As many states are now allowing stores and services to reopen, there’s never been a more important time to have a marketing plan for your salon. Fortunately, no matter your budget, there are plenty of ways to market to previous clients while attracting new ones, including using social media, print, email, video, online directory, and search engine marketing.
We looked for salon marketing ideas that can help you find your target audience and entice them to come in-store while still earning you a respectable return on investment. Here are 17 ideas for marketing your hair salon on a small business budget and how to implement them:
1. Offer a Family Package
Given the global pandemic restrictions, many of your clients have been at home and may not have had the chance to get a haircut. Many of them also have families with the same need for a new cut and style. Offering them a discount to get caught up could mean the difference between them choosing your salon or a competitor’s.
While restrictions may prohibit you from allowing them to book all their haircuts at once (so they can claim the discount), you can still offer a family package with separate appointment bookings. A website with appointment booking capabilities is a great way to easily make appointment booking available to your clients. Moms and dads can book an appointment for each of their children, then pay all at once.
For example, website builders like GoDaddy allow you to easily design your website with appointment booking capabilities or add appointment booking capabilities to your existing site. Customers can look at your calendar to see when appointments are available, then book one or a series of appointments for just them or their family members too. If you offer home appointments (as some stylists are doing to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions), your clients can even offer location details when they book their appointment.
2. Conduct Review Marketing on Yelp
Reviews help your customers assess your service quality based on what people like them say. And, 85% of consumers report trusting those reviews as much as if they had received a review from a personal contact they trust. Earning reviews is as simple as asking for them. One way to do so is to offer the ability to book appointments with your salon through your Yelp page, which also encourages regular Yelp users to try out your business. Since they’re already familiar with Yelp, they are more likely to return to leave a review and even post pictures of their experience.
To begin Yelp review marketing, claim your business profile on Yelp, then update it with up-to-date information about your business, including where it is located, what you do, and photos of your work that people can share (and, hopefully, they will share some of their own).
Then, when clients are in-store, offer gentle reminders that you are present on Yelp. You can, for example, add “Find us on Yelp!” call to actions on flyers, brochures, or style menus. Online, prompt social media audiences and email contacts to do the same with posts like “Find out what our happy customers say about us on Yelp,” and provide a link to your help page. Just remember not to ask for reviews directly as Yelp doesn’t look kindly on that.
3. Welcome New Customers via Email
When new customers come in the store or book an appointment online, be sure to collect their email addresses as part of the process. Then, collect information like the type of style they requested, their gender, and their age bracket. Following their visit, send them a follow-up email to welcome them to your business’ family. When you do, send them a coupon for their next visit and let them know which online review directories your business is listed on (so they will know to leave a review).
An email automation software like Constant Contact can then help you organize your contacts based on their interest, create targeted emails for each type of client, and automatically send an email that is relevant to each customer following their first visit. For example, if your customer is a female in her 30s, she might receive a coupon for a relevant hair care product or eyebrow wax. If your customer is a male in his 60s, you might send a coupon for a free shave or beard trim with a haircut.
4. Engage in Video Marketing on Social Media
Who doesn’t love a makeover? Make over your clients and, with their permission, take your Facebook or Instagram followers through the transformation using video. Your videos don’t have to include a huge crew and expensive equipment. Today’s social media crowd wants transparency. So, invite them “behind the scenes” to watch your stylists work. A simple iPhone offers all the equipment you need to create an authentic behind-the-scenes video your followers will love.
Once you’ve filmed your makeover, create a carousel ad with a short video of your styling process, complete with tips from your stylist. Then, post before and after images. Once you’ve created the ad, tap into your preferred social media platform’s advertising capabilities to target your ad to reach local consumers within your target demographic and with interests like “fashion.” For more information on the advertising process and its costs, read our guide on social media advertising.
5. Get Your Salon Featured in the Local News
To get your salon in the news, create a campaign that benefits your business and the local community, then issue a press release inviting local media contacts to follow the story. For example, you might issue a release that showcases your campaign to offer free hairstyling and photography shoots for low-income, soon-to-be, and local high-school graduates. In your release, include hashtags you will use to post your transformation stories and encourage students to post their pictures using the hashtag as well when they share your work with their friends.
If you aren’t a fan of writing or could use some help issuing a newsworthy press release, consider hiring a press release writing and distribution service like eReleases. For as little as $89, you can work with a professional press release writer to produce a targeted, newsworthy press release local journalists will value. Then, with relevant plans starting at $99 per release, use their distribution services to send your press release to niche-specific local influencers and journalists.
6. Experiment With Hashtags
Hashtags are used on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram to label content by niche and to make that content more easily findable within wider conversations around the hashtag topic. This means salons can use hashtags to target specific niches and enter their content into relevant conversations around those niches to get the word out about their stylists and services.
