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10 Steps to Marketing Excellence for Salon Owners

When it comes to marketing, salon owners we work with have much in common in terms of their experiences of marketing.

Have you ever thought the following (maybe even silently in your head…)?

  • Where do I start?
  • The whole thing is a bit overwhelming!
  • Is this going to cost a fortune?
  • How do I know what’s right for my business?
  • I don’t have that much time.
  • I work hard, but sometimes don’t see the benefits.
  • I start off organised but get distracted.
  • Marketing is changing all the time!
  • How does it even work?
  • Why do I feel like I’m never really achieving much with it?
  • I’m so busy working in my business that I’m too tired to work on developing my business!
  • I don’t want to ignore marketing; I don’t want my business to be left behind.
  • Can it be made any easier?
  • I’ve never really done this before; I don’t feel confident enough.
  • How do I keep on top of everything?

These are all perfectly normal responses for self-employed salon owners. Running a Hair & Beauty business is rewarding, but also demanding. Carving out the time and headspace to put all this amazing marketing work together can seem like an impossible task, full of stress and anxiety.

Don’t worry! Let’s break it down. We love to work with business owners on a marketing model that keeps things simple. It has to relate directly to you and your business and it must deliver results. Otherwise, why invest the time and the money? By following this established path your marketing can work for you, your family and your business.

Follow these ten steps to make marketing your business simple and beneficial.

  1. Your Brand

Do you have a clear brand identity? By doing some review work you will understand, firstly, the power and the value of your brand and, secondly, what it means to you and your business. It is much more than the ‘look and feel’ of your logo. (Although that is important.) Think about your ‘brand values’. How personal are they? Why do clients love coming to you? How does your brand communicate your values, reputation, standards, experience, who you are and what makes you unique? It sounds quite complex when you read it on paper, but a deep-dive brand evaluation can be enjoyable and liberating as you work through your story, hopes and dreams. Building your brand will help you use appropriate imagery, graphics, fonts and design to communicate confidently and consistently to your clients.

  1. Your Business Goals

Firstly, we have different reasons for starting out in business, so it stands to reason that we will have different goals. Your goals should be 100% specific to you and your salon. There is no right or wrong here. However, we are all here to earn a living. Otherwise, we are not a sustainable business…we are hobbying. However, sometimes we are not sure if our businesses are profitable, so doing a review on income and costs is a great way to achieve clarity. Ultimately, your goals are your own, so whether it is growing sales, building profits, extending salon space, reaching new locations, expanding teams or working fewer hours, keep your goals focused and relevant. That’s the only way you can truly commit to them over the long term. Once established, your marketing should serve your business goals.

  1. Your Competitive Space

We tend to not enjoy thinking too much about competition. It can make us feel uncomfortable. As businesses we all operate in a competitive space and it’s healthy to understand what your competitors do. This is not about being underhand, but about understanding where your business fits in terms of its offerings within your industry. So keep an eye on what other businesses are doing and use it as an opportunity to review your own services, marketing and future opportunities. Very often, there are amazing collaborative opportunities out there, so keep an open mind: great things can happen when like-minded businesses work together for the greater good of their salons!

  1. Your Business Offering

Seems like quite an obvious statement, but to really produce top quality marketing you must be clear on what it is your salon does and what you are looking to promote. Try to be specific about the products and services you are looking to offer to your clients through your marketing activity. Don’t throw everything out there with every piece of marketing you do! It can confuse and overwhelm your clients. Likewise, ensure you are providing them with enough information to want to find out more and take action. Don’t hide away and be shy about your great ideas, products and services.  Your clients love to hear what’s going on, what’s on offer, what’s coming up. It is all about being organised with this information, segmenting it into manageable pieces of content and deciding how and when during the year you will promote it. It can be done in a non-stressful way!

  1. Your Client’s Journey

All clients go on a journey with your business, from the place of never having heard of you to being aware of you to finding out more, researching, making decisions, taking action and finally giving you feedback and sharing their experience. We can break this client journey down and link it to different areas of your marketing activity. This helps you aim the right information to different clients who are at different stages of their journey with you. By approaching this in a logical and managed way, you can have your marketing organised, so it consistently promotes your brand at each stage. No more stress or overwhelm for you! It’s all about getting great results for your business.

