I've been out and about this morning — giving my money to the bank, shopping for the ultimate new nail art idea ... you know, the usual Monday morning routine — and I noticed a few salons around town have put out sandwich-board signs, strung up banners, or just apparently had their 5-year-old granddaughter put together some sort of sign by gluing macaroni and pictures cut out of Nails Magazine onto some construction paper.
I'm a big fan of advertising. I'm convinced that if I had better credit I could take out a business loan and be working at 120% productivity within a year. But it turns out I'm not really that ambitious. Thing is, the part of marketing I like most — other than the paper samples and the smell of ink and vinyl — is the psychological aspects behind all that market research. You know, the research that companies spend billions on every year to get inside the consumer's brain so businesses will know what people buy, why they buy it, and how much they'll spend for it. Fascinating, absolutely fascinating.
And I'm here to testify! It does not take a billion-dollar market research campaign to know that a 9” x 12” sign outside your salon door advertising rock star nails for $30 that looks like it was glued together from pictures cut out of magazines as some sort of kindergarten art project is not an effective means of advertising. Mostly it's an effective means of advertising that A) you are too cheap or poor to afford a decent sign; B) You do not possess the skillz to put together a hand-crafted sign that makes me think you can do nails worth a *%$!; and C) You know it. Rock star nails in my area average over $50 for a new set. I'm cool with running specials and all, but advertising a price that is significantly lower than average reeks of desperation. It'd be one thing if the place was running a super special deal for one week to entice the high school winter formal business. But winter formal was two weeks ago and this sign has been out on the sidewalk for, hmmm, maybe over a year now.
Today I saw a banner in front of one salon. It's a nice banner. Someone went to the trouble and paid the money to have a quality banner made up — also advertising rock star nails. Mostly what I noticed as I drove past it, however, is that the photo of the nails on the banner don't strike me as nails that the house manicurist at that location did.
I'm not a big fan of using photos on your marketing materials of nails that you didn't do. Especially if the nails in the photo sport fancy nail art or other design elements that are beyond your skill set. Don't show off someone's perfect stilettos if you don't do stilettos. Don't use a photo of pink-and-whites if you don't do pink-and-whites. Don't use a photo depicting awesome hand-painted artwork, if you can't duplicate it. And don't snatch photos off the Internet and throw them on your own cards or banners or newspaper ad. Your clients might not recognize those nails, but another tech in town might.
Just use your own work in your ad materials. It's easier that way and it sure will go over better with the clients who come in expecting to get what they saw in the ad!