By: Sarah Fasolo (@sarahhhmorgan) SALT Marketing Manager
Marketing is important for all salons, but it’s crucially important for newly opened (or not yet opened) salons which don’t yet have a solid clientele.
As a salon owner or manager, getting a solid handle on your marketing early in your business will help you bring in new customers, promote your brand, and become more profitable earlier on—and who doesn’t want that?!
The unfortunate reality, though, is that not all salons have an employee whose sole job is to run their marketing efforts. Either the owner manages the salon’s marketing on top of the regular management duties, or another employee (like a front desk worker) takes on the role as a part of their job. We’ve seen a lot of salon owners (and independent stylists responsible for their own marketing) struggle with time management as a result.
But you can’t afford to just put marketing off forever. Case-in-point: There are 20 salons in the same town at SALT Hair. While word of mouth can be really helpful and powerful, you are not in control of what (or if anything) is being said about your work. You need to find a way to stand out from the competition, which you can control, in order to succeed—especially if you are not in a location where you will get alot of walk-on traffic or in a space where you don’t have signage accessible to a main road.
Below, we’ve collected a bunch of marketing tips that you can use to get your salon’s marketing efforts off of the ground.
Marketing Tips & Ideas for New Salons
1. Ask yourself the right questions.
Before you dive into marketing your salon, you should start by asking yourself a couple of important questions that can help you better tailor your message and increase your likelihood for success. Some of these include:
- What is the top objective to your marketing efforts? Do you want to build brand awareness, attract your ideal client, build a team or community, etc.?
- Who is your target audience? What do they look like? What do they value? What is their age and demographic?
- What is your salon’s culture? How can you tie your salon culture back to your company’s core values and missions and carry it through to your marketing?
Who is your brand’s avatar? Think of your ideal client, and how they would communicate, dress, etc.
Download Our Target Audience Identification Worksheet
2. Leverage the right tools.
Managing your salon’s marketing strategy is going to require you to keep track of a lot of different things and processes. You’ll be posting to social media, writing blog posts and tutorials, capturing photos of your clients and space, and so much more. The better you get at streamlining this process, the easier everything will be in the end.
The best way to streamline your marketing efforts will be to make sure you’re leveraging the right tools. Scheduling apps like Snug, Sprout Social, Buffer, and HubSpot can all help you better manage this sometimes complicated process.
3. Lean into your salon’s culture and brand in your marketing materials.
Your salon’s culture and brand should go a long way in defining who you are and what you stand for. Hopefully, this aligns with you your ideal client is and what they stand for. (If not, you might have a problem on your hands!)
With this in mind, you should be sure to regularly check your marketing efforts against your salon’s culture and brand guidelines to make sure that every piece of marketing content you create meshes with the image that you wish to portray to your potential clients. If at any point you doubt this to be the case, the solution is simple: Scrap the offending marketing material and create something that better fits your guidelines!
4. Embrace social media.
Social media marketing is an incredible opportunity for most salons, offering a free channel for you to begin building an audience and following. While there are a lot of tips you can and should leverage to help your social posts shine, we recommend the following:
- Make sure you’re on the right social networks—the ones your clients are on!
- Post photos that show happy clients with beautiful hair so your potential clients can picture themselves sitting in your chair.
- Focus on your salon culture to make sure your messaging is consistent across all channels.
- Use your posts to educate your potential customers about their hair—a little goodwill goes a long way!
- Make sure they are business accounts; this will come in handy with analyzing your efforts and also help you run ads (more on this below).
5. Claim a Google My Business Listing for your salon.
More and more often, people are turning to Google to find a salon that’s a.) near them, b.) within their budget, and c.) has a good reputation. Claiming your Google My Business listing and making sure that the information is accurate and up-to-date is a critical part of making sure that your salon is discoverable online. Don’t do this, and you’re seriously setting your marketing off on the wrong foot.
6. Encourage customers to leave positive reviews.
Potential clients turn to reviews to judge whether or not they should come to your salon. When you’re first starting out, and you don’t have any reviews, you need to encourage your clients to leave those reviews for you.
After each service, if a customer seems happy with their hair (and they should be!) ask them to leave you an honest review on Google, Facebook, or anywhere else that your salon is listed. 90% of the time, they’ll say yes! Do you find that people keep saying they’ll leave you a review, but never follow through? Consider offering a small discount ($5, 5%, etc.) off of their bill. The caveat, of course, being that they need to leave you a review first. Especially when you’re getting started, this can be a game-changer for your business.
7. Get good at taking photos!
Hair is a highly visual industry. If you want to attract clients to your social pages and, ultimately, your salon, then you need to post beautiful photos that show happy customers and highlight your work. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, but you do need to know how to take a killer photo that makes your clients and their hair look amazing that you can then use these photos in all of your marketing pushes.
8. Don’t be afraid to run ads.
Ads might sound like a dirty word to a lot of people, but they can be incredibly helpful in attracting clients to your business, especially when you are first starting out.
The secret is to make sure that you are running your ads where your ideal clients are going to see them. If you’re trying to attract a young, chic audience, that more and more often means Instagram and Facebook. Luckily, both social networks make it incredibly easy to create ads and target EXACTLY who you want to attract.
9. Plan events.
Events can be a great way of drumming up business, and the sky is truly the limit in terms of what you can do! Consider some of the ideas below:
- When you’re first starting out, host a grand opening party that brings people in. Consider offering a slight discount to increase the chances of a packed house.
- Plan community-focused events that allow you to give back to the community and build relationships with potential customers.
- Think about events that tie into major holidays (Christmas, Halloween, New Year’s, Easter) or yearly events (Prom, summer kickoff) where people need their hair to look amazing.
10. Create a killer website.
Just like your social media profiles, your website is another channel that you can and should use to attract people to your salon. And like your social profiles, it should accomplish many of the same goals:
- It should align with your salon’s culture and brand.
- It should feature big, beautiful photos of happy clients with gorgeous hair.
- It should have accurate information about your salon (location, hours of operation, services offered, pricing, etc.).
- It should be easy to navigate.
Want more tips about how you can make your salon more profitable? Consider signing up for the Social Media & Powerful Brand Design in-class workshop, which will be taught by Jamie Sea and Evan Maguire on Monday, April 6th. In it, you’ll learn how to brand yourself, how to hire a graphic designer, how to observe the market and look for inspiration, design fundamentals, and so much more!