How to Market a Beauty Salon
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.