Monday, 5 October 2009

A Salon Refit - but the front door is closed...

A salon I know has just opened. Inside it is incredible, every single element from the workstations to the backwash to the reception area has been exclusively created by leading designers. The furniture too has been especially commissioned, so have the lighting fixtures. No design detail has been left untouched.

It all sounds great, but the salon has not been promoted in anyway. The front windows are covered up by shutters, there is no signage up above the salon. The front door is locked, again with a shutter down, clients have to go round the back to even access the salon .They have not notified the free directories, Yellow Pages, Thomson nor the online directories either. They have not spoken to the local press about the opening nor have they have not contacted their old clients from their old salon to say where they have moved to. They have not even spoken to the shops in their area to tell them they were opening a new salon.

It is pretty quiet inside...I am sure by now you have cottoned on to the fact this is not a real salon. I mean it would be crazy to go to all that expense and not properly promote and signpost people to the salon. But this is exactly what many small businesses do with their websites. They spend a small fortune on them, get them beautifully designed, but then do nothing to make it easy for people to find their website online. Every small business should promote their website as much as their business. It is a great way to attract new clients and grow your business, by offering online booking and a shop where clients and non-clients can buy products. Salon marketing and spa marketing must be about marketing the company and the website!

There are many, many different ways you can promote your website online, and many of them very low cost.

Online listings - Your salon will be listed in Yellow Pages Directories I am sure, your website needs to be listed in similar online directories (including such as, Touch Local Business Directory, Hot Frog and many more.

Search Engine Optimisation – Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the number of visits to your website. There are companies that specialise in this, and it can cost relatively little – and it will be money well spent!

Pay Per Click – this is a type of advertising online. I would only recommend this if you have online booking or you sell products online, so you can promote these services and generate extra revenue. Again there are many companies that offer this service and Search Engine Optimisation.
These are just three ways, there are dozens of other ways you can ensure people find your website online. With all these options there is only one option that you should ignore, and that is doing nothing...

Monday, 29 June 2009

Marketing is dead...

Marketing is dead, long live digital marketing. Perhaps I should elaborate, marketing per se is alive and kicking, but traditional marketing is dead. If salons and spas persist in solely using advertising, PR, direct marketing and other traditional activities the returns generated will deteriorate rapidly!

So what is the answer?

Incorporating Digital Marketing is the solution and arguably this is the most important element of any company’s marketing plan. Not using digital marketing is like having a hair salon and only providing cut and styles and not offering colour or treatments. Quite simply it ain’t gonna work!

So what is Digital Marketing and why is it is so important?

Digital marketing is promoting your salon and spa via the internet, mobile and other interactive channels. So much of digital marketing is web based. And the reason it is so important is unlike traditional methods of marketing is that it allows your clients to interact and communicate with you!

The core component of any digital marketing plan is the company website. Two things often happen when businesses build a website. Firstly the site is thrown together and then it never gets updated or secondly a website is built and the business then expect multitudes of people to visit and for it to generate the company lots of extra clients.

The good news a website can generate loads more clients and income. But for this to happen, several things must be in place. These include “optimising” your web site. This means when people type a relevant search into Google that relates to your business then your website should appear on the first page near the top! So for example if someone types “hair salon in Leeds” and your salon is in Leeds you need to make sure your website is up there! (This is relatively easy to do and this will be covered in the next blog!)

Websites need to be interactive, for example allowing clients to leave feedback can help your website generate more clients
79% of businesses surveyed, by eMarketer in 2007, reported
that the main benefit of consumer
generated rating and reviews was
that they improved site conversion rates.
There are many other ways you can make your website more interactive, for example online appointment booking can be critical in attracting new clients and retaining current clients as they can book an appointment when it’s convenient for them.

For example email newsletters, online surveys, text messaging and many other digital marketing tools can help boost your bottom line. But, how do you start doing all these things, especially if you are not a lover of technology? Well, don’t worry there is help out there, for example Shortcuts Set and Forget Marketing creates email newsletters, surveys, email and text messaging marketing they also have online booking for your website and Facebook fan page. So there are companies out there that can help you!

You’re the Expert!
Use your knowledge and expertise! Blogging is becoming a great way to communicate so why not use your knowledge and share it with others? You can set up a blog on Google in 5 minutes, and then link it to your web site. Blogs are a great way of boosting your profile and being seen as an expert in your chosen field this in turn leads on to all sorts of positives for your business.

Interactive is Important!

More and more people use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You may not be using them but many of your clients are! Incredibly there are about 10 million users of Facebook in the UK, which means one person in every six. So even it is not important to you I guarantee that it is very important to many of your clients.

Digital works...

This digital age is evolving all the time. After the recent elections and consequential troubles in Iran most western news agencies were banned from Iran so many of them started using Twitter to help them report on what was going on inside Iran, such is the emerging importance of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

So don’t carry on doing just the same old marketing...plan and implement some carefully chosen digital marketing that complements your current activities. This help you start interacting with your clients, and more importantly allows them to interact with you.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Benefit from Personalised Marketing...

I got two flyers through my door this week from local supermarkets. One was Tesco's the other was from one of it's well known competitors. They both looked similar, featuring special offers, and were glossy double sided flyers. Yet one was a brilliant piece of personalised marketing and the other was dire.

It may come as no surprise that the Tesco's was the brilliant peice of marketing. This was because it was personal to me. Firstly, it was addressed to Dear Adrian. Secondly, the majority of the products they were promoting were ones they know I buy regularly. And the products that I did not buy were linked to the ones that I do. They can see I buy dog food so they offered me an incentive on pet insurance.

The other one was made to look second rate. It started "Dear Customer" - now I checked and double-checked my birth certificate and there was no mention of Customer. But just Adrian and Mills - now they are not great, but better than customer, I am sure you agree! And the offers, well two of them were really special, a great deal on an umbrella and perfume. Great spring marketing to a male customer!

So if national supermarkets can't get personalised marketing right, why should salons and spas try and follow Tesco's example? Well, if you want to connect with your clients and only send them messages that are relevant then it is hugely important! Put this way, I'll be walking down Tesco's aisles this weekend!

Every client wants to think that you remember them! So your marketing needs to reflect this...and don't worry it is quite easy. There are solutions out there that help salons and spas personalise your marketing and make sure it reaches only the right clients at the right time, for example Shortcuts Set and Forget Marketing.

By using such tools to personalise your marketing you will create greater client loyalty and with it all the fringe benefits that come with it; such as increased average spend, more client referrals, greater visit frequency and so on.

So your marketing can be on a par with Tesco's, plus it will be more effective and professional than salons and spas you are competing with...after all every little helps!