Hair Salon Marketing Ideas: A Salon Owner’s Story – and How You Can Copy It…
In 1937, Napoleon Hill wrote one of the earliest ‘success formula’ best-sellers, Think and Grow Rich. I would have titled it ‘Think, ACT and Grow Rich’.
Thinking doesn’t achieve anything by itself. The world is full of educated derelicts. Only action makes a difference. Ghandi, Mandela, Martin Luther King didn’t achieve anything by thinking, they took action and got things done.
Which is why you should read on, because here is a story of action from one of our own Members.
Lisa has been featured here before. She attended one of our Road to Riches marketing and business education seminars, and her life and business was revolutionized overnight.
Here is Lisa’s story, as emailed to me this week.
“Thank you for the wonderful support that you and the team so generously give to me.
When I look back at the way I used to let my business set my mood and how, if the staff were bickering, I would lie awake worrying that some one might leave”.
“I can’t believe the personal growth I have had in just six months alone. I would never have believed you if you told me that the way I am feeling now would happen back in July when I signed that credit card slip, joined the Inner Circle program and drove home with the Toolkit.
“Truth is I felt trapped by my own career, knowing full well that I certainly did not want to go back to working for a boss who was drowning like I was.
Thinking what I could do instead, when I love this industry (give or take a few peacocks), hair dressers are my kind of people. This industry needs help in so many ways.
“For my part I wanted to grow my business so that I stopped feeling physically sick when things went wrong at work. In just six months I have become a great boss. I have the Christmas cards from my team to prove it.
“I am learning about what my staff want and need in order to thrive in a working environment and thus return me good money on my investment. (Those I employ)
Since I attended that conference and joined your program 3 staff members in a team of 5 no longer work here, they have been replaced by passionate people and everything has improved for the better.
“Together my sales have improved consistently, over $60,000 in the same 6 month time frame and I now know where it is I want to be and what is I need to be working on. I have the best team of hairstylists (4 of them a mere 18 years of age) and now I have the knowledge and direction that will see me continue on this successful journey.
“I have things on the go now that keep me awake with excitement. That is how I felt 8 years ago when I opened my own business, however I lost my way somewhere along the way.
“I am on the floor cutting only for two 4 hour sessions a week, to keep the loyal clients happy and I love it. And that sick feeling that comes along when something hits that’s GONE!”
Last week, I talked about what you need to know before you write any form of marketing material for your salon.
Now, I did promise I’d show you exactly how you can write an ad that turns your silent phone into a never-ending ringing-machine. This includes the 7 CRUCIAL elements to any successful salon marketing campaign.
Let’s dive in.
There are two types of popular marketing: branding, and direct response. This type of marketing I’ll be talking about is will be direct response.
Branding marketing works wonders for Apple and your local bank – but it’s a money guzzler for salons and spas.
As a salon owner, marketing can be VERY overwhelming, and it’s very easily a huge waste of money. That is, if you don’t do your marketing right. Time and time again, salon owners (and specifically, our members before they join any of our programs) will run branding ads, or ads promoting HUGEEEE discounts.
The thing is, “50% off an eyebrow wax,” or “50% a cut and color!” just doesn’t work. I’ve never been compelled to book in for a “discounted” service – have you?
Direct response marketing, put simply, creating adverts and offers that benefit the customer, NOT the salon or spa. Discounts work on the salon’s behalf – they get you in customers.
Direct response, however, ALWAYS will solve a client’s problem: whether it may be frizzy hair, long hair, hairy legs, cellulite, acne – whatever your service is, you solve a problem.
You already know the 3 elements you must figure out before you write any ad – and if you don’t, read them now, otherwise the following won’t make much sense.
Those 3 elements (you’ve gotta know what you’re selling, to whom, and why they should buy from you) are crucial for you to figure out these 7 must-have elements in ANY marketing campaign, especially for your salon.
They are –
- A headline: your salon name is a SHITTY HEADLINE.
