We all know the old saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. A cliché. But true. Spending a few hours at the start of the year writing a marketing plan for your salon will impact big time on your profitability.

But before you take a deep dive into detailed planning take a step back and try this two-pronged approach.

First, look at the big picture – assess what you’ve achieved and where you want to go. Only then decide on the nuts and bolts of how you’re going to get there with your monthly marketing and PR activity.

This blog post covers the first part of your salon marketing plan – the bigger picture. I’ll post a blog in a few days on the second part – planning your detailed monthly marketing activity.

 

Step 1 of your Salon Marketing Plan: Evaluate the last 12 months

Ask yourself:

Salon Finances

  • Did your business meet its financial goals  last trading year?
  • Did most of your revenue come from existing salon clients or from new ones?
  • What percentage of clients only visited once, never to return?
  • Which are your most profitable salon services?
  • When did you last increase your prices?

Salon Marketing and PR

  • What salon promotional activities did you do? What worked? What didn’t? And why not?
  • Is your salon website mobile friendly? How does it compare to your local competitors’ websites? Does the copywriting sound clunky and let it down? Are you ranking high in Google so new clients can find you?
  • Are you using all available marketing channels/tools or just relying on one, such as social media? Gaping holes like this in your salon marketing mean you will lose out big time to marketing savvy competitors.
  • Have you grown your email database over the last 12 months? It is one of your most valuable marketing assets. You own it and you control it – unlike social media.
  • Do you have salon marketing systems in place for retaining and rewarding clients? Are they documented and followed by all your team?
  • Identify the characteristics that make your best clients profitable and enjoyable to work with. These are the type of salon client you want to target in the coming year.
  • Your competitors have been busy marketing over the last 12 months. Whilst you don’t want to become paranoid about them, it is marketing folly to ignore them. Analyse your top 3 competitors. Review their salon website, their social media, do a mystery shop, look in the local newspaper and read their online reviews. How do they compare to your hair or beauty business? Be honest.
  • Look at your salon marketing materials – adverts, leaflets, salon graphics, price and treatment guides, a-boards etc. Are they bang on-brand and a great selling tool or dated and in need of a refresh?
  • What about your own marketing skills. Perhaps you feel you need to invest time in improving them this year. In which case why not get my salon marketing and business blog delivered straight to your inbox? It’ll ensure marketing your salon stays at the front of your mind and give you practical ideas and tips to Grow Your Salon.

Salon Customer Care

  • How do you compare to your competition?
  • Consider the quality of your recruitment and training.
  • What do your clients think of your hair or beauty salon? Look at complaints and feedback.
  • What message does the appearance of your salon and your team send out to your clients?

At the end of this Step 1 you should have a greater understanding of the gaps in your business. Now move on to Step 2.

 

Step 2 of your Salon Marketing Plan: Do a SWOT analysis

It’s surprising how things change in the course of a year and just 5 minutes reviewing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) can bring you down to earth with a bump. It can also help you see the way forward. Think about:

  • Your financial resources
  • Range and level of services you offer
  • Your client base
  • Your pricing structure
  • Competitor activity
  • Marketing activity and brand awareness
  • Salon team

You’re now ready to move on to Step 3.

 

Step 3 of your Salon Marketing Plan: Set your targets for 2014

A goal is a dream with a deadline – Napoleon Hill

Paint a picture of your salon at the end of this year. And work backwards from this. How would your salon website look? How many new clients would have beaten a path to your salon door?

Goals, objectives, call them what you will. But just a word of caution they do need to be SMART (Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Realistic and Time-limited).

Having set your annual objectives now think about what’s preventing you realising your salon vision. What do you need to do to accomplish your goals? A new salon website in this year? More marketing education for yourself or your manager? Or a new look and re-brand?

 

Step 4 of your Salon Marketing Plan: Decide on your business strategy

Strategy is really just a fancy term for “your broad approach”. So, look at the following areas and decide on your future salon policy.

  • A clear salon branding strategy for your salon differentiates you in the local marketplace. It enables you to charge more for your hair or beauty services, gain loyalty and attract new clients. It makes you different from your competitors.
  • Your salon services strategy. Would additional services such as hair extensions or aesthetic treatments add value to your offering? How does the profitability of each service compare on an hourly rate – should you drop some treatments?
  • Pricing strategy. Are you low price or high end? Do you offer routine discounts?
  • Your promotional strategy. The bit that most people think of as ‘marketing’! It’s about pulling together a range of marketing tools – advertising, online, PR, search engine optimisation, social media, local partnerships, blogging – in the most effective way to attract and retain clients.

 

Step 5 of your Salon Marketing Plan: Budget and resources

Decide on your overall budget. Marketing should be seen as an investment in your hair and beauty business not an expense to try and minimise as much as possible. The salons that really make a mark are the ones that understand this.

 

Step 6 of your Salon Marketing Plan: Measurement and evaluation

Think about what you need to put in place to check your progress over the next year. For ideas on what you should be measuring monthly try this article.

Delegate tasks where you can and set up regular meetings to assess progress. And if a marketing activity isn’t getting the results then don’t be afraid to change it. A salon marketing plan needs to be flexible – don’t feel you’re committed to an activity and must ‘stick at it’.

 

“Fail to plan, plan to fail”. Good advice.

Once you’ve looked at the bigger picture and decided on your approach (strategy) you can then move to the second part of your salon marketing plan – setting out how you will implement it month by month.