients, we’ve got to talk to them in their language.”
Sorbie says while many hairdressers may be a bit scared of technology, it’s been her good friend since December 2008. That’s when she hired New York-based SixAgency to build a website for her industry education efforts, which range from e-commerce to instructional program registrations. Her site’s tentacles reach through several channels—including mobile, social and email. Print materials also guide prospective students back to krissorbie.com.
Every week Sorbie sends an e-newsletter to her 5,000-member, opt-in database of people who have subscribed through her site, opted in at events or received a forward from one of her current customers. It’s resulted in a 200 percent increase in database names from January 2009 to September 2010.
Online booking has helped Sorbie fill her classes so quickly that, just since her first program when recipients could sign up right from the email message or the notice on her Facebook page, it took less than six weeks to sell out the Aug. 22 “Color 4 Profit” class. It used to take six months to fill a class with responses from postcards and in-store displays.
Now Sorbie sends an e-blast each week until her program takes place. “So each time we send it, there’s a different message in it, which also encourages people to forward it on to their friends.” Considering she doesn’t have direct sales representatives, she’s come to rely on this strategy that gives her such speed to market. “I could dream up a program and a week later, I could fill it because of that,” Sorbie says.
Through email analytics, Sorbie knows in real time that more than 40 percent of recipients have been signing up for her programs. This statistic dovetails with the fact that 80 percent of her classes are selling online.
Her analytics further reveal that recipients who are not in the area where she’s teaching a particular course tend to forward the message to their friends and colleagues in that region who can take advantage of Sorbie’s lesson.
That has led Sorbie to add another four-hour course—in addition to “Bespoke Color,” she’s offering a bespoke course concentrating on long hair.
It seems that for Sorbie, digital marketing is making the cut.