Looking for new hair and beauty clients?
Need more business for your salon, spa or freelance business?
Perhaps you’ve watched some videos on finding new clients or subscribed to popular blogs on salon marketing? But it’s hard to know where to start… and you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Let me help you with a clear 8 step action plan.
Shall we begin?
Attracting new salon clients is a massive topic and I don’t want you to feel drowned with ideas.
So in this guide I’m showing you 8 actionable ideas you can implement right now to market your salon business to potential new clients. But if you love a particular salon marketing topic and want even more ideas and help on it, I’ve popped links to more in-depth posts in each section – look out for the Learn & Grow icon.
Salons that succeed in attracting a constant flow of new salon clients do these 8 things very well:
- Target the right new clients.
- Build brand awareness with Instagram.
- Get found on Google by new clients.
- Convert lookers to bookers on your website.
- Online reviews persuade new salon clients to book
- Partner with local businesses
- Target new clients with Facebook advertising
- Ask for referrals to family & friends
Every business needs a constant flow of new clients if they are going to survive let alone grow. Here’s why:
The average hair & beauty business loses between 10-25% of its clients each year.
Put another way, in 3 years you may well lose around half of your salon client base. So it’s vital to your business success to:
Sound good? Here we go…
It’s one of the most common salon marketing mistakes I see.
Salon entrepreneurs throwing time, money and resources at attracting the wrong type of new client.
Your ideal client is not:
Anyone who walks through your door prepared to pay you money.
Your ideal client is:
The person who is the perfect fit for your
If you want to grow your hair or beauty business profitably then target these ideal clients.
And only these clients.
Because your ‘ideal client’ is the perfect fit for your business they will:
And thus are highly profitable.
So focus your new client marketing effort on targeting your ideal clients. They will convert into loyal high spending clients more quickly and easily. And that’s what you want.
Instagram is a friendly, authentic way to shout about your salon brand, culture and skills to a new audience without the hard sell.
Use these 4 practical tips to ensure you get seen by potential new clients:
1. Salon Instagram business basics
Don’t use your personal Instagram profile (even if you’re working on your own as a freelancer or mobile). Always set up a business profile because:
Craft your Instagram business profile carefully as potential new followers have to click through to your profile before they can hit ‘follow’. An interesting, helpful profile (that isn’t salesy) helps persuade them to take that last step to follow you.
2. Drive potential clients to your website
If you have a salon or spa website then make sure you include it in your bio. This is the only place on Instagram where your website link is clickable and can drive potential new client traffic to your website.
3. Let strong visuals do the sales pitch
Instagram is brilliant at showing potential new clients what your business, expertise and customer care are really like. It lets them ‘get to know you’.
Posting strong visuals is a marketing must-have as Instagram’s simple layout focuses attention on the quality of your content, not the quantity. Eye-catching photography is a essential to attract new followers to your account, engage them and finally persuade them to book.
Ring the changes
Use your Instagram posts to showcase your salon expertise, brand personality and culture in a low key, gentle way. This lets prospective clients to make their own decisions about your salon without feeling pressured or feeling they are being sold to.
In our industry before and after images are always popular but avoid stuffing your Instagram account with endless client photos of nail art or balayage. It’s boring. Not engaging. And it feels like a hard sell.
Instead, show the human side of your business to this new audience with images of happy clients, fun team snaps and peeks behind the scenes mixed in with before & after shots.
NAF Nails in Glasgow do this well, mixing n-inspiration nail images with posts of their team:
View this post on Instagram
🎃 Pumpkin spice 🎃 Our queen #nafabby recreated this spooky set using @the_gelbottle_inc 'Brandy' & 'Jet Black' 🧡 Topped with of course, a drop of @nafstuff Pina Colada cuticle oil to keep those claws hydrated af💧 Inspo by the incredibly talented @ashlysnailsandbeautysalon 💅🏻 #nafdetailedart
4. Turn lookers into bookers
Okay, so you’re growing your Instagram following but how do you convert them into loyal, paying hair and beauty clients?
