Salons are everywhere, and if you’re planning to get into the beauty business, it’s important to understand how you can differentiate yourself and attract clients. To help you out, we spoke with industry professionals to get their advice.
Here are 31 salon marketing ideas from the pros to help you develop a solid clientele in no time:
Marc Prosser, Co-founder, Fit Small Business
Managing calls and emails from clients wanting to book appointments can be complicated and take up a lot of your time. Square Appointments lets your clients book online 24/7 and integrates with a cloud-based calendar so you won’t have to worry about scheduling conflicts. Best of all, if you’re a one-person operation or renting a chair at a salon, Square Appointments is free.
2. Have a selfie station inside your hair salon.
Bernhards Ziverts, Owner and Master Stylist of Matii Salon
Have a selfie station – everybody is all about social media and great hair, so why not have a small area set up in front of your company logo or stylist station and have the clients snap photos and share all over social media. Free advertising/marketing for sure! Also put a sticker in the mirror with your own hashtag if you have it.
3. Create a promotion around unique ‘hair’ holidays.
Larry H. Oskin, President, Marketing Solutions
Mix up your promotions based upon each season or upcoming holiday. Don’t be afraid to create full-priced promotions to bring awareness to exciting services that go well beyond your regular haircut, hairstyle, and nailcare services. Promote services like wedding upstyles, ombre haircolor, all natural hair smoothing, texturizing, sugar hair removal and threading. Besides Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Year-End Holidays, promote fun National Hair Extensions Day on May 22, National Blonde’s Day on June 4, Hair Designer’s Day on June 26 and Kiss A Brunette Day on July 2.
4. Sponsor a Local Fashion Show
Jenny Hale, Owner, The Military Social Media Guru
As a salon or spa owner, consider getting involved in your community by sponsoring a local fashion show. Offer your salon to a local runway show in exchange for advertisements in the brochure, access to photographer photos, and networking opportunities. Build a public relations campaign by interviewing with local media as part of the event.
As a former runway model, a group of dedicated makeup and hair artists would work the shows I walked in. They became familiar faces, and I found my go-to stylists quickly. Not only did I build a relationship with them and their brick-and-mortar location, but they received frequent press and credit in media outreach surrounding the events.
Jeremy Marsan, Fit Small Business
Having a great website is what your customers expect. Additionally, if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on the best source of free advertising: appearing in Google search results.
If you’re ready to transform your website into a beautiful “storefront” that will bring more clients to your door, download our free salon website theme. You’ll learn step-by-step how to build and run a modern salon website that has all the features customers love, all for just $2.95/month.
If you’re looking for some faster traction when promoting your salon, why not try a daily deal? Daily Deals are when you partner up with another website such as Groupon that can promote your offer for you on a large scale. The discount will need to be higher than other smaller incentives because customers will be paying for the deal on the spot but the investment should be worth it when you start seeing returning customers If you’re not interested in partnering, you can even run a daily deal on your own, through your email list, website and social media pages.
Maggie Aland, Fit Small Business
Most of your customers are already on Facebook every day. That built-in audience makes Facebook one of the best ways to reach new customers. You can use Facebook’s marketing parameters to target users in a specific demographic, such as age, gender, or location, and get better results than if your ads are broadcasting to a more general audience. Click here to learn how to create targeted Facebook ads.
8. Announce a Birthday Discount with an Automated Email Campaign
Stephen Sampson, CEO, Salon Target
Having an email campaign is a great way to reduce no-shows and increase client retention. When a customer signs up to receive your email communications, prompt them to enter in basic contact information, including their birthday. Then when their birthday rolls around each year, you can send out a customizable birthday incentive to entice them to return to the salon. This could come in the form of a discount, free product, or service or even a small gift like a pair of flip-flops to go along with a discounted pedicure. By offering birthday incentives, you’re letting the client know you value their business and are thinking of them on their special day.
David Ingram, Chron
Set up a temporary kiosk in the mall or at a community event and offer free haircuts to the public. Focus on making a good impression on anyone who takes advantage of the offer, and use your most talented stylists for the promotion. Give flyers or coupons to participants and passers-by. Doing exhibitions can stimulate word of mouth advertising, as participants will likely show off their new haircut, tell the story of receiving it for free at the exhibition and share your company’s information with others.
Marc Prosser, Co-founder, Fit Small Business
Even your happiest customers need a little nudge to try out new services and products. CandyBar is an online, mobile-friendly loyalty program for small business that makes it easy for customers to sign up with a simple text. Clients can get points with each purchase that they can “cash in” later for product discounts, appointment upgrades (wash, highlights, manicures, or beard trims for men), and more. Click here to try Candybar free for 30-days.
11. Reward customers for referrals.
Mary Lister, WordStream
Once I find a hairdresser or manicurist that I love, I’m apt to recommend her/him to all my friends. Why not give your customers a little bonus for doing your advertising for free and sending new clients your way? I recommend an email or postcard with a nice note, “Thanks for referring us to your friend, Jane! We’re so pleased you thought of us, that we want you to know we’re thinking of you, too. Here is $15 off your next visit.”
