30 October 2020

31 Innovative Salon Marketing Ideas to Build Your Clientele

Salons are everywhere, and if you’re planning to get into the beauty business, it’s important to understand how you can market yourself to attract clients. To help you out, we spoke with industry professionals to get their advice so you can maximize your marketing and client base.

Here are 31 salon marketing ideas from the pros to help you develop solid clientele in no time.

1. Make it Easy for Clients to Book Sessions Online

Marc Prosser, Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, Fit Small Business

Managing calls and emails from clients wanting to book appointments can be complicated and take up much of your time. Square Appointments lets your clients book online 24/7 and integrates with a cloud-based calendar you can access from anywhere. Best of all, if you’re a one-person operation or renting a chair at a salon, Square Appointments is free. Sign up today.

2. Offer a Selfie Station Inside Your Hair Salon

Bernhards Ziverts, Owner & Master Stylist, Matii Salon

Offer 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

Think of 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 nail care services. Promote services like wedding upstyles, ombre hair color, all-natural hair smoothing, texturizing, sugar hair removal, and threading. Besides Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and year-end holidays promote 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, The Military Social Media Guru, JennyHale

As a salon or spa owner, consider getting involved in your community by sponsoring a local fashion show. Offer your salon services 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.

When I was 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 also received frequent press and credit in media outreach surrounding the events.

5. Advertise on Bing.com for ⅔ the Price of Google

Troyauna Williams-Boyd, Fit Small Business

One way to make your salon stand out is by paying for your business website to appear at the top of search engine results for keywords relevant to your business. Businesses typically use Google for this form of advertising since it’s the most popular search engine, however, you can snag the same search terms on Bing for about ⅔ the price with Microsoft Advertising. You’ll capture traffic that not only searches on Bing, but other sites powered by Bing like Yahoo, NBC, and AOL. When you sign up and spend your first $25 on Microsoft Ads, you get $100 in FREE ad credits. Click here to get started.

6. Use Facebook Ads to Promote a Discounted Offer

Brian Winum, Digital Marketing Director, MAXPlaces Marketing, LLC

Use Facebook Lead Ads to promote a service with a big discount. The beauty of Facebook Lead Ads is that they can be targeted geographically to your ideal audience and allow you to capture names and email addresses directly. The collected email addresses are gold for future email marketing. You can even direct the same users to a different offer on your site where you’ll collect even more information such as mailing addresses. Now, you have email addresses for future email blasts, street addresses for direct mail marketing, and the ability to tag your website visitors with a cookie for remarketing. The spinoff strategies are almost endless.

7. Offer 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. 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 — even a coupon off their next highlight. By offering birthday incentives, you’re letting the client know you value their business and are thinking of them on their special day.

8. Use Content to Give Value Online

Georgina Hutchings, Owner, The Treatment Tester

Create unique and informative content [on your website]. Answer some of the most asked questions or produce some tips for those interested in home hair-styling or the best hairspray. This kind of content will interest the reader and make you appear more reliable.

9. Reward Customers Who Give Referrals

Mary Lister, Content Marketing Senior Manager, 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, and we want you to know we’re thinking of you too. Here is $15 off your next visit.”

10. Keep Clients Coming Back With a Loyalty Program

Meaghan Brophy, Retail Writer, Fit Small Business

CandyBar is a digital loyalty card program that’s easy to use for you and your guests. It offers a small business-friendly platform for you to set up rewards and track customer use. For your customers, all they need to do is give you their phone number, they’ll get a text to confirm, and they’re signed up. You can try CandyBar free for 30 days.

11. Offer Special Incentives for Influencer 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 serve as our perfect “billboard” head of hair that represents our work.

[As a way to get our product and brand out into the community,] we send our “influencers” a complimentary gift of hair care 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 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.

12. Create a Lunchtime Salon Package

Tom Blake, Owner, This Online World

Create and promote a salon package that is 30-45 minutes, affordable, and is something simple that anyone can enjoy on their lunch break. Print out coupons or flyers, and approach local businesses in your area to market your new spa plan that can provide their workforce with some effective stress relief and enjoyment.

13. Offer a Free or Discounted Blow-out

Linda Coss, Freelance Marketing Copywriter, Plumtree Marketing, Inc

Many people are afraid to try a new hairdresser because they don’t want to end up with a bad haircut or color job or both. However, a nonthreatening hair salon service that can be used to get potential new clients in the door is a free blow-out. This free blow-out can be advertised through traditional channels like direct mail coupon packs, ads in local newspapers, door hangers, and so on. A salon can also create an attractive gift certificate for this free blow-out and ask noncompeting businesses, such as Mary Kay salespeople, to distribute it as a “thank you for your business” gift to their clients.

14. Market Your Salon Using Professional Photos on Instagram

Alec Sears, Communications Specialist, Frontier Business

Instagram is one of your best friends when it comes to marketing your salon. More than 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 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.

Pro tip: Put all of your relevant hashtags in a comment below the picture, rather than in the caption itself.

15. Offer Online Bookings on Yelp, Google & More

Diana Bourgeois, Marketing Writer, 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 displays an online booking widget directly on your Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, MapQuest, or SpaFinder profiles that link directly to Booker’s software’s scheduling tool. Click here for a free demonstration.

16. Ask for Reviews on Google My Business

Krista Neher, CEO, Boot Camp Digital

When people search for your business on Google – to check hours, make an appointment, or to find your location – reviews connected to your Google My Business page show up alongside the search results. This is a huge opportunity to set yourself apart by loading your Google listing with positive and glowing reviews. Get in the habit of asking happy and loyal customers to leave a positive review (and give them the link or help them do it). [And if you don’t have a Google My Business Page, set one up as soon as possible.]

