Unless you are one of those rare individuals who likes working with numbers, you've probably been avoiding writing your salon marketing plan.
This is one of the less-glamorous sides of running a salon business.
Managing the day to day running of your business and keeping to the financial plan of a salon don't always go together. Keeping track of your bookings, which services to provide, which products to use and if your pricing is set right is paramount to knowing if you're doing well.
So creating your salon marketing plan should be one of your top priorities.
it enables you to focus on delivering your salon's strategy.
Of course, to be successful in business today, and stay ahead of your competitors tomorrow, you also need to be a whiz at marketing.
But salon marketing goes way beyond placing an ad in the local paper (which isn't effective these days) and writing a short salesy post on Facebook.
In fact, what you need to manage the bombardment of all these apparent add-ons to paperwork is a salon marketing plan.
You might ask yourself: what is a marketing plan and what is the purpose of a marketing plan for your salon?
And, actually, how do you create a marketing plan?
Firstly, don't freak out.
Building a salon marketing plan to support and grow your salon business hopes and dreams isn't rocket science. But it's true that you need a good salon marketing plan to make your business the best it can be. And, importantly, to pay yourself a decent wage because you deserve it!
You deserve to be paid, don't you?
Depending on the size of your salon business, marketing plans can be as thick as a house brick or just several pages. If producing only a few pages scares you, don't worry. We've covered every aspect of developing your plan to make it easy for you.
Together with these 8 easy steps, you'll be in your marketing groove in no time at all.
You will also not need to look for a hair salon marketing plan pdf, as we'll also give you a free salon marketing plan template to make things easier.
Research is an essential stage of the planning process when you start thinking about a marketing plan, you might be bursting with ideas already.
But before you dive in (and drown in the details), you need to be organized.
Make sure you've got all the data you need to hand, such as your accounts, and any marketing ideas that have inspired you. You need to get in your creative space, so you'll benefit from a quiet area without any interruptions.
Now you're prepared, it's time to get down to business. Next, we're going to look at the key elements to include in your marketing plan adventure.
If this is the first time you've done this, bear in mind you can add or take away any parts of your marketing plan components later.
Don't feel intimidated by any salon marketing plan templates you've seen already.
A hair salon strategic marketing plan can seem complex, but they all follow a similar outline and share key elements. Big-sounding words are often used to make big business sound 'big', nothing more. It's the result that counts, not how well you write it.
As long as you and whoever else need to read it can, that's all that matters.
So, to get things moving, you'll need a marketing plan outline.
If you like, the next marketing plan steps can provide the titles (index) for your own marketing plan outline.
You might want to rename them to make the plan feel more personal and relevant to your salon business image. Plus, you'll be showing your plan to the key staff who help you manage everything.
Using a language style you can all relate to makes everyone feel more involved. When everyone's on the same page, things always run smoothly within a salon.
Ultimately, this means a more productive salon and better profits.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
This intuitive framework is a tried and tested means of identifying and resolving any challenges your salon business faces. A SWOT analysis for your salon highlights what you're doing right, so you can build on those strengths.
First, we'll look at what's going on in your salon. Internal factors you can control. If you're starting a hair salon business, you'll be hyped and raring to go - you probably haven't fallen into the 'same old routine'. No bad habits and no out-of-date processes.
But you could still be at a disadvantage.
To identify your strengths and weaknesses, look at things like:
Do you have a good team?
For example, you know one of your greatest strengths is your staff. You have recruited a talented team of creative and punctual individuals who are all a hit with your salon's clients. Delivering excellent customer service is never an issue.
Here you need to be honest with yourself. Nobody is brilliant at everything. And if you've been in the trade for sometime, chances are you've fallen out of fashion somewhere.
For example, you might think your salon looks great, when really it needs a refurbishment. Or maybe your lack of confidence with technology means your online marketing strategy is terrible.
When you analyze your threats and opportunities, you're evaluating the current market situation and trends. These are generally external factors you have little control over.
Understanding these paints the portrait of your business landscape. You'll be able to see how economic factors are helping or hindering your progress. Although these are external forces, it doesn't mean there's nothing you can do about them. What you can do is adapt.
To identify threats and opportunities, ask yourself questions like these:
Are there any current trends likely to cause you a problem?
