Success in the competitive personal care industry calls for a sophisticated approach involving multiple ways to market your salon. After all, in the age of Yelp reviews and Google My Business, you can’t assume that customers will just walk in without knowing exactly which services you offer and how the end results might look. Today’s customers are more informed than ever — and they can be counted on to do their homework before they take a chance on your stylists.
The good news? A sophisticated marketing strategy can give you an edge over competing salons by providing the insight that prospects demand. While each marketing plan should be customized based on the salon’s audience and budget, certain solutions tend to pay dividends for most businesses in this sector.
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To help you understand what marketing solutions to use and when, in this article we’re going to go over these seven ways you can market your salon online:
- Optimize your salon website for local and voice search
- Complete your profile on Yelp
- Offer detailed information on Google My Business
- Optimize Google Ads for your salon
- Implement a salon referral program
- Capitalize on loyalty
- Engage on social media
Use these seven tips to improve brand awareness and build customer loyalty.
1. Optimize your salon website for local and voice search
Every salon should have a dedicated website that lists basic information such as location, hours, and services. Ideally, salon websites should also be optimized to reflect the local searches that drive the majority of digital and in-person traffic.
A variety of strategies can improve results for local searches. Salons situated in dense urban areas may need to opt for hyperlocal marketing, which shifts the focus from an entire region or city to a specific neighborhood or even a few blocks.
Another key consideration: the increasing prevalence of voice search. Queries made via Siri and Alexa tend to feature long-tail keywords, many of which take the form of questions. For example, instead of typing “Denver salon,” searchers may ask “Alexa, where can I find a salon near me?” This will be followed by a list of top salons situated within a specific Denver neighborhood, such as the Golden Triangle.
Voice-optimized keywords can be difficult to incorporate, as they tend to sound unnatural when forced into normal writing. For this reason, many businesses rely on FAQ pages. These feature question-based keywords within headers, followed by a few brief sentences that focus on answering the question, rather than emphasizing keywords.
2. Complete your profile on Yelp
No matter how flashy your website or social media accounts may be, some customers won’t give your salon a chance until they’ve scoured dozens of reviews on Yelp. Although typically associated with restaurants, this top review site also provides an opportunity to display customer feedback on salons and other personal care businesses. So, be sure to claim your listing and manage your reviews.
Customers appreciate Yelp’s extensive written reviews, star rating system, and user-uploaded photos. A picture really is worth 1,000 words; one glance at the styles displayed in Yelp images, and customers will know whether they’re willing to give your salon a try.
Given the current prominence of social proof, it’s more important than ever to encourage satisfied customers to leave detailed reviews. Many prospects are willing to forgive the occasional negative remark, but few are willing to take a chance on salons for which they find little to no information online.
3. Offer detailed information on Google My Business
Yelp reviews may be difficult to manage, but Google My Business grants you a degree of control over your salon’s online reputation. Customers who do not see this information on your GMB page will quickly move on to the next search result, so don’t miss this opportunity to wow them.
As a minimum, you should make a point of providing detailed information for your salon’s GMB listing. This can include everything from contact information to hours of operation and flattering images of your business premises. Don’t forget to clue search engine users on upcoming events or new offers on salon products or services.
4. Optimize Google Ads for your salon
While Google My Business can pay dividends as an organic search strategy, it could still take a great deal of time and effort to drive sufficient traffic to your website or online listings. This shouldn’t be cause for avoiding organic development, but can help you maintain a steady stream of traffic in the meantime.
A great option: Google Ads, which allows you to tailor your salon marketing campaign based on your online marketing goals. This option is especially valuable for bringing foot traffic to your salon, although it can also drive calls and online appointments.
When people seeking salon services search for local options, they should see your business first. Optimized Google Ads can provide an immediate boost in clientele or remind previous visitors of your presence.
5. Implement a salon referral program
Online reviews may be critical for developing social proof, but traditional word of mouth remains as powerful as ever. Satisfied customers love showing off their favorite styles — and with an extra boost, they can become strong advocates for your salon.
Consider implementing a dedicated referral program, which will encourage top customers to get the word out. Such programs can be supported by incentives like free or discounted products, as well as opportunities to try out exclusive new services.
6. Capitalize on loyalty
While there’s a lot to be said for attracting new salon clientele, you’ll enjoy the greatest long-term return on investment if your marketing strategy emphasizes customer loyalty. The more often visitors return, the less effort you need to dedicate towards new leads who cannot always be counted on to follow through.
Quality service may be the biggest piece involved in producing long-term salon customers, but a loyalty program can help you establish and maintain strong relationships on the basis of price and exclusivity. Under this approach, customers can earn rewards based on how often they visit or how much they spend on services and products.
Some salons opt for a simple punchcard-based system, but many find online reward programs more effective. These may involve cards that can be swiped during each visit or even smartphone apps. Mobile systems are helpful in that they make it easy to track reward points while also offering the opportunity to make appointments on the go.
7. Engage on social media
A single social media account can simultaneously address many of the marketing objectives spread across the strategies outlined above. For example, your Facebook page provides the opportunity for customers to leave reviews while also offering detailed salon information, updates on your services, and links to blog posts or other relevant content. What’s more, your social media profiles can incorporate both organic and paid solutions.
The inherently visual nature of Instagram makes it one of the best options for building a social media presence. On your main page, you can highlight satisfied customers through before and after images that reveal their transformation. Influencers can also spread the word by stopping by your salon and posting images of their latest and greatest styles.
Many salons use Instagram to highlight partnerships or sponsorships in compelling images or videos. Several NFL and NBA cheer and dance teams, for example, work with local salons to get game-day ready. Individual cheerleaders or dancers can share behind-the-scenes footage of their salon visits via Instagram Stories or tag their favorite salon in posts on their main page.
If you’re looking to expand your reach on social media or attract customers from specific demographic groups, consider going beyond Facebook and Instagram to build a presence on Pinterest or even TikTok. Your need for these platforms will depend on the type of customer you wish to attract, but you may be surprised by the attention these options provide.
Get started with salon marketing
Equipped with exciting opportunities for building strong relationships with customers, you can craft a campaign that fits your priorities and budget. To get a better sense of marketing in the personal care industry, check out the free marketing guide for salons and spas, The Download.