17. Use 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.

18. Create a Video Showcasing Your Services

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 turns prospects into clients.

19. Hold a Raffle to Collect Email Addresses

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 launch a “free haircut for a year” raffle where one select person can receive a free haircut or style for a year, with some limitations.

We use localized advertising to share raffle details, including a landing page link for entry, with a targeted demographic within a specific area. We also promote the raffle on multiple mediums — purchased email list, social media, local publications, radio, and so on. People who are directed to the landing page enter their contact information to enter the raffle 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.

20. Hire Affordable Marketing Experts

Kiah Treece, Marketing Writer, Fit Small Business

Sometimes, salon owners are too busy running their business and making sure clients are happy to spend time actively marketing. If that’s the case, consider working with a company like Hibu. With industry-leading tools to help you create a professional website, manage your salon reviews across the Internet, and improve your Google search ranking, Hibu makes a huge difference in your marketing efforts. Plus, it’s super easy to get started, so talk to one of its reps today.

21. Tell People What Makes You Unique

Steve James, Marketing, Small Biz, Big Biz

The mistake that many small businesses make is to promote what they do, without telling people why their services are different or provide more value than other options. Make sure your website amplifies these differences. Make sure your social media posts include highlights about these differences too.

22. Find Ways to Bring in Foot Traffic

Zachary Weiner, CEO, Emerging Insider Communications

Salons have traditionally been very underdeveloped when it comes to bringing about experiential marketing campaigns that drive foot traffic and exposure. They often have all the resources they need to craft these marketing campaigns. From hosting massage classes to partnering with other local businesses for entertaining or informative events, smart local spas can execute some amazing marketing campaigns leveraging in-store experiences very quickly.

23. Implement an Influencer Marketing Campaign

Molly O’Bryant, Owner, A Touch of Lash

Reach out to local Instagram influencers and offer a complimentary treatment in exchange for a post a live story to get some great exposure on social media. You can also arrange to do a service/product giveaway on their channel to increase your customer base.

24. Become Your Own Model

According to marketing guru Brandon Gaille, one of the best marketing tactics for salon owners is to be their own models. No one wants to get their hair done by someone who has pretty lousy hair, so make sure your own stylists do your hair and that it’s a showcase of your salon’s best work.

25. Invite Clients to Write Online Reviews

Jeremy Levine, Business Development Associate, Fit Small Business

Good online reviews can make the difference between a salon that merely survives and one that thrives. While there are several review sites online, you should make sure to ask happy customers to leave you positive reviews on Yelp, Facebook, and Google. These are the places most people go to get business information.

26. Partner With Local Businesses on Advertising

Emily Fritz, Marketing Manager, Dio (experiential marketing)

Partner with local tourist destinations, clothing retailers, or beauty shops nearby. Then, you can cross-promote each other’s businesses while customers are shopping in their stores. Eventually, you could save some money on ad space by advertising together.

27. Have a Local Publication Feature Your Salon

Samuella Becker, CEO & Founder, TigressPR

[Local publications are a great place to showcase your salon.] A feature article may detail how you began in the business, your expertise, past employment before striking out as an entrepreneur, and what you offer that no one else does. You can even include 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 performing a service for a client.

28. Leverage Online Reviews as Social Proof

Mark Nicholson, Marketing Director, Absolute Results

For salons, online reviews provide tremendous reach. About 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 they provide social proof, build trust, and influence consumer decisions looking for local services.

29. Offer Free Services With Gift Card Purchases

Tracy Willis, Freelance Marketer, Tracy Willis

My #1 salon marketing tip is to offer something for free whenever a customer buys a gift card. It can be something as small as an eyebrow wax or as large as a facial, based on the amount of the gift card. That way, you get a chance to wow the customer and turn them into a client for life.

30. Take the Salon to the Public

Eric Anderson, Co-founder, ElMejorTrato

A very common prejudice is to think that only rich people can get a blowout or other salon services. Take your salon to the public in a well-prepared stand with a couple of salon chairs and invite passers-by to get a manicure or a blowout for a discount. Have all those who are interested add their telephone numbers and email addresses to a sign-in sheet. That way, you can follow up with additional marketing and turn them into long-term customers.

31. Contribute to Top Salon Blogs

Matt Martinelli, SAS, Coyne PR

Write guest articles on popular salon blogs. Should they accept your content piece, you’ll enjoy free traffic to your website and coverage for your brand.

BONUS: Personalize Your Videos

Javed S. Khan, Founder, EMpression: A Marketing Services Company

If you have been hesitant or have resisted finding a way to integrate video into your salon marketing strategy, the time is now. In 2019, it should be the top priority to find creative and affordable ways to use video in ads, on your website, and even as part of your email marketing program. While it may have been a pricey line item in a marketing budget in the past, video has come a long way with tools like BombBomb, which can help create easy and great-looking videos for a fraction of the cost of professional video production.

Personalized video campaigns are an excellent engagement avenue for your salon. Practical applications include:

  • Event promotions and customer follow-up, especially if a customer was in your salon for the first time
  • Tips to take care of your hair and how to use certain hair products
  • Client testimonials sharing their experience at your salon
  • Special events, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving
  • Special partnerships

Successful salon marketing brings visibility to your brand and new customers into your salon. There are many ways to do this, but a robust online presence, strong reviews, and free giveaways can all help grow your clientele. When employed consistently, these salon marketing strategies will undoubtedly grow your bottom line and expand your reach.


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