There are many talented hairdressers, nail techs, and aestheticians who are amazing at what they do. They may be among the best in their field. But still struggling to build up the right clientele and to make their salon profitable.
It shouldn’t be this way. A salon business can, and should, be profitable.
The thing is: It’s not enough to deliver superior salon services. People first need to know that your salon exists. And they need to understand that what you offer isn’t a cheap commodity but a benefit worth paying extra for.
Below is a list of proven salon marketing strategies, salon promotional ideas, and salon advertising examples that profitable salons use. It’s quite a long list. Some are quick and simple salon marketing ideas. Other are salon marketing strategies that will take a bit more time to implement. I don’t expect you to go implement all salon marketing ideas at the same time. Pick one today, go action it, and come back later for new salon strategies.
Salon Marketing Strategies
1. Get Your Salon Visible on the Search Result Page
What do you get when you type “salon near me” on Google? This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself to today. If you don’t show up when people look for your type of salon in your area, you simply don’t exist to potential new clients. So before you put any other salon marketing idea into practice, make sure you have the basics in place that allow you to be visible when people look for you. Google is the most used search engine but there are other as well. To get your salon visible on Google, setup your Google My Business Account here (it’s free).
2. Create or Refresh Your Salon Website
Your salon website is often the first impression you have with new clients. And as you’re in the beauty industry, I’m sure you know how important a first impression is. People simply don’t trust salons who’s website looks unprofessional or dated. As salon owner, you need to make sure your website looks up to date. A good place to start is to get inspired by other successful salon. It is the online window into your salon. Just like a salon receptionist, you don’t just want a pretty face but you want someone who finds new clients, manage your bookings, upsell your services and ultimately grow your business. You don’t necessarily need a salon marketing agency to create a website for you. You can do it yourself using a tool like Wix. Wix is the most easy to use website builder I’ve come across and, even without technical knowledge, you can get a good website created at extremely low cost with Wix. Before Wix I used 123 reg which I really struggled with wheras now with Wix I like updating the website. If you get a free Wix account and follow this guide, you’ll soon have a really powerful salon website that’ll help bring you new clients.
3. Enable Online Salon Appointment Booking
Did you know that over 35% of people prefer to book their appointments online? In fact, if you ask people under 35, 25% say they only book their appointments online. At the same time, many salons spend costly hours every week to manually administrate appointments. If this is you, this need to change. You need to get a good salon software that can manage your bookings online and in fact take care of many parts of your business. If you already have one, make sure you put your online booking feature in place on your website and social channels. If you don’t have one (or think you need something better), there are free, powerful, tools available you can start using already now.
Shedul partnered with Fresha is free and is an extremely powerful appointment booking solution that allow you to drop a booking widget on your website, send reminders, and much more. They do have an upgraded version which you have to pay for but I don't need this and I don't think you will.
4. Define Your Salon’s Email Marketing Strategy and Run a Salon Newsletter
If you run a salon, you run a relationship business. But how on earth can you effectively maintain good relationships with all your clients? The answer is a salon email newsletter. You might think that email is an old marketing method that has become irrelevant given the development of social media. But that’s not true. Far from. Email is the most effective way to build trust, relationship, and sales. If you don’t already have a salon newsletter running, you need to get this set up as soon as you can. It’s not difficult. In fact, there are several tools available that help you with free email templates and automation so that you don’t need to do any technical work yourself.
5. Get Your Salon Setup for Success on Social Media
I guess you’re not surprised to see social media as one of the salon marketing strategies in this list. However, you can easily spend a lot of time on social media without it really generating you any new clients. You need to define your salon’s social media strategy and execute consistently against it to be successful. In 90% of the cases, I would recommend salon’s to focus on Instagram before anything else. But there’s a number of different social media platforms out there that can be very effective salon marketing tools if used right.
6. Ensure Consistent Salon Branding
Everything communicates. Like it or not. The décor of your salon, your salon logo, your salon website, your staff, and your salon’s social media. Everything communicates. To be successful in your salon marketing, you need to ensure you’re consistent across all these communication touchpoints. People choose you as the preferred salon because of what you stand for, the experience you create, and what you offer. And if you’re not consistent, you’ll confuse people. Take the example of luxury hair salon trying to establish their hair salon branding. Their customer is the high paying, most demanding, client who seek a luxurious salon experience. The salon decor could be high end and the staff appropriately dressed, but if the salon’s website looks dated and cheap, the client will not understand the experience the salon would have created for them. The same goes for all aspects of the salon – including how your salon is named. The secret here is to truly understand who you’re trying to serve and then review everything about your salon to ensure you come across in a relevant way to that client.