12. Select Your Own “Influencers” & Offer Special Incentives for their Referrals
Brandon Stephens, Owner, Bigger Better Hair Salon
As a salon, we utilize our network of clients to help with the personal aspect of our marketing. We carefully select our own “influencers,” who might have jobs that connect them with a lot of people in the community, or they are our perfect billboard head of hair that we would want to represent our work.
We send our “influencers” a complimentary gift of haircare products, accompanied by business cards for the stylist we are marketing. Each business card also has the influencer’s name on it so we can note his/her account for each one redeemed. We usually offer an incentive to the influencer for each card that is redeemed, like a complimentary blowout with the stylist we are marketing or $25 off their next service. This method not only makes an existing client feel special, but it gives them an incentive to talk about their hair and our salon.
13. Host an In-Store Event or Workshop
Alexandra Sheehan, Copywriter & Content Strategist, thealexsheehan.com
Not every client is ready for a haircut or salon service all the time. Host an in-store event to stay top-of-mind with your existing client list, generate buzz and awareness to attract new clients, and build a meaningful relationship with your audience by providing value. Maybe it’s a free yoga class, a pop-up shop featuring local artisans, or a workshop about how to stock your closet for next season.
Sephora, for example, hosts beauty classes tailored to several audience groups. Promote the event in-store, to your email list, and through targeted social media ads to further build buzz around it.
14. Have a mobile app for booking services.
Ian Naylor, CEO, AppInstitute
While mobile apps were once something only accessible to big businesses with even bigger marketing budgets, it’s now possible for small businesses like salons to create their own app without having to learn how to code.
Some of the benefits of an app for a hair salon include in-app booking, push notifications, and loyalty programs. Apps are an excellent way to boost customer loyalty without having to spend big on producing physical loyalty cards. You can even create a geofence (a virtual geographic boundary) around your salon premises and send special offers in the form of push notifications straight to people’s phones that are in your area.
15. Offer online booking on Yelp, Google, and more.
Marc Prosser, Co-founder, Fit Small Business
When clients find your salon online, you can make it easy for them to make an appointment without even picking up the phone or visiting your website. Salon management tool Booker offers a Marketing Network that displays an “Online Booking” widget directly on your Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, MapQuest, or SpaFinder profiles that links directly with Booker’s software’s scheduling tool. Click here for a free demo.
16. Market your salon on Instagram using professional photos.
Alec Sears, Communications Specialist, Frontier Business
Instagram will be one of your best friends when it comes to marketing your salon. 31% of American women are on Instagram, and with nearly 50% of brands using it, you can’t afford to fall behind! Instagramming can be fun, but don’t let it be casual. If you really want to connect with your audience, set up a day or two every month where you spend the day doing a professional photo shoot in the salon. Once your pictures are ready, you can schedule out when you’ll post them throughout the month using free tools like Hootsuite.
Protips: Put all of your relevant hashtags in a comment below the picture, rather than in the caption itself. Figure out the best time to post, experiment with captions that work best, and watch as your clients begin engaging with you!
17. Create a video showcasing your services on your website.
Lauren Masterson, Marketing Manager, Postcreatives
When dealing with something as intimate as appearance, clients are going to do their research. They are going to want to know exactly who they’re dealing with, and more importantly, they want to be able to trust them. What better way to accomplish that than by introducing your salon with a video? Showcasing a short, professionally produced video on your website gives you the opportunity to connect with prospective clients before they even walk through your doors. It allows you to tell your story, demonstrate your technique, and explain your services by highlighting your employees and explaining your motivation for doing what you do. Most importantly, it’s the closest you can come to a face-to-face meeting online, which establishes trust and entices prospects to turn into clients.
18. Hold a Raffle that will Encourage Sign Ups to Your Marketing List
Randy Schrum, President, Visual Impact Group
Discounted cuts or services are a great way to bring new folks into a salon, but once that discount ends, they’ll be onto the next salon offering another discount. We’d recommend offering something that isn’t going to cost much and is more exclusive. For example, you can offer a “free haircut for a year” where one select person can receive a free haircut or style for a year, obviously with some limitations.
In order to enter, we use localized marketing tactics to find folks within a specific area across multiple mediums (purchased email list, social media, local publications, radio, etc.). You are directed to a landing page that collects the user’s information, and at the end of the campaign, a winner is selected. In the end, you might be giving away a dozen haircuts, but you just built a list full of folks who have interest in your services, it’s localized to your salon, and if the campaign was done right – you also know what marketing avenue brought in the most results to cut costs in the future!
Allie Winters, Marketing Manager, Standish Salon Goods
Are most of your clients coming in for hair coloring or styling, while you also offer waxes and manicures? After their first visit, offer them a discount for an additional service for the next time they book an appointment.
Make your salon advertising budget go even further with some help from the pros at Hibu. They are one of a select few officially badged Facebook Marketing Partners in the US who also specialize in supporting small businesses. Hibu offers social campaign creation, management, and monitoring, and they’ll even run social advertising campaigns for you. As a full-service digital solutions provider, they also offer website design, search engine marketing and optimization, display advertising, digital listings management, and other services that will boost your online presence.
