Updated: Sep 15, 2020
About the author:
LeeAnn Miley is a salon owner based in Hastings, Nebraska, and the President and Executive Director of The Sovereign Stylist. Her personal experiences led her to advocate and educate stylists on proper worker classification. LeeAnn’s blogs are typically focused on tax compliance, worker classification, and general business practices. LeeAnn believes that laws and business are powerful entities when one has knowledge of them and has dedicated herself to spreading such knowledge to the industry she loves.
In order for your salon business to be successful, it takes a revolving door of clientele. A lot of stylists rely on social media and some rely on referrals, but eventually the door slows down. So where do you go from here? I've compiled a list of unique ideas to build your book.
Radio- Take 10 $15 gift certificates to your local radio station. Have them use them as “give-a-ways.” Free advertisement plus new clients!
Hashtag- Hashtags are a great way for potential clients to “stumble” across you on social media. Use area schools, colleges, local events, places, big corporate businesses, the possibilities are endless.
Lady Balls- Leave your business card in the box color isle at your local Walmart!
Get your business on the web- Invest in a website, Facebook page, Twitter & Instagram accounts. They don’t have to be fancy to start with, just functional with all your business contact information.
FaceBook Groups- You can search for keywords in local FB buy/sell/trade groups like; hairstylist, color & dye.
Re-book- EVERY client should leave with their next appointment already scheduled. Don’t ask them when they would like to re-book; tell them their next appointment is such & such date, here are the times you have available.
Ask for Referrals- Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for referrals. Mention your referral program.
Google- Check your Google business account, upload photos of your work & your salon, edit keywords to match your location & specialty services. This is FREE & there’s even an app!
Go LIVE- Do a LIVE reveal of your salon introducing you as the know-it all in your area when it comes to the beauty world. Ask people to LIKE your business page, share the LIVE (especially in groups), & have people tag 3 friends who deserve the best stylist!
Go LIVE Again- Host weekly LIVE chats showcasing your work, show how to use various tools, even have guest interviews. The more you become known, the more clients you will attract.
Client Classes- Host themed classes in your salon outside business hours. Invite dads to come in with their daughters, teach simple braiding & easy to-do do’s.
3 Cards Every Day- Hand out 3 business cards, outside of the salon, EVERY day & you’ll gain at least 3 new clients a month. Think grocery store, doctor’s office, your kids’ teacher.
Get Out There- Don’t be scared to go out there and network. Websites like Meetup have several networking groups in various areas, and some are even free to join. Bring plenty of business cards and introduce your own company or the one you represent. It is a proven way to build your book of business. The truth is…networking really works!
Capture Leads- If you don’t have a contact form on your website, get one immediately. You could have hundreds of web visitors who want to hire your salon or spa services but can’t get in touch with you.
Start blogging- Offering free advice through a personal or company blog will always be appreciated by your readers. This is a long term strategy that involves offering ideas, feedback, or just plain advice. This is a proven approach to building new relationships and acquiring business over time.
Selfie-station- 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.
Hair Holidays- 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.
FaceBook Ads- 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 re-marketing. The spin-off strategies are almost endless.
Birthday Discount- 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.
Lunchtime Package- 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.
Blow-out Trial- 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.
Instagram Buddies- 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.
Offer Online Booking- 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.
Ask For Reviews- 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).
Raffle- 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.
Why You- 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.
Influencer Club- 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.
Be 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.
Partnered Advertising- 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.