Salon Advertising Ideas
7. Run Facebook Ads That Get New Clients Through Your Doors
Does your salon have a Facebook page? If you do, you probably have already tried some type advertising on Facebook. What I hear many salon owners do is that they boost their Facebook posts to get more visibility. But this is really not the same as doing Facebook Advertising. Boosting Facebook posts will really only give you likes, comments, and if you’re lucky a new client booking. What I’m talking about is something different. And when done right, Facebook advertising is one of the most effective and fast ways to attract new clients to your business.
8. Run Google Ads to Catch People Looking for Salons in Your Area
We learnt in the first salon marketing idea in this list that you need to make sure your salon shows up when someone is searching for salons in your area. This is how people look for new salons. But if your salon is surrounded by many other salons, it’s likely that your salon still doesn’t show up at the top. In fact, the first rows in the Google search result is dedicated to showing paid ads. So even if you have a good salon website that is optimized for search engines, it’s quite likely you’ll not show at the top. This is why you should run paid search campaigns. When you setup your search campaign, you should be as specific as you can. As you only pay when people click on the link, you should try to only show the ad to people that are likely to book with you. For example, you can limit your ad to only be visible to people based on walking distance to your salon. You can also define specific words that they need to use when searching.
This could include specific services that you offer in your salon. By being more specific, you’ll increase the chances that when people click (and you pay) the visitor will decide to book with you. Google offer a great advertising program for this purpose. To learn more about how to advertise with Google you can read their Google Ads guide to get started with ads for your salon.
9. Hire a Salon Influencer
I’m sure you’ve noticed the boom of influencer marketing over the last years. Big brands and small businesses are increasingly turning to influencers to help them generate awareness of their offering. It’s increasingly replacing traditional methods of advertising. Because it works. It’s one of the most effective marketing ideas for hair stylists and beauticians who deliver noticeable result through their service. It’s enough that the right influencer posts a picture of a transformational hair colour result from your salon to have your phone ringing for days. But the thing is. Beauty influencers know their worth. And it can be expensive to get a big name to your salon. This is why the best influencer marketing strategy for salons is to work with local micro influencers. These are people who live in the area and have 3’000-30’000 engaged followers. I’m sure that if you review your salon client list you’ll notice that you already know some of them. Try to work with them and give them some incentive to promote your salon. As they are already your client, they’ll be authentic and their followers are most likely highly relevant for your salon. Ideally they would @mention your salon in their post. If you’re doing this on Instagram, make sure you have your salon’s Instagram bio setup with a link back to your salon’s website where people can book.
Salon Promotional Ideas
10. Drive Sales by Leveraging Seasonal Events
Seasonal events are effective to increases the relevance of salon promotions. They are also easy to plan for and helps you highlight your different service offers in a relevant context throughout the year. For example, you may promote your styling or make up services in time for the Christmas festivities or your product line for men in time for father’s day.
Seasonal events you do not want to miss out on:
Black Friday & Cyber Monday: This is a good opportunity to sell out stock on discount without undermining your regular prices. Try also to find an arrangement with you product supplier so that you can get some additional discount when you acquire the products to help fund your promotion.
Christmas: November and December are good months to run gift set promotions and also express services ahead of the festivities.
Mother’s Day: This is a good time to promote your gift cards with a pampering mum treatment.
Father’s Day: Similar to Mother’s day, gift cards work well here (if you offer services for men). You can also put your male retail products to work here.
Valentine’s Day: You can never go wrong with gift cards or a nice set of retail products.
To make your offer even more relevant, you can also tap into local events, festivals or other happenings taking place in the town or city where your salon is based. An example could be a spa salon offering feet massage to the marathon runners over the local marathon weekend. As you run your salon promotions, I would always be careful with giving discount on your core services. There are other, smarter ways, to promote your products and service.
11. Increase Sales by Offering Add-On “Express” Services
So your salon is fully booked but you’re still not making enough profit? When you’ve built a good salon clientele, you need to turn your focus to increasing the amount each client spends during their salon visit. A great way to do this is to add express services to your menu. These add-on services require little or no additional time from you to perform. You may even be able to add the services during an already booked appointment. Ideally, the cost of the products you need to use is low so that by simply adding the service to the appointment, you immediately increase your profit. Let’s say you run a hair salon, an add-on service could then be a care treatment that you can add while you anyway have your client in the backwash.
