[VIDEO] How to Successfully Market a Nail Salon

Okay, you’ve started – or thinking of starting – a salon. There’s LOTS to juggle. But one thing you’ve got to get clear on right from the start is – marketing!

Take a look and a listen as I coach Illinois nail salon owner Ginean Jackson through the ‘Sales Thinking’ process of getting her marketing right, from the outset.

How to Create A Client-Attracting, Money-Making Ad That Actually Works for your Salon

No salon advertising, no matter how well written, is worth spending money on unless it has a great offer.

Take a look through the newspaper. It is astounding how many business owners have spent good money to buy expensive ad space, and filled it with nothing more than a big business card.

Unless you’re letting the reader know exactly what the offer is, most of them will just skip over the ad and the whole point of the advertisement is lost.

An offer is NOT discounting. In fact, discounting is a last resort, and does more damage than good in most cases. Discounting not only takes money out of your pocket, it trains your clients to expect it. If you’ve ever had a phone call from somebody asking when your next special discount is on, you’ll know what I mean.

In direct response marketing, an OFFER is best described as a deal where if they pick up the phone now and make an appointment they’ll get some added thing, or combination of things that they cannot get another time, or they can only get if they’re among the first 12 or 17 or 29 to call.

To give you an idea of the difference between a weak offer and a strong offer, we’ll take an analogy.

Let’s say two men are each selling a horse. One says to the horse buyer, “Here’s my horse, give me the money now and you can take the horse.” 

The other one says “Don’t give me any money now. Take Bessie for a week, ride her as you wish, and after a week if you like Bessie, only then give me the money.”

Now, who do you think is going to make the sale?

The second seller hasn’t lost anything by taking the money a week later. Yet, he’ll probably be able to sell more horses at a higher price than the first seller simply because he’s making it seem like his offer is a good deal better than the other.

 Typically, a good beauty industry offer would be built on an existing service you want to sell, combined with free add-ons that cost you little or nothing to provide, but which give massive perceived value to the customer.

Perceived value is when the value add-on is of little or no actual cost to you, but increases the value of the services offered to the person reading the ad. Saying “Hurry, $249 worth of beauty treatments for just $99 for the first 14 people to call” may be a little bit of a sleight of hand, but without offers like this, your marketing is dead in the water.

Packaging The Offer

Once you’ve crafted a great offer, you can then start getting a bit more sophisticated. Let’s say that until now all you’ve had is a price list. In my view a price list is a poor way to market your services, since it encourages people to price shop, like walking along the server in a cafeteria. Granted that everyone likes a good deal, but the meaning of the word deal itself means good VALUE. It does not necessarily mean lower prices.

Want to know why? If the only distinguishing factor about your salon is the price, then you become a commodity. Once people start perceiving you as a commodity you become replaceable and/or interchangeable.

Are your customers calling you and asking what the prices of certain services are? Are they complaining about the prices that you charge? If you see a long time regular after a few months and ask her why she hasn’t visited you and get “Oh I couldn’t get an appointment with you, so I went to the place around the corner and kind of just kept going there.”!

If this is happening to you then for sure, you’ve become a commodity to them, meaning that they can get what you give anywhere. It isn’t necessary for them to come to you.

The situation is not irretrievable though and there are a number of things you can do like revising your prices upward, or starting new services, or even prune your customer list.

During these difficult times when the economy is not doing too well, it is easy to fall into the trap of reducing prices. I am, however, fundamentally opposed to mere discounting as a way to increase sales.

The important thing therefore is to ensure that it is not price alone that is your distinguishing factor. In fact some of the best ads ever written didn’t even mention any product, far less its features or price. It appealed to the emotion of the reader.

This is a very important concept in marketing, that people do not make buying decisions based on reason.

According to US marketing guru Dan Kennedy, ‘under normal conditions, only 10% of customers always buy by price, their decisions governed by price, because they have no choice. This group is largely made up of “working poor”, low-wage working people with more mouths to feed than they can afford food for. Nothing wrong with them as people. A lot to admire – except the choices they make that keep them poor.

‘But no good reason to have them – or worse, seek them out as customers. Yet, strangely, most business owners focus 90% of their energy on price even while only 10% of customers decide based on price.

However, there are 20% who make most buying decisions with little weight given to price or cheapest price, and 5% who never consider price….’

So, which customers do you want? It is my contention that you get the customers you deserve.

Most buying decisions are based only on emotion.

If therefore you are appealing to the rational part of the human, you will never get as much response as if you appeal to the emotional part.

Just take a look at some of the ads that are listed here. The very first ad is the one placed by Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic adventurer. It’s a very simple ad, does not have any pictures, does not promise anything other than negatives, and basically is one of the worst kind of ads that you can place according to advertising professionals.

