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Why Is My Salon Marketing Not Working

Tamara Forrest-Smith

Why is my salon marketing not working is probably the biggest question most salon owners ask me?

“ Alan, we do everything in our salon business but nothing works – NOTHING!”

This year I saw the reasons becoming more obvious than ever before. Research reveals some shocking facts that most salon owners and marketers are still ignoring.

Let’s have a good look at this.

Your salon business has to be a success at some level otherwise it isn’t a business it’s a struggling salon. That also goes for your salon marketing and marketing.

We all want more clients and as many customers as we can get a hold of. For years I have been talking about salon marketing now being dead but I mean of course salon marketing as most people know it and as the ‘salon experts’ teach you.

The big problem you as a business have with marketing is that marketing men like to change everything when things sometimes just don’t need to be changed. They also love fads, trying new things on your salon and the glitz and glitter of what looks good rather than what delivers real results.

What is a result for your salon?

Surely a result is a profit and surely the results is a substantial return on your investment? Here is why your marketing isn’t working in 2018 and probably for the past few years before.

First, the reality of salon business and marketing.

I’m a huge fan of detailed research. It helps me to keep my finger on the pulse of consumer and client trends and how consumers are reacting to the way businesses are being handled.

For example, the research and facts show

Here’s the reality …

1. 81% asked to say they do not trust businesses to be honest
2. 55% do not trust companies
3. 65% do not believe PR
4. 65% do not trust advertisements
5. 71% ignore and do not trust social media ads
6. 82% will say you have bad service if you do not reply within 10 minutes online it rises to 90% will not use you again if it is support
7. 51% of the public are happy to name and shame you for ONE bad service
8. Marketing costs are up online by a huge 51%
9. Google snippets are costing click through in a huge way
10. A paid strategy is costing more than ever as the monopoly rises
11. 52% of web search starts in Amazon
12. The past 3-years response rates have dropped by over 40%
13. In a top twenty lists of most disliked… marketing men come 18th out of twenty just about politicians

Did you see No.7?

I have been saying for years switch focus from social media because no one is listening. The facts now support that YET … MOST ‘salon experts’ are still teaching social media as the holy grail of salon marketing – IT ISNT!

So despite what you are being told to do from the majority of ‘salon marketing gurus’ the facts reveal otherwise.

For example, over 54% of online consumers want video and in one report I read it was far higher. The problem with video is it is a throwaway once only watch. This really means video should be constant creation. Yet constant creation is more in the form of blog posts yet research shows u that only 18% want blog posts. Email marketing is still high but only if done properly.

Images and imagery are climbing (I spoke about this in 2005).

And now SEO has gone and gone through a fast-changing revolution. Amazon is now just under Google for search. Also, Google snippets are killing links back to websites. Google is smart, they want you to stay on the Google page. They now offer snippets. Are snippets the only way forward? No, because if you do a search right now it will also offer video snippets.

Now we could optimise for video but this is also a problem because some research also revealed that after around one hour the video that came out on top was now shown as no longer relevant in most cases.

And of course, content marketing? Does it work? How should it be created? Well, reread the above because if you don’t have a strategy apart from the recommended routes to get traffic into your website it looks like the big boys Google and Facebook and Amazon are doing everything they can to stop consumers clicking through into your website. And of course, … content on social media for your business. This is a whole new story of course because despite the fact mass content is being consumed just because you put hordes of content onto your social media the chances of it being read by anyone are incredibly slim for most regular business.

This is another huge problem when so many self-named digital marketers are still pushing SEO and social content when the reality is most consumers (over 80% according to some research) do not trust any form of advertising via social media. In fact around the same number of consumers don’t trust adverts and rate marketing men just one point above politicians.

And look at this … Trust in business has as good as been shattered with over 71% no longer trusting what you put out there. Consumers now head to review websites to see if you can be dealt with.

This is creating a battlefield for marketers to get through. The acquisition has gone through the roof and has risen over 50% per acquisition cost. That is a huge leap for small businesses.

If we get our customers attention did you realise that research has revealed that getting a response is now 40% more difficult than just 3-years ago? Speaking to the deal maker or decision maker has 31% tougher.

And database marketing? With GDPR and new BREXIT rules that will be as good as impossible for the average marketer.

Now ask again “why is my salon marketing not working?”

Here is the real reason.

Something very simple has been turned into something very complex. Marketing is a tool just like your scissors or hairdryer is a tool, your stool is a tool and all the other surrounding issues are tools for your business. Marketing is simply part of the salon toolkit and should be treated accordingly.

The problem most salons today appear to have is they have accepted the mantra of marketing being a science only to be handled by marketing men yet your reality can be so very different for your salon.

