Successful owners of beauty-oriented businesses engage customers and provide top-notch service. The marketing plan for your cosmetology business should focus on finding potential customers and letting them know what services you offer, making new customers feel comfortable that you'll do a great job, and giving current customers an incentive to return .

Determine your target demographic, or the group of people most likely to buy your services. Narrow your target group to maximize the effectiveness of your ads. Think about the age, income, interests, location and education of potential clients. The specific services you offer and the cost of your products also will play a role in determining whom to target with your marketing efforts.

Set an advertising budget. If your business is new, the budget might have to be extremely low. For an established cosmetology business, an advertising budget could run anywhere from 2 to 20 percent of revenues. Smaller businesses typically devote a larger percentage of their revenues to marketing.

Conduct market research to determine the messages to which your target demographic best responds. Browse the Internet to see what potential clients in your target group are reading or discussing. For more in-depth data, conduct focus groups or enlist a marketing agency, if you budget allows it.

Study what competing cosmetologists in your area are doing, and determine what sets you apart. Define a brand identity or a niche to make your marketing more effective. For example, focus on natural products or costume makeup, develop a trademark color palate, or emphasize speedy service.

Launch advertising efforts based on your research. Decide where to advertise your cosmetology services to best communicate with your target market. Reach younger clients online, or explore more traditional methods like magazines or newspapers. Use information from your research about discounts, services and trends that appeal to your target group when crafting your advertising plan.

Incorporate word-of-mouth strategies to bring in cosmetology clients. Start a blog featuring product reviews and makeup tips for your target audience. Use social networking to engage current customers and reach new ones. Create a Facebook fan page, with photos of your best work and discounts for fans. Ask customers to refer friends and offer discounts for referrals. Create eye-catching business cards. Give clients a small gift, such as a purse mirror, featuring your business name and contact information.