For example, a competitor may have just launched a new beauty treatment. Their new eagerly- awaited product could make your current line look outdated. Or, there could be a change in legislation meaning views about a certain treatment have changed. Like those towards sunbeds did.
Other threats may include things like the popularity and convenience of mobile services, Or new salons opening close by and undercutting your prices.
Are there any current trends you can take advantage of?
Maybe a new office block is set to open nearby. You know hundreds of people will be relocating there for work. You also know that women like to pamper themselves after a hard day's work.
Other opportunities could be trends in organic products you source for a good price. Men taking more pride in their appearance means your barbering skills can be put to good use too.
Or, improvements in technology mean you can use software to accept online appointments and stock levels.
In short, knowing your hair salon target market and current trends, how they impact you, will help you adapt to any threats and opportunities.
Step two looked at the overall picture of your current situation.
How trends affect your salon right now? Marketing plan goals look into the future and what landscape you'd like to paint. What are your marketing plan objectives for your salon?
To help decide what objectives you want to achieve, you need to write a sentence describing them. To meet your goals, give yourself a target to hit.
For example, if you grew your salons's client base by 20% in the first two years, try for 10% more this year.
Other ideas might be to train your staff to cross-sell more products and services. Start a new product line; one with better margins. Or, you could start a trend of your own using a cost-effective product. Maybe offer a package to those men and women at the new office block nearby?
Now you've got a few ideas, list at least six goals and explain how you can reach them. They could read something like, 'Goal: increase men's services by 50% before the end of the financial year.
In this step we're going to look at the strategies you can use to make your salon a success. Don't be put off by the word strategy. It's just another complex-sounding word. A strategy is simply the way you go about things, your approach.
If you break down the different aspects of your business, the strategy areas to work on could look like this:
What do your prices say about your salon?
Too cheap might not attract the clientele you want for your image. Too expensive could mean you scare away locals; locals who will be loyal and help promote you. Here a strategy could be to offer services and products for all budgets. Most products have a low, mid and high-spec option.
Is there a service or product you can provide?
Maybe there's a space in a corner to set up a nail bar or add a colorful display. You want to see if there's any possibility to add something which could be profitable or attract new clients. Or, take away something that's not working and is losing you money.
Branding, especially in your line of work, is everything. However shallow it may be, looks count. What does your image say about you?
Is it good enough?
When businesses look at branding strategies, they basically want people to associate them with something.
Greenpeace save the planet. Prada make bags for rich people. McDonald's sell fast food; The Hilton posh rooms. Branding means when people see your salon's logo, they instantly associate it with what you do.
It's what makes you different from your competitors.
How do you market a new product? What promotional strategies do you use? Promotion is marketing in its rawest form, and today the avenues are many. Step 5 goes into this more in-depth.
Hopefully, now you understand what marketing strategies are and how to develop your own. Next, we'll look at how to link them all together.
If there was a treasure-trove full of precious stones, gold jewellery and thousands of priceless coins, what would you do?
You're told there's a van to carry everything, and that the treasure is free for the taking. You wouldn't take the gold and leave the rest, would you?
Exploiting all avenues is about using all the marketing resources you have available. Unfortunately, many salon owners fall back on one or two.
Facebook might be popular, but it's not the only way to promote your business.
What if Facebook finished (not likely for a long time), like many of its predecessors did.
Of course, drawing out an online marketing plan and a social media marketing plan is a great idea. But there's other avenues to include. Collectively, they will make for one hell of a marketing treasure-trove.
You know how advertisements appear online, on the radio and on TV, right? You might also see them on buses, trains and billboards. What advertisers know is that by repeating a message via different channels works.
They know when you're walking down the supermarket aisle and you need something specific, you'll reach for their brand.
Together with your branded image, linking every available promotional opportunity together is key.
Maybe your local radio will give you a shout out. Sure, use Facebook to promote a special offer and other services in your salon. But what about sending the message to your clients who don't have a Facebook account? For example, you could use email or SMS marketing to send promotional messages.
The Internet is a big van to move your treasure. Is your website up-to-date to date and works well on mobile devices?
Does your website rank well in search engines like Google? Are you using Instagram to promote your business, or contact other local businesses to offer your services?
