By Grant Miller
The first, most important thing to understand about your marketing is, “Effective marketing is not a one-time event; it’s a well thought out, planned, ongoing system.”
I’d be extremely wealthy if I had a dollar for every time I heard a salon owner ask, “Hey, Mother’s Day is in three days, what should I do to promote it?” But unfortunately this is exactly how many business owners treat their marketing. It’s an afterthought and something that they know they need to do but just tend to put it off until later.
In order to give your marketing efforts a decent chance of being effective, the first step is to actually plan for it well in advance. With the salon owners that I consult with, we will, for example, talk the first or second week of January to plan for February.
Step number two is never rely on just one or two types of media. Far too often, I see salon owners using only one or two media because they want to use the one that is the easiest or cheapest. Well, being cheap and easy will most often give you lousy results.
I’ve always preached “diversity leads to stability.” The more ways you can effectively communicate your message, the more successful you will be. Everyone consumes information differently, so you need to touch all the bases.
Lastly there is step three. This is a big one, so pay close attention, since this is probably the most common problem I see.
There are only three reasons why your marketing fails: Wrong Media, Wrong Message or Wrong Market. That’s it. Because if you use the proper form of media talking to the perfect group of people with an amazing offer, your marketing will be extremely powerful.
What I normally hear is “I tried mailing out postcards, doing radio, TV, direct mail, Facebook, etc. and it just didn’t work.” So they immediately blame the media. Then I ask, “What was the offer, and what group of people did you send it to?”
Using radio, TV, billboards, Valpak, or mass direct mail to communicate with your existing customers is usually a bad use of that media. Those media are best used for finding new customers. The opposite is true for email, postcards, and letters (yes, paper and ink in the mail with a real stamp). Since you already know your current clients’ home address, phone number and email (you do know those, don’t you?), those are extremely effective ways to talk to your clients.
Facebook and other social media can work for both prospective and existing clients. You can send messages to people who already know and like you, or by using very specific targeting you can attract new clients, using a great offer of course.
Still the most common problem I encounter is usually the message or offer being sent to the client. They use radio or a postcard, and the offer was a whopping 10 percent off your next purchase of $50 or more. Oh wow, let me drop everything and rush in for that! I would say you need something much more compelling than that to get them to respond. How about a FREE month of luxury tanning with a premium lotion purchase, PLUS 50 percent off a spray tan and a $10 certificate for your next purchase to the first five people. That’s a better offer.
This is especially true when you are trying to get a new client. You really need to stand out and be willing to make a great offer, possibly even lose money on the first transaction in order to land that whale of a customer. If you know your average lifetime value of a client, it’s easy to figure out what you’re willing to spend to get one.