Are you running a hair or beauty salon, but not seeing the results from your marketing? In an industry where competition is fierce, it’s vital to put the time and effort into your salon’s marketing to draw in customers and enhance your salon.
But even more importantly, you should have an appropriate marketing strategy. Once this in place, you can then decide if you want to do the marketing yourself or hire someone else to do it.
Here at Ellison’s we’ve pulled together a guide consisting of our own tips and the views of successful salon owners on how best to market a salon. This should help you to improve your marketing efforts and in turn generate more clients.
1. Make your brand distinctive and unique
One of the most important factors when marketing any salon is making sure branding is on point. It should be distinctive and unique. Make sure you think about the personality of the brand, what it stands for and who your audience is before you start to promote your business. Tone of voice, colour scheme, logo, and imagery are all aspects that make up the branding. These factors will influence what consumers think and feel about your business.
It can also be worthwhile in the research stages of your branding to see what your competitors are doing and to look at previous award winners. This way you can get ideas of good practice and inspiration.
2. Utilise Instagram
Our next tip marketing tip comes from Emily at The Gossip Nail Bar.
“I would say one of the most important things is having a unique Instagram account with quality photos and work. I would say 75% of my new clients come from Instagram. It’s important to have good lighting, good high-quality photos. It helps to have a high standard of work too. We offer a range of nail art options in a cute environment and that was born from frustration not being able to find that at other salons in Bristol.
Don’t be afraid to break the mould and do things differently. And know your worth, don’t be afraid to charge what you believe your work is worth. There are too many NSS salons who devalue our work. If you’ve created a brand that stands above the rest, the demand will follow!”
As Emily from The Gossip Nail Bar mentioned, one way to successfully market your salon would be to break the mould and offer something different to your competition. Think about what you would expect from a salon and then go over and above. Customers are more likely to travel or pay slightly more for a better, more unique experience. Check out The Gossip Nail Bar’s Instagram for salon promotion ideas.
3. Take photos and post them on social media
Social media is a brilliant tool for promoting your salon. You can use the platforms to show off your masterpieces to existing and potential customers. A “before and after” is a great way of doing this.
Instagram is a fantastic platform for professionals in the hair and beauty industry. As a visual platform, Instagram can be used as a portfolio of your work to entice new and existing customers into your salon. It's also a brilliant way to monitor progress and improvement of your work.
4. Start with Facebook if you’re new to social
Many social media platforms offer free usage, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat all allowing easy, cost-free access. As arguably the most popular platform, Facebook is a great place to start if your business is currently out of touch with the world of social. As well as allowing you to post information and images related to your business, Facebook’s Insights tool is a great way to view the success of your online presence, allowing you to track page likes and views, reach, post engagements and more. This will give you a literal insight into the development of your business and will help easily track development and growth.
We caught up with Sophie at Glazed Nails and Beauty for her view on the importance of social media.
“Social media is definitely the most important thing for me. My entire business evolved from a Facebook page set up 7 years ago, showcasing my work. I spend a lot of time looking at other salons social media to find out what sort of things they are posting, and what content is getting good feedback. I have built my social media platforms to represent an online portfolio. So, lots of photos and examples of our work.
It is also a great place for customers to give honest reviews. If I’m ever recommended someone or a business, I always check out their social media.”
5. Know your brand and stick to its identity
Following on from our first point about unique branding, it’s also important to have a consistent brand identity. We caught up with industry expert Tammy Koslowski from NAF! Salon to hear her views on branding and this is what she said.
“Using Social Media to market your business is quick, easy and free, which is great when you’re busy with clients! Whether you’re a salon or a sole trader, my best piece of advice is: know your brand. You need to know what you’re marketing in order to market it.
Branding isn’t as scary as it sounds, just make sure you have a nice, clear logo that you can use on your websites and socials, post the same style of photos on your feed and use the same sort of tone and voice when you’re communicating with clients and potential clients online. Easy! Never underestimate a good website, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just make sure your name, phone number, email address & physical address are easily seen as well as a links to your online booking system (if you have one) and social channels (and your social channels link back to it!).