The point here is that not all people are the same. Not everyone uses the Internet for everything. Some people don't even trust advertisers so only rely on word of mouth. When you've exploited all avenues, you've cast a wide net.
But remember, not all methods will work, you'll fine-tune what does.
Whatever your business marketing plan goals are, reaching most of them will involve money.
This might mean outright spending money, or it may involve allocating time to meet them. Without a solid financial plan, things can soon get out of control and fail. You've probably heard the phrase 'money pit'.
To manage your budget and resources properly, you need to allocate a budget for each marketing strategy. And don't forget to take advantage of what you can do for free (remember about training staff to cross-sell).
Remember, when you're planning your salons' finances, you are investing in your business.
How much you can allocate depends on how fast you want to grow your business. Ideally, you need to go for about 10% of your turnover. And if you're entering new area, add another 20% to your estimated marketing budget.
Some of you may only have limited marketing budgets so will need to take a more creative approach. In this case, you could delegate marketing tasks to each staff member to carry out in quiet periods. This way you're making the most of the time you pay them for.
Why not work with your team on coming up with some salon marketing ideas to drive footfall into your salon.
Depending which strategies you use, you need resources for things like: time spent on retraining. Money for advertisements in local papers. Radio time. Local business pages like The Yellow Pages. Buying new products, etc.
By now you should have an idea about what you need to do to get your business moving.
You will have identified problem areas and strengths you can build on. Together with your team, you should build a marketing calendar for your salon and all be excited about the changes you're going to make. You might even have decided on a brand new image. Whatever you've decided, you know that throughout the year there are opportunities.
From Christmas to Halloween and everything in between there are opportunities to increase sales. To keep track of everything and allow time to prepare for them needs planning. The best way to manage this is to use a marketing calendar. If events calendar sounds better, call it that.
Apart from the obvious occasions like Valentines day, there are lots of chances to to promote your salon. Every stationary shop pushes sales when a new school term starts. But have you thought about their teachers and other school staff? Everyone wants to look their best for first day back to school.
And then there's the gaps where nothing's happening. What do you do? Go on holiday? Go to the gym? By all means, take a well-deserved break, but gaps in the calendar offer a fantastic opportunity for you to create an event of your own. Throw a 'strawberry and sparkly' morning for those affluent retired ladies you see browsing the high street. Call it Pure Pampering or something they'll lap up.
Or, if you have a space on your salon scheduling software and want to reward customer loyalty, give them something for free. Throw a raffle. Cause people to talk about you, it's the oldest form of advertisement. Now, you should have lots of marketing ideas to build a solid market plan. Downloading a marketing calendar is like downloading your own personal PR. In fact, together with the inventory and appointment software, you should profit from every occasion just by doing this step.
As you can see, you're going to be busy over the coming months.
You'll probably need some kind of management plan to keep on top of everything. You'll need to monitor how various things are working, or not working. Then you'll need to take whatever action to keep it all running smoothly.
Ultimately, this will lead to a healthy balance sheet and you being the best in your business.
To help monitor performance, you can take advantage of this useful marketing plan pdf to add to your armoury of new salon marketing software. With the boring stuff out of the way, you can go be your usual happy, glamorous self. But before you strut off, we want to make sure you are fully prepared first.
With your marketing plan in place, you'll be looking at a bigger bright picture, one you've painted. You're probably high on ideas and feel ready to rule the world, eh? Well, now it's time for a reality check. Be revved up. Make your mark on the world. But keep your ego in-check. Don't fizz and then go flat. With lots to do you can soon burn out. Then you're no use to nobody. Like we said at the start, this is an ongoing process, you can add or take away elements that work or don't work. Soon, you'll have a streamlined strategy that almost runs itself.
Good luck and see you soon.
We wish you well in this exciting venture. The next year will allow enough time to action your marketing plan intentions. But if you've reached this point and you're struggling with creating yours, you can check out this marketing plan example for some more ideas. We also have a simple marketing plan template you can use to guide you through.
And if you love these ideas or have some other ideas that you've used in the past to promote your salon business, why not share it with the Belliata community in the comment section below. We would also be delighted to answer your questions, as well.
Key marketing skills: strategies, tools and techniques for marketing success