Salon Advertising – Does Your Ad Pass the ‘Headline Test’?

Salon Advertising - Does Your Ad Pass the 'Headline Test'?

Can’t think what to put in your salon’s ad or flyer? Take the ‘headline test’

Couple of weeks ago we took a call from a very disgruntled WSM member, who complained she’s followed the  templates to the letter, done everything she’d been instructed to do, and got zero response.

She’d had 10,000 salon marketing flyers printed up and distributed to mailboxes for miles around her salon, and got not a single booking.

This was not a good call. This is why I tend not to take calls in the office.

So we got her to email us the flyer she’d wasted so much money on. And instantly spotted the reason for its failure.

She’d forgotten to include a fairly critical element.

Her phone number.

Put that aside, and it was a terrific piece of direct response advertising.

My point here is, you have to get EVERYTHING right to give yourself the best chance of success. Leave ONE thing out – testimonials, a guarantee, scarcity, a means of response – and you’re selling yourself short.

So let’s start with the most difficult thing first. The headline.

Do you get that horrible ‘blank screen syndrome’ when you’re racking your brains trying to come up with a compelling ad to fill your salon with clients?

Lazy salon owners, lacking the tools and templates our WSM members have at their fingertips, usually resort to some kind of lame discounting, throw in a pretty picture or two, a dreary list of everything they do, and let the whole thing fizzle out with a phone number at the bottom.

Very few bother to put thought, care and attention into the very first thing anybody sees when they’re reading your ad or flyer:

The Headline.

It’s the ‘ad for the ad’ – It’s only got one job, and that’s to compel the reader to keep reading.

Lazy salon owners tend to look around at what everybody else is doing, and copy it. And in most cases, that means using the name of the business as the headline for the ad. We call it ‘marketing incest’ – works pretty much like real incest, sooner rather than later everybody just gets

Dumb and dumber.

Nobody but YOU cares about the name of the business. The headline has to be about the customer, and what’s in it for them.

So here’s a simple test, a filter you can use to test how effective your ad’s going to be:

“Take away EVERYTHING except the headline and the phone number.”

Now, take a look at it. Is it still going to work, still going to get people to pick up the phone?


I’ve taken two ads, stripped out everything except the headline and the phone number. Which one do you think is going to get the phone ringing?

Example #1:

Contours Hair & Beauty Clinic for all your beauty needs.

Phone 000 000 000

Example #2:

Attention Ladies! New Glam Makeover Package Valued at $297 – Only $99 – Guaranteed to Contain No Illegal Sexual Stimulants. However, Men Will Look at You…

Phone 000 000 000

So the next time you’re writing an ad or flyer, put it through the Headline Test.


Like Amber Ahmed of Amber Esthetics in Montreal, Canada – click play below to watch this video:

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About The Author

Greg Milner

Greg Milner, CEO & Founder, Worldwide Salon Marketing. Greg is a writer, marketing consultant, direct response advertising expert and former TV producer. Since founding WSM in 2004, he's coached and guided more than 4,000 salons & spas all over the world in all aspects of marketing, both online and offline. The tools and templates he and his team have developed are used by salons & spas on every continent. He is the author of the industry-standard direct response marketing manual, Simple Salon Marketing, and the e-book Rich Salon Owner.