Smart marketing based on research can generate leads, build brand awareness, and grow your business. If your marketing is based on luck or raw instincts then this will only waste money, opportunities, or both. As a stylist, salon owner or spa owner, setting up a yearly marketing plan with key budgets and ways to track results is truly not difficult.
The importance is not to throw programs to the wall and see what sticks. This is considered shotgun marketing and is costly and a purse waste of resource time and budget. Instead, you need to plan, and track marketing efforts so you can learn what works and then never move forward with those that doesn’t work. That way, you concentrate efforts on tactics that generate real results.
Tips on maximizing the return on your marketing budget:
Who is your client and how are they defined? This is your target audience.
First, evaluate your market (understand the demographics of those that live in the zip codes that should have a high propensity of sitting in your salon chair). Look at the recent census data for your zip codes, as this will give you awareness as to the income levels, age groups, and more. For a new salon, generally prior to a location being selected owners will research the location for this criterion as well as education levels, crime rate, and more. If you are going to market and build a high-end salon, putting it in an area of people that do not have the income levels to pay more than $75 a haircut will not work, the business needs to fit the location. Once your clients and prospects are defined, all marketing campaigns, content and the type of channel used needs to be segmented based on who these prospects/clients are.
Research Your Client
You will waste time and money by launching marketing efforts until you know the characteristics of your target client/prospect. Find out what they think about your salon, why they walk through your door and sit in your salon chair, and how they use your salon products at home. You especially want to know how customers want to hear from you — via Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, phone, or online Web sites — as well as how often. Don’t overlook research into how you can meet their needs better.
It is very easy to gain such insights in several ways. When talking to customers, ask them questions. Create simple surveys, questionnaires, and client satisfaction queries with return mail postcards or online forms. Offer a gift or benefit for their participation, like a coupon for discounted services or a gift that participants can claim. Many stylist and salon owners are surprised by the results.
What is the number of new clients needed to cover the cost of the marketing campaign? What number is needed to show a positive return on investment of the marketing campaign?
Every campaign should have its own budget, and defined the goals needed to break even or the goals needed to show a success. Expectations need to be set. Fill My Salon Chair has marketing plans, marketing budgets and other templates that can be utilized. Generally for a salon there are two goals: first, to obtain new clients, and secondly, keep them coming back every 6-7 weeks.
What is the call to action for the marketing campaign? How can prospects reach out to act on your campaign?
Can they schedule an appointment directly on your Facebook Fan Page? Directly on your Website? What happens when they call the salon phone number – can they leave a message? Are you welcoming the result after spending the money on the campaign? The campaign should have urgency – a date to respond by. Any online marketing campaigns can be changed and updated real-time which is what makes online marketing so attractive. Testing results and making changes is generally very easy – just a click away.
Once the campaign is complete – what was the result?
Take the time to compare the cost of proposed marketing against the profit you expect from it — not sales, mind you, but actual profit.
Monitor the range of client response throughout the process so you clearly understand what brought clients through your door, to your Facebook page or Web site. Did the client return to buy additional services, or did they move on? What would help to make them more loyal? What are your loyalty programs? Are you integrated on Foursquare? How are you engaging with your clients?
Look at the results, continue with the program or make course corrections.
By capturing data, updating results, and tracking your progress, you create increasingly integrated marketing reports, financial analysis, and client databases. As always if you need help Fill My Salon Chair experts are just a click away. By looking at these reports you can see what’s working — and what isn’t.
Don’t test once and stop. Keep refining your tactics and messages. Build up to larger, more proven marketing with low-cost, low-effort experiments.
- Create special coupons. Use different codes for various messages or offers. That way, you’ll know what attracts new clients or response.
- Get in touch with repeat customers. Find out what makes them come back.
- Reach out to clients who you haven’t seen in eight weeks – this should be done every month to keep top of mind. Survey or ask about the reason they haven’t been around.
What do your clients respond to? Do they check in with Foursquare, do they post that on Facebook and Twitter? Are you using Pinterest to engage?
Besides the fine-tuning of research and analysis there’s a very simple rule about whether or not your marketing is effective. If you’re spending more on marketing than the business it generates, stop doing it and create a new campaign.