How to Grow Your Salon Business for Exactly $0: A Comprehensive Checklist

how to do successful marketing for salon businesses schedulicity tips

Marketing your salon and building your hair clientele can seem like a daunting task. When it comes to attracting new clients and consistently filling up your appointment slots, where do you even begin?

Marketing your small business is all about getting the word out, and with some smart salon marketing strategies, you can turn the process into a well-oiled machine that doesn’t cut into the day-to-day of your salon—or your bank account. Here’s a straightforward marketing plan for your hair salon business that includes everything you need to get started driving new clients to your salon‚ without decimating your bottom-line.

To Expand Your Hair Salon Marketing, Get Online

1. Keep your website’s search engine optimization in mind.

SEO is all about making sure you show up in Google rankings so more potential clients can find you. Think: What would I google to find me? And make sure those search terms are on your website. Don’t be afraid to get specific. (For example, “hair salon natural hair Chicago” instead of “hair salon Chicago.”) If you’re not sure where to start, try typing in “hair salon” into Answer the Public.

If you’re just starting a hair salon business, great! Now’s the perfect time to focus on adding those details to everything from your site description to your services page.

2. Make your site easy-to-use.

When the priority is attracting new clients to your salon, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to navigate your site. If you’re not a web developer and don’t have one on staff, don’t worry. Sites like Squarespace and WordPress make it easy to design beautiful, accessible sites with zero tech experience.

3. Add a FAQ page to your site.

Frequently, people use Google to ask questions and solve problems, so including common questions about hair styling and trends is a slam dunk way to capitalize on that.

4. Clearly list your salon services on your site.

You’ll need to make clear exactly what services you offer, so that people can Google the services they’re after and find your salon.

Provide detailed descriptions of your services—including definitions of what each service entails (not everyone knows what balayage means), and post high-quality pictures, if you have them.

5. Include pricing and salon policies for clients on your site.

Potential clients are definitely looking at your competition, and likely will skip right over you if they can’t easily figure out how much your salon services cost compared to their other options. The best way to market your hair salon is through transparency. List your prices per service, and consider offering a first-time customer incentive. These are real customer-draws, so go ahead and advertise it front-and-center on your homepage.

Also, don’t forget to include any necessary salon policies that clients need to understand. Should they book a free consultation if they are a new client? Do you offer an email list and occasionally send out last-minute openings? Share those details!

6. Highlight your staff’s skills.

Clients want to book with an expert who specializes in their needs, and will do the research of looking up each hair stylist or colorist at your salon. Make sure you show off your stylists on your site with detailed descriptions of their specialties—and, even better, high quality pictures of their best work. Many hair salons now have Instagram feeds for good reason. The best salon marketing tip we can give you is to leverage what you already have: your unique approach to cuts and styling. A picture is worth a thousand words (especially on your Services page).

7. Set up salon business listings everywhere.

The internet is filled with business directories, so make sure you’re on the most relevant ones. Start with Google, of course. Setting up a business listing on Google allows a client to directly look up your salon’s information (hours, address, etc.) and directions immediately. It should be your number one priority to make sure you appear on Google Search properly with the correct information.

Typically, clients browse listings on platforms like Google, Yelp, or Classpass or open scheduling platforms (like us, Schedulicity!) to find new salons. Don’t let yourself get ignored by not even showing up! As an added bonus, remember that listings like these invest tons of resources toward driving big traffic, meaning your listing is in front of tons of eyes—and you didn’t have to do anything to draw them to you.

Bonus: Offer current clients a discount if they write you a Yelp review! The more positive reviews that your salon has, the higher up you’ll appear in Yelp results. Think of it as an investment in your future success.

8. Set up your Instagram account.

Instagram is the front line of social media strategy for salons—what better way to showcase your work than a feed photos? Follow these rules:

  • Use natural lighting early in the morning or before dusk if possible. Keep in mind background clutter, and consider using the same background for every photo of your clients’ beautiful cuts and colors. Keep photos clean and fresh—avoid heavy filters that distract from your work.
  • Research hashtags. What hashtags are people in your space using? What hashtags are relevant to what you’re posting? Do the hashtags you’re choosing have lots of followers? Are they specific to your area?
  • Engage with your followers. Respond to and like comments, using your account as an extension of customer service.
  • Consider paid ads for your services. Instagram ads can target specific people in your area, and are especially useful when you’re offering timely promotions or new client specials. Make sure your Instagram ads are well-designed (this is a great time to work with a professional designer) and clearly state what the deal is.
  • Finally, make sure to embed an online scheduling software’s “Book Now” button straight into your Instagram profile so clients can easily book.

9. Get on Facebook.

Facebook is another critical element for your salon business—one where you can list current hours or directions but also announce special events or offers. To make the most of your profile, do the following:

  • Write a compelling and detailed About Page, telling potential customers all about your services. Some people don’t even click on a website and get all of their information from social media, so make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.
  • Make sure you set up a button that instructs potential clients to do something, like book an appointment online. Facebook lists the option to “Add a Button” which will take users to any URL you choose, like your booking calendar.
  • Serve your audience ads for your services, discounts, and offers. Make sure to target your specific audience—which you can customize from your Ads dashboard to fit age, location, etc.—so that your ads are seen by your ideal client.

10. Start your own blog.

A blog full of expert information on topics people are Googling will help raise your search rankings over time, making it easier for clients to find you. And the more you write about hair trends, color treatments, and salon inspiration, the more Google will recognize your work.

Authority is key, but luckily you’re an expert. When you’re looking for topics to write about, consider the subjects your clients ask you about. (If they’re asking, other people are probably Googling.)

