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Salon Marketing and Advertising


Marketing is a monumental business and without a solid and well thought out business plan, a personal business endeavor will likely fail; at the very least, there are gigantic profits to be lost. With over 250,000 salons operating in the United States, owners must find a way to market their business ingeniously in order to stay afloat in an over-saturated market.

Marketing has reached an all time high particularly with the Internet. Really it has become an art form within itself; chock full of rules and tried and true methods. Even if you haven't taken a marketing course, some of the rules of engagement in marketing have become second nature especially for business entrepreneurs.

Marketing and advertising for salons is a specific niche and requires creativity and ingenuity at the very least. Since so many other salons are competing in a small region, having a creative marketing plan is important. If the proper marketing and advertising campaign is launched, the likelihood of profits and clientele increasing are pretty good in comparison to those who do not utilize such campaigns.

One of the key elements to marketing is being aware of your audience (consumers). You must focus in on which consumers will be seeking the services you are offering. It was predicted that by the year 2010 there would be approximately 35 million teenagers in the U.S. alone that on average spent $80 per week on self contained items to include hygiene, cosmetics and hair care.[1] Suffice to say this is a tangible market waiting to be broken in to.

The next consumer market to be privy to are adult women ages 25-45; they are most likely to try new products, visit hair and stylist salons for inventive hair care measures and also have money to spend on said care. The older generations still have their place in the salon world, but are more likely to stick to routine trims and coloring. Of course there is also the growing male population who are turning to full service salons as well, and they will need their own marketing and advertising campaigns.

Once you have your demographics down and a solid product or service it is time to implement marketing and advertising strategies and here is where it can get elusive. There are so many marketing techniques and venues, figuring out which one is most cost effective and effective in general can be overwhelming. By focusing on which is which, and how your salon can most benefit from the myriad choices, this task may be less daunting. Here are the most utilized marketing types today:

Internet Marketing

The Internet is the go-to source for many people looking for salons and products right behind word of mouth. This is because this method is ideal to reach a large number of people at once and is one of the most cost effective marketing techniques. The U.S. Census Bureau states that over 60% of people are Internet savvy and the average household income is $50,000 or more. With just a little computer knowledge anyone can create and design a business website rather cheaply. If you have a few dollars to spare, hiring someone to design a world class website is a good idea. The website should be colorful, eye catching and easily navigated. Additionally, setting up your website as an SEO optimized site will guarantee that your business will be pounced upon for any consumer that may Google the same key words listed within your website. This will generate traffic and result hopefully in sales. The downside to Internet marketing is that you won't reach the population who are not computer savvy. Thus Internet marketing is a good option but shouldn't be the only one incorporated.

Along the same lines as Internet marketing, advertising your salon on social media websites is cost effective. A Facebook and LinkedIn account is free so this method can also reach a large number of people in a short amount of time. Facebook in particular has vamped up its viral abilities within the last year and business owners can now hyperlink their services to other services. Some of the other key functions are being able to link coupons and specials you may be running for current and potential clients to view, print, or download. They also offer Pay Per Click advertising. This will cost money for you but only when someone clicks on the ads you are projecting. This will take some mathematics to figure out if the cost per click and the potential new clientele will be worth it and also depends on the package you sign up for. For a cheaper route you can also participate in their "Like" program which entitles any visitor who "likes" your page to bonuses, coupons and discounts.[2]

Newspapers

Newspapers and fliers are not as obsolete as many think and they are still a fantastic and affordable way to market and advertise. While many have turned to the Internet for their news, much of the population still holds newspaper subscriptions. The cost of an ad depends upon things such as how long you want the ad to run, the size of the ad, the word count and whether there will be color in it, which will always cost a bit more.

For a small town newspaper the average cost runs anywhere from $38.00 to $200.00 for a daily ad of medium size to be run all week. Daily newspapers are the most expensive, but many also have options to only run the ad once per week in their 'special ad section.' Heavy hitters in the newspaper world such as the Wall Street Journal or Washington Post are much more because they reach a certain clientele and overall viewership. As of June 2012 a full page ad set to run in the Washington Post could cost a business owner approximately $100,000 and that's if they have the space available. This is not chump change, but you would reach a large population. However the end result should be that the cost of the ad is balanced by the new clientele you attract. Paying such a large sum to gain a few new clients is not smart business practice so weight out the numbers carefully.

Fliers

Fliers are a very affordable way to advertise particularly with all the amazing software now available for reasonable prices. In minutes even a less than savvy computer tech person can create bold and creative fliers for pennies. Then all it takes is your time and the flier will do the work for you. Many local businesses are more than happy to let you place fliers in their shops and city regulations for flier advertising are lax so putting them up anywhere and everywhere allows you to reach thousands of potential clients at once.

Radio and television ads

Radio and television ads are among the most expensive and will probably not be conducive for small or start up businesses. However, if you find that over time your success warrants, and you can afford an ad such as this, it is a great way to go. Radio and TV ads maximize your visibility and reach audiences of all ages. If you can manage to tie in your ad with a catchy jingle that will stick in consumer's heads for days that is even better. A month long single voice radio ad will cost about $20,000 and television ads are considerably more depending on which station runs them and at what time. For a small owner don't plan on anything running around Super Bowl time as that will cost in the millions! But the up side to this type of advertising is that you have a lot more control on the audience who will hear them. You can strategically place your ads at optimal times to reach just the targeted audience you are seeking and in vast numbers.

Groupon and other discount ventures

The jury is still out on sites like Groupon and Social Living. These sites will mass market your business so exposure is certain. The premise of sites like these is they partner with local businesses and services and offer those services at acute discount rates. So the consumer is excited to be getting a fantastic deal, however, your business profits are going to take a hit as well.

The idea of sites like these is to get new customers in the door and then hope they spend more than the value of the coupon they are using. You also want to make them a repeat customer so you can get your money back. The issue with these things is that a large percentage of users are already your customers who would normally pay full price. Epic fail. Couple that with groupon addicts (those are consumers that only use these types of coupons and never return) you have gained nothing and in fact have lost potential profits.[3] This type of advertising is strictly a math game and there is no way to project whether it is a good or bad venture until you try it and see the results in numbers.

The most successful marketed and advertised salons are those who have incorporated more than one campaign. Since you can't guarantee to reach every targeted market via one campaign, utilizing a mixture of cost effective methods is the best safe guard measure to ensure your business name is out there for people to hear and talk about.

And nothing will gain your business faithful customers like good business practices. Word of mouth is an invaluable tool when it comes to marketing and advertising and is the ultimate tool for cost effectiveness. It's free. Longevity within any business directly relies on customers repeating their amazing experiences to others. Providing excellent and relevant services at competitive prices is a surefire way to keep guests coming back for more.

Sources

[1] Industry Information Sheet - Beauty Salons
[2] How to Market Your Salon Using Facebook
[3] Doing the Math on a Groupon Deal
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