Are you a salon owner who sometimes feels like you aren’t cut out for marketing? You aren’t alone in this. Marketing can be quite challenging and frustrating even for professional marketers. It would be crazy to expect small salon owners -who are on their feet all day by the way- to know their way around the murky waters of marketing. But as crazy as it sounds, it is possible to successfully utilize the few hours you get in the evening or weekend to generate new business leads.
There are millions of ways to attract, convert, and nurture new clients. This article elaborates on 7 of these ways in order to help you choose the one that aligns best with your strengths. You don’t have to do it all: Take one day, one step, and one approach at a time.
Idea 0: Invest in salon software
Before we delve into the meat and potatoes, let’s first elaborate on why salon management software is invaluable with regard to client attraction and retention. In fact, we should mention that the success of the 7 ideas we are about to share all depends on how well you utilize your salon software. This is why:
Every successful marketer will tell you that the most challenging part of marketing is identifying the perfect client; defining your buyer persona. Once you know the age, gender, financial position, social position, favorite social media platforms, and home address of your ideal client, every other bit of marketing becomes a breeze. That information points you in the direction of people who are highly likely to be interested in your brand and campaign messages. You, therefore, don’t waste too much of your very limited time engaging people who probably will never convert.
Salon management software can help you create and organize your salon’s client database. In the database, you can record information such as treatment history, skin tests, hair types, booking and payment records, home address, social profiles, and contacts. This info is crucial in defining your buyer persona.
Now that you know who you are targeting, where they live and hang out, and how they spend their hair and beauty budgets, let’s go ahead and look at 7 salon business ideas to attract more clients to your salon.
Idea 1: Work on your brand reputation
What do people say about your salon business to their social media followers, friends, and relatives? The answer to this question is the reputation that precedes all your marketing campaigns. If the reputation is tarnished, regardless of whether it’s through lies and malice, your salon will struggle to attract new clients. If the reputation is good, you will have an easy time convincing new clients to try out your services. That is why you should take a special interest in cleaning up your reputation (if it’s tarnished) and building a good reputation from scratch.
Here are a few affordable and easy brand reputation ideas for salon owners:
· Establish yourself as the most knowledgeable salon owner in your locality. You can do that by sharing useful beauty blog posts with your website visitors, answering hair and beauty questions from your social media followers, and creating YouTube tutorials on hair and beauty. The key here is to ensure that your target clients admire your expertise and authority on hair/beauty topics.
· Never allow a disgruntled client to walk out without first turning their frown upside down. Do everything you can to make amends before they go sharing their disappointment with everyone they know.
· Be proactive when dealing with negative publicity on social media. If someone accuses you or your stylists of misconduct, respond to them as fast and as honestly as possible.
· Create an army of loyal foot soldiers around your brand. This army should consist of your close friends, family members, and loyal customers. These are people who won’t stand and watch as other people trash talk your salon. You can reward them through discounts or whichever form of special treatment you think is appropriate.
· Most consumers in the 21st century are truly concerned about environmental conservation. Ensure that your salon is eco-friendly. Use eco-materials for your interior décor, offer eco-safe services, and invest in more eco-cosmetics.
· Have a unique, fancy, and stylish dress code for your staff members. Ensure that everyone directly associated with your salon has top-quality manicures and hairstyles. These are your number one brand ambassadors. If they look bad and rugged, your reputation goes directly in the gutter.
· Vet your new hires to ensure that they are as hardworking, goal-oriented, skilled, and passionate as you are. Employees interact with clients every day and their (mis)conduct is technically what advises clients’ perception of a salon.
· Get ahead of online reviews. Ask happy clients for positive, authentic, and well-detailed reviews for your testimonial page. Most satisfied clients will do it for free.
· Photograph your work and share those photos on your website and social media pages.
· Partner with reputable social media influencers and community leaders to market your salon. If you have a respected religious leader or a local fashion model on your clients’ list, for example, your reputation can greatly benefit from being associated with such a person.
Idea 2: Make your salon client-friendly
With your reputation intact, ensure that clients who visit your salon for the first time are excited by what they see, feel, smell, and hear in your salon. We already mentioned that your salon’s interior décor should be eco-friendly. It should feel luxurious but mindful of the environment. That, in part, takes care of what clients see. What else can you do to create a client-friendly space?
· Bring in live plants for both their air-cleaning and décor properties. They will help rid your salon of harmful toxins that may come from your furniture, equipment, and the products you use.
· Ensure that the topics people discuss in the salon are family-friendly; that people of all ages, genders, races, sexualities, and religions feel comfortable in the space you create. Shoot down any offensive and/or disrespectful discussions depending on who is in the salon.
· Ensure that your reception area feels warm and inviting. Comfy chairs, entertaining but educative magazines, scented candles, smiling receptionists, and soothing music will all come in handy here.
· Create an organized and beautiful designated retail space so that clients can easily peruse through your inventory.
