19 TOP INSIDER TIPS FOR HOSTING A SUCCESSFUL DEMO NIGHT
Demo nights can be an incredibly effective way of marketing your aesthetics services, building relationships, and generally educating your clients and prospects. Here I share with you my top insider’s tips on how to get the very best from your night.
Just a health warning before I start. Y’all know I’m always very honest about what works and doesn’t, and not all of our demo nights have been packed to the rafters, but over 9 years we’ve tweaked the formula and the below is a juicy list of what you should take on board if you’re thinking of putting on a demo:
1. WHAT WOULD YOU WANT? Before you delve into MY list, put your client hat on. What would attract YOU to give up your precious evening to attend a demo night, and what questions would you want answered once you were there? Maybe ask some friends for their input too. Asking yourself this vital question will also help you decide what are the 3 bullet points you put on your marketing in order to hook people’s interest.
2. SET THE DATE. We find a Wednesday or Thursday night is best and 7pm is a good start time because people have had a chance to get home from work and grab a quick snack, but not get too embedded in the sofa. Ensure that the salon is happy to close to their normal customers – the last thing you want is to compete with their business-as-usual.
3. SELL TICKETS FOR £5! I know what you’re thinking – I’ll be LUCKY if people come at all, let alone buy a ticket. But I promise you, it’s the only way to guarantee firstly that enough people turn up (they feel they’ve invested and they believe that the night is worth something), and secondly that you have an idea of numbers. The last thing you want is too few glasses of bubbly for the thirsty crowd! Our demo nights have always been in the salons we’ve worked with, so the salons sell the tickets for us (£5 is about right) but we print them out. You can give the money go to charity, but you *MUST* sell tickets!
4. MARKETING. You need to spread the word. Do everything you can think of to let people know about your event: social media, posters in local business, posters and flyers all over the salon, text/email out to clients (ask the salon to do the same), ask the salon to put the event on their monthly newsletter if they have one. The very best marketing strategy though will be the salon staff spreading the word – there’s nothing more powerful to get someone to turn up to an event than the peer pressure of your hairdresser saying “you are still coming aren’t you?”. Consider running a competition amongst salon staff where the people who get the most number of clients to come, get a voucher.
5. REMINDERS. We’ve all had clients let us down, so imagine what the DNA rate is for an event at which you’re not even going to get a treatment? You’ve guessed it – high. We’ve found that without selling tickets, only a 1/3 of the people who have told the salon they’re coming, actually come. So, you or the salon need to hit the phones on the day of the demo and ideally do a text reminder a few days before as well. Don’t just do a passive reminder. Say, “We’re looking forward to seeing you tonight. Are you still able to make it?”
6. ARRIVE EARLY. I know it sounds obvious, but there’s quite a lot of setting up to do so make sure you don’t cut it too fine.
7. DRINKS AND NIBBLES. As any good host knows, some bubbly, non-alcoholic drinks, and a crisp or two is a must! Obviously no booze for the model or indeed anyone else having treatment. Keep it simple though – don’t go wild with elaborate canapés, it’s not worth the hassle, and don’t forget the glasses.
8. GET THEIR DETAILS. As people arrive and you’re welcoming them and giving them drinks, get them to fill out a basics details form (nothing fancy, a simple print out will suffice) and explain that this form will be entered into a raffle later to win a voucher. That way you get their details and can market to them later (unless they opt out). Don’t forget to bring pens.
9. GOODIE BAGS. We’ve always given out goodie bags because it’s one more reason for people to attend the night. Don’t worry if you can’t do this, but it’s great tactic if you can because handing them out breaks the ice when people arrive, and you can never underestimate the power of a freebie! It’s good to put your leaflets in the goodie bags too so people can have ponder when they get home.
10. PRESENTATION. Now it’s down to business. Sit everyone down and do a short presentation introducing the very basics of how your treatments work; the most popular areas they treat; some before and afters; and client FAQs e.g. ‘will I look fake?’, ‘does it hurt?’, side effects etc.
11. PREPARE FOR THE NAYSAYERS. There might be people at your demo that have been dragged along with their friends and at best are sceptical and at worst down right negative, e.g. “That’s expensive” or “I don’t agree with these treatments” or “ouch, that looks painful”. I’ve had them all, and I’ve learnt that the only way around it is to prepare a few one-liners to respond to their jibes. The most important thing is not to get flustered or riled by them. Keep your cool, stay in control, and remember that the other people there with a real interest in your treatments have gone out of their way to attend, so don’t let the naysayers make them feel silly. You are providing a vital educational tool.
12. THE DEMO. We try to do a filler model treatment because the results are instant. Don’t do upper lips lines because they can swell badly. Try to get a model who isn’t overly pain-sensitive for obvious reasons. Be sure to numb them beforehand because it’s easy to forget this when you’re greeting attendees. Obviously consult, and consent the model before the demo and take before photos.
13. THE MONEY SHOT. When you’ve done the treatment, take an after photo and immediately put it up on your computer next to the before photo. People need to believe in the power of the treatment and there’s nothing better than a photo to achieve this.
14. RAFFLE. The end of the demo is a good time to the raffle. Put people’s details slips in a box and have the salon manager pick out a name. Make the prize a voucher and make sure it’s a decent amount e.g. £100. This keeps the momentum of the night going and the winner is always THRILLED even if they weren’t that fussed about having a treatment. They always say, “I never win anything.” 🙂
15. CALL TO ACTION. Once you’ve finished the demo, remind your audience that you’re doing a special offer if they book a consultation tonight e.g. £50 off. It’s important to stay compliant with GMC regulations so don’t have a time limit on when they have to have the treatment by. That way there’s no pressure.
16. BOOKINGS. Before the presentation, set everything up you need to get the appointments booked, including the ability to take your deposits.
17. MINI CONSULTATIONS. Allow time after the demo to do mini consultations with people, because sometimes a line will form of people wanting to know what you could do with them. Make it clear before the presentation that you can see people for 5 minute chats afterwards, but that a proper in-depth consultation will be carried out before any treatment is undertaken on another day.
18. FOLLOW UP. Text your attendees the next day to thank them for coming and reminding them of your call to action and where they can get more information.
19. GET FEEDBACK. Ask the salon manager what they thought about the night and if anything could be done to improve next time – that information is gold dust.
Over to you guys – I would really welcome your thoughts and experiences.