November 2009

Elizabeth Brown

Three Months of Marketing | Elizabeth Kraus

 

Remodeling Your Marketing Plan

When it comes to remodeling, physically renovating your space, even simply repainting can be expensive.

But remodeling your marketing program to support 2010 goals for retail sales, service promotions, client attraction and retention can be done at little cost and return big revenues.

Begin to think about your marketing strategies in the same way that you rearrange, remodel and renovate your salon environment to meet stylist and client needs, prepare for new services and make room for retail changes. Tailor your marketing strategy to suit your strengths and your interests and the things that you most love to do, just as you would remodel and redecorate your salon to support these things.

Many people think of externals when it comes to marketing: advertising, promotions, postcards, emails, flyers, and coupons, etc. But remodeling is primarily inward-looking, and you should always look inward first when it comes to marketing, because marketing begins – and ends – with your brand.

No advertising, promotional, incentive, reward or other initiative can go beyond the strength of your brand in the long run. Before you start knocking down walls or putting in new marketing “fixtures,” take a good hard look at your current brand features.

Examine what you see when you take an honest look at what makes your brand strong (or weak) but also examine what your clients see when they look at your salon. What do you love the most about your job or your salon? What are your strengths? What do your clients love most about you? What do they take time to compliment? Which services and products have the strongest followings and which have the most heartwarming stories? Which of your staff members have cultivated the most loyal clients, and why?

Before you remodel marketing for the coming year, know what you don’t want to lose. Identify the strengths that you want to accentuate and the details about your business that you most want to stand out – and then gear your remodeling plan to make the most of those things.

As you launch into your marketing remodel, you need to know what your end result should look like. If your top priority for 2010 is client attraction, then your ‘remodeled’ plan should be highly focused on events and outreach activities designed to draw new clients in. If your goal is increased retail sales, then your marketing plan needs to reflect aggressive strategies for educating and promoting retail products.

If you have a revolving door and want to increase client retention, then your marketing efforts need to be focused on what needs to change after the client walks in the door, rather than simply attracting more clients. And no matter what your top priorities are for the coming year and how obvious you think the problems are, you can’t assume that staff will be on board. Your marketing remodeling plan needs to provide clear training, motivational, incentive and accountability plans for all employees.

As you construct your 2010 remodeled marketing plan, remember to be aware of external factors and constraints. What are local conditions like, and what are local conditions like for your major client demographic groups? Where is business growing? Who are the major employers you could reach out to with ‘group’ promotions? Are there businesses new to your community who you could pool resources and ideas with to create client-attraction events? Is now the time for you to take a leadership role in developing a “shop local” initiative in your community?

And finally, you wouldn’t renovate your salon and put 20-year-old equipment, fixtures and tools in it and you certainly wouldn’t use 20-year-old irons and dryers on clients and expect great results. The point being that you can employ ‘the latest’ techniques in your marketing plan to reach your goals (again, at little to no cost).

The world wide web is now much bigger than your website and maybe some emails to clients. The web is now filled with niche communities and tools where you can build community online (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and more). You can create a following, keep customers apprised of salon news, staff and client spotlight news, promote charitable causes, events in the salon, offer coupons and time-limited offers and so much more. A computer, an internet connection, and a few minutes a day is all it takes to keep in touch with your communities online – compare that with the ‘antiquated’ and more costly practices like phoning or mailing invitations!

Approach your 2010 marketing plan with the same techniques that you would a remodel, renovation or redecoration – focused on building your business beautifully in the coming year.

Elizabeth Kraus is the founder of Be InPulse Marketing and Design in Auburn, Washington and the author of 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa. Email the author at elizabeth@12monthsofmarketing.net.