(This is the first of a three part series from our Head of Product, Stephen Wiggins, about the struggles of beauty business marketing)
Like most business owners, I wear many hats: some by choice, some by necessity. One hat I was required to wear after the 2008 recession was to act as lead marketer for ProSolutions. Although I was confident in this new role, it takes a lot more than confidence to market in the digital world.
My journey started by investing a substantial amount of time and money into print advertisements. I was under siege from different beauty magazines and industry circulars about the astronomical reach of print ads and huge returns on investment, so I dove in headfirst. Unfortunately, it took a few years (and a lot of wasted money) to learn that the days of print advertising are over and that simply creating a magazine ad and hoping for the circulation numbers you were promised was marketing fools gold. Print is dead. It was time to change strategies.
Being a Millennial, albeit an older one, I turned to social media as an alternative marketing strategy and began posting to all of the different social channels. I didn’t take the time to determine who my target audience was: Salon and Spa owners? Managers? Booth renters? Consultants? I didn’t understand how to engage these people, how to make them interested in what I was saying or doing, or how to convert this online noise into a business relationship. On a deeper level, I didn’t understand the vernacular of online and social marketing: What’s a click through? How do I find out my bounce rate? What’s the difference between views and reach? How does having a landing page help me? I was quickly learning that there was a huge difference between posting pictures on social media and “digital marketing.” There was so much I didn’t understand.
So there I was, posting, tweeting, snapping and gramming (is that even a word?!?) into this online black hole, never seeing the results I was promised by the various marketing consultants who told me how important social media was for my business. To make matters worse, everything I was doing was manual, swallowing up a substantial amount of my workday and leaving me with little time to respond to my current clients in a timely and meaningful matter. In fact, I was so busy trying to GET clients that I began LOSING clients. It was time to seek professional help.
After speaking to some experts about my business’s online marketing strategy, I realized there was more to digital advertising than my social media obsession. The entire online experience is an interrelated web that needs a cohesive and holistic approach, which requires an extensive lesson in branding. In part 2 of this 3 part series, I’ll explain what I’ve learned about online branding for small businesses and why it’s important to digital marketing.
About the Author
Stephen is Head of Product at ProSolutions Software. With over 15 years experience working directly with salon and spa owners, Stephen is an expert in the business of beauty and wellness.