Keep your blog posts informative and specific—there are hundreds of round ups of long bobs, but what about platinum, grown out bobs? Make sure to also include some articles that specifically highlights the services you offer with an eye towards convincing readers that your salon stands out from the competition.

How to Get New Clients to Book at Your Salon and Reduce No-Shows

11. Set up online reservations.

Most clients pick the hair salon after reviewing an online portfolio, website, and more. Why should you take them away from their browsing experience and…pick up the phone? Skip the hassle and set up online scheduling software to help you with online reservations. This increases the possibility of getting a booked appointment because it was easy, quick, and all in one place. Online scheduling also saves you time because you don’t need to pick up the phone!

12. Confirm appointments online.

No-shows and late cancellations are one of the biggest issues salon owners face when it comes to revenue. Canceled appointments mean a lower take for the day—you’ll be sitting around with nothing to do for that hour when you could be making money. So how do you prevent canceled appointments?

Send email or text confirmations to remind clients they have an upcoming appointment and ask them to confirm. The simple reminder will go a long way to making sure they don’t forget, and giving clients the opportunity to cancel well in advance of their appointment means you can fill their time slot with another client.

Scheduling software like Schedulicity will send emails and automated text messages and update your calendar accordingly—saving you precious time.

13. Offer discounts.

Discounts are a stellar way to drum up new business—and re-engage existing customers who’ve been putting off booking an appointment.

Discounts to Offer at Your Salon

  • New client discount
  • Free add-On for a referral
  • Free cut with any color treatment
  • Birthday discount
  • Discount for a Yelp review

Make sure you get the word out by mentioning these discounts on your website and social media profiles.

14. Offer add-on services.

Add-on services are stellar to upgrade an appointment easily. Upselling an additional treatment at a discounted rate once clients book a basic service lets clients feel like they’re getting a deal (which they are!) and you get extra revenue for one single appointment.

Let Other People and Brands Do Your Salon Marketing for You

15. Partner with neighboring businesses.

Partnerships allow you to capitalize on other brands’ marketing efforts, meaning less work for you with more reward. Consider complementary businesses to your salon: the spa down the street, for example. Why not approach them about bundling your services together into a deal?

You might also consider a referral program with your partner—she gets a small percentage of the profits from anyone she refers to you, and vice versa. It’s an incentive for her to do your marketing for you, and drive customers your way.

16. Contribute to salon blogs.

Salon blogs most likely are getting more traffic to their website than yours—and you can get in front of that audience by writing a guest post. This not only puts more eyes on you and drives more people to your website to book, but it also establishes you as an expert. Here’s exactly how to land a guest posting gig:

  1. Research salon blogs that closely align with your services so you can naturally grow your client base and brainstorm ideas for blog posts that you can write with expertise.
  2. Then send an email to the site editor (check the contact page for a submission email address) with a two paragraph email.
  3. The first paragraph should outline the article you want to write (the subject matter, the format—like a list or essay—and how many words you anticipate).
  4. The second paragraph should explain who you are and why you’re qualified to write the article. Are you a salon owner who specializes in natural hair? A master color specialist? Include those interests along with certifications, personal/business experience with the topic, and any examples of writing you’ve done in the past.

Here’s an example:

Subject line: Guest post about the best yoga poses for back pain/scoliosis

Hi [Editor Name],

I’m writing to pitch you a guest post about the 5 best under-the-radar shampoos for people with curly hair. I plan to write a detailed list reviewing each one based on my own testing. This post will be about 1000 words long.

I am a stylist specializing in curly hair, and have ten years of experience in salons. I also write for my personal blog [insert link].

Please let me know if you think this would be a fit for your site!

Thanks,

[Your name]

When you submit your article, include an author bio at the bottom that links to your website.

17. Ask for reviews from salon clients.

A slate of positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Google convince a new client to book your salon—and higher ratings means higher rankings. If Google or Yelp see that you’re receiving more positive reviews than not, you’ll be rewarded with more visibility as clients search for hair salons.

Ask for reviews whenever you can to improve your online marketing. Maybe throw in a discount for the next service, so it’s a win-win for both of you. Here’s an email template for asking for an online review:

Hi [Client Name],

Thank you so much for coming in this week for your treatment! It was great to see you. I’m hoping that you were thrilled with our services, and I’m wondering if you’d consider writing us a review on Yelp or Google. Reviews help more people find us and are critical to our business!

I’d love to offer you 10% off your next service if you write a review. Just send me the review and I’ll send you a promo code!

Thanks so much,

[Your Name]

Marketing Tricks to Get Your Old Clients to Rebook

18. Send birthday promotions.

Everyone wants to feel special on their birthday—and you can totally capitalize on that desire. Sending a birthday email establishes a friendly relationship with your clients, and gives you an opportunity to remind them to rebook. Simply include a birthday discount for their next service if they book in the next month.

Instead of trying to remember every client’s birthday and sending out emails yourself, let your scheduling software take care of the work by setting up automated marketing emails. (Schedulicity can help with that!)

19. Send thank you email messages to new salon clients.

The foundation of a service business like a hair salon is client relationships, and a super easy way to maintain that good will is to send a thank you email. Online scheduling software does offer automated marketing as a feature to help you streamline this task. Whenever an appointment is complete, it sends an automatic thank you message of your choice to your clients—and you can even go the birthday discount route and offer a promotion—like a free add-on treatment—if they rebook sometime in the next six months.

Elizabeth Tran
Elizabeth Tran

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