One summer in college, I worked at a hair salon as a receptionist. My role included picking the music, greeting clients with their favorite beverage, and calling everyone the day before to remind them about their appointment.

That, I must admit, was years ago — before the power of email marketing dramatically changed the way hair salon owners were able to strengthen relationships with their clientele while expanding their presence in the community.

Today, in between getting my eyebrows done and highlighting my hair at a discount, my role would also include implementing creative efforts for growing the hair salon email list. While not everyone has a sassy college student who loves to play pop hits from the ‘80s working the reception desk, everyone in the beauty industry can easily create new systems to take advantage of the power of email marketing.

Here’s the thing: Email marketing provides one of the best returns on investment. Research shows that for every $1 spent, business owners see $36 back in their pockets. When you send an email to one of your loyal clients, they don’t see it as spam. Studies show they appreciate this communication, especially when the email contains useful information or noteworthy discounts.

Wondering where to get started? Consider me your hip receptionist with an extra 20 years of professional marketing experience as I share five simple steps for growing your hair salon email list… trust me, it’s a much quicker process than growing out your bangs.

We make it easy to get new clients and repeat business with all the marketing tools you need for your nails, hair, skin, or personal care business.

1. Create a paper sign-up sheet for the reception desk

Hair salons are uniquely positioned to grow their email lists because nearly every business has a reception desk. At one point, each of your customers will be standing at the desk to pay. This is an excellent opportunity to expand your hair salon email list.

Simply have a clipboard with lined papers and instruct the receptionist to ask clients if they’d like to learn about the latest promotions, tips, and events at the salon. Have them write:

  • First and last names
  • Birthday
  • Email address

It will take the client just as long to share these details as it will take for the receptionist to run their credit card — and you’ll be able to use the information to strengthen your relationship with them.

Hair salons, like the Ethan Hunter Salon, are built on relationships between stylists and clients, so many clients are happy to sign up during their visit. Don’t be afraid to ask.

2. Offer incentives

‌If you are concerned that people won’t want to give their email addresses, encourage them with an incentive. This is basic psychology — everyone loves getting something for free! You can be creative here. Ideas include:

  • 10% off their next visit
  • A free trial-size product 
  • Entry into a raffle for a free service or gift basket
  • Free add-on service

You may feel like you’re giving something away for nothing, but remember the return on investment when it comes to email marketing. This is an investment in cultivating a loyal clientele that goes beyond the experience they enjoy at your salon.

3. Add a digital email sign-up option 

Potential clients aren’t likely to stop by your reception desk until they’ve already set up an appointment. However, they are likely to check out your website before they schedule their service. Capture their email by adding a widget or a pop-up box to your website.

Another idea is to make it easy to sign up through your Facebook page. Many salon owners use social media to showcase their designs and connect with others organically. But it’s smart not to rely too much on social media platforms. Recently, Facebook and Instagram went down for hours — a nightmare for businesses who used those platforms as their only way of communicating with their customers.

Fringe Hair Design, a salon in Woodstock, New York, announced that it won “Best Hair salon of the Hudson Valley” on Facebook. They could also share that news through direct email.

Just like with in-person signups, you can offer an incentive for a discount on a client’s first service when they add their email address online. Don’t worry about added work, either: You can automate those welcome emails to send immediately after someone signs up for your email list.

4. Send monthly emails with useful information

As you begin to grow your hair salon email list, it’s important to focus on providing useful, educational, and entertaining content on a regular basis. Set time aside from running the salon — or delegate the task to your receptionist or office manager — to send emails on a certain day at least once a month.

Some hair salon email subjects include:

  • Holiday-themed ideas such as Christmas party updos and Halloween makeup
  • New trends, like artistic manicures
  • Introduction of each stylist at your salon with their specialties
  • Product discussion 
  • Tips for maintenance between styling appointments

Don’t worry if writing isn’t your strong suit. You can fill up your email with plenty of pictures of your hair designs. You can also ask your favorite and most loyal clients to write short testimonials for your business, which you can include on your website as well as in your emails.

5. Encourage clients to ask their friends to sign up, too

Any salon owner knows the power of referrals. Ask clients who love their new looks to post selfies on social media — but don’t stop there. Encourage them to invite their friends to sign up for your email list, so that you can connect directly with them.

Make it easy by offering a few different sign-up methods. For example, you can add a button to your emails that make it easy to forward the email to a friend. Or, use a feature that lets people text-to-join by sending a keyword to a certain number to instantly join the email list.

You can also hold open house events in which you ask your clients to bring a friend. Both of them can enjoy complimentary five-minute hand massages, blowouts, free samples of products, and even adult beverages. Of course, you’ll want to make sure to collect everyone’s email addresses for your list. 

Need ideas for a creative salon open house? Check out Pinterest for inspiration. And don’t forget to keep the email list sign-up sheet at the door! Image source: Pinterest (Collection by Kimberly Watson).

Get creative when building your hair salon email list

Of all the hair salon marketing strategies, direct email lists are among the best. Email marketing is a powerful and cost-efficient way to grow your business through direct connections with your current and future clients. But it takes a dedicated plan — including both in-person and digital collection — to get a good number of email addresses, especially when you first begin.

For a first step, start with your current clientele. Encourage your receptionist to ask every person for their email address during the check-out process. It should be a seamless request that lets the person know that they’ll be receiving valuable information that they’ll enjoy reading every time it arrives in their inbox.

If the receptionist feels uncomfortable, brainstorm a script to use for each person. It can be as simple as “We’d love to stay in touch with you in between appointments. Would you like to sign up for our email newsletter so we can share all kinds of news about the latest products, treatments, and trends?”

Then, make a commitment to stay consistent in sending out those emails. Remember the promise you’re making to your clients to give them short articles, coupons, and news on the latest fashions. Set reminders on your phone or calendar so you won’t forget — even when business picks up. It can help to plan ahead with topics, especially if you plan to feature a stylist in every email.

After they sign up, your clients will be looking forward to connecting with you, and your efforts will strengthen your relationship. As a result, they’ll think of you first when it’s time to make their next styling appointment.