Man oh man! There is a lot of confusion out there in the salon/spa world about marketing. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you’re confused; however if your marketing isn’t focused on at least one of what I call, “THE BIG THREE,” then I recommend you put your marketing to the test.
Why am I saying this? If your marketing is not focused on three things, it isn’t working for you, and that’s a shame. You work too hard for your money to invest it in fluff. You don’t need me to tell you this. However, sometimes you need to hear it from a third party because you may not be able to see the forest from the trees. To have marketing that’s not working hard or pulling its weight is a waste. Moreover, who has money, time, and energy to burn? I haven’t run across anyone like that lately. Have you? You may know this already since you are a savvy owner. However, I’ll say it anyway. Sometimes we have to get back in touch with the basics. So here it is: In business (whether it’s the salon/spa business or not) nothing happens until you get a client or customer. Without them, your business has little value. If this is true (and it is), why don’t most owners and managers focus on THE BIG THREE? Why do so many of them spend so much of their time, money, energy, and attention in areas that have little to do with attracting (and re-attracting) clients? OK, maybe they are working on their marketing. But if they are working on their marketing, (which one of my mentors, Eben Pegan, calls “the science of getting prospects and turning them into profitable customers”), why are they still in the red rather than in the black? So exactly what type of marketing bleeds businesses to death rather than drops dollars into their bank accounts? The type most people in advertising and marketing try to sell you. I call it “vanity plate” marketing. What’s vanity plate marketing? It’s the same old type of marketing most salons/spa owners are talked into. Who talks them into it? It’s those silver-tongued sales people, of course. I only wish the marketing
they sold were as silver-tongued as they are. Whether they are selling you on-line or off-line marketing, they will tell you that you need to get your name out there. You need to build an image or brand. Why? Because without an that your business is nothing. It has no value…blah, blah, blah. When you ask them how to do that, they tell you that it’s through image, advertising and publicity. They will throw a bunch of numbers around and probably some slick Power Point presentation. They might tell you all about frequency and size of the ad; about reaching X number of households, etc. You know what I’m talking about, all that fancy stuff. Now to be fair, image, or branding activities indeed may enhance your image. Sure it may give you some recognition, but it doesn’t call for a client response. In addition, they fall short in getting people to respond; to bringing people into your doors. What’s the use of putting money, time, and energy into something when it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do? So what are your marketing activities supposed to do? They are supposed to do one of three things.
- Help your target identify or clarify their need for your service or product (so they’ll buy).
- Help them become more knowledgeable about your offering (so they’ll be clients who return again).
- Get them inspired by your service (so they’ll send others to you).
These are the BIG THREE. Pretty simple isn’t it? Therefore, what you’ll want to do is this. You’ll want to put your marketing to the test. Simply ask, “does this piece of marketing do one or more of the BIG THREE?” If the answer is “Yes” then proceed with it. If not, then dump it and try something that meets the criteria.
8 key ingredients to work through any challenging environment
Are you set for competing in an a challenging small business environment that’s filled with new, tough, smart competition, and is
becoming increasingly complex due to rules and regulations? Can you and your salon/spa hold up to the demands of today’s clients and employees? Here are eight key tactics that will help you prosper!
- Define your strategic objective Create the vision of your business, as it must be for you to live the way you want to live and fulfill your personal mission. Remember, your business must serve you in the fulfillment of that mission. This strategic objective will help keep you and your team focused in 2006.
- Define the results you want When things are tough, the tough get going. The fundamental questions don’t change; however, your intensity of focus must increase. You need to clearly define your expected results to keep you on track.
- Engage in strategic work There’s no getting around it, you must get results through others. In a tough business environment it’s critical you do strategic work.
- Systems and more systems Establish systems for every area of your business. Especially important are your financial systems. They’ll enable you to make intelligent decisions about cash flow and avoid stupid expenditures.
- Measure everything Make sure you know the exact quantified impact of every system, process, innovation, and marketing plan. How many clients do you need to get to cover the cost of this marketing initiative? Is every product or service contributing to the income of the company?
- Marketing, Marketing, and more Marketing Make sure you know who your clients are. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients and ask yourself how they see your salon/spa. How can you
effectively communicate with your clients on a daily basis? How can you effectively reach more of your target?
- Operations Remove or find ways to get around any barriers that prevent your clients from getting what they need. Always keep your promises to your clients in the most cost effective way you can.
- Leadership As the owner your leadership is critical. Consider what you can do as an owner to amplify the vision of your company in the eyes of your employees. Hold frequent, well-structured, regularly-scheduled salon/spa meetings for creating a stable, consistent work environment.
You are in a very challenging business environment, so keep you eyes wide open and always seek the truth. Think with clarity and purpose and make the adjustments you have to make.
“The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” —anonymous—
Sometimes we make things way too complicated. You know I’m not suggesting it’s a breeze to run a salon/spa because we both know it’s not. However, when it comes to marketing results, most salons/spas are not getting the new clients the marketing efforts are designed to get. Why? Could it be that our marketing strategy is out of alignment with where our customers are really coming from? Doesn’t it go without saying that until we know exactly where and why people are coming to us, we won’t be able to focus our marketing. Without a laser focus, we both spend too much of our precious resources, namely time, money, and energy in all the wrong places. What’s the best, easiest, and simplest way to align our salon/ spa’s marketing to produce optimum results? Follow these three steps to get your business to soar higher than ever. Step 1: Just Ask! Ask your clients the “Million Dollar Question.” Simple isn’t it? Want
to learn how most of your clients have learned about your business and what motivated them to come to you? Simply ask them, “What compelled you to come to us the first time.” By asking this question you’ll discover the pathway that brought them to your door. Plus, there’s an additional benefit to doing this. They’ll feel special that you asked them. After all, everyone wants to feel special. Step 2: Be a “marketing Sherlock Holmes.” Look carefully at the answers. Write down all the responses to your question (you may want to have the clients fill out a simple questionnaire). Evaluate the answers. Are there some recurring themes? Did some people pop in because they were clients of the dry-cleaner next door? Did they learn about the salon because a friend told them? If it’s a regular client, what specific things remind them to come back? I’m sure you’ll discover the power of referrals. It could be that 80-90% of your clients come to you from referrals. Then take a moment and ask yourself this. What system do you have in place to actively stimulate referrals? Truth be told, less than 20% of salons have referral systems in place. So just imagine the possibilities. For now, let’s not jump the gun and assume anything. Just follow the bouncing ball and go through the exercise step-by-step. Step 3: Focus your marketing efforts to soar higher than ever. If you find that majority of your business is coming from places other than where you are spending your money, time, effort and energy, redirect your marketing. You want to put the resources where you get the “biggest bang for the buck.” If people are coming to you because of direct marketing, then take the money you may be spending in local newspaper advertising and put it into your direct marketing. Concentrate your resources so you’ll maximize your level of marketing effectiveness.