Salon & Spa business can be really tricky because you will be dealing with your customer’s looks. If you make them look great, Bingo! Bulls-eye, you are gonna have that customer revisit you and also word of mouth can work wonders. On the flip side, if you make your customer unhappy, every time they see themselves in the mirror they will rebuke you and which can dramatically decrease your brand value. So in this business, it’s all about experience, you sell “Feelings”.
No matter how good you are with your tools in hand to make someone look great, your Marketing tools also have to do the trick to remain competitive in this digital world. You may have a fancy store with well-lit rooms, a grand entrance with a warm receptionist right at the front desk smiling at the customers and you provide the best service to your customers. This was more than enough had it been a decade ago but now it only does 50% of your job.
Customers find solutions to their needs with a tap of a finger using Google, so if it suggests your competitor you lose your customer. Any business missing out on the digital space today has a very low chance of survival. Salon & spa industry is huge and the profits made from it can also be huge if done efficiently. With pandemic, we all know that digital presence is imperative more than just necessary. So here we are to help you with some of the marketing strategies that need to be implemented to stay at the top of your game.
Current situation of the business
Assessing your current situation is very important because that will help you give a clear picture of supply and demand at present. For instance, as a Salon owner, you wish to put forth some marketing strategies in place like setting up a website, creating social media pages, paid advertising, etc. Knowing your present status will help you understand how much more time and money you have to invest in each of these tools. Let’s say most of your customers belong to the age group of 14-38, for this group you may concentrate more on Instagram than spending money on Facebook.
If your customer feedback reports say 5 stars but you only have a handful of customers then increase your demand by promoting more with the appropriate digital marketing strategies. On the other hand, you are spending a lot of money but the customer feedback report says 3.5 stars then improve your quality of supply which is the “experience” in this case. Analyzing your current situation will help you segregate your budget accordingly and also in creating short and long-term goals for your business.
Competitor analysis will help you understand where you stand in the market and will help you know your potential opportunities where you can out-perform. This will make your job much easier because you have an example already in front of you. Look at what they are doing right and what you think is going wrong for them and just try to replicate those ideas as Do’s and Don’ts.
The review section of your competitor can give you a lot of information. In all conscience, you should always remember that you are sticking to your own USP – Unique Selling Proposition which we have discussed below. Your brand must resonate with your value, services and not that of your competitor’s. If you want to do a competitor analysis, you may find several templates here for free.
Buyer Persona: Target audience – Who | Where they are | What they need | Why they buy
Buyer Persona is a Semi-fictional creation of an ideal customer for any business. You put together all the traits, demography, experience, and response of your target segment to create a profile that will give a clear picture of what’s expected from your customers and you cater them exactly the same.
In the case of a Salon and Spa business, you may first answer the 4 questions, Who? Where they are? What do they need? And Why they buy?
Who – Everyone needs a Salon service, kids with the pompadour haircut to oldies with the classic side part haircut. In this case, it solely depends on the age group that you mostly serve, and the gender that brings you the most profit. With this you will have the answer to the question – Who?
Where are they? – Salon & spa mostly caters to the areas in and around you within a radius of 7km in case of cities and would vary in rural regions. If customers end up liking your services sometimes even 25km or more. So, you need to give a small talk to your customers and know from which area they are, mostly they will be around your locality but frequent customers from outer areas will tell you your potential target segment radius may be bigger. After all, customer engagement is very important in the service industry.
What do they need? – With Salon & spa the style you are associated with is very important, your style may reflect modern, youth, punk or it may reflect professional, regular, etc. Your brand may be posh, pricey, best suited for people with deep pockets or something that is catering to the economically challenged. Your service should match the pricing to rightly answer the question of what they need, also making sure you hit the bottom line.
Why do they buy? – This solely depends on what’s making you different from your competitors and what you are good at. Feedback is very important in any business, a customer review will help you assess your plus and minus. Cling on to what’s making your customers feel good about your service and what is that you have to improve to make them purchase more of your services.
With all these 4 questions answered, I am sure you will have a better understanding of the type of customer who is likely to visit your salon in the future.
One of the most important parts of the Strategy plan for any business or any task is the KPIs. These are the Key Performance Indicators which would tell the business what needs to be achieved, how much has been done and what more needs to be done.