For example, let’s say a salon owner wants to attract business during the graduation season. A hashtag like #graduation2020 or #2020graduates can be attached to a portfolio of recently styled customer images with styles performed by the salon’s stylists. Location-specific hashtags can help attract local consumers ready to visit a local salon. You can also reward graduates for posting their styles for their friends with a branded hashtag. A reasonable gift might be a gift certificate for future services.
7. Offer Referral Discounts
Offering a referral discount is a great way to cut your advertising costs while bringing in quality leads. Simply create referral cards for your happy clients. Offer a line on the card for your client to fill in their name and email address. Consider a print design service like ProspectPlus! to professionally design your cards starting at $30 per 250 cards.
Give your satisfied clients a few so they can refer more than one friend. Then, he or she can hand the cards to friends, acquaintances, or colleagues. Make it clear on the card that the referrer and his or her contact get a discount once the card is redeemed. Once a client’s contact comes in-store to redeem the referral, offer them a first-visit discount. Then, use the name and email address on the card to send your referring customer a discount on their next style.
8. Offer Loyalty Programs or Punch Cards to Earn Free Styles or Cuts
A loyalty program doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. A stack of punch cards placed on the counter at your salon will do the trick. People can take a card and get it punched every time they purchase a service from your salon. Then, once they’ve received, say, ten punches, they get a free or discounted style or haircut. This keeps clients loyal to your salon. They want to come back to save up their punches.
If you want to get a little more elaborate to reward first-time all the way through uber-loyal clients, consider setting up a customer relationship management (CRM) software like Freshworks CRM. It gives you a single view of your clients so you can manage all of your client relationships using one system. You can, for example, trigger email marketing discounts for first-time clients, client anniversaries, and at set intervals in their customer journey. It also allows you to reach out to clients you haven’t seen in a while with an enticing offer to get them back in your store.
9. Use Google Ads
Google Ads are pay-per-click sponsored search engine results that appear when people search relevant keywords and are looking for salons within your locality. The difference between a normal search engine result and a Google Ad is that Google Ads display the word “Ad” in green just under your ad title. These ads allow you to target people who know they want your services and are searching for them online, but may not know about your particular salon yet. This means you can attract people who are ready to buy and you only pay when people click on your ad.
In your ad, explain your services, what sets you apart from competitors in your location, and offer a link to your contact us and gallery pages. For more information on how to create and launch a Google Ad campaign, read our step-by-step ultimate guide on how to advertise on Google.
10. Use Facebook Retargeting Ads
Facebook retargeting ads are displayed for Facebook users who have visited your website and taken certain actions such as clicking on your “Book an Appointment” page without booking an appointment or a particular service page. To automatically target your potential salon clients on Facebook, you must install the Facebook Pixel, which tracks visitor behavior on your website. Doing so feeds information about your website visitors to Facebook Ads Manager.
Then, in Facebook Ads Manager, you can use the information you learned about your website visitors to create custom ads to be displayed on your website visitors’ Facebook feeds. You can target your ads based on their behavior and demonstrated service interests on your website. This means you deliver the exact message your visitors need to end up back on your website and booking an appointment with your salon.
11. Send an Email Newsletter
An email newsletter is a great way to show your customers that you appreciate them, thereby retaining their loyalty. An email newsletter can be used to send useful information (like styling tips) and special offers to customers. The less sales-y the newsletter is, the more your customers will feel valued and appreciated. And, by avoiding sales content, you avoid being rendered spam.
In the end, your company will also benefit from such a newsletter. By offering hairstyling tips, honest product reviews, and styling ideas, for example, you showcase your salon’s expertise and build trust in your ability to continue offering your clients superior service. Put simply, you build trust that brings your clients in-store time and time again. While it can be tedious and time-consuming to design and send an email newsletter manually to each of your customers, many tools can help make it easy and affordable so you get the benefits without the hassle.
For example, an email automation software like Constant Contact can help you automatically send out newsletters that are uniquely tailored to each customer’s interests and needs. You can even get clients to sign up via text. As they sign up, you can segment the visitors who sign up and automatically send them emails based on their browsing history.
12. Give Your Stylists Business Cards
If your stylists are like most, they know how to keep themselves looking fabulous. And, they get a lot of compliments for their hairstyles. Give them the power to bring in business for themselves with business cards. Their own self-styling capabilities allow them to show off their talents and offer a perfect opportunity to pull out a business card and hand it to the admiring potential client.
For this idea too, Prospect Plus! offers the tools you need to design and order custom cards to fit all your stylists at an affordable, small business price. Starting at $30 for 250 cards, you can choose from 57 templates and add options like gloss covering and even a magnetic card option. Clients can keep your stylist’s card in their wallet or on their refrigerator for easy access whenever they need a haircut and style.
13. Run Birthday Promotions
If you’re using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to keep track of your customers, you can also track when their birthdays are and send out promotions to show your appreciation while also encouraging them to visit your salon for their birthday. For a salon business, it’s a good idea to run your promotions a little early. Instead of sending them a promotion for a discounted or free hairstyle on their birthday, consider sending it a week or so in advance so clients can get ready to look great on their birthday with a new style.
