How to build your personal brand through email marketing: A guide for beauty professionals
This is the second part in a two-part guide about personal branding for beauty professionals. If you missed my first blog post (you’ve got to read it!), you can check it out here.
Just to recap what we talked about last time… here’s what you need to understand about personal branding before we go any further:
Creating a personal brand is the only way to differentiate yourself from your competition long-term. It will grow your client base, keep people coming back, and make price a non-issue.
The first thing you must do is understand who your target client is and who you can be to them. What kind of expertise, guidance, help, or inspiration can you provide them?
Personal branding is about who you want to be to your clients when money isn’t involved. Branding is about your long-term impact on your community regardless of whether they’re booking a service today or in a year from now.
Your “community” can be defined as: Your perfect clients, that you’re providing continual value and help to, while you brand yourself, without money changing hands.
Are you a home-based microblading artist looking for your first clients? A spray tanner who dreams of opening up a studio but you need to increase your revenue? A 10-person hair salon that knows you need to connect with your community but you don’t know how?
You need a personal brand.
So after you’ve read part 1 (personal branding 101 for beauty professionals), let’s move onto part two:
Building a thriving and loyal community through email marketing
I am obsessed with email marketing.
When I send out my monthly newsletters I wake up with a jolt the next morning and run to my computer to check my open rate (what % of my email list read the email) and click through rate (what % of them clicked a link to read my blog posts). It seriously gets me so pumped up!
This is because email is the lifeblood of my business. It’s not only been an amazing sales tool for me (I always get several potential clients email me the week of my newsletter), it’s all about branding for me.
As you saw above, branding is about who you want to be to people when they’re not paying you. Once you've done that, you need to understand where to build your community.
Most people think of community as social media. I’m here to show you why email trumps social media every time.
Why email beats social media every single time
The average engagement rate for Instagram is 10%. This means that only 10% of your followers will see your posts. Womp womp.
Facebook is even worse! Only 6% of your Facebook fans will see your posts, and that number is going down, unfortunately.
Email on the other hand… the average email open rate is 22%! And unlike social media, those 22% aren't just people mindlessly scrolling past. They’re actively deciding to open up and read your email.
And that 22% can go so much higher. I make email marketing a priority for my business and it pays off: my monthly newsletters consistently get between a 38% - 43% open rate.
Another thing that sucks about social media (let’s say it’s a love/hate relationship): You don’t own your followers! Instagram and Facebook can decide to change their algorithm or rules any day and you have no control over it. Email on the other hand… it’s all yours.
Email: the ultimate branding tool
I think the reason that so many salons end up hating email marketing and putting it on that all-too-familiar back burner is because they’re going about it wrong. They’re thinking about it as a sales tool.
“Free Olaplex treatment with your next color!”
“Bring a friend and you both get 10% off!”
“Retail products on sale, this week only!”
Do these kind of subject lines sound familiar to you? I bet they do… because you’re probably only using email as a sales tool.
Here is a real wakeup call for you: People hate being sold to.
When you get someone’s email address, you should treat it like gold. Treat it with respect and treat your subscribers like friends. Sending emails with subject lines like the ones above is like having a friend who sells MLM that only ever messages you to talk about an amazing opportunity.
Instead, I want you to look at email marketing as a branding tool. It’s the perfect place to tell people about yourself, to share useful tips and ideas, to be an inspiration and an educator.
If you do this on a continual basis, I promise you your email list will flourish and you will have a thriving community of fans who can’t wait for your next newsletter.
I know why most salons hate email marketing
I completely and 100% understand the issues that most beauty professionals have with email marketing. Let me guess that you’ve had at least one of these doubts:
Email is old school.
It’s hard to get email addresses
I have nothing to write about
No one reads my emails
Even when they do read my emails, they never end up buying anything
It’s super boring
I just don’t like email marketing
If you’re nodding your head, I totally get you. It was only 2 years ago that I had totally given up on email marketing. But that’s because I was using it as a sales tool. If you have some of these objections, I urge you to step back and reevaluate how you’re using email.
Going for a branding instead of a sales approach takes some time and thought, but once you see the results, I promise you’ll never go back.
Email marketing is only boring if your emails are boring (they shouldn’t be). Email marketing doesn’t work if you’re just trying to sell. You’re not seeing revenue come from your email because you’re looking at it the wrong way.
The three questions you probably have about email
Here are the main questions that I constantly get asked about email marketing:
1) How do I get email addresses? 2) What should you write about? 3) How can I turn my email subscribers into clients?
I’m going to tackle each of these questions and help you get a really clear picture about how your beauty business should be using email.
"How can I get a ton of email addresses?"
The first step before you start using email as a branding tool, is to get the email addresses in the first place.
