Marketing and Advertising your PMU Business Brand
The one question that keeps popping up on a regular basis is “How do I market and advertise my Permanent Makeup business in order to grow?” Today I would like to share some tried-and-tested advice as well as a number of out-of-the-box and unique suggestions – ideas that should appeal to a vast cross section of practitioners for marketing across the globe.
Before any planning or suggestions are discussed, it is vitally important that A) you are absolutely passionate about your business; and B) you focus on the positive. A positive mindset will be portrayed (even unknowingly) in every form of media that you are involved with.
“Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.”
– Tony Hsieh (American internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist)
Plan your strategy
The first step is to form and plan your marketing and advertising strategy annually. Define who your best prospects are and determine the best way to reach them. Consider which season is busiest and focus on running promotions just prior to the relevant season (i.e. Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mothers Day, etc). Write down your budget, find a suitable plan of action and timeline – then stick to it. Trial and error will separate the strategies that work from those that need tweaking the following year. View every mistake or perceived failure as a positive lesson towards your big breakthrough. Never underestimate the value of hiring a good designer – everything that goes out to the public should be professional and a positive reflection of what you and your business stand for. You cannot realistically expect to sell high-end PMU procedures by means of a home designed website or information brochure printed in black and white on 80g bond paper (unless you happen to be a true fundi in the graphic design arena). We all know that first impressions count – you may only have one chance – make sure you have planned to make every opportunity count within the first 10 seconds.
This is your primary contact with potential clientele and is usually the first point of contact. I cannot sufficiently stress the importance of having your website professionally designed. Save your hard-earned dollars, shop around until you find a designer who can produce a website suited to both the image you wish to portray and your pocket – then it’s up to you and the designer to ensure your dream site makes the right statement unique to the real you and best suited to your business.
Prior to your meeting, have your descriptive text, information and testimonials ready, prepare your own best before and after procedure photographs, a short biography and scan your certificates and diplomas. Once you have reached a clear complete understanding with your designer – your professional website will speak volumes in your absence. For anyone wishing to save on design cost, consider websites such as fiverr, Dollar3 and SEOClerks where designers are willing to create a unique logo for you from $5 upwards.
There are also a number of sites that carry suitable royalty-free images that could be included into your design. Consider using a WordPress-based website as they are easier to update with new pictures, plus they have the added advantage of integrating your blogs – which, when written regularly, will increase your search engine rankings. Ensure the designer has optimised the site for SEO and social media, include online query/booking forms and finally, include a section to display logo’s of your professional associations.
To obtain a health and compliance report on your website, this is a handy free tool: www.nibbler.silktide.com
Make absolutely sure that your website is mobile-compliant. PTS MultiMedia reports: “Google will be reprimanding websites that are not mobile friendly. The new algorithm will be carried out worldwide in every language affecting all businesses. When someone searches for an item on their mobile phone after April 21st, Google will only bring up sites that “are easy to read, make navigations and links easy to tap, have images appropriately sized for the device, and more generally, make information easy to find”. Google is focusing on closing the hole between mobile actuality and the expectations of customers.” The facts show that over 60 percent of Google searches are done on a mobile device! By going mobile friendly, you will gain and retain a higher percentage of customers and rank higher with Google.
A Google ‘mobile-friendly’ test tool can be accessed at google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly. This site will give you a clear pass or fail grade. This tool will also offer a report on usability problems for your mobile website.
Social media has become an integral part of online life as social websites proliferate. Most include social components such as comment fields and in business, social media is used to market products, promote brands, connect to current and potential customers and to foster new business by broadening customer reach. The goal should therefore be to create content compelling enough that users will like and share it with their social networks.
Here are some current interesting, helpful statistics regarding social media platforms which will assist with planning advertising and marketing promotions:
According to recent StatCounter Global Statistics, mobile internet usage has soared by 67% globally,
“while desktop remains the most popular means to access the web on 64.6%, mobile has grown rapidly from 17.1% to 28.5%. Tablet devices account for 6.8% of internet usage, compared to 4.8% 12 months ago”.
