Marketing the Salon
Every groomer should have a marketing plan that targets the local demographic and gets dog owners to walk through the salon’s door.
Every grooming salon has to have a marketing plan. Even if a salon has competition-level stylists with infinite patience and perfect handling skills offering grooming at rock bottom prices, if no one knows, it doesn’t matter. Following are important marketing musts to keep in mind:
1. Have goals
A salon’s goals could be to increase income by ten percent in three months, to get two new customers a month, or to increase the number of customers that rebook before leaving the salon to 50 percent within six weeks. Goals can change as a salon owner feels out what advertising works best. At least twice a year, look at the plan to see how results measure up to expectations, and make changes when needed.
2. Know the market
If the local demographic is mostly made up of young working couples, advertising in an AARP newsletter will not work. Advertising copy will also vary depending on whether it’s meant to appeal to clientele mainly interested in a better smelling pet, or to those that want a dog that looks like it just stepped out of the show ring at Westminster.
In addition, record any requests– these are potential business builders. Listen to the clients, and if they aren’t commenting, ask them questions. “Did you like today’s grooming? Was everything to your satisfaction?”
3. Create brand identity
What is the salon doing that no other grooming establishment is? What is special about the groomers or services provided? Does the salon specialize in long-haired dogs or exact breed standard grooming? Decide what the image is and pursue it.
The logo is also part of the salon’s identity–keep it simple and memorable. It should always be kept in the forefront of people’s minds by placing it on signage, business cards, appointment cards, reminder mailings and in every ad.
4. Build positive relationships
A positive relationship with each customer is key. Teach employees to have a pleasant, positive attitude. A surly “hello” on the telephone can undo many dollars worth of paper advertising.
Other relationships are equally as important, like those with local newspaper editors. Send press releases that will be useful to them, and offer to do an occasional column on pet related issues.
Provide free grooms for nearby rescues or do a grooming demonstration at the veterinarian’s office. Reciprocal referrals are often the best, as clients are getting a recommendation from a professional they trust.
5. Follow through
Each new customer should be asked how he or she heard about the business to determine what form of advertising is working best. New clients should be called a few days after the appointment for feedback. All phone calls should be returned promptly. There’s nothing that can ruin an image faster than the appearance of not caring.
6. Use resources
The Internet is often neglected by small businesses, but more people are looking for local business leads online. If a salon doesn’t have a website, at least make sure it can be found on free local listings. Google maps, dexknows, yellowpages and yahoo all provide no-cost advertising. Petgroomer.com has a wealth of information, as does groomers.com, sba.gov and score.org. Join trade organizations and the local chamber of commerce, and never leave the house without a supply of business cards to hand out.
Remember, no business plan will succeed if it doesn’t have a well-run professional business behind it. Getting customers in the door is one thing, keeping them can only be accomplished by providing top-quality service.
Carol Visser is a Nationally Certified Master Groomer and Certified Pet Dog Trainer.