Salon Business Marketing 101: The Mistake of Linear or ‘Consecutive’ Marketing

rockclimbingYesterday we took a call from a distressed Member, a salon who’s been with us for several months.

“I ran two ads in a local magazine, and got zero response.”

Among the dozens of calls and emails we get every week, from salon owners expressing delight and wonder at the results they’re achieving as a result of doing ‘my’ kind of marketing, there’s always one or two who complain they’re not getting the same results. And when I analyse it, it almost always comes down the same thing.

Expecting sensational results from only one piece of activity.

The Inner Circle members who do incredibly well – and there is ample evidence of them throughout this website – are without exception those who live by the creed of Massive Action. Those who fail to emulate those results are, without exception, those who regard marketing their business as something of an ‘experiment’ – as if it’s something that a scientist would do in a lab, they test the water one toe at a time. They do one ‘thing’ – one ad, or one small mailbox flyer, or a single one-page letter to their clients, or a sample run of text messages to a tiny proportion of their database, and somehow expect a stampede of customers.

Such expectation is always a mystery to me. You want BIG results? Do BIG things – and not consecutively, all at once.

This salon business owner is hardly alone. Most salon businesses make the mistake of linear (or consecutive) marketing; doing one ad, flyer or letter, waiting a month to see what happens, and then doing another thing, waiting another month, and seeing what happens with that.

Worse, the mindset of the ‘linear’ marketers is such that not only do they do things one at a time, they also do ’em too small – typical of the timid.

Inner Circle member Cherie Hardman (middle) and staff at Femme Fatale in Jannali, NSW with their Ultraceuticals A-List salon award for 2009

Evidence this, just emailed today, from Inner Circle member Cherie Hardman of Femme Fatale Beauty & Skincare, in Jannali, NSW:

“We have now had the pleasure of being a member over 2 Christmas periods and although our increased profits were more spectacular in Christmas 2008, they were more spread out over the months leading up to Christmas this year (due to the special offers you told us to do in Nov). The big one for me is I have cut back to 3 days a week in the salon, and will take up to 6 months PAID maternity leave this year which would never have been possible before joining WSM. We have definitely noticed that when we  ‘market big’ we receive big. We also mix things up a bit such as we not only have our normal packages with the add on’s but we also created an additional festive overhaul similar to one of the templates in your Toolkit.”

Marketing your salon business cannot be timid. Recently another member complained that she’d ‘tried our kind of marketing and IT doesn’t work’…. she claimed that a particular campaign that had been incontrovertibly proven to generate thousands of extra dollars for a huge number of our Members had completely failed for her. When pressed, she admitted she’d sent it out to ‘about 25 of her clients’.

Twenty five??? That’s ALL? Yep, 25. No wonder it didn’t work, she didn’t give it a chance. The science of marketing is about numbers. And any statistician will tell you that 25 is far too tiny a sample to provide results of any reliability at all.

But the biggest mistake is doing ONE thing, waiting for a result, and then doing the next thing, and so on. The trouble with this strategy should be obvious – by the time you figure out whether the first shot has worked or not, you’ve lost another week, a month, three months, during which time you’ve avoided doing ten other things that could have been tested alongside each other.

Thirty years ago, when Lee Iacocca took over an ailing Chrysler and set about giving the moribund company a kick in the butt, he had at one stage no fewer than 37 different strategies, plans, campaigns and re-organizations underway. It upset a lot of people (inevitably, those resistant to change) but it saved the company.

To those who complain “I can’t handle too many things at once, it’s too chaotic/my staff won’t like it/it’s messy/it’s too much going on”, I say this:

Success is not neat. It IS chaotic. If at the end of your day you’ve done everything you needed to do, your desk is tidy, not a pen or stray bit of paper to offend the eye, and nothing ‘left over’ for tomorrow…. that‘s when you need to worry. That’s when the business is in trouble.

The Space Shuttle goes straight up because it has to. But your salon business needs to zig-zig upwards...

The Space Shuttle goes straight up because it has to. But your salon business needs to zig-zig upwards…

Neither is success linear, a straight line from zero to hero. ALL businesses zig-zag to success, like a mountaineer criss-crossing the face of the mountain, attaining a foot-hold here, a hand-hold over there, then another foothold a little to the right and up a bit.

It’s why the Space Shuttle needs the energy required to power a small South American country for an entire year just to escape gravity – if NASA could climb a mountain to get into space, it would, but there aren’t any convenient hand-holds on the way. It has to do it all at once, straight up.

But your salon business ain’t a rocket ship. You need a LOT of hands and feet, all working together – at the same time – to climb the mountain. If you’re only using one foot, or one hand, at a time, you’re never going to climb over the creek at the bottom, let alone zig-zag up the hill.

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About The Author

Greg Milner

Greg Milner, CEO & Founder, Worldwide Salon Marketing. Greg is a writer, marketing consultant, direct response advertising expert and former TV producer. Since founding WSM in 2004, he's coached and guided more than 4,000 salons & spas all over the world in all aspects of marketing, both online and offline. The tools and templates he and his team have developed are used by salons & spas on every continent. He is the author of the industry-standard direct response marketing manual, Simple Salon Marketing, and the e-book Rich Salon Owner.