Customer attrition rates at salons are some of the highest for small businesses. If you keep relying on your regulars to keep your salon afloat, you might go out of business. You need customers to keep coming through your door, and to make that happen, you have to kick your marketing strategy up a notch. Here are seven ways to bring more business to your salon.
- Build a website.
Do you know that 29 percent of small business owners don’t have a website? As such, you might be able to gain a significant edge over competitors without an online presence. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a tech expert to create a website. There are plenty of inexpensive, drag and drop website builders that will help you build a website within a few hours, without requiring any programming knowledge.
Just make sure you put the basics on your salon website:
- Address and contact information
- Images of your work (maybe some client before and after photos with their permission) and products
- Prices, discounts and special offers
When you post contact details on the web, make sure you have someone manning your front desk to answer every telephone call. You never know when someone is trying to make a last minute appointment, and just being available helps you get more business.
- Integrate online booking.
One of the best ways to capture visitors to your website right away is by allowing online appointments. You give people who are on the go a very good reason to choose your salon over your competitors. If you want more people on your chairs, make it easy for them to come by booking online. Luckily, there’s inexpensive software that can help you to do this, such as Booker, MINDBODY and Vagaro.
These software tools let your customers to book an appointment online through your website, social media page, Google search snippet or Yelp page 24/7. You also get other great features, like automatic appointment reminders to your clients and point of sale functionality to accept payments.
- List your salon in online directories.
With a functional website, the next step that you can take to increase your online visibility is to get your salon listed on web directories. Attract new customers by registering on Google My Business and Yelp, two of the largest online directories. Link your website to these listings, and make it easy for customers to get more information about your salon.
Register your salon on other top directories as well like Yahoo!, Bing and Yellow Pages. Getting your salon listed on these directories increases your visibility and helps improve your chances of ranking higher in search results. That means more people learn about your salon and more business for you.
- Be active on social media.
Social media is the best platform to highlight your masterpieces. You don’t have to be on all social networks, but stay active in platforms that are highly visual like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Encourage your clients to take a before and after photo so users can see how you make people look good. Use hashtags as a trademark of your brand and include it in every post. This will help you track which of your posts are getting attention.
In addition to showcasing your work, social media is also a great channel to advertise promos and packages. You can even run contests. For example, you can ask clients to post images of their transformation after visiting your salon. The client with the most likes after X number of days wins a $100 gift card or a full salon experience.
These social media marketing strategies can increase brand awareness and help drive foot traffic.
- Get reviews.
If you want to get new customers, you need to help people overcome the fear of the unknown. After all, visiting a salon is not just about money, but it is also about how customers will look. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and reviews can help people trust your salon.
Start with your regulars. Encourage them to write online reviews about your salon. You can also ask new customers to write a quick review after you give them a nice makeover. To motivate people to write reviews, you can offer discounts or loyalty points. Reviews mean social proof. The more you reviews you get, the more credible your business becomes and the more new customers you will get.
- Partner with local businesses.
Once you take care of your online marketing, you can do some offline marketing as well. Visit other local businesses and see how you can help each other out. You can share marketing materials such as flyers or coupons that could be distributed to customers, or you can come up with joint promotions.
For example, if your salon mostly serves young women, find a clothing shop that caters to the same market. You can exchange coupons and flyers which you give to your customers when they make a purchase or avail a service. Also, visit businesses in your area with many employees. You can invite their staff to come to your salon on selected dates to enjoy special offers.
- Run a referral program.
Word of mouth marketing is very effective for salons because people generally trust their family and friends more than anyone else. Sixty-five percent of new clients for local businesses were generated by referral programs. Referral marketing can help you offset the clients you lose each year and help you add regulars at the same time. You can ask existing clients to bring a friend, and both of them can get $15 off of their next visit. Discounts can work but you can also offer free salon products or merchandise for referrals. While you give away free items, take a photo of your clients receiving their freebies and post them on social media to add new content.
Getting new customers means putting your salon out there more and making it easy for your clients to set an appointment. You can run online and offline marketing campaigns and combine them when possible. That’s how you kick your marketing campaign up a notch and get more people coming through your doors.
Maggie Aland is a staff writer for Fit Small Business, a website that provides small business owners with information to help their businesses succeed. She writes on a variety of marketing topics, ranging from newspaper ads to how to market your business on Facebook. Before joining Fit Small Business, Maggie worked as a marketing associate at a niche publishing company.