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Don’t stop reading.

If you believe budget marketing is just for start-up salons and spas or bootstrapping hair and beauty businesses you’re very much mistaken.

In this post I’ll show you 25 ways to make your marketing budget s.t.r.e.t.c.h. without looking a cheapskate.

Implement these thrifty ideas and plough back the money you save into yet more marketing.


Market your salon on a budget (without looking a cheapskate)

Let’s start with some free salon marketing ideas:

  1. Free guide: Get on-track and down-to-business by writing a Marketing Plan for your hair or beauty business for the next 6 months. Download a free 13 step guide here, and start off as you mean to go on.
  2. Promote your business 24/7 for zilch: Record a punchy promotional message on your answer phone.
  3. Better Google rankings: Start your own monthly salon blog packed with news, tips and trends. You’ll find ideas and advice here. And it doesn’t have to cost a thing.
  4. Penny-wise advertising: Promote a spa offer at the bottom of your till receipt. Just call your salon software provider to ask how.
  5. Freebie online salon marketing: Ask your clients to post online reviews on Google, Facebook and other online directories. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  6. Time costs money so use it wisely: Schedule your social media posts using free online marketing tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer. Find out more here.
  7. Understand your customer: We all think we know what our clients want, but do we really? Nothing beats them. To make life easy for yourself download my ready-to-go client questionnaires here – there’s one for beauty salons and one for hair salons. Did I mention they’re free?
  8. Make a splash locally online: Being found locally online is a must for any salon, spa or clinic. Every business is entitled to its own Google My Business account. Best of all they cost zero, are simple to set up and essential if you want your business to be visible on Google. Which of course you do.
  9. Easy on the pocket promotions: Don’t be timid. Ask suppliers for free competition prizes for your social media and salon website. Run a salon event and persuade them to donate raffle prizes, samples and their time for free.
  10. Make it snappy: Take photos of your salon or team to bring your social media promotions to life. How about a photo of them wielding a hairbrush and hairdryer with a large smile to promote their express blow-dry offer?
  11. Cost effective media relations: Write your own press release – try my step-by-step guide here.
  12. Don’t overlook the obvious: Collect glowing testimonials from clients to flaunt on your salon website, email marketing and social channels. And whilst you’re at it, dust down your referral programme cards too.
  13. Get the most from salon social: Review your current social activity. Participating in two or three of the big social media sites is better than spreading yourself too thinly. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest are all free. As is Instagram which is picture-perfect for our image-oriented industry.
  14. Email marketing on the house: I know I bang on about email marketing but it’s such a cracking marketing tool for salons, medi-spas and clinics. I can’t see why any business owner wouldn’t use it, especially when you can sign up for free with the likes of MailChimp. Just remember to check the limits on numbers.
  15. Valuable marketing asset: Start building your email database from day one. Just do it. Please.
  16. Bit of a techie?: Produce your own Vine video for Twitter or a fun “how to” video for Facebook.
  17. Hair and beauty industry tradeshows: They are a priceless source of marketing ideas and free educational workshops. Pre-register for complimentary or discounted tickets. Take a look at my Calendar of Hair and Beauty Tradeshows throughout the UK and Ireland here. You’ll also find the links to the free ticket registration.
  18. Engage your audience: Create a step-by-step “How to” guide for your spa website and social media. Take photos at each stage, add a few words of explanation and the job’s done. For free.
  19. Say thank you: As chip as chips and a game-changer. I look at the psychology behind this and suggest 5 ways to use these two magic words in this post.


Thrifty budget marketing ideas for salons and spas

  1. Offer free phone charging to clients: I saw this tip on @thephorestword. Having sat in a salon with my phone showing ‘critical low battery’ I can vouch for this one. An easy customer service ‘WOW’. And it won’t cost a fortune. Even better.
  2. Advertise on Facebook: It’s possible to advertise for a few pounds on Facebook to a highly targeted audience. The trick is to be very selective and keep your budget to just a few pounds a day to start with. This way you can test what works and what doesn’t without breaking the bank.
  3. Inexpensive salon marketing: Buy picture frames to suit your branding. Hang these around the salon advertising new services, current offers and promotions and late-night opening hours. Obvious. Yes. But it works.
  4. Enter a hair or beauty industry award: Awards and competitions are seen as an expensive marketing tool. Yet they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are 9 prestigious national competitions and awards which are easy on the pocket.
  5. Piggy-back salon marketing: Get chatting to local businesses about piggy-backing on each other’s advertising, promotions and customers. Looking for specific ideas? Try this post.
  6. Be charitable: Hair and beauty salons are besieged by requests from local charities. Instead of random acts of giving, choose one charity close to your heart and throw a big event. You’ll get more bang for your marketing buck this way and raise funds for your favourite cause. Use the tips in this blog post to host an event for virtually nothing: squeeze your suppliers for goodies, write your own press release, partner with local businesses and promote the event on your salon website, Facebook and in your e-newsletter. And that’s just for starters.


So there you have it. 25 ways to reduce your marketing spend and still grow your hair and beauty salon.

What are you waiting for?

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