Most salon/spa owners/managers are frustrated and disappointed when they advertise and promote their business.
Why? Because they’re tired of getting far too little results for their marketing efforts.
The problem is that that they have salon marketing fatigue. Fatigue caused repeating what they’ve done before hoping that this time things will improve or try something new, hoping that it’ll do “the trick”.
The way to cure this problem is digging down and finding it’s root cause.
So if your salon/spa’s performance is falling short of your expectations it’s the result of one of the following:
#1 You have the wrong mindset: Your thoughts and attitudes, plus the underlying
beliefs you say to yourself determine your outcomes. For information on mindsets I recommend the work of Byron Katie at www.thework.com
For example if you think it takes too much time, or is too expensive to do, then guess what? It will be. Your beliefs create your reality, so you’ll want to look at them, identify them, and work with a process to turn around those beliefs. You’ll want to question your limiting beliefs.
#2 You don’t know how to play the “game”: Like any game marketing has rules and parameters. It’s a process with a beginning, a middle end, and an end. Remember just like a game, you’ll also need a way to keep score.
#3 You don’t speak the “language”: No, this isn’t the technical stuff of the advertising world, it’s the way to use language. It’s about the syntax (the order in which ideas are communicated). You probably know marketing is about AIDA (gaining attention, creating interest, and desire, and getting the prospect to take action). The challenge is what you have to say to get AIDA. Robert Middleton, www.actionplanmarketing.com coined the phrase “marketing” syntax.
#4 You don’t have a powerful message: You haven’t used the syntax to develop the message. The purpose of your message is to get attention and interest, so people say, “Tell me more.”
#5 You don’t have the right currency: Currency is information about your services that your prospective clients are looking for. Use it to turn interest into commitment. Once you have their attention, they want to know more.
#6 You haven’t implemented the right tactics: Use more than one tactic to convert a person into a client. Approach them from more than one angle.
#7 You don’t have a marketing action plan: All of it must be written out. It’s your blueprint for marketing success. Remember, the act of putting it down on paper gets the ball rolling as nothing else can.
So to get and keep high quality clients realize your not in salon/spa business but in the business of marketing your salon/spa.
Here’s a quick tip for owners/managers who know how important it is to have an Action Plan, especially now in the rough seas of the recession.
number of Action Plans you work on to one or two per quarter. What’s an Action Plan? An Action Plan is the part of your overall One Page Marketing Plan. An Action Plan answers the question, “What is the work we have
to do to achieve the objective we want to reach?” So why limit your Action Plans? Limiting your Action Plans helps you to:
- Select more carefully, where you choose to put your resources, the benefit of which is you have your assets working harder for you.
- Have more focus. Focus is what you need to ensure you and your people keep your eyes on the prize, especially in turbulent times when your thoughts can wander all over the place. Focus grounds you on what’s really important and allows you to release the stuff that’s not.
- Increase the odds of success. My gosh, you don’t have to do all that much to be successful. It’s just choosing what to do and then doing it.
So you probably have a laundry list of things you want to put in place, so you can achieve your 2009 objectives. Imagine what would happen if you got eight of them done this year! How about four! Don’t know about you, but even four is a lot. BYW, if you haven’t put a plan in place and want to use a simple planning template, you can find out more here.
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.
It’s 2:30 am and your phone rings. You pick it up and the caller tells you your teenager has been in an accident and is in the hospital’s emergency room.
Without thinking, you throw on some clothes, go to the garage and jump into your car. Although you’re in a twilight zone, you instinctively glance down at the instrument panel. The gauge indicates that there is more than enough gas to get you to the hospital. Just as a car has a dash board panel with various key indicators, (fuel, oil, brakes), that tells you if everything is running properly, so does your salon/spa. What are key indicators? Key indicators are measurements (quantifications) of various aspects of your salon/spa; they tell you about the health of your business and it’s various parts. Generally key indicators are broken down into three major categories: strategic indicators, business indicators (financial and operational) and systems indicators. Let’s first take a look at the key strategic indicators. They are measurements showing you the progress your salon/spa is making towards its vision. For example, if you want your business to grow into a $2,000,000 salon/spa group with 2 locations and a 15% profit margin, then sales, profits, and number of locations are key indicators. Next are your key business indicators. The are the various measurements that tell the integrated story of your salon/spa (a point that too many salon, spa owners, and managers loose sight of). Your salon/spa’s operational indicators give you an objective view of what is happening in your business and how well or poorly it is being done. They include indicators of activity, productivity, efficiency, quality, and even subjective evaluations of intangible elements of your business. The top six salon/spa operational indicators are as follows: 1. Average Ticket The amount of
money a client spends on average during every visit. 2. New Clients per Month The number of new clients on average that come to your business every month. 3. Average Visits per Year The number of times on average that your customers visit your business each year. 4. New Client Retention The percentage of customers who return after their first visit. 5. Base Client Retention The ability to keep customers returning to your business from their second visit onward. 6. Gross Margin The amount of every sales dollar that is left over after direct expenses. The financial indicators tell you about the financial condition of the salon/spa. They are taken from your financial statements (your income statement [or p&l], your balance sheet, and your cash flow statement.) Finally,
your system indicators are measurements showing you the details of what is right and wrong with every system. So get into the habit of quantifying every aspect of your business and using the indicators to run your business. Why? Because the next time your banker calls, she will be telling you all about your business loan, the one that’s been approved.
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.