The 12 Best Salon Marketing Strategies for 2020 and Beyond

With a raging popularity of Social Media and Digital Advertising, the best ways for salons to win clients is ever evolving.

After 15 years of working almost exclusively with Hair or Beauty Salons and Aesthetic/Skin Clinics: the following tools are currently seeing big results for our salon members.

As with all our posts, there’s no generic fluff here. We’re not going to list 20 outdated things that combined might perhaps get you 1 or 2 new clients a month. These are 12 of the best salon marketing ideas, both paid and free, that we feel can have big impact on increasing client numbers or spend.

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 1: Collect Google 5-Star Reviews & Build Social Proof Fast

This one I place right at the top for good reason. Did you know these days on average people will read the top 6 customer reviews before buying something?

Think of when you buy something off Amazon. Personally, the number one factor that determines whether I buy one product and not another is which has the highest average start rating by the most reviewers.

When someone is choosing a new salon, clinic, barbers, yoga studio etc it’s no different.
It starts with a Google search.

Up pops a list including you and your local competitors accompanied by your Google average star rating.

(Important: to ensure you DO pop up in the list, firstly make sure you’re registered for Google My Business, Google’s free directory service. It’s simple stuff).

Many people will instantly favour those that have the strongest Google social proof.

Which is why I believe Google Reviews is the most under-utilised free marketing tool available for businesses.

Achieve a 4.7+ star rating by 100+ reviewers, potential customers will be drawn to you.

Have a 4.7+ star rating by THE MOST reviewers in your town and you’ll attract new clients like moths to a flame.

So how to collect 5-star reviews fast?

Here’s 2 good ideas: give your clients either 10% off their bill OR they go in to the draw to win a bottle of champagne. (Tip: put the bottle on the counter so everyone can see it, making it more enticing!).

Ask each valued client who has visited you at least twice (as you know they are happy customers that will most likely give you a big shiny 5-stars) to review you on Google. The best time to this after their service, at front desk about to pay. This way if you’re running a 10% discount, it’s an immediate saving for them in real time, giving max appeal!

In order to leave a Google review, the customer will need a Google account of some kind, whether it be Gmail, YouTube, Google Play etc.

And if they don’t have a Google account? Honestly, I know this is going to sound a little hard-ball, but I would insist it must be a Google review to get the incentive.

Because Google reviews are so much more valuable than any other review system in attracting new faces.

Make sure your reception team are firmly aware of how to not only post a Google review on mobile phones, but also create a Google account if need be, so they can easily guide each client.

First goal: 4.7+ stars by at least 100 reviewers. Then keep the foot on the pedal until you have the strongest Google Social Proof in your town.

It won’t happen overnight but is absolutely worth the sustained effort. Achieve this and people will just have to visit you to see what all the fuss it about. 

To view a salon that truly has their Google Reviews game mastered: google “Ena Salon London”. Now that’s harnessing the power of Social Proof!

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 2: Video On Your Homepage.

Did you know a webpage is 53 x more likely to rank highly on Google with a video on it. 53 times!!!!

Why? Google SEO is complicated but in a nutshell: video is engaging.

Place a great tutorial video on your website homepage of you styling someone’s hair, massaging someone’s head and shoulders, trimming someone’s beard etc, with you explaining what you’re doing…..

This almost guarantees longer average viewing time on that page by potential customers. Those viewers are essentially telling Google that they like what they see. Google in turn deems your webpage to be relevant and moves it up the rankings for that search.

This results in more people clicking on your site then enquiring with you.

Currently a frightfully small amount of hair and beauty businesses have videos on their website. So stick an eye-grabbing video on your homepage and give yourself a real advantage over the competition. 

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 3: Loyalty/Rewards Card using Artificial Advancement

“The Endowed Progress Effect”: a phenomena whereby people provided with artificial advancement toward a goal exhibit greater persistence toward reaching the goal. . 

Do you currently provide a Loyalty or Rewards Card?

Whether it be a physical card or a phone app: there is one small thing you can add to your current card that will almost certainly increase your re-booking percentage.

If your current card/scheme is say, 6 visits before they receive a reward: change it to 8 visits but on their first appointment stamp the first three visits instead of just one.

Meaning they go straight to Visit 4 of the card on just their second appointment.

If your current scheme is 8 visits before they receive a reward: change it to 12 visits but on their first appointment stamp the first five visits, meaning they go straight to Visit 6 of the card on just their second appointment.

If you offer a points system with each visit, modify so they get extra free visits and points but increase the amount of points needed to complete.

So with this little change you’re not actually giving them anything extra: they still must complete the same amount of appointments or points to earn the end reward.

But by giving each first time visitor extra free stamps/points, we are using a very powerful psychological tool called Artificial Advancement, otherwise known as “The Endowed Progress Effect” mentioned above.

