Ask your self, “Who is my ideal client?”

If you can’t answer that, or you list off a number of different type of people, or you say that you target ‘everyone’ from kids to those 65, then you have an important task ahead of you. Targeting everyone is one of the very first, fundamental mistakes that a salon owner can make.

When you clearly know who your target audience is, you can focus your marketing efforts on them as they will most likely buy your services, and in many cases you’ll also differentiate yourself from your competition. If you don’t target your marketing, you’ll be wasting your valuable dollars on people who have no interest in buying your services.

The first step in targeting is to ask yourself what problem your salon solves. It’s important for you to understand that people don’t buy a product or service from you, as they actually don’t care about you. They buy a solution to their problems, which in this case, are hair or beauty problems.

Do not define your salon by what you want to sell, but by what your potential client wants to buy. Your job is to convince them that you are providing the product or service that they need. And if you can offer the best solution to their problem, you’ll have people begging to buy it from you.

“It’s important for you to understand, it’s not about you – it’s about your clients.”

Knowing your target market is vital and makes a significant difference in how you focus your marketing dollars, pricing structures, service delivery methods, and staff systems and processes. It’s critical that you understand exactly who the persona is who’s most likely to buy your services and/or products. Then everything you do in your business can be targeted at your customers, so that you can start solving their problems.

In marketing, if you don’t know who you’re targeting your services at, you are shooting in the dark. Think about it from a hunting perspective. Imagine you’re going hunting, and you are responsible for bringing back the meat for the table. You wouldn’t go to a car-park in the middle of town with a shotgun to shoot a deer, and you wouldn’t shoot blindly in the hope of hitting something. Chances are you’ll hit something other than your target and that could mean trouble for you. You would likely select the correct rifle and scope, go to where deer congregate, select your target, aim, and fire. It’s the same in business, you need to think like the hunter, and target your ideal prey-sona.

So how do you do that? It’s quite simple. Decide who you want to serve and then design everything you do to meet that person’s needs. This profile of your ideal customer is called your Client Persona.

Personas’ are often used as a way to build a more specific sets of characteristic around your target audience needs. Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different types of clients, hopefully within a your salon. These can be used to understand attitude and/or a buying behaviour of a client who might visit your salon.

There’s a great resource to help you get started with Client Personas called PersonApp.

Here’s how you can start developing a client persona. Take out a pen and paper, and describe your customer using these labels:

  • age
  • job
  • family (married / unmarried / kids / no kids)
  • hobbies
  • interests
  • location
  • things they like

From this, you should be able to start giving them a name and a picture. Move onto the next stage:

  • describe their typical day
  • what questions about your industry do they have
  • what tasks do they have to do
  • what frustrations do they have
  • what are their attitudes like
  • what do they believe in
  • what is their working environment like
  • where do they congregate
  • what are they social interests.

Now list four or five needs that this person has especially related to hair and beauty.

From this profile, or client persona, you should be able to get a very good picture of exactly who your ideal client is. In marketing, many clients who fit a certain client persona are called a demographic.

Once you know who it is you’re going hunting for, or what your demographic is, you are then in prime position to design a plan around how you will market to them. It will be easier to decide what products to offer in your business and how to present your services strategies.

You’ll find that you won’t have to invest so much into your marketing to get the results you want. The right customers will be able to find you, learn who you are, and get to liking you and your business. Then they will come in droves to buy from you.

Gone are the days of trying to target anyone and everyone with just one message. It’s time to focus your thinking, services and marketing with audience targeting.

This post was written by Larissa Macleman, BDM at Timely, and Malcolm Gibbons from Salon Business Coach.

About the Authors:

Larissa Macleman: Marketing & Business Development Manager at Timely Salon Software. Previously owned an award-winning hair salon in New Zealand with 25+ employees over a 20 year period.  She has more recently worked in marketing, app development and business development for online and software businesses.

Malcolm Gibbons: A Hair and Beauty Salon Specific Business Coach, Malcolm says: “My Passion is people, my Enthusiasm is Business and my Mission is to assist salon owners in achieving the dream they had when first going into business”… and is his Blog.