12. Always Tell Your Clients What You’re Using on Them to Increase Salon Retail Sales
Would you say you or your staff is good at selling salon retail products? Most salon owners I meet answer no to this question. Even if they know how good business it can be. Salon retail products often have a 50% profit margin or more and it doesn’t take up much additional time from your staff to sell. So selling retail is an important activity for any salon.
The most common reason I hear to why retail sales performance is low is because hairdressers, nail techs, or beauticians don’t feel comfortable with “selling”. But, at the same time, salon clients put high value on being recommended the right take home products as part of their service. So there is clearly a disconnect here. A disconnect that is costing your salon money. Even if your salon staff aren’t comfortable with selling, a simple salon marketing activity you can install in your salon already today is to train your staff to (at least) always tell their clients what product they are using during the salon service. By just doing this you’ll significantly increase chances that your client will purchase the product to take home at the end of their appointment.
13. Retain Salon Clients with a Client Loyalty Program
Getting new clients is important. But the majority of your salon’s profit should always come from your existing, loyal, clients. It always costs more to attract new clients than it does to retain existing ones. But what are you doing today to reward those that stay loyal to you? Having the right incentive in place for your salon customers to stay loyal can save you a lot of time and money down the line. It’s super easy to run a loyalty program.
14. Get New Salon Clients with a Recommend-a-Friend Scheme
The best type of new client you can get is someone who had been recommended your salon by another salon client of yours. When people try out a new salon because they were recommended the salon by a friend, they are more likely to become loyal clients after their first visit. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most common way that Salon’s build their clientele. But what if you were to get intentional with your strategy to attract new clients by incentivizing your current clients to recommend you to their friends. You can use salon referral cards to implement a basic referral program.
15. Give Product Samples to Your Clients
Next time you meet your sales contact at your product supplier, ask him or her for product samples. This can be sachets or mini size products. These are great to give to your client so that she can try the product which makes it more likely she will buy the product from you during the next visit. Just one word of caution here. Make sure you only give out products samples after your client have decided on what she will buy from you. If you give the samples first she might decide not to buy the product from you as she now feels she can try the samples first and instead decide if she should buy at the next visit.
Salon Marketing Ideas
16. Always Re-Book Salon Clients During the Visit
“When is a good time for your next appointment?” This is a simple question to ask that have an immediate impact to your salon business. But we often forget about it. If you install the habit of always re-booking your clients for their next visit during their appointment, you’ll improve your clients’ visit frequency and reduce the risk that they’ll book with someone else the next time. It’s as simple as that. This is probably the most simple marketing tactic in this list, but it’s so important.
Inform your staff and receptionist that they always should re-book clients after their appointment. Remember to follow up and remind regularly about this so that it’s never forgotten again.
17. Create a Salon Tour Video for Your Salon’s Social Media and Website
I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that a good client relationships are crucial for the success of your business.
Your clients know you. They trust you. And hopefully they also like you. This trust relationship is extremely important for a salon to be successful. But what about all the potential new clients that see you on social media or land on your website? How can they trust you if they’ve never met you? To move people from just a website visitor into a salon client, you need to establish that trust and relationship with them. And the most effective way of doing it is via a video. A video that shows you, your salon, and your staff is a powerful salon marketing tool. It doesn’t need to be an expensive production, but it needs to be authentic. It should tell your salon’s story and show the people behind it. Just as when you meet with a new client in your salon.
18. Use Instagram Stories to Promote Salon Specials
Are you using Instagram stories as part of your salon’s social media strategy? This is a very good place to run short term promotions. Same goes for Snapchat. As they are “live” and only live for a short period, it drives a sense of urgency with the viewer to take action on your offer. This can help you sell your salon specials fast.
19. Add Service Pages and Keywords to Your Salon’s Website
In the first salon marketing strategy you learnt how you can register for Google My Business to get your salon to show in the search result. I cannot stress enough the importance of this as a lot of clients find your salon this way and search traffic from Google is free. In fact, it’s quite likely you landed on this article because of a search you did in Google, right?
But to get your salon’s website to show at the top, you need to put in a little bit more work. Make sure Google understand what you have to offer so that Google show your website when people are looking for it.
The best way to do this is to include keywords on your website that describe what you offer. Ideally you should create a dedicated page for each of your key services offered. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Just make sure the title of the page is your service name and then describe the service you offer on the page. This will significantly increase the chances that people find your salon when they are looking for someone who can perform the service you do. And the best part is, having a search optimized salon websites brings you new clients for years and it doesn’t cost you anything other then your time for creating the pages.