Just how effective can this little change be?

In the video below I tell the story from the book Hooked by author Nir Eyal, about the testing of 2 separate reward cards at a car wash.

The card that used Artificial Advancement had an 82% higher completion rate. That’s almost twice as many people completed.
Now I realise Hair and Beauty is vastly different to Car Cleaning. If you ruin someone’s hair or nails, no amount of free stamps will get them back.

But the principle is universal: once invested, we humans become more motivated as we move closer to completing a goal.

Have you ever read a book, then realised half-way through that, in fact……it kinda sucks?

Yet if you’re like a lot of people (myself included), you still persevered and finished it?

People don’t like quitting something that they’re already heavily invested in.

Thus the pull-factor of giving your new client 3 - 5 free stamps/extra points on their first appointment. Try and get them close to halfway through the card after just their first visit.

Not only will they feel special, many won’t help but feel heavily invested in the scheme…..

….and that can be the difference between a first-time visitor coming back or not.

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 4: Facebook Advertising

No surprises here. Facebook have upped their game BIG TIME in the past few years with their advertising options, particularly with their sophisticated audience targeting.

You can create a campaign with a specific target audience (women, men, age group, likes, interests etc), selecting your town/area only as the target location.  

Note that when you create Facebook Ads they will automatically be displayed on Instagram as well, unless you change in the Placements section. Facebook owns Instagram after all.

I’m going to provide 3 highly effective Facebook Ad campaign types to win clients.

BUT FIRST: before you read about any of the paid digital advertising tools in this list: to get the very best results for your spend, you should be following these steps:

1. All your ads should be promoting some form of new-client offer. To advertise on these digital platforms without an eye-grabbing first-visit offer in place is to throw away money.

2. Create a landing page (webpage) that your digital ads direct to, where potential customers submit their contact details in exchange for an eVoucher (or just a passcode) emailed or text to them.

3. This way you build your subscribers list and can then send them email or text message booking reminders, capturing maximum bookings.

Sure, it’s a little more work that just sending your ad clicks to your website’s contact page or offers page. But running your campaigns like this will get you significantly more bookings.

We get a bit techy here. But learning about Facebook Ad set up is absolutely worth it as a business owner. (There are dirt-cheap Udemy video tutorial courses available that teach you everything you need to know).

Or of course you can enquire about us doing it for you :)

Regardless of the campaign type, all your Facebook ads should have an attention-grabbing Headline that explains your offer, and selling points in the Description (best 5 star customer reviews, awards, unique products of treatments etc).

2.1 Facebook Video View ads

One of the cheapest ways to get your brand spread right now. With as little as £5 per a day budget, a Video Views campaign can get your business seen by thousands of potential clients in your area.

If you’ve not got a promotional video for your salon, don’t worry. We live in a reality TV and YouTube world now so creating a basic video on your iPhone will be fine.

Here’s 2 good ideas for a 2- 3 mins video:

1. You or a colleague working your magic on another staff member or client, with them looking wonderful on completion.

2. You standing at front desk addressing the camera and welcoming new faces in with your offer, with your busy, bustling salon behind you..

2mins is an ideal video time. To trim and throw your logo at the end, check out this YouTube tutorial on how to create free, slick salon videos using Windows Movie Maker here.

2.2 Facebook Conversion Ads

If you’ve created an offer landing page that people enter their details on, you can create a “custom conversion” event on Facebook that tracks every time someone clicks SUBMIT to receive the offer.

This is recorded in the “Results” column and tells you how many people subscribe to your offer and how much it’s costing you per subscriber.

This is one of the reasons why digital has taken over the advertising world and is such a powerful salon marketing tool: its ability to track results and measure how successful your ads are.

Try testing different ads with different eye-grabbing images. Tip: the ads we run for hair salons that get the best results use their most extravagant hair colour jobs: blues, ices, bright pinks!

Or change up the headlines and description wording etc, and see which ads are getting you the lowest cost per conversion. Roll with your best performer and get a consistent flow of new clients each month!

2.3 Facebook Retargeting Ads

Remember of the last time you were browsing online for….we’ll say clothes.

You then closed that website and jumped on your Facebook or Instagram…..and bang! Up pops an ad on your Newsfeed from that same website, throwing the clothes you were looking at straight back in your face.

Every wondered how they do that? Using a Facebook tracking pixel and retargeting ad, that’s how! And you can absolutely use it for your business as well.

By placing a Facebook pixel code on your website (which is invisible), Facebook tracks every person who visits your website and can then display your Facebook ad on the newsfeeds of ONLY those people!

