5 ways to boost your salon's marketing strategy

From boosting your social media presence to sorting out your website's SEO and email marketing, Rafferty Gifford, digital marketing specialist at Liberis, simple steps will set your salon apart from the competition.

The beauty industry is competitive; most high streets are home to several salons all competing for the same customers. This is why it’s imperative to stand out from the competition and improve your marketing strategy.

But what does the future of marketing look like for beauty salons? Like most other industries everything is happening online, and this is where you need to be to move forward and attract new customers.

5 ways beauty salons can get ahead of the competition:

1. Get social

Nowadays, businesses that want to grow and succeed should have some presence on social media. This doesn’t mean it’s mandatory to sign up to all the available channels: this will just see business owners overwhelmed with the volume of content it would need to make them all successful.

Instead, research should be conducted to discover which platform would most benefit your beauty salon. Being a visual industry, a platform dominated by photography is recommended and the most popular platform of this kind is Instagram.

Instagram is continually growing and it is set to reach one billion users in 2018. According to Instagram, 80% of users say they follow at least one business on the app, with 60% hearing about a product and service through it.

Salons can use this platform to share before-and-after photos of treatments, new products, news and events. These posts not only keep your customers informed on your salon updates but also act as a portfolio, advertising the services provided by you.

Social media can also be an excellent portal for customer service. Clients can easily ask businesses questions they may have previously avoided asking due to the hassle involved in taking time out to call or email.

Social media allows customers to use the chat feature offered by platforms like Facebook and get quick responses while they are on their phones doing their everyday browsing of their feeds. And with the rise of its review feature, Facebook has also become a place for customers to share positivity and air their frustrations about businesses online.

On the flipside, customers can try and contact a business through these channels first and, if the matter is resolved, they bypass the review altogether and could be retained as a client. According to Convince and Convert, answering a social media complaint can increase customer advocacy by up to 25%.

Remember to use relevant hashtags to get your posts seen by the right people and to post regularly to ensure maximum engagement. There are a range of websites and apps, such as Focalmark, that can help businesses identify hashtags relevant to specific industries.

2. Offer online booking

Making the customer journey easier is undoubtedly going to result in an increase in conversions. One part of a salon customer’s journey is booking their appointments and one way to make this step easier is by providing another portal through which they can book.

Not everyone is in a space they feel comfortable booking a bikini wax or admitting that their healthy glow is from a spray gun, so online booking allows customers to make the appointments they need in privacy, without having to explain to a receptionist the details of their personal grooming in front of strangers.

An online booking system benefits both the customers and the business. As well as being convenient for the customer, by allowing them to avoid being put on hold or having their call unanswered, it also benefits your salon as it reduces the risk of lost opportunities.

Online booking would allow people to book their appointment online, safe in the knowledge that the correct information was taken and their booking is secure. Similarly, depending on the software provider, customers may also be able to amend their appointments online which encourages customers to keep their booking and reduces the chance of no shows.

3. Sort out your local SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) can seem daunting to those not in the industry, particularly if you’re a business that does not have a dedicated marketer. However, local SEO is something that all small businesses should put time into learning about and implementing.

Firstly, let’s talk about Google listings. If you have ever searched for a business such as a restaurant, Google will use the location data on your device to find the match that is not only the most relevant but also the nearest to you.

More people than ever are using mobile devices rather than desktop to conduct their searches online, meaning they could be browsing on the go. This makes it even more imperative that your Google listing is up to date and ranking well. One way to ensure this is to make sure that the information on your Google listing is up to date and correct.

For example, your name, address and phone number (NAP) should be in the same format as it appears on your website. This will help Google join the dots between your business, website and any subsequent mentions online, creating a web of data that proves it is the same company.

For instance, if your address is The Beauty Salon, Brow House, 75–85 Wax Way, this is how it should appear in all instances online. It shouldn’t appear only with the road information for example; a perfect match is more likely to positively affect rankings.

Secondly Google gives customers the ability to leave reviews which are then displayed as part of the listing. These can be seen by searchers who then may choose your salon over others based on the star rating. Google also pulls in star ratings from outside sources such as Facebook.

4. Embrace video

Video has become a popular way of providing, consuming and sharing content online since the introduction of YouTube. However, since Facebook and Instagram have added their stories and live features, it is no longer dominated by funny cat videos and is becoming a popular marketing tool.

Through video, salons can host Q&A sessions, giving clients the opportunity to ask beauty questions and get immediate answers. It also allows businesses to give tutorials and provide behind the scenes access at events or simply in-house. Not only does this medium give a 

variety of content options for social media, it humanises brands, helping customers to form a connection with a business, creating a level of trustworthiness.

According Animoto, four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, and four out of five millennials consider video content when researching a purchase decision. Therefore, by embracing video content, you can increase the likelihood of attracting customers online.

Purchasing the equipment to make quality videos for your brand can initially be costly, particularly for an independent salon so instead of turning to the business credit card to fund these purchases, consider alternative finance such as a business cash advance, which is repaid based on a percentage of your monthly card takings.

5. Email marketing Savvy

Although social is gaining prevalence as a channel for customer communication, email marketing is still a powerful tool, when done correctly.

As many have access to their emails on their phones, it has become vital that email marketing is targeted and focused. Blast emailing all customers every day will only result in annoyance, unsubscribes and even a loss of custom. Instead, leave new product updates and general news to social media and utilise email marketing for the things your customers want to see.

For example, discounts. Everybody enjoys getting a money off offer so those emails are unlikely to negatively affect the relationship with a customer. This includes returning discounts: this is where someone may have not returned after an initial appointment and a discount is sent to persuade them to come back. There is some salon software that will fire automatic emails based on the number of weeks it has been since a last visit, with the discount increasing as time moves on.

Clients would also appreciate receiving confirmation emails from the booking system, as these allow them to check the details of their appointment and ensure the information is correct before the date arrives, and similarly, reminder emails.

Some people book their appointments way in advance, so sending them a reminder email a couple of days before their appointment will not only remind them that it is coming up, but will also decrease the chance of the customer not turning up due to forgetting that the appointment was scheduled.

Watch our exclusive PBTV video on how to create awesome videos of your salon's services on your smartphone