Here’s what the ad said

Men wanted

For hazardous journey, small wages,

bitter cold, long months of complete darkness,

constant danger, safe return doubtful,

honour and recognition in case of success.

This ad came out on December 29, 1913 in the London Times and it brought in more than 5,000 applicants including three women.

On the face of it, this ad does not have the power to bring this kind of response, but if you understand what the ad is about, you’ll realize that it is a deliberate, well planned and brilliantly executed dare to every red-blooded male in the whole United Kingdom.

A good contemporary example would be the advertisement for Singapore Airlines. In a time of recession when airlines all over the world are cutting down on price in order to become more competitive, they are one of the few airlines that have not gotten into this race.

Cutting down on price or discounting as we have already discussed is not the right way to market your goods or services. Whatever you do, however much you try to cut your price, there will be someone somewhere who will undercut you.

The only sensible thing to do then, is to appeal to the emotion of the buyer. This is what Singapore Airlines have done brilliantly.

They use the ‘Singapore girl to show you visually, how you will be cosseted and cared for in their airliners. Rationally speaking, would you expect any less in any other airline? But none of the others have caught on to this and are paying for it with loss of business.

Yet by appealing to the emotion of the user, Singapore Airlines is able to maintain its pricing and show growth in profits at a time when many other airlines are looking for bailout plans.

What about the legendary ad for the Rolls Royce. It came out in 1958 and is sometimes referred to as the “Most famous headline in advertising history.” All it says is

“At 60 miles an hour, the loudest sound you can hear in the new Rolls Royce is the ticking of the clock.”

More than half a century has gone by and no other luxury car maker has managed to bring out an ad that even comes close to this.

All these advertisements have one thing in common; they give some sort of emotional benefit rather than a physical one and emotional trumps physical every time.

One way to stop people cafeteria shopping is to package your products and services, and re-brand them so that they cannot be compared apples to apples with your competitors.

For example, you might currently offer a cut and colour at a certain price. But if you value-add by listing all the nominally free services you provide as part of this cut and colour, you come up with a package that has enormous added value. And remember, there is no point doing this unless you are going to list the added extras, with their nominal value, in your marketing message.

You can then simply name this new package, re-brand it if you like, so that it’s called the ‘Scarlett Johanssen Glamour Make-Over’, or whatever. You can actually take the exact same package, give it a couple of tweaks, and call it something different, for example the ‘Meryl Streep Screen Goddess’ package, to appeal to a different demographic.

“How Do I Write Ads That Work?”

Writing ads that work – writing ads that find you actual clients, that’s the skill. And that’s all readily available, all so very easy to learn, tweak, and use whenever you want to turn on your “money” tap. I’ve compiled the Starter Packa 2-part manual that shows you exactly how to write an ad that brings in clients like a flood – and, ready-to-use marketing templates with it.

See, this will give you the exact tools, the exact SYSTEM used by thousands of salons and spas across the globe, making them money every single day. 

And the best part? It’s all guaranteed.

SO. If you’re ready to start finding more clients, get ahead of your marketing and write ads that really work.

Getting Started On Instagram

With more than 400 million users – Instagram is today, one of the leading platforms successfully helping business owners establish a name for themselves in the world of social media. Imagine having an audience of 400 million who can see the services and products you are offering? Sounds unbelievable, right? Well the truth is … it’s possible!

With so much of today’s business done online, it’s critical to remain active across all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) – and especially, Instagram, as a business owner.

While it’s comparable to Facebook, Instagram is a mobile-photo sharing app which allows users to edit and post photos and videos – now even allowing its users to stream themselves live, similar to Facebook Live.

Signing Up

Creating an Instagram Account is easy and doesn’t take long. While Instagram can be accessed via desktop, Instagram is primarily a mobile app, so you have to download the application on your mobile before signing up. You can download the application from either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

By signing up to Instagram, you’ll let yourself be found by thousands of potential clients.

As a business owner, you will want to create a ‘business profile‘ instead of a personal account. The business account gives business owners, an insight to key information and analytics, which we will later discuss in this article. Before signing up to Instagram you will be asked to link your Facebook business page to your Instagram account. This way both of your accounts will be linked, making it easier to navigate from one platform to the other.

Once your accounts have been linked and your Instagram Account is created, you can now go the Profile Tab, located at the bottom right hand side, to Edit Profile. In this space you can do anything from change your name and username, change your profile photo, add a website users can visit and write a short 150 character biography other users will be able to view once they visit your business account.

TIP: To switch your account from a private or public account go to – Options Settings, located in the Profile Tab; top right-hand corner. To switch and activate a private account tap on the blue button to activate a private account. To make your account public, again – tap on the blue button to switch off the private setting and activate public account.

With Instagram for Business, you’ll be able to see who’s engaged with your profile.