- An offer: no, this isn’t discounting. DISCOUNTING IS EVIL!
- List benefits: what specific problems do you solve? Bumpy legs from shaving, frizzy hair?
- A guarantee: This is the most powerful, yet rarely, and so poorly used.
- Some proof: How can you prove what you say is true? How can you make your potential clients TRUST you?
- Scarcity: why should they call now to book?
- Call to action (CTA): what do they do next?
Phew. That’s a lot to take in.
See, 99% of salon marketing falls into the fatal, profit-grabbing trap of talking about their own business:
“Our clients have come to trust OUR experts… for OUR expertise…. our cutting-edge machines…..”
STOP. Just, stop. I was bored writing that sentence, and I’M A MARKETER!
Marketing that fails is bragging about your business. Marketing that makes money, always puts the client first. Always.
See, advertising is SALESMANSHIP IN PRINT.
Here’s an INCREDIBLE direct response ad – written from a manufacturer. It’s clearly been written by a copywriter – someone who’s job is to write marketing for a living – someone like me.
It has a headline that’s direct, and to the point. It’s job is to appeal one to those are interested, and to compel the intrigued readers into reading the ad.
Let’s dive in:
The headline here is straightforward, and bluntly put: it’s about making more money. They’re clearly targeting people who use Seal-It, either in their current business or as part of their hobby. By giving them this elusive idea that they can MAKE money from the products they use instantly intrigues them.
They’re not selling a product itself through this ad, instead they’re creating a relationship with the interested reader. This is called lead generation advertising.
The offer here is to become a distributor of Seal-It, and to make money: they’ve made it clear: “Become a Seal-It Distributor and make money now!”
Seal-It did it beautifully: a simple list, clearly stating the benefits… “unlimited earning potential,” “no franchise fees…” – they’ve already stated the solutions to a reader’s potential questions.
4. A guarantee: This is the most powerful, yet rarely, and so poorly used.
Although they don’t state a specific guarantee, the little yellow box stating who they can potentially sell Seal-It too, and the testimonial below the box replaces the guarantee.
They’ve added a clear testimonial – AND an image of the couple. Any form of testimonial will increase trust, and increase sales, but photos of the person whom the testimonial is from will increase sales even MORE.
After all, humans connect better with other humans.
Usually, in direct response marketing, you’ll have a limit on what you’re selling. That limit is in either time the offer is available, amount of appointments/quantity available, or anything that makes people **act now**.
After all, that’s what scarcity is designed to do: scarcity triggers the fear button that every human has.
7. Call to action (CTA)
They’ve made it clear: “Call now for your free information packet!”
Can’t get any clearer than that.
I’ll bet your first reaction of this ad was “there’s too much text in it! Nobody will read it!”
To the contrary, actually. The people who WILL read this ad are PRECISELY the only people the advertiser wants. That’s true for you, that’s true for ANY form or direct response advertising:
This is a real advert written by Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest marketing firms in the world. Click the ad to read the entire thing.
This is a real advert written by Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest marketing firms in the world. It’s long, about ten-times longer than the Seal-It ad above, yet, it’s one of their best converting ads of all time. Click the ad to read the entire thing.
This ad is not only written for their perfect client, but it covers ALL 7 elements. They’ve written the ad so well, that even I want to call Ogilvy – and I’m not even in the financial industry!
Here’s the thing: if people aren’t interested in what you have to sell, they won’t read a THING.
But if people ARE interested – they’ll read everything. They’ll soak EVERYTHING UP with a sponge.
And that’s the difference between brand advertising, and direct response advertising. You want to tap into your perfect client’s mind, and push their pain points. This is why you must figure out your perfect client before you write anything for your salon marketing.
Because if you don’t know what your perfect client wants, how can you sell anything to them?
Here’s an example of a direct response ad for the salon industry:
If you have wrinkles, dark-eyes or anything else that dermatitis cream solves – you bet you’d be reading that ad. Chances are, you’d be picking up that phone, too. And that’s what direct response marketing is designed to do:
Get people to pick up the phone and call you.
