Setting Yourself Up for Salon Business Success in 2020

Setting Yourself Up for Salon Business Success in 2020

“I’m just starting out in my salon business,” she said. “Obviously, I need clients. So I was thinking I will just need a Facebook page, and maybe a sign on the street…”

Hmmmm. We get a LOT of inquiries like that. Inquiries that betray a not-unexpected naivety about what it actually takes to start and run a successful business. (NOTE: by successful, we mean a business that doesn’t rely entirely on the owner to generate all the income. That’s not a business. It’s a JOB. Stands for Just Over Broke.)

So we’ve created this graphic to give you an idea of what a successful business (kinda!) looks like. It’s a lot like an iceberg. 

Most of an iceberg is invisible, below the waterline. Only the tip is visible in clear air. Fully 90% of it isn’t visible.

And that’s the bit, like the foundations of a house, that supports the tip. It’s where all the stuff that you and your clients don’t see is built, maintained, tweaked, tested and refined.

The tip of the iceberg is easy to visualize. It’s the obvious stuff. Your shop. Your website. Your social media. Maybe, if you do any, your advertising.

The 90% under the water is where most new salon owners (and a lot who’ve been in business for years and still struggle with it) have trouble imagining.

So let’s go through just a few of the above in a bit more detail.

Search Engine Optimization (or SEO): 

Lots of salons have a website these days. A website is an iceberg all by itself.
The bit you see on your screen is just the tip.  Just about any kid with a laptop can build one. But if a prospective client can’t find your website when they search on Google for “hair salon (your town)” or “cosmetic tattooing (your suburb)”, then your website is pretty much useless. The tedious, technical and manual-labor process of getting your website seen on Page One of Google is called Search Engine Optimization. It’s not cheap, precisely because it’s so labor-intensive. But don’t even think about spending money on building a website without also budgeting for the SEO process. Otherwise you may as well flush your money down the toilet.

Here’s a new site we built recently for one of our long-term Members, Escape Skin & Body in Hobart, TAS: 

It’s a beautiful site, and took more than four months to build, with constant liaison between our development team and the salon’s owner. 

But it would have been a waste of money if we’d just built the site without paying attention to the SEO that keeps it right at the top of search results, as you’ll see here: 

RESOURCE: Worldwide Salon Marketing builds, maintains and optimizes websites for hundreds of salons & spas around the world. Call +61-8-9443 9327 and ask for me or Sam. 

Google Business Listing: 

These are the listings that appear at the top any Google search for a product or service in your area. The graphic below shows typical Google Business Listing results, in this case for a search for “hair salon berwick” – they appear at the very top of searches, which means that your Google Business Listing is even more important than your company website. You have to treat your GBL as if it were a separate, stand-alone website – it has to be set up correctly, and it has to be optimized not just with the right photos and business information, but with backlinks and citations from elsewhere on the internet. See how Allura Hairdressing Boutique appears at the top of the ‘Big Three’? This salon gets more than 200 calls per month from prospective new clients who have found it and ‘clicked to call’ on their smartphones.

 

Watch: 

Here’s a simple explanation of the immense value of ‘online real estate’: 

RESOURCEWorldwide Salon Marketing sets up and optimizes Google Business Listings for scores of salons & spas around the world. If you want more info, simply pick up the phone and call our head office, +61-8-9443-9327.

Database Management: You simply cannot efficiently and effectively manage a salon or spa business without a competent booking and appointment software program. There are scores of these on the market, and most of them do a pretty good job.

Social Media Advertising: Everybody knows about Facebook. But have you ever noticed how hardly anybody sees your business promotions when you simply post them in your business page timeline? Yep, that’s because Facebook wants to you pay for advertising to reach more people.
Advertising on Facebook can be incredibly effective, if it’s done the right way. That requires time, patience, technical ability, some talent with graphics, and a clear idea of what outcome you want.

Watch:

Here’s a brief video on how to make your Facebook (and Google!) advertising work for you:

Website Lead Capture: Websites only have two prime purposes; 1) to sell stuff/generate appointments, and 2) to capture the contact details of people who might not be ready to buy yet, but will in the future…IF you keep marketing to them. A lead-capture device is just a form on your website that they fill in to get something for free, for example, a free gift voucher. In exchange, you get their contact details.

 

Watch what I mean here: 

Online Reviews:

As you’ll see in the graphic below, Worldwide Salon Marketing member salon About You Salon in Gatlinburg Tennessee, Organic Infusion and Fox Place Salon & Spa, all have a star rating. That’s because they have reviews – an online version of testimonials. These are reviews on Google – reviews on Facebook are all very well, but Google takes more notice of reviews on its own search platform. Salons with reviews and star ratings get more calls than salons without.

Advance Planning Promotions: Most salon owners do their marketing ad hoc. In other words, “Gee, it’s Friday, I need customers for Monday…better think about that…”
It’s not good enough. And it’s scary. Better: plan your entire marketing year in advance. You know that throughout the year there are many marketing ‘trigger’ events – Christmas, Mothers Day, Black Friday, Change of Seasons and more. You can make a LONG list of events and special occasions, many of them only relevant to your salon, or your local area.
Once you’ve made a list (a big wall calendar is a good idea) you can then plan for each event. In many cases, weeks out.
But you need tools, templates, systems to help you do that, otherwise you’re just reinventing the wheel every time.