Make sure you’re putting quality content on your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Think of the feed as your business card and your stories as a “Behind the Scenes” – use your stories to “point & shoot” during the day and use pictures of your best work with informative caption on your feeds. You don’t need to post 5 times a day but make sure you’re consistent and your content is good and engaging. Be critical, would you like the post you just put up or would you scroll past it? Will a potential client get all the info they need within 30 seconds of being on your social media or website?”
6. Look at blogging opportunities
You could either start your own blog or look into featuring on other businesses blogs such as brands you stock or top salon magazines. Tammy from NAF! Salon is a columnist at Scratch magazine where she shares her salon tips and talks all things nails and business. Blogs are a great way to connect with your customers and give them advice, showing you really are an expert in your field. For example a common question in your salon might be "How can keep my coloured hair healthy?", you could write a blog to include your advice and solutions to common problems. This could help win over new clients and allow others who may not be familiar with your business to interact and become a customer. Creating quality content is an effective way to grow your client base. It will help improve your google rankings making your website and details easier to find for potential clients.
7. Run a competition
Hosting a competition on your social media page can give a lot of exposure to your brand and increase engagement. You could also gain a new client or make a loyal client very happy. For example, “Like and share our latest post for a chance to win a free treatment up to the value of £200.” These types of promotions tend to work best on Facebook pages, but don’t be put off trying other platforms if you have a large following.
8. Tailor your marketing to specific audiences
We’ve reached out to Joanna Tompkins from French and Drench for our next tip around targeting.
“I think the most important thing is to know who you are targeting each piece of marketing to. You can promote your salon/business to many different types of people but for each specific advert/campaign talk to one person at a time. Find the issue that they need solving, such as short or dry nails, and talk to them about how you can help with that.
Rather than concentrating your marketing message on you or your salon, concentrate on the client, how they will feel and what they will get out of using your business.”
9. Think VIRAL
Are you an expert in creating crazy nail art or unique hair styles? A viral post is a brilliant way to increase your business’s exposure, but they can be difficult to pull off. For inspiration, look at competitor posts which have gone viral and identify reasons why they could have gone viral. Could it be that the topic is on trend, controversial or did someone piggyback off an influencer? Once you’ve decided on a topic, encourage people to share your content to expand your reach.
10. Utilise directories and showcase reviews
Utilise resources already available with Google reviews or an online directory such as Yelp to keep your information online up to date and easy to find. With around 88% of consumers reading reviews to determine the quality of a business, it’s extremely important to keep an eye on online reviews and reply when necessary.
When you get a great review from a happy client, post it on your social media or on your website. You could even print out the very best ones and display them in your salon.
As well as looking at reviews, clients may also check out your website before making an appointment, therefore it is vital to regularly update your website. Ideally, the design and feel of your website should reflect your salon. This will allow the client to get a taste of what is to come when they book an appointment.
Some important information to have on your website…
Phone number and email address
Social media links
Features that will improve your website but are not vital…
Information and images of staff
Images of the salon
Retail products for sale
An “About us” section
Reviews and images of your work and creations
Be price savvy. Your pricing should be dependent on your clientele, location and the services you offer. Think about these factors before deciding on pricing. You could offer a discount for loyal customers, friends and family or even offer discounts on last minute appointments.
13. In the salon
A clean, bright and inviting salon is a must. Create the perfect ambience in your salon so that clients will like to return, whether that means offering them a drink and snack when they arrive (cake is always a good choice), or a comfy waiting area. From the moment your client steps in the door they should feel at ease and looked after. Make sure every point of contact within your salon is up to scratch.