  1. Your Target Client

When we think about our clients, we should know who comes regularly, who comes occasionally, what type of services they want and what they like or value about us and our business. Where we can do some deeper work is thinking about what characteristics groups of clients have in common. This could be demographics, lifestyle, needs and wants, expectations, future trends and experiences that may interest them in purchasing. Do all clients value our services and are there more client experiences we could be offering different groups? By building this picture it helps us see where the marketing goals and opportunities are for our businesses. It helps us effectively communicate the right information to the right people at the right time.

  1. Your Digital Platforms

There are so many! Where do we start? How do we focus? In reality, most of us will have two, maybe three, digital platforms that we regularly employ. But don’t worry if its just one! The important thing is understanding why you use that platform? Are your ideal clients on it regularly? Is it set up in a way to easily get your marketing out there? There’s always time and space to learn about new platforms and see whether they have potential to help you reach more or new clients. But don’t allow yourself to become stretched too thin across different channels. By focusing on one or two as you nail your marketing plan, you will grown confident about what your clients and audience like to see and hear from you. This will in turn allow you to reach out through other channels over time. So small steps lead to great achievements!

  1. Your Content

This is often the area where many of us get stuck. Aside from the obvious ‘call-to-action’ type content, what do we talk about regularly in our marketing? Why would people want to read about what’s happening behind the scenes? Let’s go back to basics. If a client walks in to your salon, how does the conversation go? What do you talk about? How do you make them feel relaxed and at ease? You definitely won’t be going straight in to ‘sales mode’ and this rule of thumb to content creation too. Your particular type of conversation, language, stories, news, help and advice, and how you react to client conversations is exactly what you should be communicating in your online and marketing content. People want to know that they are dealing with the real people behind the business. Following templates or content planners can be a good place to start, but it is so important that your content is genuine to you and your business. This is what will create vibrancy and depth to your content and will in turn build trust and relationship with the people at whom you are aiming your marketing. As humans, we consume content and take purchasing action from a place of emotion backed up by fact and logic, so remember your voice. Don’t fall in with the crowd; be unique!

  1. Your Analytics

Wow, that sounds really boring and complicated. Why would I go there? What am I reading? What does it mean for me and my business? What if the data tells me stuff that I don’t want to hear?! These are valid reactions, however most of your digital marketing platforms will have a wealth of information and data about your marketing activity and your clients’ interaction with your business.  If you can get into the habit of looking at this information regularly you will find it helpful and actually quite interesting! It’s really powerful to have this research at your fingertips, and best of all, it is usually there for free. Okay, it costs you some time to sit down and understand what the data and figures are telling you, but once you start to see patterns and trends, you will find that it motivating to check how well a Facebook post has done, or what people have reacted to on Instagram. It is real life and 100% specific for your business, and it’s going to help you over time make decisions for your business with confidence. So check those stats!

  1. Your Support Network

We speak about this a lot, as it’s something close to our hearts and we believe an essential part of running a salon. It is so easy to feel isolated, and that often leads to stress, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. This is when marketing can take a back seat as you, as business owner, focuses on keeping the business running, everyone else happy and getting through all the work that needs to be done. By having some trusted folk around – to whom you can open up about your ideas, dreams and marketing plans – you will find the energy and encouragement you need to push through harder periods. People in your support network can help you stay accountable too. If you say you are going to run an event or an advertising campaign next month, tell them so they can support you and even keep you on track. It’s often the case that we let our marketing tasks slip down the ‘To Do’ list as other bigger demands creep up. You have that ‘yet again’ feeling: ‘One day I’ll get the website updated!’ A buddy or network of trusted people can give you focus and help you prioritise your marketing actions so that step-by-step you make progress. We believe a series of ‘small wins’ helps salon owners build confidence and motivation to keep going, try new things, push their businesses out there and, ultimately, achieve their goals!

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