How to write a salon marketing plan that works

Are you writing a marketing plan for your salon or aesthetics business?

Spending a few hours creating a marketing plan for your salon will make a significant impact on your business’s profitability, ability to attract new clients and boost retention.

Not sure where to start?

Let me take you through the steps I use with our hair and beauty clients:

  • First, don’t be tempted to dive straight into detailed planning – you’ll drown in the nitty gritty.
  • Instead, 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 digital marketing and PR activity.


Step# 1: Evaluate & audit your business

If you’re like me you’re impatient to get started on the exciting marketing ideas for 2019 whizzing around your head.

But this first step is fundamental if you are to squeeze the maximum benefit from your Salon Marketing Plan.

So what is it?

Step 1: Start by looking back…

Assess what worked in 2018, what wasn’t so good, where the gaps are and which areas you need to throw extra energy or budget at in 2019 to become more successful.

Don’t be tempted to skip this step.

Try these questions to get you started:

Salon Finances

  1. Did your business meet its financial goals last trading year?
  2. Did you pay yourself what you are worth?
  3. Was there enough profit left to even pay yourself a proper salary?
  4. Did most of your revenue come from existing salon clients or from new ones?
  5. What percentage of clients only visited once, never to return?
  6. What are your most profitable hair, beauty or aesthetic services?
  7. When did you last increase your salon prices?

Salon Marketing and PR

  1. Is your salon website letting you down? How does it compare to your local competitors’ websites? Does the copywriting sound clunky and the design look outdated? Are you ranking high in Google so new clients can find you?
  2. Are you using all available salon marketing channels/tools or just relying on one, such as social media? Gaping holes like this in your marketing mean you will lose out big time to marketing savvy competitors who are working all channels hard.
  3. 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.
  4. Do you have salon marketing systems in place for rebooking, retaining and rewarding clients? Are they documented and followed by all your team? Interested in learning more about salon marketing systems? Try my blog post here.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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 #GrowYourSalon.
  9. Which salon promotional activities and marketing campaigns worked? Which didn’t? And why not?

Salon Customer Care

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

Right, you should have a greater understanding of the gaps in your salon or spa business… now move on to Step 2 of your Salon Marketing plan.


Step #2: Effective goal setting

The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run. It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.
– Seth Godin

The bottom line?

Goals, objectives, targets. Call them what you will. But they do need to be SMART (Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Realistic and Time-limited).


Close your eyes and paint a picture of how you’d love your hair, beauty or aesthetic business to look, sound and feel. And work backwards from this when setting your goals.

Think about:

  • What does my perfect salon website look like?
  • How many new clients will have beaten a path to my salon door?
  • How much will my average services invoice have increased by?
  • By what percentage will my profits have risen?
  • What do my retention figures look like?

Now think about what’s currently preventing you realising your salon vision…

What do you need to do to accomplish your business goals?

  • A new salon website in this year?
  • More marketing support for yourself or your manager?
  • More retail training for your team.
  • A PR campaign to raise your profile locally, regionally or even nationally?
  • Or perhaps a new look and re-brand?


Step #3: Your business strategy

Marketing strategy is just a fancy term for “your broad approach” to the various elements of your business.

For example:

1. Your branding strategy: A clear salon branding strategy for your business distinguishes you from the local competition by telling clients what you offer and why you are different.

Done well it enables you to charge more for your hair or beauty services, boost loyalty and attract new clients. It sets you apart from your competitors.

2. 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 low profit treatments entirely?

3. Your pricing strategy: Are you a bargain basement discounter or are your services and prices high end? Do you offer routine discounts?

4. Your promotional strategy: The bit that most people think of as ‘marketing’. Your approach here is to pull together a range of marketing tools – advertising, online, media, search engine optimisation, social media, local partnerships, blogging – in the most effective way to attract and retain clients, boost profitability and #GrowYourSalon.

Remember we’re looking at the big picture at the moment – I dive into the marketing detail later in this post, so keep reading.


Step #4: Budget and resources

Decide on your overall budget. Aim for 6% to 10% of your turnover as your budget depending on how quickly you want to grow and what stage of your business life-cycle you’re at.

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


Step #5: Measurement and evaluation

Think about what you need to put in place to check your progress over the coming year. For practical ideas on what you should be measuring monthly try my blog post here.

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’.

Now you’ve looked at the bigger picture and decided on your approach (strategy) let’s move to the second part of your salon marketing plan. In the next section I show you how to implement your marketing month by month and plan out the nitty-gritty actions and events to reach your business goals.


Step #6: A “joined up” marketing plan

A frequent marketing error made by salon entrepreneurs is to focus on just one communication channel. Social media is often the only promotional route salons and spas take, ignoring all the other promotional tools and channels open to them.

But, deliver your marketing message using a variety of channels (such as your website, in-salon materials, advertising, PR, local partners and social media) and you’ll increase the likelihood of reaching your target audience.

It makes marketing sense.


Because not everyone reads the local papers, is on Facebook or reads your e-news. But use a combination of these salon marketing ‘tools’ and you dramatically improve your chances of being seen by potential new clients.

A word of caution; beware of going to the opposite extreme and adopting a scattergun approach to marketing your salon.

The knack is to decide on the best mix of marketing channels to deliver your promotional message on your limited resources.


Step #7: making it happen

You’ve now evaluated:

  • Where your 2018 marketing succeeded.
  • What you want to achieve in 2019.
  • Set your business goals.
  • Fixed on your target audience and marketing messages.

So now we’re looking at the day-to-day implementation of your salon or spa Marketing Plan.

I find a simple chart for the year is the easiest way to kick off my planning.

To save you time and effort I’ve put one together for you with events for the year on it, plus the marketing channel options for each one.


Step #8: Making the marketing calendar work for your business

You’ll see I’ve focused on the main events throughout the year on the marketing calendar – such as Valentines, Easter, going back to school etc because I feel they are the best place to start.

If you do nothing else but market around these events you’ll do well.

However, you’ll see I’ve left space each month for you to add your own salon’s events in. You may have an anniversary coming up this year. Or perhaps you’re having a big charity event or PR opportunity. Maybe there is a local or national award you want to enter? Put it down on your calendar to ensure it happens and get planning which mix of marketing tools you’re going to use.

Salon marketing isn’t just about events. Think about client loyalty, boosting retention and increasing the average salon spend per visit. All of this can be added to your Salon Marketing Calendar.


Step #9: Don’t get over-ambitious

It’s easy to get carried away and fill in oodles of marketing activities for the coming months.

Please don’t.

If you attempt too much the chances are you won’t get it all done, the quality will suffer and it’s very de-motivating for you and your team. So stay realistic. Feet firmly on the ground. It’s no good creating a fantastic Calendar of Salon Marketing events if you know you’re going to be short-staffed due to maternity leave.


Step #10: Make a public declaration

Like embarking on a diet or giving up smoking it always helps your will power if you go public. Sharing your marketing plan with your team and partner is a great way to help you stay the course.

It’s quite easy. Just pin it on the wall. In the team room or by the kettle perhaps?

Just make sure you and your team see it numbers of time each day. And you’ll be more likely to stick with it.


Step #11: Stay on course

You run a salon business. You have many conflicting calls on your time. Of course you do.

The hardest thing is making (not just finding) time to spend marketing your salon. For regular ideas and tips to help you stay the course get my salon marketing and business blog #GrowYourSalon delivered straight to your inbox. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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