20. Make Your Salon’s Instagram Locally Relevant Using the Right Hashtags
The Internet is a big place. Really. Competing with the millions of salons in this world is tough. And, unless you have an Instagram account like @guy_tang, your voice will just disappear in the noise of all hair stylists and nail technicians posting every day. But the good news is, you don’t need to communicate with the whole world. As your potential new clients most likely live in your city, it’s enough that you focus on reaching people there. Sounds obvious, right?
Still I see many salon’s missing out on this. So I wanted to share a quick tip that you can start with this week that will help get your posts visible to people living in the same city as you. Are you using hashtags when you post today?
If you’re not using hashtags consistently, you’re missing out on a big opportunity. Your potential new clients look at local hashtags when searching for salons in your area. So you want to make sure you are visible when they do.
21. Always Link Back From Your Social Media to Your Salon’s Website
Do you remember why your salon is on Instagram? If used strategically, Instagram is one of the best places to promote your salon. But it’s also easy to end up spending a lot of time on Instagram without actually getting much new business out of it. And, in the end, that’s why your salon should use social media. A simple thing you can implement already today is to make sure you have a link in your salon’s Instagram bio that link back to your online salon booking system.
This way, people who follow you have an easy way to book directly with you. Instagram only allows you to have one external link in your bio. So you really want to make the most out of this.
22. Use Active Language when You Post on Social Media
To grow your engagement and following on your salon’s social media, you need people to take action. Nice pictures and quotes are good but you also want people to take actions, ask people to do something. Tag a friend, answer a question or visit your website for that matter. When you use and active language you’ll get higher engagement on your account.
And the social channel will reward you for that and push more of your posts to more people. This means you’ll get more people exposed to your social channel and, at the same time, you’ll have more people taking actions that you want (maybe even book with you).
23. Setup an “Insta-Friendly” Space in Your Salon
You can achieve a lot with the right salon Instagram hashtags and caption but what’s most important is of course the quality of the image you post. By making sure you have a good space to take quality images, you’ll not only improve the quality of your images but this can also work as a fun selfie station for your clients to take their picture at – which is great marketing for your salon. Find a clean area in your salon where you and your clients can take good before & after pictures. Make sure you have good light to show the result in the best way possible. If you don’t already have one, I recommend you get a ring light to support this. You can check the ones I recommend in my recommended salon equipment list. Remember also to promote your salon’s Instagram handle when clients post pictures from your salon.
24. Ask Your Salon Clients to Leave Reviews
In the Internet age we live in, people research salon before they book. So you want to make sure you have a good amount of reviews for your salon on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Not only does client reviews give confidence to new clients that your salon is good, it also helps your salon rank better in Google. This is why you should always ask your clients to leave a review after their service. If you have a good client relationship, tell her that if she leaves a review, this would be a big help for your business. In most cases, she’ll want to help you and write a good review.
25. Always Offer Gift Cards
Gift cards are an effective way to generate additional income and is good to promote as part of your seasonal promotions.
More importantly, gift cards are an effective tool to attract new clients as they works like salon referral cards as well.
If you don’t have any gift cards today, you can order nicely designed gift cards from Vistaprint. Make sure to always have them available to sell and use them as part of your promotions.
26. Maximize Your Salon’s Street Visibility
This is maybe one of the most obvious salon promotion idea in this list. But, while we’re getting all excited about promoting our salon in Instagram, we should not forget this more traditional promotional tactic. Most people walking past your salon either live or work near your salon – making them a perfect client prospect of yours. In fact, your salon window is an advertising space you’re already paying for so you better make the most out of it. You should make it your mission to ensure that everyone living or working in your area are aware that your salon exists. There’s a lot of tactics you can use here: Play music outside your salon, make sure you have good lights in your window and street sign, and make use of the sidewalk if you have one outside. Anything you can do that is disruptive (while still in line with your salon’s image) is good. People are busy and have other things on their mind when they walk past you so you need to make sure your salon stands out.
27. Leverage the Power of Music in your Salon
Research shows that Music does influence the experience of your salon and how much your clients will spend with you.
Take advantage of this and build a good list, with positive influence, to play in your salon
35. Host an Event in the Salon
A good way to get publicity for your salon is to host an event. This can be a bring-your-friend event, bachelorette party, or an opening even where you invite people in your area. Another good option is to allow another local business to borrow your salon for their event. This help you get new people, who haven’t been in your salon, to get to know you. Nothing beats the experience of a traditional, face-to-face, event.