And to do that, you need to have an irresistible offer. Figure out what you’re going to sell, to whom, and why they should buy from you, and start writing your ad following the 7 elements above.
When your salon marketing is done right, the ad will be ringing: off the hook.
My technical gurus tell me that every month, hundreds of people around the world are going to Google and typing ‘how to market a beauty salon’.
It’s such a simple query, an obvious question, and I’m guessing that almost all of these people are searching for an equally simple ‘silver bullet’ answer. Well, here’s where I let you down; there isn’t one.
There is no ‘one’ answer. BUT…there is a three-part formula, and the formula starts with what I call ‘sales thinking’.
You’ve probably heard of what astrophysicists call the Big Bang Theory. They tell us that several billion years ago, the entire universe was started with a massive explosion, and everything developed from there. (yes, I know, a very unscientific explanation.)
Sales thinking is a bit like the Big Bang Theory. Nothing effective is going to happen until you get absolutely clear about this. Sales thinking has to happen long before you put pen to paper, long before you put up a post or an ad on Facebook, long before you hand over your credit card to Google for ads on their platform, long before you laboriously print thousands of mailbox flyers and get them delivered to every household in your area.
Here are the three ‘Big Bang’ things you need to decide on before you even start marketing your beauty salon:
- Target Market – Who are you trying to attract as customers and clients? What type of people are they, where do they live, what kind of jobs do they have, what age are they, who do they associate with, who else markets their products and services to these people?
- Your Message – what are you going to say to these people that is compelling, that is attractive, that gets them to pick up the phone and book an appointment, or buy whatever you’re selling online, or refer their friends and family to you. In other words, what’s your OFFER.
- The Media – now that you’ve determined your target market, and your compelling message to that target market, which forms of media are best suited to delivering that message to that target market?
In my experience, most owners of beauty salons do this all arse-backwards. They look at say, Facebook and decide “Heck, I’ll put up a post offering a discount.” And somehow, they’re massively disappointed when there’s no stampede of customers battering down their door.
They haven’t asked themselves the question, “What kind of customers do I want – and by extension, what kind of customers do I NOT want?” And then, they fail to craft an offer that’s entirely suited to that chosen market.
(Still with me? Good, because 90% of beauty salon owners will have given up by now, still searching for that easy, simple silver bullet.)
Let’s roll up our sleeves and do some more work (equals thinking!)
You essentially have TWO target markets in your current business.
TARGET MARKET #1
This is your existing list of current and past customers and clients. They already know you, they know your staff, they are familiar with you and your business, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on how often they’ve interacted with you.
You know their names, their mobile phone numbers, and if you are doing your job properly, you have their physical addresses, their email addresses, the names of their husbands and children, certainly their date of birth, their likes and dislikes.
In other words, you know a LOT about them. And because you already know them, the offers you present to them are going to be (should be) different from the offers you present to the other target market;
TARGET MARKET #2
These are people you don’t know yet – in other words, your prospective customers.
How you find these people, how they find you, and what offers you present to them so that they become known to you, are entirely different from the clients you already know. And the media you use to reach out to these ‘unknown’ future customers is entirely different from the media you use to reach out to your existing clients.
It would be stupid to run a newspaper ad to present an offer to your existing clients, right? Equally, you can’t use email or SMS to reach your prospects, because you don’t yet have those contact details.
Let’s take your existing clients then. Which form of media should you use to reach out to them? EVERY FORM OF MEDIA YOU HAVE!
Let’s say you have empty appointment slots next week, and you need to fill ‘em fast. Most beauty salon owners think “Okay, well I’ll email ‘em with the offer.” Or “I’ll send out a text message.” Or “I’ll put up a post on Facebook…” Or, “I’ll send ‘em a cute letter in the mail.”
That’s valid, but incredibly limiting. Why not do ALL of that?
