Hair Salon Marketing Tips: When your competition copies you…

Do you find it annoying when a competing salon sees how successful you are, and simply copies your advertising for themselves?

Yep, there it is, virtually a direct copy of the ad you ran only last week.

Well, get over it. Pay it no more attention. In fact, you should be celebrating it. Because what they’re seeing (and copying) is only the tip of the iceberg of your success.

What they cannot see, and therefore cannot copy, is all that bulk below the waterline – the systems that turn that great marketing into solid sales behind the counter.

I know this because it happens to us all the time.

Just this week, one of our operatives in England emailed me a link to the website of yet another salon marketing wannabecopy.jpg who’s seen how Worldwide Salon Marketing has grown from a spare-room start-up into a multi-million dollar business – and wants ‘in’ on the action.

Yet another one – if you search the web long enough you’ll find more and more of these sites popping up, purporting to offer salon owners ‘the’ answers to all things marketing.
Apart from a website, few have any more depth to them.


This new player – he’s by no means the first, and won’t be the last – has even gone so far as to blatantly copy our product names, e.g., he’s promoting his own ‘Inner Circle’ program, he’s offering his own ‘7-Step Mini Marketing Course’, and more carbon copies of the systems and marketing collateral we’ve developed over the last 5 years.

Our ‘spy’ was worried about our new ‘competition’. Frankly, I couldn’t care less. Because I know that 99% of all start-up business owners fail to do the things which create depth, structure and longevity for their business. In other words, they do no more than enough to skim the surface for short-term cash, and don’t invest in resources to create a long-term business.

The bigger we get (400 current member salons, growing by 30-40 per month) the more we invest in strengthening the foundations.

Here at head office, there are ten staff engaged in coaching members, providing member services, marketing, internet support, accounts and product development. In New Zealand and America, we have franchisees devoted to supporting our Members in those countries, and soon, similar operations in the UK.

Over the years we’ve invested millions on establishing systems for database management, offline and online marketing, seminar events, product packaging, product delivery, intellectual property development, member services, and office management.

We do this because it’s about trust. If our systems are flimsy, if our product delivery is flaky and unreliable, if our customer service is patchy, then our customers – our hundreds of member salons around the world – will soon get fed up and leave us. And it will soon become impossible to attract new ones. Word gets around very quickly.

It takes years to build a solid reputation, and five minutes to destroy it. Sure, we have our detractors. Every successful business does. Just today, a post from a UK salon owner who, it should be noted, signed up as a Member, took the Toolkit in March this year, paid us nothing, and has refused to return our products:

“…personally Worldwide Salon Marketing is a complete rip off…(they) sell you information that is easily found for FREE on the internet. WSM just give you a flashy folder and some crappy letters to copy that no professional establishment should use for £310 a month! …I would rather spend that money on training/products and direct marketing.”

But a response on the very same forum: “All I can say is positive things about their way of marketing. Yes, it takes some getting used to but as most people on here who have tried advertising & say it doesn’t work are perhaps doing it the wrong way. It’s not the advert (ie leaflets) that is wrong, it’s the message on the advert. “The fees for WSM might initially seem steep but if you follow the strategies they recommend then you should be getting far more than this back in increased business. What I really like is having all the sales letters pre-written for you which just need tweaking to suit your own offer. Some of THE best spas & salons in Australia & NZ use WSM so they can’t be all that bad! As to the question about whether this direct response marketing works – hell yeah!!”

You can’t become as big, as fast as we have without somebody, somewhere complaining about something.

Apple Computer has hundreds of millions of raving fans around the world. Doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of blog sites full of people moaning about Apple. And success breeds competition.

I can name half a dozen who are attempting to emulate our success by directly plagiarizing our marketing. Good luck to them. But they’ll need more than luck. They’ll need grit, depth, resources and constant re-investment to succeed. Next time you see a competing salon that’s copying your marketing, don’t be too afraid. Unless they have well-thought-out systems in place to capitalize on that copy-cat marketing, it’ll do them no good.

Customers soon find out if it’s all style and no substance.