As a salon or spa owner or an independent beauty professional, you have to know a lot of things that don’t fall within your actual profession per se. Besides being a stylist, makeup artist, esthetician, massage therapist or nail technician (or a combination of those!) you may also be your own bookkeeper, tax prep pro and – yes – marketing director.
And if you are your own marketing director, you are probably familiar with the term: SEO (Search Engine Optimization, which is the use of keywords, phrases and tactics specifically designed to push you further up in Google and other search rankings), but you may or may not be familiar with the terms “inbound marketing” or “content marketing.”
But for your salon or spa to succeed in new customer acquisition and SEO in the future, you need to learn about content marketing and inbound marketing, and the sooner, the better!Why?
First of all, the art of “getting found” by potential clients has changed. Few people open up the yellow pages anymore; most now look online for local businesses. And look they do, some studies suggest that as many as 20% of all online searches are searches for local businesses. But of course that means the competition for online ‘find-ability’ is also at an all time high—and that’s where inbound marketing comes in.
So what is “inbound marketing,” anyway?
Inbound marketing is basically comprised of 3 integrated marketing tactics: SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing and a term you might not be as familiar with, “content marketing.”
Content marketing, in turn, could be represented in many different forms, but among the most common would be your website, email newsletters (that are also web pages), your blog, articles that you post on microblogs or guest posts on other networks, etc. Content marketing includes online content you publish in order to put yourself forward as an industry leader, as an expert resource for your clients (or peers), as a thought leader, as a community member, or for any number of other purposes.
As Wikipedia so aptly explains, content marketing is “an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to engage current and potential consumer bases.” In fact, this very blog post is content that I’ve posted on my salon and spa marketing blog as part of a content marketing strategy to promote my marketing services and sales of my books and calendars.
Simply put, your ability to get found online by maximize your SEO and getting the attention and respect of prospects and customers in the immediate future depends on your inbound and content marketing strategies. Word on the street is that changes that Google will make this year to how it ranks sites in searches will be heavily dependent on content marketing, in particular.
What this means for your marketing as a salon or spa owner or beauty industry professional is that it’s not enough for you to simply have a website, even a website that is professionally optimized for search results. In fact, some of the things that web masters did in the past, loading up a website’s unseen content with keywords and phrases to boost SEO might even hurt your ‘find-ability’ in the future.
The good news is that the changes internet experts expect in the immediate future will level the playing field even more than before, because it will take more of your actual content into consideration in terms of where you land in search results (meaning that you don’t have to be a web programmer to better help yourself!)
The bad news is that these changes likely represent more work for you; if you are already wearing a lot of hats within your own business, that could present a challenge. In fact, busy professionals that wear multiple organization hats are the very people for whom I wrote 365 Days of Marketing, since it’s content includes actual content marketing ideas for every day of the year (and then some). I wrote more about that recently in a post titled, The Wikipedia Way to Create Customer Engagement Through Content Marketing.
In addition, I layout a management content marketing strategy and schedule in both the 2012 Salon and Spa Marketing Calendar and the 2012 Marketing Guide for Stylists, Estheticians and Independent Salon Owners. I did this specifically because I know that it’s tough to manage social media and publishing on a blog a couple of times each month in addition to working behind the chair, keeping your books, cleaning, and the myriad of other responsibilities you have in the salon and spa. It’s a lot; I get it!
I’m currently working to build both a local and virtual marketing therapy group of sorts which would provide you with support, ideas for content and concrete, practical suggestions for getting more traffic in the door of your salon or spa –
I’d love to know:
- if you have an interest in participating
- how often per month you would want to attend (online or in person, if you live in the Seattle area)
- how long you would want the meetings to last
- whether you would be interested in a low-cost option for weekly or monthly content marketing services
- and one or two of your most pressing marketing challenges or questions.
Thanks in advance! - Elizabeth
“There is nothing in the caterpillar that tells you
it's going to be a butterfly.”
(R. Buckminster Fuller)