As of September 2014, Pew reports:
71% of online adults use Facebook
23% of online adults use Twitter
26% use Instagram
28% use Pinterest
28% use LinkedIn
While Facebook clearly remains the most popular of all social media websites at 71% of adult internet users or 58% of entire adult population, Smart Insights reports:
“We found this chart interesting since it shows a striking growth for Instagram – suggesting that this is a network that consumer marketers should be looking at closely, if they’re not already. LinkedIn is well-known amongst B2B marketers, but has a solid growth compared to Twitter and Google+ for example. The growth of Reddit is a surprise.” (Reddit is an entertainment, social networking and news website)
As much as 1.415 billion of the world’s population use and frequent one or more forms of social media – most of which are free to join. Using the same theme and business logo’s as your website, set up your business profile on Facebook – also worth considering are Google AdWords, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Instagram. Later, consider using other social media that may be worth trying Yelp, Reddit, Pinterest, Digg, Propeller and Hi5 among many others.
Be sure to include a short, concise description of your business, keywords and always include a link to your website.
Facebook, Google AdWords and LinkedIn offer advertising at reasonable rates. What makes this form of marketing more appealing is that it allows you to target a specific audience by geography, a large number of demographics, and in the case of LinkedIn – by job title or group. Your ad copy should therefore be tailored to the specific group you are targeting in order to realise a greater ROI on your marketing spend.
According to Forbes “Cross posting of LinkedIn content to Twitter is up 200% over the past 24 months.”. In the same report, Forbes mentions “In one of the most promising developments since 2012, CMOs have moved strongly away from the goal of simply having a large audience to the more meaningful effort of obtaining a highly valuable audience, of whatever size it may be.” Be encouraged therefore to obtain a better quality audience rather than randomly chasing numbers.
Following the same theme as your website, have the best possible business cards and information brochures printed on quality stock.
While taking every precaution not to over clutter your printed media, the business card should clearly display your name, logo, contact number, email, website and physical address. Keep information brochures short and focussed on your top-selling treatments. Potential clients wishing to have more information may be directed to your website.
Arrange to leave business cards and a few information brochures at upmarket hairdressing salons, beauty salons (where PMU services are not already offered), top end hotels and doctors waiting rooms (including oncology, dermatology, gynaecology and alopecia waiting areas).
While magazine advertising may be construed as expensive at first, this advertising vehicle can pay large dividends provided you are prepared to have a clear ad campaign plan to repeat your professionally produced high-res picture-based advertorials.
In a 2014 report in the Guardian, a legendary piece of research showing people the same dress in a newspaper as they saw in a posh magazine. In the latter they thought it was worth £100 more. It shouldn’t surprise you then to note the likes of Chanel, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Rolex and a host of top watch and perfume manufacturers continue to favour this form of advertising. Luxury glossy magazines tend to enjoy the frequency of a higher income, luxury-seeking and more mature readership – what target audience could possibly be more perfectly suited to your high-end PMU offering?
Passive Electronic Media
Upload around 20 or 30 photographs of your best work, along with a slide or two containing your business name and contact information onto an electronic photo frame which by arrangement, may then be left (together with a small stock of business cards and info brochures) at strategic points (i.e. plastic surgeon or high end aesthetic practitioners waiting rooms). Pop in with a suitable little ‘thank you’ gift for your host every once in a while and chat with the receptionist. Or you could offer the host 10% off a particular procedure for each referral. Move the electronic photo frame to a new location from time to time.
“I don’t think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” – John D. Rockefeller
Join and attend appropriate network meetings in groups such as Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, local civic associations, etc. Ensure you have a good supply of business cards to hand out as you network. Offer to be a speaker at one of the meetings. Perhaps consider participating by donating a specific procedure or product basket as a prize at one of the meetings. Where appropriate, ask your newfound connections to link your website to theirs and reciprocate where relevant. Have your website linked to as many industry-specific networking and listing sites as you deem fit. Check them regularly to ensure the site link is not broken and that your contact information is correct.
Consider contacting your local talk radio, TV stations, newspaper or magazine/s and offer an advertorial article or an interview. Be sure to include good quality pictures along with the article submitted, as well as a short biography, your website and contact information. Local newspapers will in all likelihood welcome a regular quality, educational and informative submission.
Newsletters and postcards
As this can be a time-consuming task, do bi-monthly or even quarterly informative newsletters and a monthly postcard which will serve to inform, remind clients that their annual refresh is due and will create new business by way of referrals. Be sure to include an unsubscribe button so as to protect your reputation and maintain the integrity of your IP address. Highlight one procedure per run – give a short description – offer a reduced price or a free product as a gift to the first 10/20/30 procedures booked.
