Okay, it's a meaningless picture...but how else am I going to illustrate an article like this and not end up on a porn site?

Okay, it’s a meaningless picture…but how else am I going to illustrate an article like this and not end up on a porn site?

Beauty Salon Template Niche Marketing for Salons & Spas – and a Warning: This Article May Offend Some People

I’ve hesitated about writing this article for more than a week now. I don’t shock easily, but a conversation I had with a new Inner Circle member last week left me gob-smacked, delighted and laughing out loud all at the same time.

That conversation is directly related to one of the key marketing strategies I teach our salon and spa owner Members: the importance of marketing to niches. The biggest mistake salon owners make is trying to be all things to all people – and by doing so, being nothing to anybody. The more narrowly you define your target market, the more precisely you can craft a compelling message that market, and that market alone.

And you can obviously have more than one target market. But whatever you do, don’t jump up and down in the ocean. Nobody will notice. Jump up and down in a puddle. Or a series of puddles.

There are riches in niches.

Hold that thought for a moment. For most salon owners, identifying a target market is little more sophisticated that this: get a road map, turn to the page where your salon is, put a paper cup over it, and draw a circle around the cup. It’s called geographic marketing and it’s valid, but dangerously simplistic.

Kylie Campbell, Inner Circle member and owner of Chocolate Vanilla, a particularly approporate name for a salon with a delicate specialty service....

Kylie Campbell, Inner Circle member and owner of Chocolate Vanilla, a particularly appropopriate name for a salon with a delicate specialty service….

It was this question to Kylie Campbell, one of our newest Inner Circle members last week that produced an answer that almost floored me. Most of the time, I get the usual bland response – “well, we specialize in facials/waxing/hair extensions/blah blah blah” – hardly unique.

I was expecting much the same this time, but she caught me completely off-guard when she said “oh, we do all the usual beauty treatments, like waxing, hair removal, microdermabrasion, eyelash extensions and…er…

Anal Bleaching.

Right about now you’re silently screaming TOO MUCH INFORMATION! (And no, I am not going to describe the process…)

But there’s a valid lesson in this, even if it does get a kind of “eewwww” reaction.

Yep, this Kylie had done a brilliant job of  identifying a target (I use the word advisedly) market; in this case a very narrowly-defined, easily accessible niche of predominantly gays, trans-sexuals, transvestites, strippers and other such inhabitants of the ‘dark side’ who (apparently) hold in high regard a lighter pigmentation of that hitherto unmentionable small area of the human anatomy.

Now, I’ve been teaching direct response marketing to salons & spas for a long time. Talked endlessly about the need to ‘slice-‘n-dice’ markets into small, manageable bite-sized chunks, to concentrate marketing resources so you don’t waste bullets on targets that don’t matter. It’s MUCH easier to market to a niche that’s an inch wide but a mile deep.

Some ‘get it’. And reap the rewards in multiples. But most don’t.

However Kylie understood the concept perfectly. Cheekily, cleverly, she took it one step further and named her new salon

Chocolate Vanilla


Now, I am NOT suggesting you all rush out looking for bums to bleach. There are hundreds of niche markets, groups of people with common interests, jobs, affiliations and buying habits. You can buy lists of ’em. Or create your own.

Here’s what’s instructive: smart marketers identify a target market before creating a marketing message. Indeed, you simply cannot create an effective ad, letter or any other marketing piece until you’ve narrowed your target market. (Hint: it’s as much about deciding who you don’t want as it is about working out who you do want.)

Be grateful that I avoided the temptation (mostly) of turning this article into a pun-fest.