Only a small percentage of your clients will get your email (some will go to spam) and even fewer will actually open it. Facebook deliberately limits the number of people who see your posts. SMS gets to most people, but only a small percentage will act on it.
But if you use every available form of media to reach out to your existing list, you dramatically increase your chances of getting a profitable response.
And you should concentrate on marketing to your existing clients, before thinking about attracting new ones. A buyer is a buyer is a buyer. They’ve bought from you once or multiple times, they’ll keep buying from you if a) they like you, b) you’ve given them great value, and c) you keep offering them stuff.
Remember, it’s up to eight times more expensive to get a new customer that it is to sell to an existing customer. But every business loses existing customers, for many reasons. They move towns, they (inconveniently) die. Or they’re wooed by a competitor. Either way, every business needs a constant and steady supply of new blood.
Target Market #2 is an entirely different proposition.
These are people you don’t know, who don’t know you even exist. They have to be able to find you, and once they’ve found you, what they see has to be attractive enough for them to pick up the phone and call you.
Thanks to technology, it is now easier than ever before for people to find you. Forget the Yellow Pages. These days, the new Yellow Pages is Google. If they can’t find you when they do a Google search, they are as sure as hell going to find your competitors. And call them, not you.
(How they find you on Google is a subject that fills entire libraries, so this is not the place for that discussion. However, you can study this yourself in a series of four short videos we’ve created here.)
But relying on Google alone isn’t enough. Not nearly enough. US marketing guru Dan Kennedy puts it like this:
“One year, on vacation in Hawaii, I was relaxing at a beach, watching whales in the distance, when a fisherman, obviously a local, drove up in his pick-up truck. He got out with a dozen fishing rods. Not one. A dozen. He baited each hook, cast all the lines into the ocean, and set the rods in the sand. Intrigued, I wandered over and asked him for an explanation. “It’s simple,” he said. “I love fish but I hate fishin’. I like eatin’, not catchn’. So I cast out 12 lines. By sunset, some of them will have caught a fish. Never all of ’em. So if I only cast one or two I might go hungry. But 12 is enough so some always catch. Usually there’s enough for me and extras to sell to local restaurants. This way, I live the life I want.” The simple fellow had unwittingly put his finger on a powerful secret. The flaw in most businesses, that keeps them always in desperate need—which suppresses prices—is: too few lines cast in the ocean.”
It’s obvious – you’ve got to use as many forms of media as possible to reach that elusive target market.
And technology has made that easier too.
1. Facebook Advertising:
No, not simply posting offers in your timeline – actually paying for advertising on Facebook’s platform. But there needs to be some ‘sales thinking’ behind this too. And advertising on Facebook requires not just sales thinking, but some technical know-how too.
The sales thinking goes like this: what do you want the ad to do? What is your Most Wanted Response from people who see the ad? What ‘target audience’ do you want to see the ad? What part of your website do you want the ad to take them, and what is the offer on that web page?
If you aren’t confident about your skills with Facebook advertising, we have a specific Facebook Advertising campaign that’ll attract more clients and more bookings, just for beauty salons and hair salons. You can fill in the form over on My Social Salon to learn more.
2. Google Adwords:
Adwords is how Google makes 95% of its money. But, like Facebook advertising, it requires some knowledge and technical skills before you go blundering into it. Essentially, the same questions apply to Google ads as they do to Facebook: where do you want the ad to take people, which people do you want to see the ad, what is your offer etc.
2. Database building:
For every one person who picks up the phone after seeing and responding to you ad online, there will be 20, 50, a thousand who don’t pick up the phone. What are you going to do to capture their names and contact details to market to them later? For that, you need some kind of database or software program that can put a form on your website so people can fill it in, in exchange for some kind of free gift or downloadable widget.
Again, that requires some technical skills once the sales thinking has been sorted out.
Contact our office on +61-8-94439327 and we can walk you through that process.
3. Offline marketing:
Contrary to popular belief, offline marketing still works. In fact, works better than it ever did, simply because so few business owners are doing it these days. There’s a vacuum in people’s mailboxes.
