Last year Microsoft shelled out $26 billion – yes, that’s twenty six billion dollars – to take over LinkedIn. Just think about that for a minute – $26 billion is greater the entire Gross Domestic Product of more than half the countries in the whole world.
And why would Microsoft do that? LinkedIn’s total revenue in 2015 was a paltry $670-odd million. So Microsoft is hardly interested in LinkedIn for its profits.
Nope. Microsoft is prepared to make the biggest purchase in its 40 year history to get hold of LinkedIn’s 350 million members. And most of that 350 million are high-value professionals of some kind.
Microsoft recognises that the real money is in the list of customers.
So how does this relate to your small salon or spa in Downtown Anywhere? For exactly the same reason – the real money is in your list of customers, clients and prospects.
Last week, veteran WSM member Nicole Panayiotou, owner of a successful salon in the Victorian country town of Sale decided she wanted to boost sales for June, and at the same time clean up her large database of several thousand clients and former clients.
Here’s what she did:
1) At my suggestion, she shot a short video on her mobile phone, sent it to one of my team at Worldwide Salon Marketing, and we loaded it up onto her salon’s website. You can see that video here.
2) Next, she made a list of 150 clients she hadn’t see in a few months, and wrote them a cute letter – a variation of our famous Rupert the Dog letter – except in this case the letter was ‘written’ by her baby daughter Billie. (WSM members can download a copy of that letter from the Salon Marketing Resources Library here.)
3) At the same time, she used her database – her list – to find another 400 such ‘missing in action’ clients with mobile phone numbers, and sent them a text message that read as follows:
“Want a FREE $50 voucher? Click the link to redeem it! We miss you at Blush x. http://www.beauty-salon-sale.com/we-miss-you – Reply stop to opt out.”
The link in the SMS took recipients to the new video on her website here, and under the video, a simple form to fill in and get the gift voucher.
“I sent 150 letters, got 3 clients back off the first letter. Sent 400 texts, got 11 opt outs and 7 clients back in! Still got more to send so extending it (the offer) thru till end July. Great chance to clean up data base so I’m happy.”
Now, before you dismiss that as a poor result, think about it; with a simple, easily-implemented promotion using just a tiny section of her existing list of clients, she resurrected ten ‘missing in action’ clients, with the chance to turn them once again into regular buyers. At say, $1,000 a year per client, it’s a cheap way to regenerate $10,000 a year revenue.
That’s the value, and the money, in a well maintained list. And that’s why Microsoft is spending $26 billion to get hold of one.
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With more than 400 million users – Instagram is today, one of the leading platforms successfully helping business owners establish a name for themselves in the world of social media. Imagine having an audience of 400 million who can see the services and products you are offering? Sounds unbelievable, right? Well the truth is … it’s possible!
With so much of today’s business done online, it’s critical to remain active across all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) – and especially, Instagram, as a business owner.
While it’s comparable to Facebook, Instagram is a mobile-photo sharing app which allows users to edit and post photos and videos – now even allowing its users to stream themselves live, similar to Facebook Live.
Creating an Instagram Account is easy and doesn’t take long. While Instagram can be accessed via desktop, Instagram is primarily a mobile app, so you have to download the application on your mobile before signing up. You can download the application from either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
By signing up to Instagram, you’ll let yourself be found by thousands of potential clients.
As a business owner, you will want to create a ‘business profile‘ instead of a personal account. The business account gives business owners, an insight to key information and analytics, which we will later discuss in this article. Before signing up to Instagram you will be asked to link your Facebook business page to your Instagram account. This way both of your accounts will be linked, making it easier to navigate from one platform to the other.
Once your accounts have been linked and your Instagram Account is created, you can now go the Profile Tab, located at the bottom right hand side, to Edit Profile. In this space you can do anything from change your name and username, change your profile photo, add a website users can visit and write a short 150 character biography other users will be able to view once they visit your business account.
