FIRST STEPS IN BUILDING YOUR SALON’S MARKETING PLAN
Do NOT neglect marketing! As amazing as it is to have the convenience of relying fully on your talent and word of mouth, think of what separates the good stylists from the great ones. In this day and age it isn’t just talent. It is about who goes that extra step by putting themselves out there.
Now don’t get me wrong, talent and skill are necessary to thrive but how will you reach new people? How will they know you are there? If you already have a busy schedule (what I like to call ‘warm seat’—since your styling chair is always occupied) then that is GREAT! Although client retention is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your business, it is not enough if you wish to grow your business. Think of your position as ever growing and ever evolving. Are you giving the same cuts and styles you were ten years ago? I doubt it. Thus, start with a plan, put yourself out there, and get your marketing on!
In marketing there are the basics and then there are the bells & whistles, or the extra effort you can put in to take things a step further. As a stylist, you yourself are a brand so use that to your advantage. Make a plan, set goals, execute them, and don’t give up! Consistency and follow-through are just as important as your ideas. It’s all about baby steps. Think of what it feels like to grow out your bangs or your hair. Have you ever chopped your hair off and immediately missed your long locks? Your hair won’t be gone forever—it will grow. Patience is key. The same goes for marketing yourself as a stylist and/or for marketing your salon. You just need a starting point.
Let’s start with the basics…
1. HAVE A PLAN
“If you don’t know where you’re going you’ll end up someplace else” -Yogi Berra
By this I don’t mean build your entire marketing plan in one sitting. I just mean think of an overall summary of yourself, your business, and what your goals are. What do you want and why? Once you identify this, the next steps will help you pave the way to get there. Get ready to brainstorm!
2. IDENTIFY YOUR MARKET OR IDEAL CLIENTELE
Who do you want in your chair? Why? What are these clients like? Later you can start brainstorming ideas of how you can appeal to them.
3. IDENTIFY STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES (and steps to improve)
Do a SWOT Analysis of your salon. Read Here for information on what a SWOT analysis is and how to do it.
4. IDENTIFY AND CREATE YOUR BRAND
A solid brand is so much more than just a logo and color scheme. It is your business’ personality. Check out this awesome article on why branding is so important in marketing.
Building a compelling brand and brand experience will drive client loyalty. By using all of the things you brainstormed and identified in steps 1-3, you should be able to determine the kind of brand you want to be and the brand experience you want to offer.
Remember, it is great to be specific, but don’t hinder yourself either. That’s the tricky part! For example, if you define your salon’s brand as providing the best cuts and styles for women with curly hair, you would be closing yourself off from clients seeking your services who don’t have curly hair and who aren’t women. Don’t limit yourself to one specific style or demographic with a tightly constrained brand. If you do want to be identified within a small niche market, for example the trending Blow Dry Bar, just be sure to do it consciously so that you have enough to work with and are able to grow and evolve.
MINI RANT! Although they have been uber successful in recent years, offering just blow outs strictly from a business and marketing standpoint makes no sense. I hope for the business owners’ sake, it isn’t just a quick-growing trend that will fade as quickly as it began. Blow Dry bars have a lot of lost and missed opportunity by not offering other services. Instead, why not be a full service salon that specializes in blow outs? Remember, be careful not to define the brand too strictly. You want to have enough wiggle room to adapt and grow with the world around us. Remember: You want NETFLIX NOT BLOCKBUSTER
A good brand can reverse the ‘sales’ process. Instead of you having to do the legwork—clients will start identifying with and trusting you based on your distinguishable brand. Use your brand to generate trust.
Once you have these 4 steps outlined, then you can get to the fun stuff of bringing it to life with a more concrete road map. I say road map because it truly is a journey. Let’s get there together!
Keep watching this space for more marketing tips and steps on how to build the perfect marketing plan for your salon, spa, or barbershop.