Designed with proper Direct Response Marketing principles, a mailbox flyer can and does still work brilliantly, and very cost-effectively.
So do newspaper ads, radio advertising, billboards, and a dozen other offline marketing media – IF they’re done properly.
How to write an effective ad or flyer is another subject that fills seminars around the world, and isn’t the place for this essay.
BUT IF YOU SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PIECE, you’ll find the best marketing manual ever written for salons & spas, The Starter Pack, that gives you the essentials of direct response marketing – and much of applies to online marketing as well.
So they are some of the essentials – the Market, the Message, and the Media.
But there’s one CRUCIAL element overriding all of the above. I call it the CORNERSTONE of everything you do, the key that unlocks the door to the marketing vault. And that’s your
Unique Selling Proposition.
Scholars, marketing specialists and ad copywriters have been banging on about this for years. Somehow, you MUST find, discover, invent something that differentiates you completely from your competitors and rivals. Otherwise, you’re just another ‘me-too’ business among many me-too business.
History is littered with really outstanding USPs. Tom Monihan built a billion dollar business on the back of “Fresh hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed!”
FedEx’s USP neatly answered the uppermost question in the mind of every single customer wanting to get a package from A to B: “Absolutely, positively overnight.”
A strong, accountable guarantee is a great way to develop your USP, and make you stand out from your competitors. Most business owners flinch from offering a strong, unequivocal guarantee, instead watering it down with ‘weasel words’ like “to claim your guarantee, please turn up at midnight accompanied by both great-grandparents.”
You need something to make yourself stand out – something to make yourself be different. In a previous post, Josh Kallmeyer details what you need to know before you do any marketing for your beauty salon. You must know who your perfect client is, along with what you’re selling, and why they’d buy from you. After all – those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Become the 20% of salons that make it. Better yet – become the 1% of salons and spas who truly thrive. The 1% are the beauty salons who really make bank – and make a lot of it.
Once you have grasped how to market a beauty salon, you’re on your way.
Salon marketing is complex, confusing, and so very overwhelming. Read on to learn the evils of discounting, and to download your free salon marketing template – it’ll ease that confusion, overwhelm and stress.
“Experts” tell you to make sure you have your logo big and centered, and make sure you ALWAYS discount. Discounting is the key to success!
Let me explain.
Discounting surfaced in the mid-60’s, when the post-War boom was occurring. Everyone was off rations, and families finally had money to spend. Stores like Kmart, Target, Wal-Mart all started appearing – offering massive savings when customers bought bulk.
Why buy 1 pair of women’s leggings when you can buy 4 for the price of 2? Why buy one gallon of milk for 80c when you can buy 4 gallons for $1? Wal-Mart and Kmart, especially, took advantage of these discounting offers to the point where it became a “discounting war.” ‘The Discount Wars,’ the media proclaimed.
At the time, it all worked well. Business was booming, customers received deals after deals – yet, eventually, the appeal wore off. When everyone started to discount – from big supermarkets to small boutique salons, it became an old-tatic.
Sure, discounting works – when it’s done right. But that’s the thing. Most businesses – especially salons – will give you 30% off a leg wax; or 50% off your next cut and colour. But at the end of the day – who would you rather go to?
The salon that offers 50% off your cut and colour, or the salon that offers you a free head massage, an added blow dry AND a sample of NAK straightening cream, all valued at $128, when you book in for a cut and colour right now?
The second one would get me in – and I’m a guy. I’d grab that cut and colour any day with an offer like that. But 50% a regular cut and colour? Boring.
See, knowing how to write offers that make people pick up the phone, that get clients BEGGING YOU to give them the offer, that’s real marketing that works. Solely relying on discounting is in the past. It’s time you learn what TRULY works, and how to really do it.
These principles work in print advertisements, flyers, over the phone, in texts, on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest – heck, even Instagram. What I’m about to teach you digs into one thing: the human behaviour.