By engaging with them.
Engagement on Instagram is miles higher than on Facebook. That’s what makes it so effective for building your salon brand, raising your profile and attracting a new audience.
Improve your engagement:
Social media hasn’t taken over the world. Google is still alive and kicking.
So you need to ‘be seen and be found’ on Google by potential new clients. Because if they are not seeing you, they will be seeing your competitors instead. It’s as simple as that.
There are 3 main ways to boost your chances of being seen on Google:
- Check your listing on Google My Business.
- Rank highly naturally using organic SEO.
- Pay to advertise on Google Ads (PPC).
Let’s dive right in:
1. Google My Business
Google My Business is an invaluable marketing tool and easy to use.
Once you have signed up don’t just leave it at that. You need to optimise the account so both Google and potential clients can instantly see:
Now choose your category. These are currently available for our industry:
Add some attractive photos showcasing your salon or spa premises, services and team so potential new clients can see what to expect.
And don’t forget to update this information and imagery regularly.
Finally, encourage your clients to leave Google reviews and publically respond to them on Google when they do as it shows you value your clients and their feedback, which helps build trust. I look at how reviews can help attract new clients to your business in section 5 below.
2. Rank highly on search engines
Is your business invisible to new clients online?
33% of us click on the first search result shown by Google. Just 18% visit the second result. And the traffic only reduces from there.
The stats prove it. 33% of us click on the first search result shown by Google. Just 18% visit the second result. And the traffic only reduces from there.
Some salon entrepreneurs seem to think that SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a quick and dirty fix that can be done quickly. But ranking highly on Google, Bing and YouTube is not easy and needs constant work.
Our website ranks highly on Google for many hair and beauty industry searches, keywords and terms. But it doesn’t just happen (if only 🙂). We invest considerable time, effort and budget every month, every week and most days to ensure it stays high on Google’s rankings.
The bottom line?
If you want to be the first website potential new clients see when they’re searching on their phones for a new local salon then you need to continually invest too. It won’t just happen.
Your salon website needs to have cracking design, content and be properly optimised for search engines. Looking pretty alone won’t rank your website and new new clients will struggle to find you online and will visit your competitors’ websites instead.
3. Pay-per-Click advertising for new salon clients
Cards on the table time. I’m not an enthusiastic fan of paid Google advertising for most hair and beauty businesses, most of the time.
Because it can eat money, doesn’t always bring new clients, and the minute you stop paying you disappear from the top of Google.
In most cases, I’d rather focus my marketing efforts on moving a salon up the rankings using unpaid, organic SEO as this way your business doesn’t disappear off the face of Google the minute you stop paying to advertise.
That said, there are times when it can be the right marketing route and I recommend it to my clients, for example:
But a successful Google PPC campaign needs time, expertise, creativity and money. If I’m advertising then 8/10 times I’d opt for Facebook. I look at Facebook advertising below so keep reading.
Is your salon website attracting new clients or scaring them off?
Do potential new clients bounce from your site never to return?
Here’s the big question:
Having tempted prospective new clients onto your high ranking salon website is it up to the job?
Your website’s main role in life is to persuade prospects to pick up the phone and book that all-important first hair or beauty appointment.
But is it doing its job?
Here are my website essentials for hooking in those new salon clients:
Is your website mobile friendly? Can new clients view it clearly on their phone?
You wouldn’t want them reading your competitor’s website instead and calling them. Would you?
Design and content
Keep the design attractive, simple and easy to navigate for first time visitors. Clutter is confusing. And less is often more when it comes to design.
Make a good first impression by checking for poor copywriting, spelling typos and grammatical mistakes – they reflect poorly on your hair or beauty salon, making you look slapdash to potential new clients.
And finally, why not start a monthly blog with hair and beauty tips, trends and advice. It’ll help you rank higher on Google and entice potential clients to visit your site.
Key information for new clients
Are your phone number and opening hours prominent on every page? Potential new clients won’t bother to search for them tucked away in your website footer.