TIP: To switch your account from a private or public account go to – Options Settings, located in the Profile Tab; top right-hand corner. To switch and activate a private account tap on the blue button to activate a private account. To make your account public, again – tap on the blue button to switch off the private setting and activate public account.
With Instagram for Business, you’ll be able to see who’s engaged with your profile.
Finding Your Way
Navigating on Instagram is relatively simple. The Home Button allows you to see posts from pages you may be interested in or accounts that you are currently following. The Home Button also allows you to see anything you may have previously posted. To the right of the Home Button is where you will find the Search Bar. The Search Bar allows you to find pages or people you are interested in.
Below the Search Bar you will find a display of photos and videos you can explore to see what other users are posting on Instagram. The Plus Button allows you to add any images or videos, directly from your camera roll or phone camera, you wish to post on your business page.
TIP: Instagram videos have now been extended from 15 seconds to 1 minute in duration. This is a great business tool to share with your followers and potential new customers. Think about how you can utilise video posts for your business? For example: As a salon owner you could upload a short video showing users and potential customers how to get the perfect blow dry, with a simple call to action!
Think about the trust people would have in you when you give them free lessons!
When creating content for any online platform, it is important to think about how you’ll be seen, and how people will remember what you post. Gone were the days where you’d post something and clients will come flocking to you. See it takes an average of 7 – 17 interactions with someone before they’ll buy from you.
And the good thing? If a user likes what you are posting, they will probably follow your page. This is positive news in the world of Instagram! Most people have less than 1,000 followers on Instagram, so they’ll take note of people who like their photos. If you like, and comment on people’s photos, this is a sure-fire way to grow your following.
Always remember the hashtags: adding hashtags to any of your photos or videos – for maximum exposure, before publicly posting them. For example: Images of makeup will usually have the hashtag #Instagrammakeup associated with them. Hashtags allow users to search and filter through different topics of interest via the online platform, making content and business easier to find
Interacting With People
A simple way of interact with other users on Instagram is by liking their photos and commenting on them. To like a photo, either double-tap on the image or tap on the heart-shaped button to like a post.
Commenting on a post is done by clicking on the Comment Button, located on the right hand side of the Like Button. To make your interaction more personal with other users, use the tagging @ symbol available. Start by typing the @ symbol, then type the user’s name you wish to tag in the comment box. After writing your comment simply tap the Post Button and the comment will be posted. By tagging a user, the person will automatically be notified they have been tagged in a comment, making your interaction with them more personal and intimate for future relations.
Insights and Analytics
As a business page on Instagram you are exposed to specific analytical insights and information. These statistics allow you to view the demographics and behavior of your followers, enabling you to create more relevant and timely content for your business page.
For example: Instagram Insights allow you to see what time most users are visiting your page. This information allows you to successfully allocate an appropriate time to post new content to your business page – which will attract more attention and traffic to your page.
All In All – Post Daily
If you’re not posting daily on Instagram, you’re losing potential business. The mass of people using Instagram daily is greater than Facebook, and almost as high as Snapchat. Instagram will surpass Facebook as the #1 go-to platform – in a matter of years.
The question is, what’re you doing about your Instagram?
Word of mouth is great. Old-fashioned ‘offline’ salon marketing works too. But there is ONE major way people are now looking for salon or spa services in your local area. And if you can’t be found when they search on their smart-phone and look at the salon search results, you’re missing out on 90% of your potential new customers.
In this recording of a webinar on Monday, July 4, Spectrum Science’s Leah Coughlan asked WSM CEO Greg Milner to explain the ‘How’ of making sure your salon or spa is found – fast.
FREE TRAINING VIDEOS HERE FOR SALON OWNERS
What really matters to a prospective buyer – and the nonsense business brokers, accountants and your closest friends will tell you.
“I’m going to put my salon on the market,” said a confident young lady on the phone to me the other day. “I’ve worked hard for five years, it’s time to start a family.”
