My blog this week was first published in PRO Hair and Beauty Magazine earlier this year. PRO Hair and Beauty is a brand new bi-monthly magazine produced by Sally Salon Services and you can buy a copy in their stores throughout the UK.

It’s easy to find excuses for neglecting marketing. You’ve no spare cash, no time and business is ticking along okay… considering.

Yet it’s hard to understand this reluctance when the difference between a surviving business and a successful business is very often, yes you’ve guessed it, marketing.

Stop surviving. Start thriving.

You don’t build a successful salon by accident. Marketing is your investment in the future of your business. It demands weekly effort, not an occasional frenzied bout when business goes quiet. Aim to make marketing part of the DNA of your salon – woven into everything you do. Little and often is my mantra.

Let’s get started…

Put at simplest there are 4 ways to GROW your salon. And all are achieved by… marketing.

Gain clients
Retain clients
Often – increase how often they visit you
Wow them – to increase their average spend

Let’s be clear: sitting on Facebook all day is not the answer to your marketing prayers. Nor is it cheap marketing. Social media can be a very valuable marketing tool. It can also be an expensive waste of time and a huge distraction.

If social media is currently your main marketing activity then think about making some changes if you want to GROW your business. As Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Let’s look at some practical ways you can overcome these money, time, complacency, marketing objections and get growing this spring.

Strapped for cash?

  • For all its potential pitfalls Facebook does deserve a place in your marketing toolkit – it can be inexpensive and very effective for building relationships. To make it work successfully consider who your target audience is – think 10 mile radius from your business, right age/sex, spending power and above all needs.  Now target this audience. Don’t let vanity rule: 2000 Likes on Facebook are utterly pointless if you’re in Bournemouth and they live in Scotland.
  • Make an impact for 50p. Invest in a second-class stamp and write to a client. Aim for one client a week. Keep on track and in a year you’ll delight fifty of your best, highest spending clients for just £25 postage.
  • A comprehensive database is one of the most valuable assets you can have and it doesn’t have to cost a penny. Collect email and postal addresses from all your clients and everyone you meet in business. Collate in a spreadsheet and hey presto you’ve a fantastic marketing tool that is unique to your salon.
  • Text message reminders before an appointment are ideal for reducing no-shows – I think this is their best use. As a promotional tool SMS, like e-marketing, should be approached with caution. Used indiscriminately and too often it will alienate clients or encourage them to sit and wait until you send them an offer. And none of us want to be giving money away unnecessarily, do we?

Speed marketing for the time-pressed

  • We all have the same 24 hours in the day. So why do some salon owners have time for marketing whilst others don’t? The answer may be that you’re spending too much time in your business and not enough on it. Are you the main earner in your salon – tied behind a chair whilst your senior team stand around with no clients? A tip to help you spend time working on your business is to block out a fixed couple of hours every week to focus on your marketing.
  • Recommend a Friend schemes are a must-have marketing tool for any hair and beauty business. Simple to set up, referrals are the life blood of a growing business. And what’s more your clients are doing all the hard work for you!
  • Follow up after every 1st visit. You invest a lot of time and money getting a new client so don’t let this effort go to waste by ignoring them once they’ve left the salon. If they’ve not re-booked after 6/8 weeks a reminder by post with a time-limited offer is your best chance of tempting them back. Delay and they may book elsewhere.

He who hesitates…

Hesitating over where to begin? It all seems too big a mountain to climb? Don’t wait for the time to be perfect. It never is. Start marketing now by breaking the task into manageable bite-size chunks.

  • Marketing is best built into your weekly routine. Get systems in place for following up after 1st visits and lapsed clients, and posting social media. You do not have to do it all yourself. Involve others; you’ll feel more motivated and they will feel part of the team.
  • First impressions count. Take a long hard look at your website, social media and marketing materials. If you’re feeling in a rut then the chances are they reflect this. Branding is crucial. Our industry is all about appearances – making clients look and feel good. If your business doesn’t look good it will be costing you clients. And profit.
  • Complacency can lead to loyal clients feeling second rate. There’s nothing more galling than sitting next to a new client who is being showered with freebie treatments and gifts and only paying half the price you are! Loyalty schemes are a simple way to show your appreciation.  I favour rewarding loyalty with indulgent treats rather than a monetary discount – it helps your bottom-line and, I find, is just as effective at retaining clients. Or make them feel important with a bespoke birthday card offering a complimentary treatment or upgrade on their next visit.

Measure and measure again

And finally, the only way you know if your salon marketing is truly working is by measuring it.

Yes, I know – you’re short of time and it can feel like a bit of a chore. However, marketing is as much about maths and numbers as it is about creativity. Make measuring and monitoring a regular part of your salon marketing. I find tracking the key statistics every four weeks soon reveals what’s working for your business.

You don’t build a successful salon by accident

As the saying goes: “If nothing changes, nothing changes”. If you want to GROW your salon in 2013 now is the time to start marketing – you just need a little time, money and motivation.

 

First published in PRO Hair and Beauty Magazine March/April 2013