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...
“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.
Here’s a simple explanation of the immense value of ‘online real estate’:
RESOURCE: Worldwide 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.
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:
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.
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!
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