Finding Your Way

Navigating on Instagram is relatively simple. The Home Button allows you to see posts from pages you may be interested in or accounts that you are currently following. The Home Button also allows you to see anything you may have previously posted. To the right of the Home Button is where you will find the Search Bar. The Search Bar allows you to find pages or people you are interested in.

Below the Search Bar you will find a display of photos and videos you can explore to see what other users are posting on Instagram. The Plus Button allows you to add any images or videos, directly from your camera roll or phone camera, you wish to post on your business page.

TIP: Instagram videos have now been extended from 15 seconds to 1 minute in duration. This is a great business tool to share with your followers and potential new customers. Think about how you can utilise video posts for your business? For example: As a salon owner you could upload a short video showing users and potential customers how to get the perfect blow dry, with a simple call to action!

Think about the trust people would have in you when you give them free lessons!

Creating Content

When creating content for any online platform, it is important to think about how you’ll be seen, and how people will remember what you post. Gone were the days where you’d post something and clients will come flocking to you. See it takes an average of 7 – 17 interactions with someone before they’ll buy from you.

And the good thing? If a user likes what you are posting, they will probably follow your page. This is positive news in the world of Instagram! Most people have less than 1,000 followers on Instagram, so they’ll take note of people who like their photos. If you like, and comment on people’s photos, this is a sure-fire way to grow your following.

Always remember the hashtags: adding hashtags to any of your photos or videos – for maximum exposure, before publicly posting them. For example: Images of makeup will usually have the hashtag #Instagrammakeup associated with them. Hashtags allow users to search and filter through different topics of interest via the online platform, making content and business easier to find

Interacting With People

A simple way of interact with other users on Instagram is by liking their photos and commenting on them. To like a photo, either double-tap on the image or tap on the heart-shaped button to like a post.

Commenting on a post is done by clicking on the Comment Button, located on the right hand side of the Like Button. To make your interaction more personal with other users, use the tagging @ symbol available. Start by typing the @ symbol, then type the user’s name you wish to tag in the comment box. After writing your comment simply tap the Post Button and the comment will be posted. By tagging a user, the person will automatically be notified they have been tagged in a comment, making your interaction with them more personal and intimate for future relations.

Insights and Analytics

As a business page on Instagram you are exposed to specific analytical insights and information. These statistics allow you to view the demographics and behavior of your followers, enabling you to create more relevant and timely content for your business page.

For example: Instagram Insights allow you to see what time most users are visiting your page. This information allows you to successfully allocate an appropriate time to post new content to your business page – which will attract more attention and traffic to your page.

All In All – Post Daily

If you’re not posting daily on Instagram, you’re losing potential business. The mass of people using Instagram daily is greater than Facebook, and almost as high as Snapchat. Instagram will surpass Facebook as the #1 go-to platform – in a matter of years.

The question is, what’re you doing about your Instagram?

Why the Status Quo is Death – And How to Save Your Salon

About 65 million years ago (some considerable time before even I was born) the dinosaurs began to die off. The reason, scientists have been saying for years, is that they failed to adapt to the changing climate of the planet, no matter how slowly it was changing.

There was however one species of dinosaur that not only adapted, but has thrived to this very day – crocodiles. Right across northern Australia today, the safest place to swim has tiles on the floor.

It’s the same in business. Those whose ‘change radar’ is alert, ever on the lookout for even the smallest alterations in the environment – market forces, competition, technology, fickle consumer preferences, fashion and a dozen other variables – are the ones who become crocodiles.

As a real-life example, there’s a small town in country-town-Australia where I know of two salon owners who have been in competition for years.

One – who by no small coincidence happens to have been a student of mine and member of Worldwide Salon Marketing for years – has built a successful, constantly-growing business. She has enthusiastically embraced advances in technology, the ups and downs of the economy, her clients’ ever-changing fashions and preferences, while at the same time being absolutely ruthless when the need arises to dump what (or who) isn’t working.

The other – who has been in business in the town for considerably longer – is constantly following and attempting to copy the newer rival, while refusing to adapt and change almost anything. This salon owner once came to me for help, which I freely gave. She said she wanted to have a website for her salon “because all my competitors have one.”

I told her she had two choices – pay someone (like WSM – we’ve built hundreds of them) or educate herself on how to build one herself. That was 8 years ago. She still doesn’t have a website.

My own business is no different. When I founded WSM in a spare room in my house 13 years ago, business technology was in its infancy. Smartphones? Weren’t even invented. Websites? Only a few salons even had one. Facebook was a glint in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye. 

Back then, the primary marketing tools available to salon owners were mailbox flyers, radio, newspaper and magazine advertising, the Yellow Pages, direct mail, and the telephone.

The Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit was then THE industry-standard how-to manual for salon owners who wanted proven, done-for-you templates and tools to market their businesses in the primary forms of media available to them at the time.