EXAMPLE: This year I exploded one salon’s turnover using FLYERS! I insisted they leave social media for one week and hand out flyers. The effect was massive. From under £1,800 to over £5,000 – IN A SINGLE WEEK!

And not an iPad, iPhone or social media click in sight.
This coming new year is an opportunity for you to break away from your local crowded salon marketplace by doing things you may never have done before.

For example, if your client wants to know where to go and what to buy they research, then look for reviews on your salon but the big one is this – over 60% ask others for an opinion?

This means the greatest source for building your business right now is … your customers. You have to satisfy your customers and get them to send you more customers or at least get them to create an incredible review for you for others to see.


Again interesting when I ask salons to do this they fight it and demand more new clients yet … the best place for you to build your salon business is by leveraging your existing clients.

Direct Response marketing and direct mail or marketing on paper in your salon have to make a huge comeback. After will out of all of those asked 18% will read print with under just 0.7% reading online content.

Let’s not forget … your clients are more impatient than ever. If you keep them waiting for 10-minutes or more for a reply they simply go somewhere else. Good hairdressing service is no longer good enough. This has become an experience more than service. This is the critical point for you to check your customer experience is exactly as it should be.

This is all fascinating stuff yet it is the stuff you need to know to drive forward more success in your salon business.

Let me share a recent experience with you.

This was a hotel in Glasgow. The hotel is called Citizen M.

I will say I have never been to a hotel as good and I have been through a lot of hotels. The basis of the hotel is home from home. The lounge area is like sitting in your lounge (with strangers but feels as close to home as you will believe. The décor and attention to detail that makes it feel like home are just amazing. In the room itself, it is stripped right back so you are forced you use the downstairs but … You have free access to everything on show including what is in the little bar. No wife password, no pay to watch movies, it is just perfect.
And the restaurant (that is a big home kitchen) and business areas (which is your front room at home) were just so well thought it was truly brilliant. A overall experience for sure that was so well thought out from the beds to the staff, to service and more. And you know how when you walk into a hotel that waits at the reception to be serviced can take forever. You simply walk up to a bank of pads and check yourself in. They took every issue, every complaint and every everything I don’t like about hotels and completely eradicated it. Definitely a hotel for the 21st century. Strangely enough, they didn’t use direct mail to stay connected to me beyond the experience. This was a mistake because if they had asked me to send them ten people I would have done it in a shot. Brilliant all the same just a stroke of marketing genius.

  • The Old Way Of Marketing Your Salon Is Dead
  • Good hairdressing is no longer good enough
  • A new website alone no longer works
  • Social media is swamped and doesn’t fill salons
  • Social media addiction is killing salons
  • Online content for salons working is overrated
  • SEO – forget it
  • USP … Irrelevant next year
  • Facebook Ads are yesterday and no longer working
  • AdWords (if you use them) … A cash and time waster.
  • Salon refit or new retail range will increase debt unless you do it the new way

I will predict and have predicted for years that Salon Direct Marketing 2019 – MY EXTREME Method will need …

Direct mail will make a huge comeback but not the way most do direct mail (there is a secret and it is pretty incredible when the results pour in)
• Smart use of online branding tools will get bigger and bigger and bigger. This will have to be supported with strong traditional branded colours, logos and imagery that gives you one-second mind identification.
• PR will make a huge comeback for small brands and companies.
• Also, the attraction factor will be huge
• Artisan marketing will get bigger and bolder
• A conversational voice and approach will be critical
• Multi-outlet selling (regardless of what you sell) will be essential
• Trust and review currency will be more relevant than ever.
• The rebirth of alliance marketing at a guerrilla scale will be essential for growth
• A voice and appearance of distinctiveness will have to be exaggerated for the overstimulated yes and minds online
• A well-planned referral program will be critical to your future
• Simplification supported by detailed planning

It isn’t all bad marketing news.

It is a good thing to ask why is why my marketing is not working but also a good thing to find out so you can take decisive action.

BREXIT and other global changes this presents you with a huge opportunity to break away from the pack and take the lead. The best businesses are built during turbulent times that’s for sure.

But you need to get really smart.

You must take a different approach and much simpler approach in your salon.

0ver 80% of the public don’t trust marketing men – why should you trust salon marketing experts that are showing you yesterday’s way?

This is a sign that a new approach to your approach to your salon business results is urgently needed.

Will you heed this warning and make those changes to your salon marketing and management approach?

Someone recently said to me salon numbers are down because salon visits are down.

That is an excuse for a bad salon. The reality is the heads still needs haircuts but they simply go somewhere else.

Yours in change.

Alan Forrest Smith

Direct Response Thinker, Creative and Advisor Alan Forrest Smith has been helping business just like yours to get incredible results since 1999.

*Research was taken from Marketing Week online magazine & Hub Spot Research White Papers



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