· Invest in not only efficient but also sophisticated equipment. Subconsciously, people associate sophistication with quality.
· Invest in overhead blow dryers, vertical storage units, beautiful countertops, and stunning framed mirrors.
· Open up the space by decluttering and then invest in modern lighting fixtures for optimal lighting.
· Most importantly, ensure that you tailor all your services in a unique and quality fashion. Train and retrain your staff members to ensure that they are the best in the business.
· Create a corner for clients’ share-worthy “after” photos.
Idea 3: Use an online booking system, but don’t be impersonal
If you haven’t done it yet, it is important to invest in a hair salon online booking system ASAP. Online booking enhances the customer experience by handing clients control of their own appointments. You can sync the system with your employees’ calendars so that clients can see when their favorite stylists are free. They can then book and pay for appointments from anywhere in the world through the system. That level of convenience is good for customer attraction and retention.
To ensure that online visitors book appointments within their first minutes on your website, it is important to create a designated booking page on the site. You should then share links to the booking page across the internet and use QR codes to link your offline campaign materials to the page. Lastly, add “Book Now” and “Book Here” buttons on each one of your landing pages so that clients don’t have to look too hard to find them.
However, as convenient as online booking is, it also can feel a tad impersonal. Always create time out of your busy schedule to call or chat with the new clients who book online. Take this chance to provide pre-treatment consultations, discuss your offers, and inquire more about their scheduled appointment. Make them feel super-special even before they meet you in person.
Idea 4: Improve your website
This is assuming that you already have a professional website. A good website will help build your credibility online. It is the first contact that clients from Google and social media make with your business.
With the website in place, take these steps to improve it for better client attraction and retention:
· Keep your web pages clean and relevant. It is more about the quality than the quantity of the content you share.
· Avoid posting tacky stock photos on your landing pages. Go with actual, authentic photos taken in your salon.
· Make sure that your price card is readable and accessible throughout the website, not just on the pricing page.
· Choose a warm, friendly, and knowledgeable vibe as opposed to an overly promotional vibe. Too much promotional content can be off-putting.
· Have as many call-to-action buttons as possible. These include “call now” and “book now” CTAs.
· Optimize it for SEO. A good SEO company can do that for you at an affordable price.
· Integrate the website with Google Analytics & Google My Business for a wider reach.
· Write an optimized website description in Google and include local keywords such as “best salon in *your location*”.
· Ensure that the website is readable and navigable on mobile.
Idea 5: Make Google your friend
We all know from experience that businesses that rank highest on Google are more visible to clients. That is why you should make Google your friend. The good news is that Google becomes your friend immediately after you improve your website. But there is more you can do:
i. Get as many five-star Google My Business reviews as possible. Your loyal foot soldiers can help you with that. Ask them nicely and they will gladly leave you feedback on Google. You can also incentivize employees to ask their client friends to review your business on GMB.
ii. Ensure that your business name, address, and phone number are accurate and consistent on all your online platforms.
iii. Apart from the blog posts you post on your website, share high-quality guest posts on high-authority websites for back-linking purposes.
iv. List your business in online directories including Your Local Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, Yelp, LinkedIn, Apple Maps, and Yellow Pages.
v. Invest in sponsored Google Ads to push your salon website to the pinnacle of local Google rankings.
Idea 6: Invest in video marketing
Videos help you create personal relationships with your target market. That’s provided they are educational and fun to watch. Besides, videos don’t get monotonous as fast as photos do. For effective video marketing:
· Make a habit of going live on social media whenever something interesting and relevant comes up. This is particularly useful if you take part in charity and other community development initiatives. Your followers will definitely love being part of that experience, so you are guaranteed to get lots of attention. What’s more, live videos are similar to event marketing because you can advertise them and even invite guests.
· Create short FAQ videos and share them online with regularity. Answer as many FAQs as possible.
· Share a video on every offer or promotion you have lined up, and then cleverly flip your phone around to show clients a glimpse of the positive energy in your salon.
· Tell your brand story through short videos. You can just go around the salon with a camera or a phone and record your team members at work. Mention something non-promotional-ish about your salon while at it. People get more attached to a business that oozes a non-promotional, human, and friendly vibe.
Idea 7: Create outstanding social media ads
Almost all your clients and prospective clients are on at least one social platform. You just need to know which platforms have the biggest chunk of your target market and then launch vigorous campaigns on those platforms. But because your local competition is also on those platforms trying to outdo you, you have to take your social media game a notch higher.
To ensure that your social media ads are outstanding, center your social media campaign on the things that make your salon different. Let people see your salon as a one-of-a-kind establishment. Some of the things that can make your salon different are the customized hairstyles you do, the community development programs you participate in, and the general vibe in your salon. Show that to clients and then once you have their attention, start promoting!
Remember: You don’t need to experiment with all 7 ideas at once. Take your time and comprehensively explore each idea at a time. Attracting clients and driving conversions takes time and patience, after all.
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