This works because we’re all human. Regardless of if you’re in Germany, Japan, the US, UK, or Australia – this works (when written right). So if you want your phone to ring endlessly off the hook, to upsell clients on the spot, read on.
How to Write an Ad That Works
For this blog, I’ll be showing you exactly how to figure out who you’re selling to, BEFORE writing an ad.
You MUST know exactly who you’re trying to sell to before you write any form of marketing material – be it an ad, a text, email, post, etc.
When writing any offer – you need to know your perfect, ideal client. That means knowing three things:
1. What you’re selling.
2. Who you’re selling to, and
3. Why they should buy from you.
Sounds easy, right? Sure, the first part is. It’s whatever you’re selling – a fullset of lashes for $199, hair extensions, Brazilian blowout, nails, whatever it may be.
Now, knowing who you’re selling to sounds easy, right? You’re selling your extensions to women, your kids cuts to kids – maybe you’re a barber servicing men. Your hair extensions could be selling for $149 – for women. Pretty easy, huh?
Almost there. Be a little bit more specific. Why? The more specific you are with who you’re selling too, the easier it’ll be to write any ad for those potential clients.
If you’re in beauty – let’s say you offer a fullset of lashes for $199, to busy Mom’s who want to look and feel more beautiful, and who don’t want to have that ‘rugged Mom look.’
If you have a hair salon – you could offer a Brazilian Blowout for $139, to busy professional women who don’t have the time, or who can’t be bothered, to deal with their hair constantly.
Can you see how those two types of clientele are MUCH more specific than just “to women?”
Suddenly, you can start writing an ad – an offer – for those busy Moms: “Treat yourself to a new, beautiful you while the kids are in school….”
Or maybe, with lash extensions, you’re aiming for single women who have more money to spend… “ATTENTION SINGLE LADIES: do you want to find that man who notices your flawless beauty, and compliments you every single time he sees you? With these all-natural mink lashes….”
Aren’t those two offers much more appealing than just “50% off – today only?”
The success is in the details.
Once you have your ideal client in mind – now we can move to the next step:
What are you really selling?
You’re not selling eyelash extentions, beauty, hair care – whatever the ‘product’ or ‘service’ you sell is. What you’re really selling is confidence, or reactions – compliments, beauty, sex appeal.
Your clients come to you because they want to look gorgeous for a date they have this week; or because they want to feel sexy for their husband when he comes home from a business trip. Heck, your client just wants to feel beautiful. They want to be complimented for their look and their beauty.
When you sell these type of reactions – the confidence, the beauty, the sexiness – this is what makes clients pick up the phone and call you. Not discounting, not smooth legs from waxing, or wavy hair. No – they want the smooth legs because their boyfriend can’t get enough of them, or their wavy hair so they’ll get higher tips at work.
So think about what you sell: are you selling beauty? Are you selling a woman’s confidence? Or are you providing her with the opportunity to make her husband feel proud to be married to such a gorgeous woman?
You might be thinking “how derogatory! I’d never sell confidence or beauty!”
Well, take a look at Victoria’s Secret: they don’t sell bras and panties. No, Victoria’s Secret sells confidence, they sell glamour. A woman will buy Victoria’s Secret because she knows she’ll look sexy as hell in whatever she buys.
So why not give your clients the same honour when they come to you? If you’re truly the best at what you do – and because you’re reading this, I know you are – be proud of that. Look your client in the eye and go “I’ll make you look and feel more gorgeous than what you already are.”
Next – why should your clients buy from you? Why should they trust their bodies with you?
Do you have any guarantees you can express with them?
Do you have any testimonials from other clientele?
Have you won any awards?
Are you or your salon in any media publications?
Or are you simply the best of the best?
Any new – or existing – client wants to know they’ll be looked after. They want to trust you. If they don’t – they won’t come to you. That’s why building this trust between your salon/spa and your clients is VITAL.
Having a guarantee (they don’t all have to be money back ones!) will build trust. Showing testimonials from other clients, any awards, publications – and even if you just give away free information – is all trust building.