So, I asked, is the business ready for sale?
“I think so. I take a good salary, we have great products, lots of regular clients, and the salon looks wonderful and it’s in a great location…”
But when I started asking questions, I could tell from the tone of her replies that this was going to be a disappointing conversation for her. And that’s because there’s a gaping chasm between what the owner of a business thinks has value, and what an astute prospective buyer thinks is valuable.
(And I use the word ‘astute’ advisedly. With stars in their eyes, many a beauty therapist or stylist on the hunt for their own business will fall in love with the ‘pretty’ surface and fail to look at what really matters.)
Add value to your business with a Worldwide Salon Marketing membership. Check it out here.
First, the ‘standard’ way to value a business.
An accountant will look at a business the way accountants do, with a calculator, analysing past performance, profit and loss, assets and liabilities, and come up with a ‘valuation’ for you based on those bare essentials. Valid, certainly, but extremely limited, and limiting. Past performance is only half of the story.
Stock, fixtures and fittings and shop lease (again, obviously)
Yes, they may have some value. But have you ever tried to sell second-hand furniture? It’s worth next to nothing. Retail products? You’ll need to be a very good salesperson to get anything like what you paid for it. And an astute buyer will screw you down on the remaining term of the shop lease, knowing you’re legally obliged unless they’re prepared to have the lease assigned to them.
Then there’s that hoary old chestnut,
It’s just air. Business vendors will, usually on the advice of their accountant/broker/business coach, attempt to ascribe a dollar value to that most intangible of intangibles, the ‘goodwill’ or loyalty of the customers to the business. These days, there is little or no loyalty. And buyers know it. Don’t even think about trying to pull that one over them.
Now to the stuff you haven’t thought about, and certainly your accountant hasn’t.
By far the most valuable, most measurable part of your business is your list. Your list of clients, customers and prospective customers held in an orderly, well-maintained electronic database containing not only their full contact details (name, email address, phone number, and most importantly, physical mailing address) but their spending habits and booking frequency.
This is the gold. This is the thing that a buyer can look at and determine with reasonable accuracy the current health of the business, and its potential, given a more robust and refined marketing program. If you software program is set up correctly, a prospective buyer will also be able to determine what marketing information you’ve been sending out to that database, and its responsiveness.
Your list has a strategic value in and of itself. If I were buying a salon, it’s the first thing I’d look at, not the financials of the business. I’d then put that list alongside the financials, and try to find cause and effect.
Then I’d take a very close look at the thing that really matters…
Your marketing infrastructure, both online and offline.
The second most important, most valuable, and easily the most measurable asset of any local business like a hair or beauty salon is…drum roll please…your online presence.
Thanks to technology, an astute buyer will demand your Google logins. Why? Give me your Google account logins and within one minute I’ll be able to tell exactly how many phone calls and website visits you’ve had in the last 30 days or 90 days from people searching for a hair salon or a beauty salon in your area. Here’s an example; the Google Insights figures for one of our Member salons, in the little South Australian town of Port Pirie.
It shows that this salon received 74 phone calls in the last 30 days from people who had Googled a beauty salon in Port Pirie and called the business using the ‘click to call’ function provided by Google.
In addition, the salon received 67 clicks through to its website from the Google Plus listing in search results, which would have produced another raft of phone calls.
Here’s what Amber Clayton, the owner of that salon, says about the value of her local search ranking:
This is important, value-adding stuff. For a prospective buyer, it is incontrovertible proof that the investment put into online marketing by this salon owner is paying off in easily-measured numbers.
It means I, the buyer, can count on getting a steady stream of appointment-producing phone calls. And that means sales, and profits. And that means you can put a defined value on that online presence, quite apart and separate from any valuation your accountant might put on past revenue and profit. (You should also know – and Google provides the tools to find this out – how many people are searching online for a hair stylist or beauty therapist in your area in any one month period.)