Wayne Gerald, Local Marketing Ideas
Nothing ties you to your local customers like a program to raise money for a hair related cause in your area like the Cancer Society. Promote some of your hair services such as haircuts wherein a part of the payment will go to an organization – or even ask your clients to donate their hair after a haircut! This will increase your businesses exposure to the community, help a great cause and make you feel good as well.
Aoife Kelly-Cooney, Phorest
Small extras are, more often than not, perceived as little luxuries. The aim, of course, is for your client to love the results so much that they will pay for the same treatment on their next visit.
I know from personal experience, that if it weren’t for a hair stylist popping in a complimentary deep conditioning treatment many moons ago, I would have saved a lot of money since then. However, ever since I had that experience, I cannot forgo asking for the same treatment as I know that my results just won’t be as good without it (besides, who can say “no” to 15 minutes in a massage chair with your hair all wrapped up in a warm towel? Bliss!)
Special events, holiday parties, and family reunions are just some of the reasons consumers need salon and spa services. Promotions during this crucial fourth quarter period drive the herd of heavy spenders your way.
Rebecca Weinberg, Flok
Photo studios and gyms are your friends and most are open to cross-promotions. Print out some hair removal promos during the summer, just for the gym folks, in exchange for keeping their special promo on your front desk. Offer to model some of your hair or nail work to the local photo studio, who might need them for their portfolio— in exchange for being able to use some of the images on your marketing materials, website, or social media platforms.
25. Invite clients to write online reviews.
Jeremy Levine, Fit Small Business
Good online reviews can make the difference between a salon that merely survives and one that thrives. Podium is a review management tool that you lets you collect reviews from over 20 different sites, including Facebook and Google, all in one dashboard. You can also send invitations, respond to customers, and manage reviews with just a few clicks. Click for a 3-minute video demo.
Sree Roy, Contributing Editor, Nails Magazine
Nitespa in Venice Beach, Calif., finds success catering to the after-happy hour crowd. With regular hours from noon to midnight, the salon gives nail, skin, and massage services to night-owl clients long after other salons have closed their doors for the day. The trendy spa keeps with the late-night feel by offering clients a glass of wine with their service.
Brandon Gaille, Podcast Host
No one really wants to get their hair done by someone who has pretty lousy hair. Your look will often be your greatest marketing asset.
28. Have a local publication feature your salon.
Samuella Becker, CEO & Founder, TigressPR
The feature article may detail how you began in the business, your expertise, past employment before striking out as an entrepreneur, what you offer than no one else does and/or do best, offer testimonials from your clients (if they have name recognition/“celebrity”status, that’s even better) and promote your namesake product line. The icing on the cake is to have a professional photographer assigned by the publication take pictures of you in the salon – including performing a service on a client. If the media outlet is local, where you have a better than average chance of the story being seen by prospective clients within walking/driving distance, that’s even better.
Interested in getting local press for your salon, but not sure where to start? Read our guide to getting local press!
29. Use Online Reviews to Market Your Salon Business
Mark Nicholson, Marketing Director, Absolute Results
For salons, spas and most small businesses to increase their customers, word of mouth often provides the best results. To take it further, using online reviews provide even more reach. 96% of shoppers search online for a local business, and 91% read online reviews, which appear the most in search results.
Salons and spas can win more business through reviews because it expands their reach through their customers’ personal and social network to get more referrals. Reviews also provide social proof, build trust, and influence consumer decisions looking for local services.
Maggie Aland, Fit Small Business
Do you know how your salon stacks up against the competition when potential clients are searching online for a place to pamper themselves? Use Yext to scan local listings across multiple sites, such as Google, Bing, Facebook, and more. You’ll instantly be able to check for inaccurate information about your business and make improvements, ensuring that customers always see correct hours, phone numbers, websites, and photos. Click here to scan your listings now.
Leigh Richards, Chron
Even though social media and internet advertising seem to be all the rage these days, traditional advertising tools still have relevance. For hair salons, in particular, offline marketing through the local paper, radio stations or even cable television programming can target local audiences that are likely to be interested in your services. A mix of advertising represents the best opportunity to generate awareness and preferences for what you have to offer.
Matt Martinelli, SAS, Coyne PR
Write guest posts on popular salon publications. Should they accept your content piece, you’ll enjoy free traffic to your website and coverage for your brand.
Over To You
We’d like to thank everyone who contributed ideas on how to creatively and uniquely market salons. We hope that these ideas will help you in promoting your own salon business.
What is your favorite salon marketing idea from this list? Leave your comments below and let’s talk!
For an in-depth guide on how to jump-start your salon marketing, read our salon marketing guide which covers topics such as boosting referrals, creating a strong front desk and pre-booking to encourage repeat customers.
For tips particular to spa marketing, read our article 30 Health Club & Spa Marketing Ideas The Pros Use.