Ask to be included in your Plastic Surgeon or upmarket aesthetician’s next newsletter mail run – it may be advantageous to offer procedures at a special rate exclusive to their clientele. Reciprocate by offering to cross-promote the respective business to your client mailing list as part of your regular newsletter mailing.
Conferences, Industry Trade Shows and Exhibitions
Participate in and display at as many relevant shows as you possibly have the opportunity to.
Many months of planning and pre-event marketing goes into these shows.
For a wealth of information on how best to set up your display and promote your business to your best advantage, visit: http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/tradeshows/.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
– Robin Sharma (Canadian writer, motivational speaker, leadership expert)
Offer free, no obligation consultations
Once your business is well established, you are free to charge for consultations, until then you will attract many more opportunities to sell your services by offering free consultations. Manage these sessions and keep them to a reasonable duration so as to prevent consuming too much of your time.
Advertise by way of a well edited video infomercial to upload on YouTube. Well over 6 billion viewing hours are spent on YouTube every month. According to Nielsen Statistics, YouTube reaches more US adults in the 18 to 34 year category than any cable network!
Have a magnetic sign made to display on the side of your vehicle. Your vehicle is a highly visible moving object – the perfect way to advertise your business. Keep the sign very simple with only your name, contact number and website clearly and boldly displayed. Perhaps your ‘significant other’ would also be keen to support you by displaying a magnetic board?
Testimonials and Referrals
Obtain testimonials and referrals from new and existing clients to upload to your website and social media platforms. Obtain written permission to display the client’s before and after pictures along with the testimonial for best impact. After all – a picture speaks a thousand words.
“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” – Tony Robbins (American life coach and self-help author)
Whether you are starting out, re-branding or re-focussing your brand, there is much to be said in favour of finding the right coach/mentor to get your business on the right track. The trick will be in finding such a person who understands your industry, brand and vision and has the experience and confidentiality to not only advise, but who will also take a personal interest in coaching your success. I have had the pleasure of working with international coach Heidi Bransby, who has a proven track record coaching and advising business people across the globe. Heidi is contactable either by personal email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via her website: www.visualwhisperer.com alternatively www.coachingcognition.com/HeidiBransby.
Finally, as client-facing practitioners, it is vital to maintain a professional and positive disposition and display a friendly happy smile – no one enjoys a surly attitude. Conversely, everyone is drawn towards positive people and these are also the type of clients you wish to attract. Being friendly does not mean allowing clients to manipulate you – always remember that you are the professional – being courteous but firm will portray the message that you are both confident and in control. This is after all what every client is looking for in their permanent makeup practitioner and will immediately put clients at ease.
While not every method will work for each PMU business, all the advertising strategies mentioned are inexpensive enough that you could pick a few to sample and see which works best for you. Many of the websites mentioned (such as Facebook and Google AdWords) periodically offer advertising discounts and credits – which your business could use to your advantage.
“Above all, you want to create something you are proud of. That’s always been my philosophy of business. I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive, then I believe you are better off doing nothing.” – Richard Branson (English businessman, investor and owner of Virgin Group)
Forbes – Social Media Information and Social Media News
Stat Counter – Global Stats
Global Web Index
Statista – Leading social networks worldwide as of March 2015, ranked by number of active users (in millions)
Pew Research Centre – Social Media Update 2014 and Social Networking Fact Sheet
Gwendoline Johnston owns Permanent Makeup by Gwendoline and practices as a Permanent Make-up Specialist at her Studios in Johannesburg as well as in Cape Town. Gwendoline attained her Masters Certification with honours, at the US-based American Institute of Intradermal Cosmetics in October 2013. She has kept fully up to date with ongoing study in the latest techniques and trends by obtaining over fifteen certificates and diplomas both locally in South Africa and internationally – attending Advanced Permanent Makeup training seminars, master classes, conferences and workshops.
Gwendoline’s vast experience attained over the past fifteen years, together with a thorough understanding of skin and colour, has placed her in the confident position to teach, advise and perform in all areas of advanced permanent make-up, including para-medical applications. Permanent Makeup by Gwendoline is affiliated with local and international Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Specialists and Medical Spa’s.
“Throughout my career, I have remained committed to delivering excellence. I have a deep passion for my craft and genuine care for my clients, which when teamed with the highest level of professionalism, my aim is to deliver unparalleled performance within the vibrant and ever-evolving world of permanent makeup.”