How to Market a New Salon on a Budget
Hair Salon Marketing on a Budget
Thanks to technology, I feel that salon owners have gotten away from some of the basics of running a successful business. We’ve begun to rely too heavily on reactive marketing techniques vs. going out and doing what we do best; talking to people. Do you remember the days where having a steady conversation with a customer was normal? In today’s world the number of awkward silences are countless. Now you even have your customers reaching under their cape every 5 minutes to check their phones too. These types of things have resulted in unexciting, and boring customer interactions. We’ve allowed the Internet and Social Media to take too much control of our relationships in and outside of work. At times you can argue that the Internet has made some things way too easy, and as a result; us business owners have kind of slipped off track in the way we should be doing business.
Whether you’ve just bought an existing salon, or opening a new one, I want to cover a couple basics that can help you out.
Don’t Wait for Perfection
Procrastination is any business owners’ worst enemy. Let me give you an example: You’re three weeks out from opening a new salon but haven’t taken the time to market it because;
- Your business cards aren’t ready, or you don’t like the ones you got.
- You’re waiting for your salon’s website to go up.
- The Salon is still undergoing construction and isn’t ready for visitors yet.
- You want wait until after your Grand Opening Party.
If you’ve ever thought about or pondered any of the above, then you my friend are a procrastinator. You might call it being a perfectionist, but personally I think perfectionists are in a way, procrastinators as well. Hopefully you’ll never have to learn that there is never a need to wait for the perfect moment. There will never be a perfect time to start taking action. Waiting for the perfect moment is for photographers, engineers and camera men on National Geographic; not us. So now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about what we else we should be doing to prepare your new salon for success.
Talking to People is Good
Salon owners are part of a rare breed of people in today’s society that actually have good communication skills. The only other profession that really falls into the same category are food service professionals such as waiters and waitresses. Believe it or not, in today’s society talking to someone is considered an art. So go out and talk to people! Building rapport, showing genuine interest, and empathizing are all strengths that a stylist can use to their advantage.
As a salon owner, the first thing you need to know about other business owners is how much they like talking about their business. So if your salon happens to be in a business district, there’s no better place to start network than your neighbors. Go out and introduce yourself to the surrounding businesses and ask them to talk about how they got into doing what they do and what their experience in the area has been like so far.
When you’re talking to another business owner, your first conversation should not last any longer than 8-10 minutes (because hey, they’re busy too), and it most certainly shouldn’t involve any type of selling. This should strictly be a meet and greet conversation not a sales pitch.
The word social media gets thrown around a bit more than I’d like it to. Since we’re talking about opening a new salon; let’s focus on what social media outlet is going to have the quickest impact first. Essentially the important one right now will be Facebook. Get your Salons Facebook business page up and running (create an account as a business page, not a personal one), and invite all your friends to like the page. Make sure your logo and cover photos are nice. Don’t worry about your Instagram account, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or even blogging. Those are all longer term solutions that don’t need your immediate attention right now. We’ll cover the importance of each one and where and how they can be beneficial in your salon business in later posts. Time is precious so let’s continue to focus on things that will leave an impact sooner than later.
Register your salon with Yelp.com
Make sure your customer service levels are overwhelmingly high during the first few months (they should always be high, but at the beginning try to take it to another level) to a point where people are willing to hop online and leave positive reviews. These reviews are critical to your salons success down the road.
Get on the Web
One of the reasons that shopping on the Internet has become so popular is the consumers ability to stay anonymous and away from salespeople. The mentality is; “I can do as much research on you as I want, and won’t choose to do business with you until I feel comfortable doing so”. Now this mindset began in retail sales but now buyers want to just stay away from everybody. Your challenge as a salon owner is to not only get in front of them, but to position your salon in front of the type of customers you want. So make sure you get a salon website going.
Do a Grand Opening Party
Here’s the catch; let’s not get carried away with this eh? It doesn’t need to be extravagant and you most certainly don’t want to put yourself in a financial hole greater than you already have, so be mindful of how you plan this out. Von’s, the popular grocery store chain in California and the West Coast has champagne bottles for $4.99 a bottle (additional 20% off if you buy 6). Don’t ask me how I know this and furthermore don’t judge me. Anyhow, mix this luxurious and affordable champagne with some orange juice or grape fruit juice and everyone will feel like it’s far more superior than it really is. Obviously if you’re in a neighborhood that has a sophisticated taste, and you are OK spending the money, than by all means go ahead and get crazy with it.
Every extended family has these three family members; The photographer, The DJ, and The Real Estate Agent. Call the photographer to come out and take pictures of the event (throw these on Facebook after). Call the DJ to come DJ (make sure the music matches your clientele duh!) and ask the Real Estate Agent to show up with other Real Estate Agents. Make sure everyone is having fun and that no one drives home drunk. Do what you do best and start talking to the crowd and get to know everyone there.
Are there additional ways to market your salon? Absolutely! These are just a few to get you started on a budget. For those of you that have a bigger spending budget and want to be a bit more aggressive, give us a call or fill out this form so we can chat.
What did you do to market your salon when it first opened? Have any additional suggestions or ideas that you’d like to contribute? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
By Ali Mirdamadi