(Of course, those forms of media still exist today, and mostly work even better than they did a decade ago, simply because so few people are using them in the mistaken belief that “they’re too expensive and they don’t work any more.” Meh.)

But…with the rapid development of new forms of media, we had to change, adapt, re-organise and develop skills – not only for our own marketing, but also so we could provide the services that our market – primarily small businesses in the salon & spa industry – so clearly needed and wanted.

Ten years ago, we sold the Toolkit and pretty much that was it. (And millions of dollars worth of Toolkits were sold around the world.)

Today, we still sell the core module of the Toolkit, called Simple Salon Marketing, in both downloadable and hard copy format. (You can order it here.) But it’s now just a part of a hugely-diverse range of products and services we provide for our Members, including

  • Website design and construction – we’ve built and continue to build hundreds of them, for salons all over the world.
  • Website hosting, maintenance and security.
  • Search Engine Optimization – the tedious, manual and labour-intensive process of putting our members’ businesses on the first page of search listings.
  • Local search (Google Business Listings) optimization (Free video how-to here.)
  • Social media services, like Facebook advertising campaigns, and Instagram account boosting (so salons get more followers.)
  • A massive, searchable online database of templates, how-to videos, marketing strategies, downloadable social media graphics and proven promotions (It’s called the Client Attraction System and you can get 24/7 password access here, 50% off for the first month, no contracts.)
  • A simple 8-week ‘how-to’ online video course complete with downloadable templates relevant to each lesson (it’s called the Lite course, it’s just $69 for the whole 8 weeks and you can sign up here.

Not to mention a raft of new lead generation tools we’ve had to employ to bring in a steady stream of prospective members – more than 400 salon & spa owners around the world ‘opt-in’ every month to get their hands on one or more of the following:

And that’s just a partial list of the improvements, refinements and additional services we’ve had to make to Worldwide Salon Marketing to keep the business relevant in the second decade of the 21st century.

If we’d simply buried our heads in the sand and stubbornly stuck to trying to sell the Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit – as relevant as it was and still is – we would have been overtaken by events, and died a slow, painful death.

The process of selling hasn’t changed in a hundred years. And while humans walk upright, it will never change. But the media has changed, will always change, as will technology. If you don’t adapt, don’t embrace the changes but fight them every step of the way, you too – and your business with it – will go the way of the dinosaurs.

An Exceptional Guest Experience…

I stopped at a local Starbuck’s with a friend last week and had the most wonderful server at the counter. A welcoming smile greeted us and an uplifted voice asked us for our order. She then explained that they were introducing their new “coffee” blend and would we like to experience it.

After placing our order she told us to find a seat and she would bring our order to us. When she arrived with our coffees she also had a sample of the new blend for each of us to take home. Again, a lovely smile and a gracious attitude. I was struck by the overall feeling of well-being the experience left me with.

These are the aspects that intrigued me:

  • Her smile and welcoming attitude,
  • Her method of introducing the new blend to us and the use of the word “experience” in describing a new product,
  • She brought our coffee to us rather than make us wait at the counter where the barista makes it; you know as well as I do, they don’t do that!
  • She brought us a sample of the new product to try it out at home.

Each of these aspects seem small on their own, but put in a total package from the coffee shop perspective, this was exceptional customer service!

Now, if anyone knows me – they know I’m a fanatic about Starbucks. I love the green mermaid cafe. But this experience just topped it all.

It made me realize that exceptional customer service is in the small things we do for our clients. If customer service is in the small things we do for our customers then let’s look at those small things individually, then add them up to that exceptional customer service experience:

The Greeting; introductions are important, so introduce yourself. The Consultation; whether it is for the first time or repeat client, a consultation is an important aspect of the customer service experience within the salon:

  • The Service; make it about them, their hair, their fashion, their color, their world!
  • Presenting Retail; an extension of the service you offer in the salon.
  • Re-booking; take care of your client’s hair future.
  • Check-out; graciousness and courtesy throughout!
  • Problems; ditto!

And shall I say it? Smile, smile, smile, through the entire transaction; from greeting to check-out.

What else can we do to bring an exceptional guest experience to our salon clients?

I think we have a tendency to sometimes take our clients for granted. We have an established relationship with them so perhaps we stop seeing them as new and fresh when they come in to the salon on a regular basis.

Ask your client how you are doing! Again, this will gather valuable information for you will have to analyze and make adjustments. Make sure you document all of this valuable information on your client file within your salon software!

Finally, it is important to establish a written customer service policy for the salon. Every aspect of our clients’ experiences needs to be in writing within your policy manual. That way, your customer service policy is part of the systems you have developed for the salon. It will actually make your life simpler when the plan is laid out and in writing.

So let’s get out there, romance our clients and watch our retention and re-booking figures grow in an upwardly motion! Don’t believe me? Try it for 6 weeks, and watch the remarkable differences in your business….