When it comes to marketing, you might think your best bet is to play it by ear and be ready to jump on any marketing opportunities that might arise. However, spontaneous marketing takes more energy, often costs more money, and rarely delivers the results you’re hoping for.
A strategic marketing plan helps you to stay on track with your marketing goals, stick to a budget you’re comfortable with and still allows the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities as they come up throughout the year. You’ll also have something to look back on at the end of the year so you can celebrate your successes and see where you need to make changes to your strategies to keep your salon, spa or clinic moving in the right direction.
If you haven’t got a marketing plan in place yet, follow these steps to create one now:
1. Review past marketing activities
Even if you haven’t had a structured plan before, look back over the past year or two to identify any positive results you’ve gained from specific marketing activities.
- Which marketing activities were successful at increasing brand recognition?
- Which activities brought in the most new clients to your salon, spa, or clinic; and what was the rebooking rate of the clients it brought in?
- Which activities resulted in an increase in average client spend?
- Are there any activities that should be repeated this year, perhaps with modifications?
- Have there been any major changes recently that should be considered? For example, if you have changed or opened additional locations, rebranded, expanded service offerings, or if a new competitor has opened nearby.
Don’t forget to look at what didn’t work too, so that you can move forward having learned from the past.
2. Set your goals and make a plan
Think about your goals, and don’t be afraid to get specific. It’s important that you understand what you are trying to achieve and how you will measure the success of your marketing strategies. Consider all the strategies and activities that might help you to achieve your goals – you might choose to repeat some of your successful activities from the past and also incorporate some new ideas.
If you’re drawing a blank and need some inspiration, you might find these resources helpful:
- Get great information and tips about goal setting for your salon, spa or clinic
- The Zing project offers up some helpful advice about planning for the future
- Learn how to increase word of mouth marketing with referrals
- Here are six marketing ideas you might not have thought of yet
- Understand why there’s more to marketing than a beautiful Instagram feed
- See how to save time and money using automated marketing
If this is your first time writing a structured marketing plan, here are some tips to help you with the process:
- Make your goals measurable so you’re able to gauge the success of your efforts.
- Create a marketing calendar. Decide when all of your activities will happen, and add all of your events and promotions to your calendar. This will help you to plan well in advance for your bigger events and promotions and also to see any times of year that might need more marketing attention.
- Make sure to include all of the activities you intend to complete, as well as the tasks and materials needed. These may include advertising (print and online); print media such as brochures, handouts, posters; promotional items including prizes or branded giveaways; events such as product launches and industry insider evenings; targeted emails, automated marketing and social media promotions. This step is a big one, but it will help a lot in the budget stage.
It’s a lot to think about, so try to commit to a few main goals and look at what you can do to achieve them. Choose quality over quantity and don’t stress, it’s just a plan, it’s not set in stone. Sometimes you’ll need to reevaluate partway through the year.
3. Outline your budget
Thinking about all of the activities you entered in your marketing plan, as well as your expected revenue for the year, make a budget that you’re comfortable with. Remember that marketing is an investment in the future success of your salon, spa or clinic.
- You’ll want to budget a dollar amount for each of the activities including all of the associated tasks and materials.
- Record and keep track of the actual amount you spend as you go. This will help you to stay on budget, and also give you freedom to move money around a little in response to the success of individual activities.
4. Stay on track
Don’t just create a marketing plan and then file it away. You’ll need to revisit your plan throughout the year to help you stay on track with your marketing activities, and keep an eye on your budget. If you always know what’s going on in your marketing plan you’ll be able to adjust to any market changes, as well as take advantage of any opportunities that arise throughout the year.
A little time and effort invested now in creating a solid marketing plan will pay off throughout the year as you watch your business grow!