14. Convenient booking
Online booking systems are convenient for both you and your clients giving them the option to choose an appointment suitable for them and the ability to book after working hours. It also means there is less time spent in the salon answering phone calls, which could free up one member of staff for a few extra hours each day. Therefore, online booking can dramatically improve the efficiency of your salon.
Train your staff to book in your clients next appointment before they leave the salon. You can also teach them to up-sell using retail products to increase your profit margins. Engaging your existing customers and upselling to them is an essential part of your salon marketing process. The cost of acquiring new customers is far greater than keeping your existing ones.
16. Loyalty schemes
Offers and loyalty schemes are a great way to entice potential clients into your salon. Loyalty cards can be cheap and easy to make, and they can provide clients with an extra incentive to book a guilt-free appointment when they can redeem their loyalty points or money off.
17. Monthly and seasonal offers
A “monthly special” offer is a good way to promote certain products or treatments. You could promote this in your salon, on your website or social media or via an email newsletter. We talk about email newsletters later on in this blog.
Seasonal offers can help promotions and advertising to stand out from competitors. When it comes to big holidays, use them as an excuse to push your products and treatments. For example, offer a Mother and Daughter treatment as a Mother’s Day gift or a Bridal package as part of the Wedding season.
18. Email newsletters
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a computer whiz to be able to create a branded email newsletter. You can sign up for free with email platforms like Mailchimp and use a drag and drop function to put together your own email.
Alternatively, team up with a local business or freelancer that can help you out. Sending emails to clients and customers is a great way to communicate directly, whether it is promotional offers, business news, highlighting recent blog posts or asking for feedback. You could also automate your emails to act as a reminder for an appointment.
We spoke to Katie Barnes at Katie Barnes Academy to get her view on email marketing in the beauty industry.
“Send a Happy Birthday email or SMS to your clients with a discount off their next treatment or encourage them to book a birthday treat with a friend, introducing a new customer to your books. An extra touch can be to personally write each client a Christmas card, which includes a 10% discount in January and February voucher to encourage them to return in those financially tight months. The handwritten card provides a personal touch, which clients always appreciate.”
As Katie Barnes has mentioned in her tip above, personalisation is always appreciated by clients and can encourage loyalty. To ensure accurate personalisaton, keep all your customers records up to date, including name, birthday, email address, phone number and marketing preferences. There is nothing worse than receiving an email containing incorrect or out of date information.
It's also worth considering marketing preferences, as some customers prefer being contacted by text message, while others prefer email and social media. You can either ask your customers personally or monitor which they seem to prefer.
20. Gift cards
A simple gift idea that is a necessity for any business. A great gift for clients and guaranteed revenue for your business. A win win!
21. Retail opportunities
Offering retail products for your clients to take home is a brilliant way to up-sell. A lot of clients like to be able to use the same products that a professional does, this could be anything from shampoo to a face mask.
22. Model your services
Make sure you always look your best. No one will want a haircut from a stylist with bad hair, or a manicure from a technician that is in desperate need of one them-self. Take time to pamper yourself to ensure you are feeling and looking your best for your clients. This goes for your staff too.
23. Work with other local businesses
Building relationships with other businesses in your local area can be extremely beneficial. Whether it’s a local newspaper where you can promote your salon or a photographer who can help you take some beautiful images for your website and social media. They may also recommend your salon or become a regular customer if you build up a good relationship. It’s a win win situation for both businesses.
24. Monitoring and Reporting
There is not much point in investing time and money into marketing your business if you don’t monitor your results. Be sure to set yourself targets and check back on a regular basis to ensure you are meeting them. If your results aren’t as good as you had hoped, you can now revisit your strategy to see what could be improved on.
Now that you’ve read our 24 top salon marketing tips, you should be ready to test some ideas out and see which work best for you. Just remember that they do not always guarantee success, so don’t get downhearted at first if you’re not getting more clients. Lastly, let us know if you have had success with these tactics and share on social media with friends or colleagues.
Feature image: Shutterstock Statistics: NHF Advice and resources