When it comes to online salon marketing it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees.

Google changes the rules constantly. Yet another new social media tool seems to launch each month. And your salon competition is getting smarter and tougher.

Where to start? Will it really pay off? Where should I put my time, money and effort? You are not alone in asking these questions.

In this post, I’m looking at the big online picture to get you thinking. Then over the coming months we’ll dive into detailed online marketing topics with plenty of practical tips and ideas for salon entrepreneurs on marketing your hair or beauty business successfully online.

1. Focus on brand consistency both online and offline

Keep this advice in mind whilst you’re reading this article: Building a powerful salon brand online is the same as offline. The rules are the identical – you need a clear, constant look, message and feel. Everyone needs to know what your salon business stands for and its core values.

Above all, you must portray your brand consistently across all marketing channels. If a potential client looks at your salon website, and then clicks through to your Facebook, they need to see it looks the same and sounds the same. I can’t say this enough – it’s where many hair and beauty businesses fall down on their internet marketing.

2. Is your salon website mobile responsive?

It’s a marketing ‘given’ that an up to date, well-designed salon website is essential if you want to get found by new clients and stay ahead of your local competitors.

However, these days it needs to be mobile responsive too. Data from StatCounter reveals mobile devices now drive almost 20% of all global internet traffic. If your salon website isn’t mobile responsive you’ll not be seen by a large part of the population. And if new clients can’t see you online, they’ll be booking into your competitor’s salon.

If you’re not sure how your current website stacks up try our quick DIY salon website checklist. Or look out for our ‘Salon Website MOT’ offer early next year if you’d like a professional audit of your salon website and its copywriting.

3. Start a salon blog to power your online marketing

Quality content is king as far as Google is concerned. Over the last 18 months Google have made it clear that they will give websites with a regular supply of fresh relevant content a higher ranking.

A monthly blog is a great way for salons to create the content that Google is so hungry for.

If you’re thinking of starting one then it needs to be well-written, appealing to both Google and your human reader. Bad spelling, poor grammar and plodding writing aren’t going to tick the box, I’m afraid. Your readers want sparkling copy, brimming with useful tips and advice on hair and beauty. If you want some help either getting started with a salon blog or to revive a flagging one we’re here to help. Drop me a line or call.

4. Be social online but keep it professional

Too many businesses invest in making their salon website look the biz yet their Facebook looks like a messy scrapbook of salon gossip and out of focus photos.

This is not how to manage your internet salon marketing, enhance your reputation and build a powerful online brand. Just because you can do social media yourself doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be professional. Take a look at the big salon brands and see how much effort and money they devote to making their Facebook look and sound professional. They understand the power of a strong online social media marketing strategy.

OK, so you’re on a tight marketing budget – how can you achieve this?

  • Invest in some salon-specific social media training so you understand what to focus on, what to avoid and how to get the most bangs for your buck.
  • Don’t feel you need to be on every social media network. Select two or three which you are comfortable with and become a master of these – not a Jack of all trades.
  • Or involve an online marketing agency to produce 3 or 4 Facebook cover photos a year for you or a themed Twitter background, all with calls to action. Also ask them to produce a handful of professional graphics which you can re-use throughout the year and intersperse these with your own posts for a much more polished online look.

5. Search Engine Optimisation is not an optional online marketing luxury

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is what drives your online salon profile. If you want to get your business found and want more traffic then you need to devote time and resources to it. It makes good business sense.

33% of people searching visit the top listed result in Google’s organic search results, compared to just 18% for the second position, and the traffic only reduces from there. So if your salon isn’t there the chances are potential new clients won’t get as far as visiting your salon website. Let alone booking a first appointment.

If you have a content managed salon website (one you can update yourself) you need to be especially careful as you can easily damage the initial search optimisation your web designer did and find your salon sliding down the Google rankings. I’ll deal with this in detail in a separate post next year. It’s a problem I’m seeing more and more.

Thinking about hiring an SEO specialist for your salon or spa? You’ll find this post has useful tips about what to ask them and look for to ensure you choose the right one.

6. Marketing your salon or spa on YouTube

A salon video is a potent online marketing tool. The stats speak for themselves:

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube – that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year
  • YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network
  • The number of people subscribing daily is up more than 3 times since last year

Potentially you’re opening your salon up to a massive new audience but, as with everything online, you need to optimise for Google’s search engines to rank well.

And don’t forget to place your videos on your salon website – a great way of adding fresh relevant marketing content.

7. Your salon’s secret online marketing tool

Email marketing is not dead. It works. That’s why we use it ourselves.

An e-newsletter is one of the most valuable tools in your online salon marketing armoury.

Here are 7 reasons why:

  • Email marketing can be highly targeted.
  • It can be personalised – ‘Hi Janice’.
  • Salon email marketing is very cost effective – it beats SMS hands down on value if you want to reach thousands of clients.
  • Many more people use email than are on social media.
  • Email marketing drives traffic to your other online marketing channels – your salon website, YouTube or social media.
  • You put your salon marketing message straight into their Inbox – not hope they might just see it in a Twitter stream of thousands.
  • Last, but not least, it’s highly measurable marketing tool. I can tell you who opened, at what time, what they read, if they opened again and much more.

Just having a ‘so-so’ salon website or a Facebook page is no longer enough on the internet. Successful salon entrepreneurs understand that having a strong salon brand online means you need to invest time, money and effort across all the online marketing channels.