It gets better. You can send a retargeting ad to people who have visited specific pages on your website. So if you have an Offers webpage promoting a new-client-only offer: you can get that offer in front of those page visitors again, the moment they open their Social Media…..furthering your chances of winning their booking.

You cannot get much more lower hanging fruit than that.

Want to know how the magic’s done? Check out this YouTube tutorial I did on inserting that pixel and creating a retargeted audience.

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 5: Instagram Ads

As mentioned above this runs hand-in-hand with Facebook Ads, as Facebook owns Instagram so when you create Facebook still image ads or short Video ads (2 mins or less), those ads will be displayed on Instagram as well.

If you want to create specific Instagram-only ads, again this is done in the Facebook Ads carousel by changing from from Automatic Placements and Manual Placements when creating your ads.

We definitely recommend including Instagram when running Facebook ads to reach out to a (largely) younger audience. Currently around 60% of Instagram uses are aged 26 – 35 years old.

Instagram popularity is rocketing and many of these younger people now favour Instagram over Facebook, so in order to reach that younger audience in your area Instagram is crucial.

Again, as Instagram is visual make sure your image or video demands attention and gets people viewing your offer.

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 6: Google PPC Ads

The other digital behemoth that cannot be ignored. When it comes to online advertising: Google and Facebook have the duopoly.
Much like other digital ad campaigns, to get the best results your ad clicks need to direct your potential customers to a landing page where they submit their details in exchange for the offer eVoucher or passcode.

We consult business owners who advertise a special on Google, when clicked on directs the customer to their websites homepage or contact page. They expect people to then pick up the phone and book.

Truthfully, in most cases this doesn’t work.

Why? Because most people who know little about your business (known in the industry as “cold traffic”), will need to see your brand several times before booking with you, or even call to enquire with you, regardless of how great your offer is.

What they are willing to do is take 30 seconds to give their name and email address in exchange for an eVoucher or passcode.

To know how to create a successful, mass client-winning Google campaign grab your free copy of our eBook “The 6 Steps To Flood Your Salon With Profitable New Clients Using Google Ads”. In this 40 page book we give you our EXACT 6-step blueprint that any salon can use.

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 7: Email Marketing to Local Businesses

This one is off the radar for many salon owners.

Yet when done properly it’s another effective, COST FREE way of bringing in new faces from local businesses.

Already providing a corporate discount to some large local organisations? Truthfully, what’s the uptake like? In most cases it’s little to none, because the discount is in no way special.

Over the years we’ve become pretty darn good a recruiting local professionals for our salon members. What we’ve found is in order for this type of marketing to be effective, 2 things are crucial:

1. You need to create an first-time visitor offer exclusively for local business staff, that genuinely wows them and makes them feel special. If you’re not comfortable with some big reductions to get a new clientele of local business staff through your door, you may as well jump straight to the next chapter.

2. Your messaging in your emails needs to reflect that. This is an offer exclusively for staff in some selected local organisations.

With your killer offer decided: draw up your “Dream List” of 20 – 50 local organisations you want to target. Be sure to include the largest employers such as the council, hospitals, universities or colleges and the largest companies.

Then it’s as simple as browsing on your laptop when you’re sat on the couch at night, looking for each organisations website and email addresses to contact.

When we email companies, our messaging is always very polite:

“Hi Kate,

This is John from John’s Salon just down the road. This is a bit of an unusual request, I hope you don’t mind me reaching out like this.

We’ve just created a Staff Benefit Offer exclusively for staff in some selected local organisations and would love to make it available to McCarthy Solicitors staff!"

That’s the standard email opener we use. Then we clearly state the offer, how staff redeem it and the terms. (New clients only sorry, time restrictions etc).

When worded this way, if your offer is a cracker you’ll be surprised at both how helpful people can be and the uptake you can receive.  

And if you’re worried about GDPR, remember the new regulations are all about protecting people’s personal details. Hence B2B Marketing is more lenient.

Provided it’s a company reaching out to another company, this is ok provided it’s deemed relevant.

“Relevant” is a grey area which B2B marketers continue to stretch and bend. But in your case, provided you’re clearly stating you’re a local business, providing a Staff Benefit for the workers in another local business, you’re above water.

Tip: If you’ve decided this is for you and you want to reach out to a nice big list, include your local schools. We often get great uptake from them and teachers make great new clients!

One of the great things about this strategy is when someone loves their first experience with your salon, the result is word of mouth spreads and often more workers from that company visiting you.

We have run these B2B offers for hundreds of salons in multiple countries. It gets their brand on literally thousands of computer screens!

If you’re interested in us running a promotion like this for you: visit our Local Business Targeted Promotions page.

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 8: Facebook “Share & Follow” Competitions

A way to potentially build your Facebook following very quickly, or at least snowball over several weeks.

