Advertising: A Marathon and Not a Sprint


Did you know that it will take 21 times of hearing something for an adult to remember a new piece of information? At least 21 times! This is why it’s good to sound like a broken record, and it’s also why you want to approach advertising as a marathon. You want to commit for the long haul. Whatever your strategy is, you must be willing to commit – and yes, this is scary and expensive – to at least one year.

Here’s an example of an advertising failure. My first year in business I was advertising that we are experts in bridal hair, which we are. If you look us up (Be Inspired Salon in Madison, WI) we are highly rate on as well as We are the very best for bridal hair and makeup in Madison, WI. I’m very proud of that, but it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with my bridal coordinator - the manager who communicates with our brides. She is phenomenal. And the stylists as well—their work is unbelievable. I even have a stylist who is so talented that she creates unique hairpieces for the brides.

But anyways, this was my advertising mistake: I put our message about bridal hair in a magazine that is for a demographic of women over the age of 45. It’s a local magazine for affluent women over the age of 45. That was definitely not my brightest idea. And eventually I realized I was doing something wrong. Usually if advertising is not working, it’s because it’s the not the right combination of message, place and timing.


Choosing the Right Message and Platform

Think about this: What do you want to be known for?

I’m going to give you one example. Let’s pretend that your salon wants to be known for red hair coloring. This is not as specific as the bridal example, with the wrong strategy of advertising in a magazine for older women. Red hair color could definitely be applicable to a wider demographic; there are more people you can reach. There are probably a lot of kids in high school that want red hair, all the way up to people like Sharon Osbourne, who is in her sixties and still rocking that plum red hair. So we’re going to say that you want to be known for specializing in red hair color.

Here’s the advertising tip I hope you’ll remember. You’re going to approach this like a marathon. Commit to a platform, whether that be social media like Facebook or Pinterest ads, radio, online ads or magazines. And your message will be this: “We are the very best in red hair color.”

 Now you need to focus all of your efforts in exploiting this.

You can create a Facebook photo album, featuring all of the sizzling reds. You could even have a different album for various shades of red - burgundy, auburn, strawberry blonde, animated red, bright red, etc. You can then pin all of these red hair examples on Pinterest or post them on Instagram.

And then a promotional message you can use is this: “Have you always wanted to try red, but you’re scared it won’t work for your skin tone?” or “Have you always wanted to try red, but don’t know if it’ll work for you? Let our experts offer a complementary color analysis to unlock your red hair color potential.”

And then show different shades of red hair color that are applicable to different types of clients. Anyone can be a redhead, but the shade of red is going to change for them based on their skin tone. If you look down at your skin tone, it’s not completely unlike everyone else’s. You can find a makeup that works for you, then you can find a shade of red that will work for you. You can use this as a way to encourage people to try new things!


Stick with Your Message

Especially because this is a niche service, it’s even more important that you consider it a marathon. Stick with your message over and over again, for at least a year, and make sure you don’t give up on it.

You have to choose one service that you want to be known for. You’re going to hone in on a specific message that you’re giving them. You’re going to place it in the right advertising platforms.

And based on the platforms you’re using and the area you’re in, it might even take a little more than a year. But your brand will eventually be strongly associated with this service that you choose. You just have to give it time.

I’ll leave you with this: what is that you want to be known for? Is it men’s hairstyling, bridal hairstyling, makeup, treatments for thinning or curly hair, balayage hair coloring? Once you choose your niche, you want to stick with that message and advertise it consistently for the long haul.

And make sure everyone is on board. Your team and your clients should be on board and aware that this is what you’re known for. That way, even if they don’t have red hair, but they know someone who starts talking about wanting red hair, they’ll immediately think of your salon and recommend you.

The power of consistency is important. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.


Emily Kelly