About 18 months ago, the Milner household acquired a new member; an Australian Cobberdog puppy we called Digby, after my late father. He rules our life, tells outrageous lies, and steals everything that's not nailed down. But of course, we adore him. It's hard not to...
The Christmas/New Year madness is done and dusted.
As you gaze into the crystal ball for 2020, what do you see for your business?
A limp re-hash of 2019…or a newly-dynamic, expanding, organised enterprise with systems in place that bring a constant flow of new and returning clients?
Marketing success isn’t a happy accident – it takes planning, focus, ACTION, and a well-defined infrastructure in place to help you take advantage of opportunities as they appear. But what does this infrastructure look like? Here’s the Worldwide Salon Marketing Blueprint.
Think of these Ten Essentials like the internal structure of a small sailing ship – the keel, ribs, bulkheads, pumps and labyrinth of wiring and hydraulic plumbing – all hidden from public view – that all work together as a system to keep the vessel afloat and drive it through the waves.
1) Your DATABASE.
Your database is like the keel of a ship…unseen, but VITAL.
The keel of your ship. And like a ship’s keel, it’s THE very foundation of a successful salon.
Anyone these days who still believes you can efficiently and effectively run and market a hair or beauty business using names written on the pages of a school exercise book is either seriously deluded, or accustomed to fighting battles blindfolded and with one arm tied behind your back.
Your list of clients – their names, their (full!) contact details, what they’ve previously purchased, their date of birth, their average spend…all of this information is GOLD.
But most of this vital information is useless unless it’s collated in a properly-organised database.
If you wanted to create a special offer appealing particularly to women aged between 29 and 45 who have one or more children and a history of buying facials and/or brazilian waxes, and email/SMS them with a link to that offer on your website, you simply cannot do it effectively and efficiently without those details in a database.
The price of computer-based systems has plummeted.
There are now scores of purpose-built, off-the-shelf database systems designed specifically for the hair & beauty industry.
You can implement a complete Point of Sale and Client Management system in your salon, and have it up and running inside 24 hours, for as little as $29 a month. There’s absolutely no excuse any more.
2) Testimonials and Online REVIEWS.
Testimonials and word of mouth have always been a primary source of new clients. Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth. Nobody these days would dream of booking an overseas trip or a new restaurant without Googling first and reading reviews.
And online reviews are now THE crucial piece of information prospects seek when they’re searching for a salon or spa. Many of our Member salons report getting 10, 20, even 30 new clients every month because of the prominence and sheer volume of their online reviews.
There are literally dozens of review sites – Yelp, True Local, Womo, Tripadvisor and more – but for most local service businesses like salons & spas, there is one review site that stands head and shoulders above the others. And that’s
Think about it.
You’re looking for a restaurant, or a travel agent, or a hair salon in your local area. What do YOU do? You pick up your phone, open a browser and Google “hair salon near me” or “waxing Sydney…”
Most people do that. And what do they find at the top of their search? Something like this:
See all those reviews?
One of the (many) reasons these three salons appear at the top of the search results for “hair salon Melbourne CBD” is because of their many reviews.
This is what Google shows first, because Google owns the platform. They’re not going to show Facebook reviews or Yelp reviews before their own!
How to get reviews on your Google listing:
1) Log into your Google account and find your Google My Business listing.
2) Find the “Get More Reviews” box on the home page of your listing. Click ‘share profile’ and it will give you a link you can send to clients.
3) TEXT or email your client: “Thanks for coming in today (name)-) I’d love it if you’d write a short review on our Google listing. Just click here (and copy the link.)
WSM members: in the Client Attraction System here, you’ll find the How to Get Masses of Online Reviews pack you can download, complete with done-for-you templates you can use to both collect reviews (the easy way) at your reception desk, and to send to clients by email.
Not a Member? In WSM’s flagship Client Attraction System marketing & mentoring program, you get unlimited access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive library of business & marketing resources designed and continually updated ONLY for salons and spas, as well as technical support, wesbsite and mobile app support, search engine optimization, and one-on-one coaching and guidance. Strictly limited to those salon owners who want to be business owners and entrepreneurs, not merely technicians. Go here to find out more.
3) VIDEO – simple, quick, easily uploaded – and devastatingly effective.
Your smart-phone is your friend. It’s also the friend of every single one of your clients, because everyone has one! They do almost everything on their smart phone – they browse the web, post to social media, send messages to their friends, shop, and…they watch videos. Smart salon owners – particularly those members of our My Social Salon program – are beginning to use videos as a stunningly effective tool to both reach out to their clients with interesting content, as well as generating instant business.
Here’s what to do:
1) Shoot a short video using your iPhone or Android. It can be just about anything – a quick ‘selfie’ interview with a happy client, a one-minute ‘how-to’ video featuring a new treatment or service in your salon, an introduction from a new staff member, a special promotion you’re running.
Here’s an example from one of our Members, Anita Bowe of Twisted Desire in Queensland:
Here’s another example from Carolyn Evans of Absolique Hair Health in Brisbane:
Any salon owner can do this! If you can touch the ‘record’ button on your smart-phone, or get one of your staff to do it, you CAN do this. But it’s what happens next that makes the magic.
