HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE MARKETING PLAN THAT GETS RESULTS
With summer fast approaching, many salons will be brimming with clients seeking their summer beauty treatments so they can enjoy the beach, social occasions and general well-being.
But what can you do when the festive season is over and client bookings start to taper off in the new year, especially when daylight savings ends, and we approach the cooler months?
Planning your salon marketing activities in advance will help you build or maintain a steady flow of clients into your salon all year round and combat the seasonal fluctuations we can experience.
An Annual Marketing Calendar is a fabulous planning tool for your salon and is worth the time and effort to forecast your marketing activities for the year ahead.
Who Needs an Annual Marketing Calendar?
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just opened a salon and have only a few clients or if you’ve been in business for a while and have a full book of clients.
An Annual Marketing Calendar is a valuable business tool for any salon owner.
It keeps your activities in one place, you will know at any given moment what you need to be doing and when, and you can plan the most appropriate marketing activities and promotions for your client base and their needs.
Set Your Goals
Before you embark on using an Annual Marketing Calendar, it’s first a good idea to define what you want to achieve in the following 12 months.
- Do you want to attract more clients to your salon?
- Do you want to keep your clients coming back regularly?
- Do you want to increase the spend of your clients?
- Do you want your clients to refer their family, friends and work colleagues?
- Do you want to grow a particular treatment or service?
- Do you want to increase your sales of home care products?
Once you have decided what you would like to achieve, it’s a good idea to turn these broad business objectives into SMART goals – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
Using the first example above, you might state your SMART goal as this. “To attract 50 new waxing clients to the salon in the 12 weeks from 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2019.”
All of a sudden you know how many new clients you want, from which treatment and over what time period. And as long as you feel this is achievable and realistic, then you are good to go.
Use the SMART technique for each goal you have for your salon and then keep track of which marketing activities are helping you towards your goals and which aren’t.
Once you have your SMART goals in place you can start to plan your marketing activities around those goals for the next 12 months.
TIP: Remember that the marketing activities you adopt to attract new clients won’t necessarily be the same as those you will use to keep your current clients coming back. They are two distinct groups that require different approaches based on different goals. One goal is to attract. The other is to retain and grow loyalty, spend and referrals.
Complete Your Annual Marketing Calendar
Once you have your goals defined, you are ready to get started mapping out your marketing activities for the next 12 months.
The first step is to consider the following events and enter them into your calendar:
- The seasons of the year
- Daylight savings – when it starts and when it ends
- Any significant events happening in your local area (or even globally) that you could leverage
- Key dates such as school holidays and public holidays
- Significant days such as Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
- Special events such as school ball season and wedding season
These events are significant to planning promotions for your salon, creating content for your social posts and newsletters and deciding on relevant activities such as speaking at an event, holding an open day in your salon or hosting a special wine and cheese evening with a guest speaker.
Once you have these events noted in your calendar, the next step is to reflect on your past marketing activities to this point.
Consider what you have been doing that has been working well, what you’ve been doing that hasn’t been working well and what you’d like to try that is new.
Take a sheet of paper and make three headings: Stop, Start, Keep.
In the Stop column, note down the activities that haven’t been working well for you and that you think you should stop doing because they are not adding value to your clients or your business goals.
Next, consider the Start column and begin listing new marketing activities that you would like to try. These will be activities that will support your business goals for the year ahead and add value to your clients in some way.
Finally, move to the Keep column. This is where you will note the activities that you will continue doing. These will be activities that have been working well for you, serving your clients well and generating a good return in some way.
With your Stop, Start, Keep decisions made, you are now ready to start mapping out your marketing activities for each month of the year.
Step back and look at your marketing calendar from an overall view. Consider the events you’ve entered already (from Step One) and then start to enter your marketing activities where they best fit.
This is the fun part and can take some time to really nail what you will do and when.
You might find that you move things around until you finally settle on the end plan. Remember, it’s your plan for your salon and there is no right and wrong.
It is also a good idea to note when you or your staff will be on leave as this will affect when you embark on certain activities.
You may also want to note any staff training that will be required to alert the team to what they will need to do for any promotions or activities to be a success.
A key part of any marketing calendar is knowing which activities are working well for you and which should be modified or stopped altogether – they help inform your Stop, Start, Keep.
It is a good idea to set some key performance indicators (KPI’s) when you are defining your goals so that you can track with greater certainty, the activities that are working for you and those that are not.
KPI’s are smaller measures that tell you if you’re on track, or not, to reaching your bigger targets.
For example, consider the earlier SMART goal, “To attract 50 new waxing clients to the salon in the 12 weeks from 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2019.”
For this goal, you might have chosen the following marketing activities:
- Facebook ad campaign – boosting a post to local women in your area
- Flyers for your campaign into the local shops and office blocks where potential clients shop or work
- An informational seminar at a local women’s group
From these three activities, you can start to track where your enquiries and bookings are coming from and therefore which ones are getting you the best results.
Anything digital, of course, such as Facebook will have all the metrics you need at your fingertips.
The other activities might need a tally sheet to note things down.
At the end of your campaign, you will have valuable information and learnings to apply to your next campaign.
And when reflecting at year-end, you will have a deeper understanding of where to put your marketing spend for the next 12 months as you embark on your planning for that year.
Some Final Thoughts
Planning can be fun and if you spend the time getting your Annual Marketing Calendar in place, you will have your bible of activities down on paper and ready for you to refer to at a moment’s notice.
And once you’ve done the initial hard work, then each year you sit down to plan the year ahead, it’s just a matter of updating and then moving on.
One thing to note is that your marketing calendar is not something to create and then put away. It should be front and center on your desk or wall and something you look at constantly as you move through the year.
You will find that as you embark on your marketing activities and learn from the results you get, that you will change or modify your activities as you go along. This is the beauty of forward planning, measuring and modifying. You’re learning in real-time and making adjustments on the go for future activities based on your learnings.
I wish you all the very best with your planning.
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