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.
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.
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?
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 knowbefore 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.
I speak with many salon owners who tell me, “I post on Facebook from time to time, but I don’t really know what to post and when.” Other times they say, ”I know I should be on social media more, and I need a plan of attack.” Well thankfully I know a thing or two about salons and social media.
When I started using social Media in my salon it was still relatively new and I didn’t really know what or how to use it as a business tool. After I sold my salon, and before I joined Timely Salon Software, I ran a small social media consultancy business I was able to see first hand how much of an impact social media could have on a business. I was able to grow salon businesses, increase profits, and strengthen relationships between the salon and their clientele. Here are some of the tips I’ve learned on how to get a business started with social media.
The secret to doing well on social media is to know your audience intimately. What type of client do you want to attract? Who are the clients you have in your salon now, and do you love to look after them when they’re in your chair? We all have clients who complain, moan and are never happy with what we do, but they still keep coming back and causing you grief. Lets not focus on attracting more like them. You can be picky about who you you choose to promote your business to.
Build a clear picture of who your perfect client is and give her a name. Build a virtual profile based on what she does, where she goes, and what personal values she has. Let’s start by giving her a name – we’ll call her Jessica. What social media platform does Jessica use? Is she in her 50’s and and in need of a regular colour touch up, or is she in her early 20’s and wanting to look like the latest celebrity? You’ll speak differently to Jessica depending on who she is as a person.
Once you know who Jessica is, you can speak directly to her in all of your business marketing. This starts with picking the right social media platform. If Jessica is 45-55 year old career woman, she is more likely to be on LinkedIn and Twitter than on Instagram and Snapchat, so take that into consideration when choosing your social platform. The 25 year old Jessica who loves to follow celebrity fashion might hang out in Instagram to keep up with the Jenners and Amy Pham, so making sure you have a presence on the right platform for your business is the first step.
My advice would be to nail Facebook before you venture out onto other social platforms, since everyone is on Facebook.
Now you know where Jessica hangs out online, it’s time to start sharing with her.
Show Jessica who you are as a brand and salon team. Post pictures of the hair you do or real things your team get up to outside of work, like courses they attend and team building activities. Continue the real conversations you have inside your salon on your social media pages.
It’s important to be relevant with what you post. There are so many pages posting so many things but you need to be known for something on social media. You’re a hair salon, so post things that are about salons or come from a hair salon’s perspective. For example, a picture of a cute dog is not relevant to your salon, but if the dog has a very cute hairstyle or has come in with a client, it might be.
Also remember that everything you post should be directed at Jessica. Keep in mind that you’re speaking to her. Before you push send, ask yourself if what you’re posting is relevant to your business and interesting to Jessica.
The final thing to keep in mind is that social media is about a conversation. It starts inside your salon business and should be continued through your social pages between salon visits. Hair salons are not only about doing hair; they are a place where we build strong client-stylist relationships, which adds significant value to the salon experience. Social media allows you to build and strengthen those relationships by maintaining your rapport outside your place of business.
Social media doesn’t need to be a challenge if you see it as a way to continue your customer conversations and build relationships while they’re away. Of course to do this you need to know who you’re speaking to. Creating a profile of your perfect client will allow you to speak directly to them and keep them interested in who you are and what you do. Use this as a guideline when deciding what to post and when, and you will do just fine on your salon’s social media. Good luck out there!
Marketing & Business Development Manager at Timely Software. After 20 years of owning an award-winning salon and 3 years running online marketing businesses,Larissa knows first-hand how hard it is to keep up with the evolving digital landscape, while keeping clients happy and looking after the day-to-day pressures of running a business. firstname.lastname@example.org
Pearl of Beauty salon owner Amber Clayton was working on clients full time and struggling to grow her business when she joined Worldwide Salon Marketing in February 2014.
Now, little more than a year later, she has four full-time staff and is completely ‘off the tools’, spending her time training and mentoring staff, and most importantly, marketing the business to keep them busy.