2) Upload your video – straight from your smart-phone – to YouTube. For this you’ll need a free Google account (if you already use gmail, you’ll already have a Google account.) The whole process takes just a few minutes. YouTube will ask you for a Title, and a Description. In the ‘Title’ field, type a few words of what the video is about, and don’t forget to include your phone number, and your location. Why? Because Google uses this information as part of its Search Engine Optimisation process – if people see your video by going to the YouTube website, you want them to be able to see where you are and how to contact you.
You can simply leave your video there on YouTube. However, it’s smarter, if you know how, to then embed your video directly into your website.
3) SMS and email your clients with links to the videos.
Here’s where you get the impact, and the results.
There’s no point in recording videos, uploading them, embedding them in your website if you don’t tell anybody about it.
Even if you don’t have everybody’s email address, you no doubt have every client’s mobile phone number. Send out a group text message, eg “Hi Jane, it’s Mary from (your salon name), I’ve just uploaded a quick video on a brilliant new hair style we’re doing, would love your feedback, check it out here: http://bit.ly/1vpCgGp and give me a call on 000 000 000″
(Hint: web addresses can be loooong – and soak up a lot of characters in an SMS. To shorten the link, copy the web address where the video is and go to www.bitly.com, paste the address of your video into the field in bitly, and it’ll instantly give you a much shorter link you can use in your text message and email. If you have email addresses of your clients, send them an email as well as a text message.)
You can do a video like these examples every week. Your clients will love them.
4) Your Website – but that’s just the start.
If your current website – and all the other infrastructure around it, like Google Maps, reviews, videos etc – is bringing you a steady, measurable, identifiable stream of customers and clients every month, then you probably don’t need to do too much with it. If it’s already on the first page of Google for relevant searches, like ‘hair salon (your suburb)’ well and good.
But if you’re NOT getting a steady stream of clients who find you online, it’s time to ramp it up – or be left behind.
Here’s what to check:
1) Test your website’s Google ranking like this; open the Google Chrome web browser and ‘go incognito’ by pressing ‘control’ + ‘shift+ ‘n’ so Google doesn’t know who you are and gives you totally fresh results.
In the search bar, type what you think people in your area are searching for, e.g., ‘waxing’ and then your location or major geographical area, like ‘waxing northern beaches’.
If your website isn’t listed on the first page, it’s nowhere, and needs work.
Nobody searches Page Two.
2) Is your business appearing in the Google Business Listings? If not, you need to ‘claim’ your listing, and that involves generating an old-fashioned hard copy postcard from Google with a PIN number in it. They’ll mail it to you.
3) Look up your website on your smart-phone’s web browser. If all you get is a tiny version of the whole main website, it’s not mobile resp0nsive. That’s a problem, because more than half of web searches these days are done on mobile phones, and if all prospects get to see is a tiny version of your main website, not only will Google eventually downgrade your site in the rankings, but prospective customers will find it too hard to read, and go elsewhere.
4) Is your phone number prominent at the top of your website? It needs to be. On your smart phone, is your phone number appearing as a ‘hot’ or ‘click to call’ link? If not, it needs to be. Don’t make people jump through hoops just to call you.
5) Is your website being updated frequently and regularly with fresh content – text and images? If not, it needs to be. Google ranks websites it sees as being ‘loved’ and updated regularly. There’s no such thing as a ‘finished’ website.
5) Social Media – it’s for building relationships, not immediate sales.
Facebook, and to a lesser extent Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, can be useful to help build rapport and interaction with your ‘fans’. But they’re a LONG way from being the be-all and end-all.
In fact, Facebook particularly is becoming less so, as the company is constantly making it harder to reach your audience unless you’re prepared to pay.
It’s not ‘Free’ marketing by a long shot. Relying on Facebook and other social media platforms entirely to drive customers into your business is just plain dumb. If you do that, you WILL fail.
But there are ways of using Facebook much smarter than most people realise.
1) Never, ever ‘boost’ a post in an effort to reach more people. It’s expensive, and generally unproductive. A better way is to use Facebook ads. But it can be tricky, with major traps for the unwary.
2) People use Facebook and other social media to be social. They don’t go to Facebook to buy stuff. So post stuff on your business page that is engaging, that has been shown to get likes, shares and comments. Pictures, videos, funny stuff. Occasionally, a pitch or special offer.
But Facebook is not a selling platform, it’s an engagement platform. (Hint: if you’ve uploaded on of your videos to YouTube, do NOT merely post a link to that video into your FB page. Instead, upload your video directly into Facebook. It plays better that way, and doesn’t take people away from your page like a YouTube video does.)
6) Paid Online Advertising
If you’re serious about marketing your business, then you must use paid advertising – on the two biggest online platforms, Facebook (and to a lesser extent, Instagram) and Google.
As example, our digital marketing team set up the campaign above (and a similar ad on Google) for one of our members, Lorina Cassidy-Reid of Original Skin Tattoo Removal in Canberra.
Those ads – and variations of them – continue to bring in a steady stream of two, three or four appointments every day.
You can post nice updates on your Facebook business page till you’re blue in the face, but if you really want your stuff to be seen by the most people, and acted on, paid ads are the way to go.
But there are smart ways, and dumb ways, to advertising online, as I explain in this short video here:
If you need any clarification of the above, or just want to discuss your hopes, goals and plans, feel free to call me or one of my specialist team on +61-8-94439327.
We’re old fashioned. We like phone calls.
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