Your presence in social media also matters, though not to the extent that Google ranking does. How many Facebook fans you have, how many Instagram followers you have, matters in that it gives a buyer a sense of how active and productive you are on social media.
But don’t be fooled, or try to fool – Facebook and Instagram followers are not customers. They’re just fans. People who actually call your business are customers (or potential customers).
You should also be keeping accurate records of responses, sales and re-bookings from your offline marketing – mailbox flyers, direct mail to clients, newsletters, ads in newspapers. As a buyer, I want to know, because those figures give me a precise record of what works for the business and what doesn’t.
These things have real value. They are the value of your business.
So yes, financials and balance sheets matter. But smart buyers know they’re only part of the story. And they are past history. The only figures that can give me a picture of the future are those produced by the marketing metrics above.
If you don’t know what your marketing metrics are, then you – and the buyer – are floundering in the dark.
NOTE: members of our My Social Salon flagship marketing program – such as Amber Clayton – get all the above and more as part of our service. Click here to find out more.
Play video below.
When Carolyn Evans bought an ordinary suburban salon in Brisbane a few years ago, she had no idea it would turn into an international consulting business with clients from all over the world.
But that’s the power of the internet – if you seek out the right help, and put it into action. Watch as Carolyn describes how – with help from Worldwide Salon Marketing director of online, George Slater – she not only turned her struggling salon around, but re-invented it completely in the process.
(Hint: before you watch, Google ‘hair health brisbane’ – Carolyn’s various websites and videos totally dominate her market, squeezing out all her competition.)
Attention Worldwide Salon Marketing members: watch the full interview here in the Members Only Million Dollar Resources Library.
Not yet a Member? Get instant access here to hundreds of marketing templates and how-to videos.
FOOTNOTE: In case you missed it, here’s a screenshot of a Google search for ‘hair health brisbane’ – every single listing bar one on Page 1 points to Carolyn’s business.
I’ve lost count of the number of times over the past 10 years I’ve been accused of advocating ‘tacky’, so-called ‘unprofessional’ or ‘cheap’ marketing for salons and spas. In one memorable instance, a member of the ‘upper echelon’ of the beauty industry, a veteran of some 30 years, approached me during a marketing seminar I was giving and snootily told me “no self-respecting proper company would lower themselves to using your sales & marketing tactics.”
Well, I told her then, and I’m here to tell ya now, she was wrong in every possible way.
Have you heard of Time Magazine? Yep, the very same, establishment publishing giant that’s documented the movers and shakers of the world since 1923.
Like all publishers, Time makes its money from advertising, and to a less extent, subscriptions.
Now, nobody would ever consider Time Magazine any kind of hip, brash, swashbuckling outfit. Certainly not the kind of ‘old-money’ business that’d consider doing something even remotely ‘trashy’ or lowbrow just to boost its market share.
Um, well, yes they would.
Here’s a Time offer that arrived in WSM Director of Online George Slater’s mailbox this week. Yes, a full-color, four page direct mail piece offering
…in exchange for a drastically-discounted, 54-month subscription. (Watches. Time. Get it?) Now, for the serious student of marketing, this is worth studying. There’s nothing new here. Time is using one of the oldest, tried-and-tested, bait ‘n switch marketing strategies in the book. Because they know that people will often buy the product just to get the free bonus.
You see this exact strategy every time you browse your local newsstand; a free DVD or CD, glued to or packaged inside the magazine. Only a handful of people actually want the magazine. But many more just want the bonus CD. In Thailand, the Talisman Billiards Company gives away a free golf shirt with every order over $100. “I do see people increasing their order just so they can get the free shirt,” says Talisman owner Tony Jones.
This strategy works in almost any business. Salons and spas are no different. Got a cupboard full of products you haven’t been able to give rid of? Give them away, with an offer tied to an appointment for a service. “Yours Free” has for more than a century – and remains – one of the most powerful phrases in any marketing arsenal.