Fixing Marketing Malfunctions in 3 Easy Steps
This is the final post in a three-part series to help merchants become better marketers. The first post outlined what signs merchants should look for to figure out if their marketing efforts were hitting the mark. The second post alerted merchants as to why their marketing efforts may not be cutting it for their potential customers.
In this post, we give you three simple steps to make your merchant’s marketing work for them.
1. Collect & Analyze Data
Your merchants have already learned how to identify whether their marketing efforts are working and why they may not be engaging with their customers the way they want to. This process should have yielded them some data, including email and social media metrics (click-through rate, followers, etc.), website traffic data (bounce rate, pages and time per session, etc.), and pain points within their current marketing pipeline. They now know what doesn’t work, which is more valuable than they may realize, as this information can be used to help determine what will.
However, there is more data to be collected. It is not enough for merchants to make guesses or estimations based on what customers have told them (either directly or indirectly through inaction) they do not want. Merchants must ask customers what they expect to gain from their interactions with their salon. Merchants may consider sending customers a brief survey to learn more about their communication preferences. The best way to know is to ask.
Once merchants have collected this information, they must analyze it to determine what marketing efforts they should focus on to best connect with their customers in a meaningful way that will resonate with them.
2. Plan a Strategic but Realistic Marketing Strategy
If merchants have not done so already, they must develop a strategic marketing plan that they can use as a guide. They must take the data they have collected and use it in creating a marketing plan that has the most chance of success in retaining existing clients and drawing in new ones.
A good marketing plan includes facts obtained in the data collection and analysis phase, and the objectives or goals your merchant hopes to achieve through their marketing efforts (i.e. a certain number of new clients every month, or a lower percentage of appointments left unfilled). It also details all the tools and tactics merchants will use to achieve those goals. These tools and tactics must be as specific as possible to ensure the most success.
The good news is a marketing plan doesn’t have to be long or eloquent. It needs to be functional and specific.
3. Execute Consistently
Planning is essential. But your merchants can plan until they’re blue in the face, but if they never take concrete steps to execute the marketing strategy they’ve so carefully put together, they still won’t see the results they’re after. Authors David Norton and Robert Kaplan, in their book The Balanced Scorecard, indicate that 90 percent of organizations fail to successfully execute their strategies.
At the end of the day, a marketing strategy is just an idea. It is a rough outline of what your merchant anticipates their actions will be to attract and retain customers, promote their brand, and grow their revenue. But real growth is born of execution. This is where thoughts and ideas become reality; where your merchants have the opportunity to test their theories and move their company forward.
Beyond implementing their new or refurbished marketing strategy, merchants must consistently execute their tactics. Engagement and trust are built with consistency. Merchants cannot expect to execute a one-off marketing ad and hope to see significant rises in customer bookings. According to Salesforce, it generally takes six to eight touchpoints to generate a qualified lead. In other words, customers must experience your merchant’s marketing efforts between six and eight times before they seriously consider booking an appointment at your merchant’s salon.
Finally...Assess & Adjust
This process is ongoing and ever-changing. It is important for your merchants to regularly evaluate their marketing strategy, decide what does and doesn’t work, and make adjustments along the way to better tailor their approach to their desired clientele. As your merchants see their marketing strategy play out over time, they will be able to continue to gather data and measure the results of their marketing efforts, determine if their strategy is valid, and continue to improve their strategy to better suit their needs.