October 2008

Shannon Wells

Beauty Business Buzz | by Shannon Wells

 

The Who, What, When, Where and Why of Advertising

Advertising… any successful business owner knows there is no surviving without it.

Only a few know the true secret to successful advertising, the kind that gets the results intended without paying into a bottomless pit. From where to advertise to how much to spend, let’s take a look at some of the keys to success when creating an advertising plan and what you need to know to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your advertising buck.

The Who: The first thing to determine is exactly who your ideal audience is. Many companies have an idea of who their ideal client is, but you’d be surprised at how many companies do not.

When determining your ideal client, you need to be specific. Age, type of occupation, income level, location, even gender are all important characteristics to nail down. If you aren’t aiming to bring in a certain type of client then you are missing a great opportunity to tailor your message, your efforts and eventually your results. Determining a list of attributes that fit your ideal client will give you great insight into how best to reach them.

The What: Many people are lost on the concept of advertising. I’ve seen many salons and spas dump random amounts of money into various forms of advertising hoping for results, and then repeat the same thing the next year, never knowing the actual outcome of their advertising dollar.

According to Michelle Bautista, business advisor for Your Beauty Network, a great place to start is to allocate a specific percentage of your budget to advertising. “We recommend businesses use 1.5 percent of their total service sales towards advertising.” This recommendation provides a specific number to use for advertising rather than throwing endless funds at this area of your business.

Measuring your results is also imperative to managing your advertising dollars. Bautista adds, “A great way to manage and measure your results is to make sure your return on investment is at least three times the amount you spent on the advertising in the first place.” Use these tips to measure what you need to be spending on advertising.

The When: Deciding when to start your advertising campaign depends on what you want to accomplish. Are you announcing something new? Are you attempting to win new clients or send a message to existing clients? Are you announcing a time-based promotion? Traditionally it takes two to three months to penetrate a market. Plan your advertising accordingly so you get the word out in advance of when you want to see the results. If you have a product launch or a holiday special, you want to get the word out a couple of months in advance.

The Where: There are so many options and mediums in which to advertise your business today. Television, radio, billboards, magazines, yellow pages and even the internet are some of the most common methods used and can be very successful if there is some strategy to which ones you select.

Your best choice of advertising medium goes back to who your audience is. Which of these items is your ideal client most likely to use? Where is the client located and which of the mediums will reach them there?

For example, if your ideal client is a business executive, radio ads running during traditional work hours will not likely be heard by your ideal client. Make a list of the likely habits of your ideal client and it will dictate which mediums you should select as well as the specific genres of the medium. Attracting moms as your ideal client, for instance, may dictate you advertise in local kid’s activities publications.

The Why: Advertising really is a matter of necessity. It is essential to getting the word out, generating interest, reaching new clients and portraying a positive image of your business.

Understanding what you want to accomplish with your advertising and creating a planned and measurable budget is essential in ensuring advertising success. Determining your ideal clients and then going to where they already are to spread your message is an effective way to make sure your message is getting to the right people. Make your plan to find out the best fit for your business!

Shannon Wells is the Marketing Manager of Your Beauty Network, a beauty industry ongoing business support service. It offers a membership based business support resource used by over 700 salon and spa owners. For more information, visit www.ybn.com, call 866-364-4926 or e-mail shannon@ybn.com.