What comes to mind when you think about creating a marketing plan for your salon in Lawton? Do you have an idea of how best to market your salon and yourself, or do you break out in a cold sweat at the idea of “marketing” yourself and have no idea why you might even need to?
Whether you’re at one extreme or the other or somewhere in the middle, there’s no time like the present to work on your marketing plan. Whether you’re starting from scratch or fine-tuning a plan you’ve had for a while, implementing and using a marketing plan is essential. Without a marketing plan, you’re not growing your clientele or your business.
Every salon professional knows that clients come and go. Very few clients stay year after year, decade after decade. Therefore, if you’re not doing things to attract new clients, new business, new opportunities, you may see your business shrinking instead of growing. No one wants that!
When you’re first starting out, a marketing plan may seem like something that will require spreadsheets and graphs and money. Maybe you think about movies where a bunch of men and women in suits angrily shout at one another in a board meeting. But that’s not the case. We’re talking about a list of ideas, a calendar, and, most important, a marketing budget. Other than that, even marketing pros can’t agree on what’s really best. For example, some experienced marketing professionals will suggest dedicating a portion of your gross revenue every month or quarter to marketing; others think it’s okay to just do what feels right (up to a point). First things first: Figure out what your annual marketing efforts will cost and budget for them in the same way you budget for other expenses associated with running your mini salon suite in Lawton.
Tools You’ll Need to Create a Salon Marketing Plan
Put away the hammers and screwdriver (unless you’re one of those super-crafty HGTV types). Creating a marketing plan and a marketing budget doesn’t take much. If you’re comfortable with Excel or other spreadsheet technologies, go for it—otherwise, a notebook and a pen will do just fine. Whatever medium you choose, make a list of all your marketing ideas. Then, price them out, and sum up the costs. Look at the whole year first—most salons have busy seasons and slumps, so make sure to take that into account. Then you can break those activities and related costs into months, quarters, or whatever fits your needs best!
Auditing Your Salon Marketing Work
What are you already doing to market yourself? Don’t sell yourself short. If you’re a regular reader of the Salons de Beauté blog, you probably already have a social media following, based on our advice to promote your salon in Lawton via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and elsewhere. Those sites are free, sure, but promoted posts can really help your marketing—and those cost money. You have to factor in the economic impact of offering coupons or incentives, as well. List everything out, and estimate the costs. Did you get business cards? Put that down! Flyers? Mark down that receipt! And if you order several times a year, make sure that’s the number you put down at the bottom of your “annual costs” column. Software, subscriptions, consulting fees… heck, did you get t-shirts printed? What about the art on the T-shirt that you commissioned from your artist friend?
Maybe you don’t think you have a plan, but you’ve definitely done things to promote your business. Don’t sell yourself short—just document it all and make it into a plan. You’ll never know what your efforts are costing you in money (or time) until you’ve written it all down!
Identify Your Salon Marketing Goals
So often we only think about what customers want from a salon—but what does your salon want in terms of customers? Is your clientele what you wish it was, in terms of demographic? Keep that in mind as you target your audience via marketing. Do you want to serve hip, trendy women or older men, with a focus on veterans? Do you like doing cuts and colors? Do you like selling salon products? If you’re a different sort of pro, what sorts of mani/pedis do you like giving? What sorts of massages? Attracting your ideal clientele should be the point of your marketing. And trust your gut: If you know your future salon prospects will be online, on Facebook or Twitter, well, focus your efforts there! If you think it’d be better to put an ad in the newspaper, then maybe that should be your focus.
Define Your Salon Marketing Reach… And Then Reach Further
So you’re reaching out to the channels you think will be most effective for attracting your most desired clientele using what you have available to you. Great! But if you want to extend that reach, look at what you’re not doing. Can you do a little more? If you’re on Facebook, should you be using Twitter, too? If you’re on Pinterest, have you considered Instagram? What about other online resources, such as pay-per-click ads or a blog that uses targeted keywords to attract local clients? And look beyond the internet: What about local newspapers, industry periodicals, or media mail? A newsletter could also bring in new customers—you never know until you try!
Great job! You’ve come up with a list and a budget. Now you can move on to creating a calendar of marketing efforts for yourself! If that sounds too easy, that’s because it is easy. Look at everything you want to do and spread it out across the year. Prioritize based on cost and your estimated effectiveness of the campaign. (For example, shirts are swell and may sell great, but that’s a lot of money to put into a marketing item that may not provide a return on your investment. But this calendar can help you in other ways, too. You can use it to track costs as well as successes and failures! That way, you’ll be prepared when it comes time to make next year’s budget!