There are two main places to get email addresses: From clients who come into your location and from your website visitors.
Actually, there are tons of different creative ways to collect email addresses, from events to contests to social media, but today we’re focusing on these two big ones.
Wherever you're gathering email addresses, remember to give people strong motivation for subscribing. This could be some sort of advantage like a discount or access something special (like a guide or free download). You could also motivate them to join by signing them up for your insiders club. Your insiders club can be a monthly place where you share health and beauty tips. That alone can be a huge motivator to sign up!
Secondly, you should always try to gather the most important info about your subscribers: Their first name and their birthday are two awesome ways to personalize your emails and increase engagement.
Lastly, it’s important to take your contact details, whoever you collect them, and put them into your email software as soon as possible.
Getting email addresses from clients who come into your location
I really hope that you’re collecting your clients’ email addresses, because they are the people who want to hear from you most! They already know and like you, and sending regular emails is huge for increasing re-bookings and sales from them.
If you accept online bookings, I recommend exporting the contact details into an email marketing software like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor.
Online bookings is one way to collect email addresses, but what about walk-ins or new clients that didn’t book online? When they’re at their appointment, near the end of their service is the best time to get their contact details. You can collect them with the old pen and paper method, through a tablet where they insert their details, or just ask them before they leave.
You know your clients and your staff's workflow better than I do, for sure. Just make sure that you make it a priority to collect email addresses and contact info.
Always give people a good reason for handing over their email address. Explain how you use their contact info, how often you email and what you send. For example:
We have a once a month newsletter with beauty tips and news
We have special discounts or new client offers you can’t get anywhere else
We have an insiders club with educational content about skin and health
Treat emails like gold. Be helpful, friendly and useful. Always give them a good reason to sign up.
Collecting email addresses from your website visitors
This is the number one way that I get people to sign up for my newsletter. People read my blog posts and while they’re doing so they get either a popup asking if they want to download my free ebook, or at the end of my blog posts they're offered a free download. These two things alone have gotten me over 1000 people onto my mailing list in just a few months!
That said, I know that most salons don’t make blogging a priority, and it’s hard to know what kind of “freebies” you can give away on your website in exchange for email addresses.
Here are some ideas free website freebies you can offer:
Put a small slider popup in the corner of your website with a special discount or offer
Create an awesome freebie pdf to download in exchange for an email address
If you do microblading, this could be the top 10 myths about microblading that no one will tell you about.
If you do spray tanning, it could be 5 skin beauty hacks that are completely free and will keep your skin young
If you’re a hair salon, you could provide 3 easy up-do DIYs with pictures.
Whatever your freebie download is, make sure it’s educational or helpful, not salesy (see a pattern here?). It can be short, even just one page.
Also, you want to be sure that it will attract the right type of person. Who are your website visitors? What are they interested in? What can you help them with or teach them that they’d love to hear about?
Turn that into a short snappy guide, offer it up on your website with a popup, and watch the email addresses come in!
"But what should I write about in my emails??"
Once you’ve figured out a strategy for collecting more email addresses from your ideal client types… what do you do with them?
I personally send out two types of email to my “leads” (that’s what I call people who sign up for my emails).
First, I send out a series of 5 automated emails, one per week from when they sign up. This is a great way to introduce myself, share my top blog posts, and warm people up to Sunnystorm and my brand.
Then, I also send out my once-a-month newsletters. These are fresh-off-the-press educational blog posts (like this one!) that my subscribers love to read.
Whether you’re sending out automated weekly emails or monthly newsletters, what you write about should be a combination of what you’re passionate about, and what your ideal clients want to read.
First, send out an email to introduce yourself
When you meet someone for the first time, what do you do? Probably shake their hand, ask them how they’re doing, tell them something about yourself, maybe tell a joke to break the ice. In general, we want people to like us. And to do that, they need to understand us. So you have to have a certain level of openness about yourself.
This goes for email too. Email should NOT be a businessy thing. You need to write like a natural human being and be yourself.
So, when someone does join your “mailing list”, you’ll want to do exactly that. Introduce yourself not as a business, but as a person. Include a fun picture of yourself, some random facts about yourself, a fun story about how you got into this business.
For our sunless tanning client, Mystini, we created the Mystini Time Club, with emails that go out regularly.
This first email introduces the owner and gives 3 random facts about her:
This is you setting the stage. From now on, whenever you send out an email, they’ll know exactly who it’s coming from. It’ll be coming from a friend rather than a business.
You can link back to your website at the bottom, along with your social media. But the real goal of this email is to get them to open it, to read it and to feel a connection. So don’t make it too stuffy or formal.
