By Raymond Schoeman
For a lot of people the word marketing is just such a negative word. Mostly generating emotions of fear and anger. Yet, you cannot run a successful laser clinic or salon without it. But for most laser clinics it is more of a bottomless pit devouring resources, instead of a flowing fountain supplying the clinic with satisfied clients.
Let’s start with a definition for marketing. I personally find that once something is defined it becomes more manageable. For me marketing is the sequence of events where you introduce your services or products to another person. Including educating people about it and making offers to people to acquire it. The moment payment occurs is the moment marketing changes to selling.
An analogy I use for marketing, is a house. You have three essential elements in a house; the foundation, walls and the roof.
Your marketing strategy is the foundation that determines the strength of your marketing efforts and holds everything together. Your marketing system is the walls, the method you apply to convert potential clients into clients. And your marketing techniques, the roof, are the ways you gain access to potential clients.
You stand on our rooftop to call out to people and invite them into your house where they can get to know you.
You can have a marketing strategy just like you can have a foundation without the other two elements. However, it’s not going to be worth much since it’s not doing anything.
On the other side, you cannot have a marketing system without the foundation of a strategy. And any marketing techniques are totally useless without the support of a method to convert leads to clients.
The sad reality is that 90% of salons and laser clinics have marketing techniques running without a marketing system or any strategy.
How do you develop a marketing strategy?
Your marketing strategy is the definition of what you are willing to offer to whom and under which conditions.
Example. My marketing strategy for Manscape (my laser clinic) is: I’m willing to do laser hair removal treatments on men that take pride in caring for their bodies, minds and souls. I will provide effective results, meaning that my clients will reach the level of hairlessness that I promise them for a fair remuneration that reflects the value I provide to my clients. I will do this during predetermined hours at a location that supports these objectives.
Thus, I know that I will be marketing to (1) men (2) that take pride in themselves (3) can afford my services and also want it. Because I have a physical location, my marketing efforts will be focused on the (4) surrounding area.
The technology I use do not allow me to effectively achieve superior results on (5) grey, (6) light blond or red hair.
My strategy is thus to market to (1) with these psycho-graphics (2), and income (3), geographic (4) and demographics (5) and I have further exclusions of (6).
How to tie it to a marketing system.
Your marketing system is the sequence of actions you will use to prove your value to potential clients to the point where they pay to have your service or product.
You introduce your potential clients to the different treatments that you can offer them and educate them from the perspective of a consumer. For this you need to capture their names and contact details. You also have to set up ways to communicate effectively with them. You need to learn their preferences and what it is they want to achieve and document it in such a way that you always have easy access to this information.
Thus, you need to set up an effective client relationship management system. This system allows for you to communicate with potential clients in a way that will prove the value your services have to offer them, client acquisition.
It also needs to allow you to interact with your existing clients in a way that will make them feel special to keep coming to you, client retention.
This system can range from simple to complex depending on your specific needs. It is also in your best interest to have as much of this system automated as you can. And then you have to feed this system with leads.
You need marketing techniques.
Your marketing techniques refer to the methods and channels you will employ to talk to people and convince them that it is worth their time to listen to what you have to say. This includes techniques like social media marketing and setting up a referral system; lead acquisition.
Your marketing techniques can be divided in two main groups; ‘pushing’ and ‘pulling’ marketing. Pushing marketing is when you interrupt someone with your marketing message, the most common example of this is social media marketing.
Pulling is when someone is actively looking for your marketing message, here the most common example is search engine (Google) marketing.
Irrespective of your marketing techniques, you need to remember that this step is not to sell your product, unless you use direct marketing techniques. It is to sell the opportunity for you to prove your value of your product or service to the prospective client. Thus, you need to find a way to make this potential client part of your marketing system as soon as possible.
A common pitfall.
If you run a Facebook or Instagram ad, the aim of the ad is to convince potential clients to give their contact details to you so that you can speak directly to them in the future. Or to directly buy from the ad in the case of direct marketing. NOT to get likes, subscribes or clicks. When you have the contact details you can follow-up and prove the value of your service or product at very low cost to you.
With this I mean you need to get an email address, telephone number or postal address as soon as you can. If you do not do this, you remain in the situation where you can only communicate to your audience via the platform you will always be in the unpleasant situation where you have to pay repeatedly to have your message conveyed to the same people. At very high cost to you.
Which statistics really matters?
In marketing there are only two numbers you need to know. The first is the amount that you have to spend on a marketing technique. For example, you pay x amount (spend) to run an ad on Instagram for 7 days.
The second number is the amount in turnover that can be directly attributed to the ad you have run. For example, the ad brought in z amount of new clients that spent a total of y amount (income). You would not have had y amount if it was not for the ad.
Any other statistics are worthless to you and is only part of the person’s, who is taking your money, marketing system.
If spend is larger than income, you know it was a failure and should not be repeated. However, if income is larger than spend, you have a winner. You can try to optimize your winner, but in most cases the best thing you can do is not to change it and just let it run until it is no longer a winner. There will come a time that it goes stale and you have to replace it.
Marketing is not a cost. It’s an investment.
Most people think of marketing as a business cost and is therefore willing to accept the losses. Marketing is actually an investment. And as with all investments you have a minority who really win big and a majority who lose all.
The first thing you have to do is to change your way of thinking about marketing. Next is to educate yourself on the subject. The minority of winners is those that make the effort to learn how to do it correctly and that will always remain a small group of people.
Marketing is one of few investments where the return is determined by your knowledge and skills. Not by any external factor.