It's time to review all of Tickled Pink's marketing, promotions, and advertising efforts over the last 12 months. This is something every company should do on a regular basis. You need to know what is working and what is not. Then either revamp what isn't working to make it more effective or just get rid of it altogether. It was really difficult to view the actual numbers of what we spent versus what revenue was generated from each approach but it was necessary. You can't run a successful business if you do not review what's going out versus what's coming in. I hope that my findings will help others out there who, like me, are on a shoestring budget.
We track how every new client has found us. We have a place on the client info sheet for how they are referred to us. If it is left blank we ask them and write it in. New client records are not filed until the referral has been recorded in our card system (we have a card box with a card for every marketing, promotional event, and advertisement we do), and contact information added to our mailing list. This enables us to know at a glance what is working and what is not.
We found that the marketing and promotions that we did independently of any marketing firm or networking group were not only the most cost-effective but also produced the best return. At the top of the list is: direct client referrals (we had 85 in just the first 12 months of our business).
After that was Google searches. This showed us how important it is to have a great web presence. We keep our site updated with fresh content (usually updating within the first week of every month). The search words most often used that have led our clients to us are: gel nails in Clayton, teen salon, princess parties, pedicures in Clayton, nail salons in Clayton, salons in Clayton.
Following Google Searches were newspaper advertisements. This totally shocked me. Twenty years ago newspaper ads yielded zero results for me. So I was very hesitant to utilize this method. I did only because we are a smaller town and I really needed to get the word out that we are here. Well, it worked.
I have also gotten results from my Facebook (both personal and salon), Craigslist ads (this has brought in both customers and nail techs for interviews), door prize donations to church events, festival participation, and, surprisingly, walk-ins (something we did not expect in our current location).
Networking groups have not produced a lot of new business through our doors but they do assist us in keeping our name out there and visible. The use of marketing companies has produced zero results and we've ended up doing most of our own marketing anyway. GrouponNOW has brought in a few new clients, not only for the Groupon special that we ran but also for other services. So we will continue with this since it is not costing anything up front.
Bottom line is this: The methods that cost us the least amount generated the most new business. So it's time to cut the costly methods and stick to what is working. That's keeping our clients happy so they will continue to refer to us, keeping our website fresh and up to date, and just getting out there in public every chance we get.
— Melodie, Tickled Pink Salon & Nail Spa, Clayton, N.C.