Announce a competition on Facebook, stating that whoever shares your post and follows your page (which everyone you initially post to will), goes in the draw to win something BIG.

I repeat, BIG. In order to get your competition spread and your following growing: you need to make the prize so dam good people just have to share it!

*If you’re a hair salon; cut and full colour of their choice OR Keratin Treatment
*If you’re a beauty salon: beauty package or any course of their choice
Etc etc.

Post this 2 – 3 times per week for 4 weeks straight, draw the lucky winner and announce on your social media. Then when they visit you, ask their permission to take photos of them after their free service and splash those all over your social, making your next competition more appealing to your ever-growing following.

Then when you’re ready: do it all over again.

When someone shares something on Facebook potentially hundreds of people see it. So all it takes it just a few shares for each competition and you can build your following very fast.

The next 2 tools you can use to really entice some of that following through your doors.

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 9: Facebook Live Streaming

Yes, Facebook has rapidly reduced the percentage of your followers that see your posts. To get more views you now have to boost you posts, so Facebook (surprise, surprise) can make more money.

(Personally we don’t recommend paying to boost posts FYI. In our experience you’ll get a much better response from proper created ads).

How to combat this and utilise your ever-growing Facebook following?

One of the best free ways is Facebook Live Streaming.

When someone you follow is live on Facebook do you receive a little red notification, or their stream is at the top of your news feed?

Facebook Live is an excellent way to get instant attention. So create an engaging live vid and draw eyes your business!

What to film? Here’s an idea.

Buy a little stand and place a phone (plugged into charge otherwise the battery will drain fast!), on a workstation and film you (or one of your team) working your magic on another staff member, or even a client if they’re cool with that.

Styling someone’s hair, providing a facial or massage…….literally live film the entire session!

30mins – 60mins live each time is fine because the longer your stream, the more followers will see it.

Don’t worry if this sounds intimidating. You’re NOT trying to film a Hollywood blockbuster here! You don’t even have to address the camera at any point. Literally forget it’s even there and go about your work.

Place a small offer in the Description, along with some urgency (“Offer available this week only so call us now on XXXX XXXXXX”).

These fly-on-the-wall style, real life peaks into your salon make for interesting, attention-grabbing Facebook videos. It’s a great free way of reaching your following, particularly during peak Social Media viewing times such as midday or 5pm, and also makes your business look slick and cutting edge. Have fun with it!

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 10: Post Your Best Work On Social

This one is obvious but needs to be on here. Regardless of whether you’re hairdressing, beauty, aesthetic or men’s grooming: you should be regularly posting your best work including plenty of before and after shots.

As we mentioned in the Facebook ads chapter: if you’re a hair salon post plenty of your most extravagant hair colour jobs for maximum attention: blues, ices, bright pinks!

And in each posts description always provide both your website and your phone number.

You want calls to action that make it as easy as possible for your followers to book.

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 11: Text Message Add-On Offer

Still a highly effective great way to bump up your weekly cash-flow.

This is an exclusive offer you can text first thing in the morning to your bookings for that day, which can read something like this:

Exclusive Offer from (Your Salon) for ONLY Our Clients Today! Add a (treatment) to your booking for just £_________, usually valued at £__________!

If you’d like to use this one-off special simply text back with your name OR add to your booking when you arrive. See you soon J
Some key things here:

  • The whole point of the add-on offer is to impulse your clients to add something to their bill. So a cheap, fast service for £10 - £20 is ideal.

  • By starting your text message with “Exclusive Offer From (Your Salon) To ONLY Our Clients Today!” you’re making it clear that a) this offer is only for customers who have already booked and b) it is an add-on only, that’s only usable today…. create that FOMO!

  • Provide not only the offer price, but the usual price as well so your clients can see they’re getting a good deal.

Let’s say you’re averaging just 1 client per day using a £15 add-on offer. On a 6 day week that’s £90…… or nearly £400 per month.

From just spending 10 mins each morning sending a bunch of text messages to your clients for that day. It all adds up!

*Salon Marketing Strategy No 12: Referral Discounts

Nothing new or innovative here. But word of mouth is the best form of advertising, therefore this always will be a great way to introduce new faces.

Unsurprisingly, the referral scheme that has worked best for most of the salons we’ve worked with is 50% off for both current client and friend/family member on their next appointment.

(Although perhaps your customer experience is just so dam good you don’t need to discount that heavily).

Regardless; you should always have an “Introduce A Friend” incentive that rewards both client and friend.

And that concludes our 12 best salon marketing strategies that are working for our salon members. If you have any other tools that you think should be on this list, we'd love to hear from you!

And if you'd like more free advice or want to know more about the client-winning services we offer: Book A Chat.
......Like moths to a flame......

Scott Dance, Founder 

24th June 2020 

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