And trust building = clients.
Clients = money.
Money = happy you.
Now that we’ve covered everything you must know about your perfect client, you can download the FREE perfect client template below. Print it out and fill it in before you write any marketing material, and you’re one step closer to filling more appointment slots and making more money than EVER before.
Below, you can download your free salon marketing template. This checklist you can use – for free – whenever you’re writing a new ad for your salon. Use it as a guide so you always remember what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, and why they should buy from you.
Download Your Free Salon Marketing Template >>
What’re you really selling?
In the second part of this blog series, I’ll show you EXACTLY how to write an ad that works, and one that attracts your perfect client. But that’s for next week.
Remember: you need the right ad, to the right people, selling the right thing.
If you don’t have all 3 aligned, your marketing just won’t work, and you’ll be left scratching your head going “why the f*$* isn’t it working?!”
David Ogilvy is the grandfather of marketing, and he said it best.
Whenever I watch Gordon Ramsay tearing the throat out of a hapless head chef or muddle-headed restaurant owner, I wish I was in the food business.
Every restaurateur with even half a brain must surely be spending at least part of every working day down on bended knee, giving heartfelt thanks for the f***ing marketing opportunity this foul-mouthed and charismatic Brit has provided.
What Ramsay has done is focus the attention of millions of restaurant-goers on the stuff most restaurants would hate them to know – what goes on in the kitchen. And for the smart ones, that spells opportunity.
Now, what has this got to do with your salon business? Think outside the square for a moment.
Here’s how I would use the ‘Ramsay Factor’ in my restaurant business.
First, I would identify what it is about restaurants that – thanks to Ramsay’s TV show – makes people lie awake at 3am, staring at the ceiling….and thanks to Ramsay, that’s pretty easy. Has the food been prepared days earlier? Is the kitchen crawling with cockroaches? Do the chefs wash their hands every time they go to the bathroom? Are the ingredients fresh? Is there mold growing over the food?
THEN…I would create a new marketing message, based on those fears and anxieties. The DUMB thing would be to attempt to bury your head in the sand and ignore the Ramsay factor. In fact, I would HIGHLIGHT the negatives, and turn them into positives. E.g.,
How to Be Gordon Ramsay for a Day!
“You know what its like when you go to a restaurant and you have no idea what’s going on in the kitchen? Well at Greg’s Culinary Emporium, our kitchen is so clean our own chefs eat their dinner off the floor! We have CCTV cameras watching our staff to make sure they wash their hands every time they leave the bathroom. Pest inspectors regularly ensure that not a single bug gets anywhere near our food. In fact, we invite YOU to be Gordon Ramsay for a day.
“Come to Greg’s Culinary Emporium for your next night out. If you can find a single cause for complaint, you have our permission to swear at our f***ing chef. PLUS, your meal is FREE!”
Get MORE salon marketing inspiration, tools, downloadable templates, how-to videos and more, as a Member of the Salon Accelerator program here.
Can you see how that statement would set my restaurant apart from any of my competitors? This technique is called
Making the Invisible Visible
It does TWO clearly distinct things.
a) By capitalizing on highly-public information, it enters the conversation that’s already going on in your customers’ heads. Do that, and you become a Welcome Guest… instead of an Unwelcome Pest. They are already talking about what you want them to talk about.
b) It highlights the process. Most businesses assume their customers are only interested in the result, the final product. But there is magic in the detail….there is MONEY in the story of how you deliver what your customers are buying.
Now, if you haven’t done so already, replace restaurant with salon. What can YOU do to tell the story of your process – a story that addresses what your customers are fearful and anxious about when making a decision about whether to do business with you?
Are your products sourced using a suddenly rediscovered formula developed by primitive tribes in the steamy jungles of Burma? Does one of your treatments originate from the desert rituals of Bedouin tribes in ancient Mesopotamia? (I exaggerate for effect, but you get the picture.)
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.
(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:
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.