No small business can succeed without some kind of marketing strategy, especially now that most advertisements are online and available to anyone with a smartphone in their pocket. Salons are no different in this regard. Yes, they are often marketed to a specific clientele, but anyone who has ever managed a salon can tell you that these businesses do not sell themselves, no matter how many loyal customers they have. As with anything in the business world, you will need to know how to market your salon to get it to stand out from the competition. Much of what you do will depend on where you are located and what kind of customers you hope to attract, but here are five marketing tips that any salon should be using.
1. Make Sure Your Salon is on Review Sites
Online reviews can be something of a double-edged sword when it comes to marketing, but there is no denying that they can work in your favor when everything goes well. To make sure that as many people hear about your salon as possible, make sure that it is listed on Yelp and other review sites. When you claim your business’s profile on Yelp, you are even given $300 in ad credits to spend on targeted ads for your salon. Even without that kind of advertising opportunity, online reviews should still be encouraged. Yes, there will always be petty “customers” who want to sink your business with bad reviews, but astute Internet users can usually sniff those out and tell them apart from the legitimate reviews. Once you do get some good reviews on Yelp, Google, or wherever your clients happen to post, link to them on your salon’s website. And yes, you should have a website if you don’t have one already. That should really be a given at this point, which is why we’re not actually putting it on this list.
2. Make It Easy for Customers to Book Appointments Online
Even though you might have plenty of customers who book appointments over the phone or walk into your salon, there are just as many people who would rather book appointments online with a smartphone or laptop. If you want to keep these customers – and there are more of them all the time – you will want to make it as easy as possible for them to book appointments online. This sounds really obvious, but you would be surprised at how difficult it can be to book appointments online for some salons. This could be due to a website with a confusing layout, a lack of a mobile-friendly website, or any other issues that can befall a small business online. If you aren’t able to optimize your site to allow customers to book appointments with you online, we suggest hiring a web designer to give your customers that option. It will be well worth the investment.
3. Post Engaging Photos on Social Media
Social media is vital to the success of any modern marketing campaign, so of course it can be used to give your salon a boost. First of all, you should take the time to create some profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Facebook is still the top social networking site on the Internet, so simply having a presence there has the potential to get your salon seen by millions of people. Instagram and Pinterest are also great since their focus is on image sharing. You can use these platforms to post before and after photos of clients (with their permission, of course), pictures of your salon’s interior, or advertise products that you might be selling. Don’t forget to post the occasional video as well. As long as it doesn’t go much longer than 90 seconds, a video on your Facebook wall can grab people’s attention more than just about any photo or blog post. Your best option may be to have an agency, like Studio MFP, create regular content for your social media.
4. Keep Your Brand Consistent
Your salon should be its own brand if it is to set itself apart from all the other salons out there. You don’t need to go all out and create a wild new logo and slogan to grab people’s attention, but you should keep things consistent across all of your advertising efforts. Things like using the same logo and the same colors in all the print and online ads that you post will help your small business stick out in people’s minds. They will know exactly who you are and what you have to offer. If you’re particularly successful, they might even recognize your logo at the merest glance. You do need to be consistent with this though. There is nothing wrong with experimenting a bit at first to find out what does and doesn’t work, but once you figure out what kind of image you hope to present, don’t change things too much.
5. Offer Incentives for Referrals
Word of mouth is still the best way to advertise a business, even in this digital age. When someone is pleased with your service, give them a reason to tell others about it by offering incentives. This can be a discount on their next appointment if someone mentions them when they come in, or it could mean partnering with an influencer who will endorse your salon. Influencers tend to get a lot of flack for what they do, but partnering with the right one can give your business some much-needed attention on Instagram or some well-known fashion blogs. You obviously don’t want to go overboard with offering free or discounted service, but the occasional discount for a referral might help to get customers in the door.
Consistence is Key
As with any business, the key to marketing your salon is persistence. People need to know you’re there if they’re going to book appointments, so keep putting the word out about your services in any way that you can. You will eventually find the marketing strategies that work best for your salon’s brand if you keep at it, so keep these tips in mind and don’t give up.