FREE RESOURCE: 

Get your own online ‘real estate’ audited at no cost by my team of online marketing and technical specialists: 

I hope at least some of that you’ve found helpful!

Founder
www.worldwidesalonmarketing.com

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Setting Yourself Up for Salon Business Success in 2020

Setting Yourself Up for Salon Business Success in 2020

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Why Do I Always Have to Sit Next to the Farting Cat?

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3 Tips on How to Get More Salon Clients & Bookings Online

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Why Do I Always Have to Sit Next to the Farting Cat?

The smallest but most compelling book in my large and diverse business library is this one. It’s by a long-time mentor of mine, Dan Kennedy, and while the title is deliberately funny, the message is a serious wake-up call for any small business owner or entrepreneur.

Kennedy talks about the thousands of marketers and copywriters he’s mentored (including me) who have gone on to create extensive, proven marketing systems for their own particular niche markets (including me, in the salon & spa niche.)

( The farting cat title refers to the kind of business owner who blames everyone and everything other than themselves for their problems.)

The very first chapter sets the tone:

That Big Brick Building You Drive By

“There’s a little convenience store at the corner of my neighbourhood street and the town’s main street. One morning, as I stood in line, I listened to the counterman tell his tale of woe to the customer in front of me. The counterman is about 40,. His story, as Sinatra sang, is one too commonly told: hates his job, can’t get by on what he makes, has a car in disrepair, lives in a bad apartment building with biker neighbours, and rues his lot in life.

“When I got to the counter, I asked where in town he lived. After he told me, I said ‘You know, about halfway between here and your apartment, there’s a big brick building on the right hand side of the road. You pass it twice a day. In it are the answers to every one of your problems and frustrations. That building is called The Public Library’.”

He said he hadn’t been inside a library since high school. Precisely.”

(These days of course, hardly anybody goes to the public library. For most, it’s been replaced by Google. But the point remains valid.)

Kennedy goes on: 

“You can divide the population into two main hunks. those who search, hunt, go after the information they need to fix whatever’s ailing them, and those who don’t. There are about 5% of the population in the first group, 95% in the second. And there are about 5% of the population who do very, very well financially, and 95% who never achieve wealth. Co-incidence?”

So how does Kennedy’s contention relate to you? It’s this: the information you need to succeed has never been more freely available. It has been collated and curated by many people, including me, in systems that take away the tedium of spending days, weeks, months gathering it and making sense of it yourself. Many years ago, I studied and put into practice the direct response marketing teachings of Mr Kennedy and others, and created a system for salons & spas that would make the marketing of their businesses a much, much easier and more effective process.

It was called The Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit, and the main component of it, the Simple Salon Marketing manual, is still available today, instantly downloadable, here.

 

Key paragraph from Kennedy: 

“The first thing you should know – ‘it’ works. Questioning the efficacy of these Systems is like insisting the world is flat. The time for such an argument has long since passed.”

He goes on:

“If you’ve gotten your hands on one of these Systems recently, it’s the perfect opportunity to wipe the slate clean, re-design your business, refresh your marketing, and rediscover your enthusiasm for your business.”

 

 

3 Tips on How to Get More Salon Clients & Bookings Online

Week in, week out, Rebecca Voller opens her email to find dozens of new potential clients for her Maya Spa in Dromana, Victoria. In the 15 months since February 2017, when the new website WSM built for her went ‘live’ (www.mayapsa.com.au), more than EIGHT HUNDRED prospective new clients have put their hands up to say, in effect, “I’m interested in what you sell.”

How does she do it? 

This is a “name capture” device. It’s used to build someone’s database, allowing more leads.

With a simple little device called a ‘name capture form’. When we built Rebecca’s website – as we do with the hundreds of other salon & spa websites we build – we did it with the ‘Big Three Rules’ of website design in mind. Websites for small businesses have only three reasons to exist.

Reason #1: to be found. If your website can’t be found by people Googling for a salon or spa in your local area, then it may as well be a shop in the middle of the desert.

Reason #2: to sell stuff – in other words, to get bookings and sales.

Reason #3: to capture the names and contact details of people who visit the site, and don’t immediately book an appointment or buy something.

If you don’t have some kind of freebie or giveaway – for example, a Gift Voucher download – there’s no reason for visitors to give you their names and contact details. And without those, you don’t have a constant stream of new people you can market to, via email or SMS.

There’s another crucial way to make your website more functional. Take a look at this screenshot of another one of our Member salon’s site:

 

Your phone number must be “hot”

If someone can’t tap to call your phone number, you’ll lose 80% of all calls.

Key takeaway here: the phone number is at the top of the site, and it’s ‘hot’. Most people these days are searching on a mobile device, like an iPhone. All they have to do is touch the phone number and it automatically calls the business. Get it? Don’t make it hard for visitors to find your phone number!

This goes back to Reason #2: One of the 3 key purposes of a website is to get sales and appointments. Make it easy for them to call you, don’t make them have to search around your website – on a tiny little phone screen – looking for you number.