Birthdays also provide great opportunities to reach target audience members who have yet to try your services. We’ve talked about how to use Facebook advertising for your salon. These ad types can also serve as birthday promotions. For example, you can target people within your target audience (in terms of age, demographics, and interests) and also specify that you want your ad to appear in the news feeds of Facebook users with an upcoming birthday. Then, run a salon ad with something like “Enjoy a day of pampering on your birthday!” and a first-visit coupon.
14. Engage in Local Influencer Marketing
A local influencer is someone with an audience of a few thousand followers and who shares niche-specific information or showcases a niche-specific. For example, a good salon influencer might be someone who offers tips on hair care, hairstyling, or hair product reviews. Local influencers are usually micro-influencers, meaning they have an audience of 10,000 or fewer followers. But, just because their audiences are small doesn’t mean they don’t offer brands a large return on their investment.
Because their audiences are smaller than national or global influencers, micro-influencer marketing rates are also lower (expect to pay around $25 per 1,000 followers your chosen influencer can reach with a campaign). Even so, their engagement rates also tend to be higher. In fact, Influencer Marketing Hub did a study of 10,000 influencers and found that, while micro-influencers enjoy an average engagement rate of 4%, those with over 100,000 followers have an engagement rate of just 1.7%.
Followerwonk is a great free tool to help you find influencers within your niche who are also fans of your brand. You can use the free Followerwonk “Analyze” tool to search your Twitter handle, then select “analyze their followers” from the drop-down menu.
The resulting report will have a section titled “Follower counts of [brand name] followers” to see how many of your followers have 10,000 or more followers. Click on the number of followers you want your influencer to have to access a list of micro-influencers who follow your brand. Review their profiles to find the one that aligns well enough with your brand to make a great influencer for it.
15. Run Holiday Promotions
Holidays are days many of us want to look our best as we are heading to yearly family get-togethers or spending time with special friends. During this time, many people rely on salons to get ready for the big day. Your job is to make sure they pick your salon. To keep your business top of mind and give your salon a competitive edge, consider sending a holiday promotional email within a couple of weeks of state or national holidays.
An email automation tool like Constant Contact makes this easy. You can separate your email subscribers by age and demographics, then send holiday promotional offers to align with their needs. For example, at the beginning of November, you might send a promotional coupon for a free hair highlight or root touch-up with the purchase of a haircut to women between the ages of 20 and 65, and a free shave or beard or mustache trim with a purchase of a haircut to men ages 20 to 65, thereby helping your clients ready themselves for family Thanksgiving get-togethers.
16. Promote Timely Gift Cards or Certificates
Gift cards are a perfect tool for not only encouraging your current customers to come back but encouraging them to bring their friends. For an attractive offer for your clients, promote your gift cards during times when people are looking for great gifts for the special people in their lives, including around the winter holiday season, prom and graduation season, and Valentine’s Day.
To bring in new customers and encourage existing ones to return, offer a small gift card for a specified amount spent on gift cards. For example, you could offer a free $15 gift card for every $50 spent on gift cards.
There are many tools that allow you to set up and sell gift cards online and in-store. Plastic Resource, for example, allows you to create and sell plastic gift cards in-store while Square allows you to sell gift cards both digitally and in-store. To find the right gift card solution for your salon business needs and budget, read our buyer’s guide on the best gift card solutions for small businesses.
17. Offer Local Coupons
Online directories like Google My Business allow local consumers to search for a business type (like “hair salon”) and learn of all local businesses that offer the products or services they seek. Some of them allow you to also post coupons. When business owners or marketers post coupons on their directory business page, they earn a competitive price edge to entice consumers to choose their business over competitors who may not offer such promotions.
To post coupons on Google My Business, begin by setting up your Google My Business page and verifying it. Then, fill it out with photos, business information, and client testimonials. Once your page is set up, keep it up to date with fresh content and promotions. You can do so by creating new posts. To learn how to set up your Google My Business page, verify it, and begin creating posts where you can display coupons, read our ultimate guide to Google My Business.
Bonus: Partner With Local Businesses
Partnering with local businesses can help you create mutually beneficial deals that will boost loyalty among your existing clients and help both businesses earn first-time customers. For example, if you own a hair salon, you could partner with a local massage parlor to offer hair styling and massages at a reduced cost for Valentine’s Day. Then, both companies could work together to launch a campaign targeting young men looking for the perfect gift for their sweethearts.
No matter your budget, if you own a salon and need marketing ideas you can implement fast, you have many, many options. These include free options like experimenting with social media hashtags and earning reviews on Yelp, to affordable but paying options like offering referral discounts and engaging in local influencer marketing. We hope our list of salon marketing ideas and ways to implement them is just what you need to begin promoting your salon.