Also, here's a #protip: Don’t make the email come come from your business name. I prefer “Holly from Beauty Workshop” to “Beauty Workshop”. Remember, people will connect with you and remember you more as a person than as a business.
Second, send out educational emails to brand yourself as an expert
Education should be a huge part of your branding strategy. The question is, what does your target market want to know? And what value or help can you provide? If you were to brand yourself as an expert, what would you be the expert on?
Healthy lifestyle? Organic and cruelty free products? Women’s rights issues? Work/life and family balance? Veganism? How to be a powerful female entrepreneur?
You have value and importance beyond what you do in your salon. And that should shine through in what you share with your community.
As part of the Mystini Time Club, people get educational emails from this sunless tanning business as well. We know that the owner’s clients are interesting in skincare, so one of the emails focuses on tips for beautiful healthy skin:
And here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter that these aren’t sales emails, that they don’t lead to people buying from you. In fact, it’s better this way. Because as soon as people feel like you’re selling, they’ll turn off. They’ll open your email, see it’s a sales email, then next time they won’t open. The third time they’ll probably unsubscribe and you’ll have lost them.
Finally, entertain and inspire your email list
When you entertain and inspire, you’re speaking the language of your community, you’re saying you understand them. Their sense of humour, their fears, their concerns, what makes them smile. Show pictures of yourself, be natural, brief and yourself.
Here’s what 30 days of branding yourself through email marketing could look like for you:
DAY 1: INTRODUCTION DAY 7: EDUCATION DAY 14: INSPIRATION DAY 21: EDUCATION DAY 30: ENTERTAINMENT
= One month of community, communication and connection
If you’ve been building up a story and providing valuable content, your email list will be constantly eager to hear from you and open up your emails.
And the great thing about automated email is that you set them up once and you’re done. You never have to touch these emails again.
But that brings me to the second part of the email equation:
Consistency is key: send out fresh monthly newsletters
I know it’s going to be a struggle, but I promise that you will turn it into a habit and you’ll actually like sending out emails. So put it in your calendar: once a month send out a fresh newsletter.
Here are some additional ideas that you could write about in your newsletters:
A new seasonal picture of yourself with news from your life
Your top Instagram pic of the month
A shoutout to one of your clients or a profile on them
A “value piece” you’ve never shared before, even just a paragraph or "top 10" list
Profiling some of your favourite businesses or events in the community
Pics of some of your favourite products
Again, the purpose of this is to be a leader, and educator, and a consistent communicator with your community.
The owner of Mystini, one of our clients, had never ever sent out an email newsletter to her client list. She wanted a way to connect with those people and keep her in their minds, even when they weren’t regularly coming in for spray tans.
So we put together a newsletter with 5 fun updates from her and her business:
Mystini’s first ever newsletter was a success! Sara felt more connected to her client list than ever. Some of these people hadn’t heard from her in months, and now she was saying hi and inviting them to learn some more about her life and business. She immediately had several people email her back with compliments saying how much they loved the newsletter.
We also had a 38% open rate. Remember, the average is 22% so that is amazing! As an added bonus, she immediately had multiple bookings in for a spray tan.
But even for the people who didn’t book in right away, they’re now more connected to Sara than ever. She’s at the top of their minds and she’s being personal, friendly, and educative.
"How can I turn my email subscribers into clients?"
One thing to keep in mind is that branding and community building aren’t like money. They aren’t instant. They’re more like love. They’re more like relationships. Branding is a longer term game. Not everyone is ready for a spray tan or a haircut at this moment. But who will they go to when they are ready? The person who has consistently provided valuable advice, entertainment, and inspiration.
That said, there are some ways you can nudge people in that direction without being too salesy. For example, look at what we put at the bottom of every one of Mystini’s emails:
So you can be there for them if they’re ready to book an appointment, but there is absolutely no pressure or sales involved. It’s a great way to respect your list while slightly nudging them towards an appointment.
Remember, if you maintain a salesy, promotional, or businessy (however you want to put it) tone throughout your emails… people will turn off.
They’ll get annoyed with your emails. They’ll stop opening them. They may unsubscribe. And you’ve lost them forever.
Instead, follow these steps to create a magnetic personal brand through email marketing, and you’ll find you have a huge group of dedicated fans, just waiting for your next newsletter.
Download the guide: how to set up an email automation in Mailchimp in 5 easy steps
I love email automation because it allows you to introduce yourself, educate new clients, and inspire them through email marketing… completely on autopilot.
Set up a few emails, automate them to get sent to your new email subscribers every week… and VOILA! You’ve got personal branding done automatically for you.
Download the free guide I’ve put together for you. It shows you exactly how to set up email automations in Mailchimp in 5 super simple steps.