A marketing opportunity that’s too good to be true?

Do you leap at the chance of some ‘free or cheap’ salon marketing?

You know the sort of thing:

  • Donate a free treatment as a prize for a social contest.
  • A freebie hair colour for a local social influencer.
  • A cheap advert on a sports club’s website.


Before you jump in… stop and think.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this truly free or cheap marketing?
  • What are the hidden costs in time and money?
  • Hand on heart, is this honestly the best activity to promote my business?

Do this before anything else and you may just save yourself tons of money on the wrong salon marketing idea.

I’m not for a moment saying that these three examples are never a good marketing move. I’m just suggesting you look before you leap. Assess the real value to your salon.


It’s a freebie promo. I can’t go wrong 😃

In rushing to take up a cheap marketing opportunity you may well end up spending more money and time than you’d anticipated.

And it’s wasted time and money if you end up promoting your hair or beauty biz to people:

  • who don’t need your services
  • would never visit you as they’re too far away

Think about the examples I gave at the start of this blog:

If the business running the social contest you donated a prize to is not especially local to you, then the chances are their followers will not drive 20 miles to give your salon a try.

That free hair colour service takes time and product. And what’s the point if no-one follows this so-called social influencer.

‘Free’ adverts still need professional design at a cost to you. And if it’s a rugby club, the audience is fairly limited if you offer mainly manicures, waxing and eyelashes.


Choose the right salon marketing opportunity for you

Don’t choose your promotional opportunities based solely on the up-front cost (or lack of it).

Instead ask:

  • Will this get me in front of my ideal client (target market)?
  • Will this help me achieve my growth and marketing goals?

Answered ‘no’ to either of these questions?

Stop right there.

And pass on this particular ‘free’ marketing opportunity.


Is it the best marketing route for you?

Answered ‘yes’ to both? Then calculate the true cost of this promotional opportunity to decide whether it’s worth the effort and cost.

Here’s how:

1. Time is money

Work out how much time will it take you or a team member to put everything together.

How many paying clients could that therapist/stylist have serviced in this time?

That’s what it’s actually costing you.

2. Hidden marketing costs

Now add in the cost of any professional services like graphic design, print or copywriting to complete the marketing project.

Only now will you know the true costs of this salon marketing opportunity. And I bet it’s more than what you were thinking when that ‘cheap or free’ advert, editorial or promotional opportunity first came your way.


Never make a marketing decision based solely on cost.

Let’s look at which costs you more:

1. A ‘free’ opportunity that actually costs you £300 to implement.

But doesn’t bring in any new clients and leaves you out of pocket.


2. Spending £900 on the right marketing campaign for your business that brings in 20 new salon clients.

If each of these 20 new clients spend just £150 over the year that’s £3,000 new revenue to you for just £900 marketing spend. Which gives you a gross profit of £2,100.


Look before you leap…

Having weighed it all up you may decide it’s a great marketing opportunity for your salon or clinic and proceed.

Brilliant. You now know exactly what this promotional freebie is really costing and what it is delivering in return.

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