Salon Marketing 101: Getting clients online

Greg Milnerby Greg Milner, CEO Worldwide Salon Marketing

As the owner of a company which builds and maintains websites and online marketing systems for hundreds of salon & spa businesses, I get a LOT of questions thrown at me from salon & spa owners totally confused about what matters online.

And that’s understandable. Online marketing is part science, part alchemy, practised in a long, dark tunnel populated by geeks who communicate with each other – and with those who pay them – in convoluted technocrat-ese almost entirely incomprehensible to normal people.

I employ such people, and over the years have learned some of their language. So, in my role as interpreter, I offer the following, in plain English.

What’s Your ‘Most-Wanted Response’?

Okay, so you have a website. For many business owners, that’s where their ‘online marketing’ strategy starts and ends. And it’s a long, long way short of what’s required. You need to ask yourself some ‘non-techie’ questions, and have some clear-headed answers, to questions such as:

1) What’s your website for? If its purpose is purely to look nice and impress your customers, that’s fine. If its purpose is to attract customers, that’s a different story. There is absolutely zero point in spending money building a flash looking website your prospective customers can’t find in a Google search. (And don’t make the mistake of deluding yourself into thinking ‘they’ll easily find it when they search the name of my business.’ They’re not looking for the name of your business, they’re searching for the product or service you’re selling!)

That brings me to one of the darkest arts, SEO or ‘search engine optimization’. It’s largely a manual, tedious, time-consuming (therefore expensive) and highly-specialised process involving technical expertise and up-to-date knowledge. And Google’s rules change all the time. It’s like trying to change a wheel on a moving car.

(And a warning: if anybody approaches you and promises to ‘get you top ranking on Google, guaranteed’, run a mile. Nobody can guarantee that, except Google.)

2) Is your website mobile responsive? 90% of people these days use their smart phones to search for products and services. If they find your website and it’s not configured to fit a small phone screen, it’ll be too hard to read, and they’ll go elsewhere.

3) Can they easily find your phone number? Let’s face it, for most businesses, the most wanted response is an old-fashioned phone call. Yet when I visit many business websites, I gouge my own eyes out with a sharp spoon in frustration at trying to find the damn phone number. It’s often (stupidly) buried in the depths of a ‘Contact Us’ page. Put your phone number – preferably ‘hot’ so it’s click-to-call – right at the top of every page on your site. Don’t make it hard for people to call you.

4) What about all the people who visit the site and don’t pick up the phone? Unless you have a way of capturing their contact details so you can market to them later, you’re wasting an awful lot of hard-earned traffic. The best way is offering some kind of free download – a guide, special report, gift voucher, video or what have you – in exchange for their contact details. Even better, make sure those details go straight into your database, with an automated series of follow-up emails.

(Despite my constant nagging, a former Perth consulting client of mine continued to spend tens of thousands of dollars a month on TV advertising to drive traffic to his website, with absolutely no means of capturing the details of any of those potential customers. Dumb.)

In the real world, a website has only two basic uses: a) to sell stuff, and b) to capture leads and build your database.

That’s absolutely basic, Online Marketing 101 stuff. It’s the tip of a very large iceberg, involving the integration of social media, YouTube, database management, online advertising, mobile apps, SMS and more.

Resource: Many, many of our Member salons have websites designed, built, maintained and search engine optimised by WSM. To find out more, go to www.salon-website-design.com

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About The Author

Greg Milner

Greg Milner, CEO & co-founder. Greg is a writer, marketing consultant, direct response advertising expert and former TV producer. He is ‘on the wrong side of 50’, an enthusiastic but mediocre fisherman and loves messing about in boats. Greg lives with his wife Michelle in the inner city suburb of Mount Hawthorn, and is grateful his four children have survived childhood, grown up and left home.