For a salon business, some the KPIs that could be considered are as follows:
- Visits: the number of new visitors, the number of daily customers
- Retention rate: the frequency of visit by a particular customer (repetitive customers)
- Sales: this is one of the common KPIs for all businesses as it directly reflects what change was brought in for the revenue for a particular period of time
- Customer Spending: an approximate average of how much the customers are spending on average at your salon and spa. This would in a way indicate what’s going wrong and what’s being done right
- Online booking: How many customers have booked for the services from the website and what can be done to make it more
- Cancellations: Sometimes customers book but don’t show up, this can cause real difficulty because they are blocking a slot, and also you have a staff ready for it but wasted. So monitor how many cancellations a month/ week and what should be done to reduce.
- Customer rating in Google my business and other review sites.
Short and long term goals (attainable)
What’s a life without any aim, what’s a day without any goal to achieve. It’s almost like an unproductive or aimless day. The same way, without any goals your business won’t have a direction to swing in. We need to have short term and long term goals to pave a way for the future. But these need to be
- Consistent with the vision and mission of the brand
Short term goals: these could include
- Reaching the 10K follower mark on social media within the next 8 months.
- Having 80 customers per month
- Doing a complete revamp of the salon/spa website within the next 2 weeks
- Hiring 2 professionals for the services provided to attract more customers towards better services
Long term goals: these could include
- Having 4 collaborations with stylists to endorse our brand and also reach more people via the collaborators followers
- Have at least 50 customers who repetitively visit us (loyal customers)
- Have 5 outlets in next 7 years
- Open franchise in next 10 years
Unique Selling Point
Each business willing to make their presence felt in the ever competitive market, needs to differentiate themselves from the rest. To sustain, you need to compete and prove yourselves better than the rest. To be able to distinguish ourselves from the rest, we need to know the potential of our own brand and our competitors.
This could be done in two ways:
- SWOT analysis: this would analyse the business in all areas and show our strengths alongside the threats, opportunities and weaknesses
- Competitor analysis: this would mean a SWOT analysis for our competitors
Both these methods together would depict where our business stands and how we could fill the gaps. At the end of the day, those who can provide something that no else does win the race. It’s about identifying the needs of the customers that aren’t being heard or addressed to.
Digital Marketing Tools
To implement all of these strategies, what could be used, combined with the traditional marketing, are the digital marketing tools. There are plenty of ways to checklist our short and long term goals.
- Google My Business: For any Salon and Spa, your target audience is localised. Setting up Google My Business account will expose you to all your potential customers when they search with this basic question “Salons and spas near me”
- Social Media Accounts: one of the most important tools is to not just have these accounts, but also to be active on them by posting new stuff and engaging with the followers, and create a buzz or interest amongst the community
- Paid Media Marketing: this could promote our business on the different paid media platforms and hence increase the reach
- Influencer marketing: an influencer could be used to spread the word about the salon, and/or its services, and/or the discounts, to several people that follow them
- Website: make a funky yet subtle, flashy yet classy website that would connect to people with different ideologies as for someone who visits the website first, it would help create an impression
- Google Ads: this would help reach those customers who may be searching for a salon in a nearby locality. By paying and bidding on the keywords, our ad could be positioned higher and hence more reach
- Selfie station – Placing a selfie station would prompt your customers to click a picture of themselves and post in their social media
- Online booking service – This allows clients to book at their own discretion. A study shows 75% of the clientele prefer an online-self service option.
- Consistency is key- you need to post relevant content regularly and keep the customer engagement running.
Analysis and performance improvement
While goals and plans would address one part of the strategy, the other would be checked by the analysis. Strategy doesn’t end at formulating a plan and following it, it includes the analysis of these plans before and after implementing them.
An analysis before implementation would show us the loopholes and/or negatives and also indicate our expectations. An analysis after the implementation would show the results and tell us what wasn’t rightly done and/or what worked well.
Google Analytics is a free tool available for every business, this is a simple tool that will throw you real-time data of your website performance. To monitor your Facebook performance, there is the Facebook blueprint, Instagram also provides you with insights to perform better. Above all there are social media management platforms like Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, Heropost, etc. which will make your job much easier.
These analysis reports would help us gauge the audience and come up with newer methods to improve our performance. Repeating this after implementing every short and long term plan would best improve our business.
To help every business survive through and make the most of digital marketing, we have curated courses for businesses that will provide you all the skills and strategies you need to win over your competitor. IIDM™ is a global certifying body recognized worldwide, this might just be the right place for you to make your business a triumphant success.
Visit our website for more information and also read our other blogs here!
Authors: Sravya Malineni & Manju Mani – Brand Marketing Analysts at IIDM™