 

Make sure you’re being found on Google

Now, let’s go back to Reason #1: being found.

If you do a Google search for ‘beauty salon Dromana’ – it’s a town in Victoria: you should see this:

When you’re not on the first page of Google, 89% of all potential clients won’t see you.

Rebecca’s Maya Spa gets an average of 100 calls every month because of her position in the Google My Business listings. Hardly anybody using a mobile phone to search bothers to go into ‘More Places’. So the listings that appear first under the maps get 91% of all phone calls generated by that search result. (And you can pretty much guarantee that Maya Spa gets more calls than Effloresce Beauty, because Maya Spa has FAR MORE Client reviews.)

Here’s the result of a search for ‘beauty salon Hobart’. Escape Beauty Lounge is another salon whose online infrastructure is managed by Worldwide Salon Marketing. It gets an average of 163 calls every month because of its position at the top of the Google My Business listings.

Recap:

So, to recap today’s lesson:

1) Be found – at the top of search results. Page 2 or later? Meh!

2) Make sure your phone number is ‘hot’ and visible at the TOP of your website, not hidden behind a ‘Contact Us’ button.

3) Make sure you have a good ‘name capture form’ on your site, with a valuable giveaway that encourages visitors to give you their contact details.

Podcast #7: A Brilliant Marketing Strategy for Salons & Spas

Margie Baldock is a serial entrepreneur, author, young mother and property developer I’ve known for many years. I’ve just rediscovered an interview I did with this remarkable woman some time ago – and a BRILLIANT concept Margie discusses that ANY salon or spa can apply. If you’ve ever wondered “How do I keep my clients and make it IMPOSSIBLE to even think about visiting another salon?” then this is the podcast for you.

HINT: listen carefully at the 15 minute mark!

Show Notes: 

Get a FREE one-on-one Fast Start marketing session with Rich Salon Owner author Greg Milner.
Apply here: http://worldwidesalonmarketing.com/wsm-free-coaching-call/

The (good) difference between your salon…and a BIG business.

There’s a good reason why service businesses – like yours, presumably – should never go out of business. (Conversely, it’s a mystery why many of them do.)

The reason they should thrive comes down to human nature; people like to do business with other people, not faceless, corporate entities, or machines. Businesses that rely solely on technology to sustain their revenues come and go. Remember Kodak? Gone. MySpace? A $700 million white elephant. History is littered with businesses that failed at least in part because they deliberately kept their customers at arms length.

 

But those who strive to serve, face to face, can weather almost any storm.

 

One personal example: 

Mitchell Falls, in the Kimberley,

Michelle and I like to do road trips, touring our vast country, towing our camper trailer. (Cue excuse to show holiday pics here.) Last week, after our most recent 10,000km drive through the Kimberley region of Western Australia, I took the trailer to the local dealer for a routine bearings-and-brakes service.

 

It’s a husband and wife operation, just Jim and Lynda, operating out of a rented warehouse in the northern suburbs of Perth. Three days later, when I went back to collect the trailer, Jim had not only done the routine stuff, he’d replaced a couple of broken parts, lubricated all the fiddly bits I somehow never got around to, fitted a new battery under warranty, and even re-fitted a water pump I’d jerry-rigged after it was damaged on the notorious Gibb River Road.

 

And the total bill? Nothing. Nada. Zero. Refused to accept payment. Jim knows that I sing the praises of this particular make of camper trailer. Accordingly, in a Facebook group I run for this brand, I duly extolled the virtues of Jim’s excellent service, and others chimed in with similar sentiments. Jim knows that businesses like his live and die on the strength or weakness of the relationship between him and his customers.

 

It doesn’t actually matter that his product is acknowledged as one of the best. The previous owners of the dealership had the same product, but their attitude to customer service was appalling, and it showed in sales.

 

As a consumer, you can’t have a relationship with a machine, or a website, or a call centre. You can only have a relationship with people, In the end, even the biggest businesses are just people doing their thing, except that the bigger the business, the more its people hide behind the grand facade.

 

(The smarter people behind the biggest of businesses know this. Apple didn’t need Steve Jobs for his technical or engineering expertise. Apple needed Jobs because it was Jobs who had the relationship with the company’s customers. To them, Jobs was Apple.)

 

Many of our Member salons & spas take customer service to the extreme. One makes a habit of sending hand-written birthday cards – real ones, in an envelope, in the mail, with a real stamp, not just a lazy text message or email – to her top 500 clients. That’s an average of 40 a month, every month. But it comes back in spades of sales. Another will open her salon on a Sunday if a customer can’t make it any other time. These are the kind of ‘above and beyond’ actions that people extol to their friends.

 

Henry Ford

It’s not doing the expected that people talk about. It’s doing the unexpected. The small and inexpensive gift, brought out from under the counter as the customer pays her bill. The random phone call a few days after your visit, from the owner who asks “Hi Jane, I just wanted to check that you were happy with our service when you were in this week?” This is the kind of service you just can’t get from a machine, or a website, or a call centre.

 

To quote Henry Ford: “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits.  They will be embarrassingly large.”