Salon Marketing Tools: Why Emotion Beats Logic Every Time

Salon Marketing Tools: Why Emotion Beats Logic Every Time

I wear myself out trying to teach salon & spa owners that customers buy based on emotion, which is the most profitable salon marketing tool hands down. It has nothing to do with logic.Yet ad after ad, flyer after dreary flyer waxes lyrical about the features of the product (or service), often using impossibly-technical jargon, and pay scant – if any – attention to the emotional benefit the customer will get, or makes any attempt to even so much as attract the prospect’s attention in the first place with an emotional headline.

Arguably the best ad ever written didn’t even mention a product or service. Far from trumpeting overblown benefits and features, it actually went the other way, in a deliberate, well-planned and brilliantly-executed dare to the manliness of every red-blooded adventurous male in England.

Although nobody has yet been able to track down the original copy of the London Times of December 29, 1913, here is a reconstruction of the tiny ad Sir Ernest Shackleton reportedly inserted to recruit men to his dangerous expedition to cross the Antarctic continent from sea to sea. It attracted 5,000 applicants, including three women.

 

shackleton(Creative Theft Department: I know what you’re already thinking…what has this got to do with my hair salon/day spa/nail bar/laser clinic yada yada yada.)

Here’s what: I’ve just used this very ad to steal the idea for the headline for a big Yellow Pages ad for one of our Inner Circle members. Go on, think. How could you apply this to your business? Inner Circle members should already be dissecting this and using it. For non-members, unaccustomed to my teachings, believe this:

The University of Life surrounds you. Google is your best friend. There is NO excuse for saying “I don’t know where to look for ideas” any more. Truth is, the answer to anything is right at your fingertips. Claiming you can’t find answers is akin to insisting the world is flat.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, emotion. The idea that you must offer a rational benefit in your marketing is nonsense.

There IS no rational, logical reason to buy a Porsche. Yet Porsche is THE most profitable car maker in the world. One of the most famous ads for Porsche cars featured nothing more than a picture of the car, and the following text:

Product benefits:
Too fast.
Doesn’t blend in.
People will talk.

Then there’s the famous David Ogilvy ad for Rolls Royce, which didn’t even have a photo of the car, just a clock.

“At 60 miles an hour, the loudest sound you can hear in the new Rolls Royce is the ticking of the clock.”

In the beauty business, a rational benefit might be

Your skin will be 37% smoother.

But more powerful, and much more emotional:

Warning: Men will look at you.

Your target market is uneducated about the relative benefits of one hair stylist versus any of a thousand others. Has pretty much no idea of the difference between one laser clinic and a hundred competitors. Attempting to explain a rational, logical reason why they should choose you as against any and all of your competitors is considerably more difficult that pushing a peanut up the main street of town with your nose.

Singapore Airlines didn’t try to compete on price, they made it emotional with the Singapore Girl...

Faced with such a challenge, most businesses resort to the easiest, no-brainer path: discounting. The airlines are a classic example of this, undercutting each other because they can’t be bothered putting in the hard mental yards to come up with something better.

(Even here, there are examples of airlines actually striking an emotional note with their marketing. Remember the Singapore Airlines ads featuring their emotional icon, the Singapore Girl? They backed it up with the rational proposition, ‘Inflight service even other airlines talk about…’)

Aside: the rebel in me can’t help wondering what would happen if an airline offered a guarantee: We’ll get you there alive, or your money back.

Most business owners, having come up with a compelling offer – which is the rational reason to buy – rest on their laurels and leave it there. But the smart ones keep working at it, chewing away until they come up with that hard-to-define emotional reason to buy. I often call it a Unique Selling Proposition. But it can equally be re-named an ESP or Emotional Selling Proposition.

Either way, these are salon marketing tools that work, and work for you.

The real difference between one hair salon and another, between one day spa and another, is at best small, and certainly difficult to convey to the uneducated. But an emotional difference is – while more difficult to find in the first place – much easier to get across, much easier for the prospect to feel, and therefore much more powerful.

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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.