Make that first visit easy for new clients by shouting about late night, early morning or Sunday opening hours.
And did you know the price guide page is the 3rd most visited page on most salon websites? Anyone thinking about giving your salon a try will head straight for your price list so make sure it’s clear, easy to read and of course always kept bang up to date.
Tempt new clients to book
I don’t usually recommend deals but when it comes to persuading new clients to give your salon a try a discount often works well. Put this first visit offer on its own landing page on your website and then drive traffic to it using social media. I run through using Facebook to find new clients in section 7 so keep reading.
Throughout your website put calls to action to encourage people to to choose you. ‘Call now’, ‘phone xxxx to book’ ‘book online here’ are all useful calls to action to persuade new clients.
And talking of online booking, most salon software systems offer this option and it makes it easy for new clients to book 24/7. Online booking can be a tad impersonal so I suggest to my beauty and hair clients that they check who has booked in online at least a couple of times a day, and if there are any new clients then give them a call as soon as you can:
We’re talking here about client reviews on Google, Facebook and Yelp. The two big reasons you need strong reviews on these platforms are:
- build trust and social proof
- boost your ranking on Google locally
1. Online reviews build trust in potential new clients
These 2018 stats show you what a crucial part reviews play in earning new clients trust:
86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including a massive 95% of people aged 18-34)
57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars
Trust in advertising is fading fast with people increasingly trusting reviews even when they are from 3rd parties they don’t know. The BrightLocal survey 2018 revealed a staggering 91% of 18-34 year old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
One of the biggest questions in potential new clients’ minds when weighing up a new salon is ‘Can I trust them not to mess up?’
Even if their friend recommends you, or they walk past your salon every day, the chances are they will check you out your online reviews before deciding whether to book.
2. Online reviews boost your local SEO rankings
Put simply Google wants to show the high quality, reputable results to search queries. So when it sees a business has a strong star rating and positive reviews it takes this as proof of a happy, satisfied customer base and rewards it by moving it up the ranklings. There are lots of other factors too but getting strong reviews is one of the best ways to boost your local ranking and profile.
1. Choose the right partners for maximum new clients
Sounds obvious, but look for businesses which target the same customer audience as you: fashion retailers, restaurants, wedding dress shops, bars, health clubs, florists… you get the picture.
Business partnerships are not a quick-fire marketing tactic as you need to build trust and strong relationships. But they can deliver good quality new clients in the medium term and are well worth the work.
2. Persuade new clients with a seductive offer
Think through all the practical steps, and the offer terms and conditions in advance. This way you stay in control of the first meeting.
Your offer doesn’t have to be a freebie. In fact, unless you’re a start-up, an x% extra free promotion usually works a treat.
3. Explain how both businesses stand to gain new clients
Okay so you’ve decided on your salon offer. The next step is to approach the local business owner and explain how a partnership could thank and reward their clients, while opening up new markets for both of you.
It goes without saying that you must offer a high quality service at your salon or spa. No-one will promote a reward or gift to their loyal clients that isn’t up to scratch. To reassure your potential business partner invite them along to your salon or spa for an indulgent treat. Let them experience juust how ‘wow’ your salon is, and dispel any nagging doubts.
4. The right marketing tools for the job
Promote yourself to their clients. And vice versa.
And then return the marketing compliment. Remember it needs to be a win-win experience for both businesses.
In section 2 we looked at how Instagram builds brand awareness for your hair or beauty business. Now we’re looking at how you can use Facebook to target the right audience and convert them into that crucial first visit appointment.
- Facebook is by far the biggest social platform: 2.4 billion monthly users compared to Instagram’s 1 billion monthly users. Hence Facebook is such a happy hunting ground for new clients. It gives you access to an untapped new local marketplace, namely your competitors’ clients. And it doesn’t get much better than that.
- The vast amount of personal data it collects means as a business owner you can create a precise target audience to advertise to which is more effective and less expensive.
Use these tips to squeeze the most out of Facebook when looking for new hair and beauty clients:
1. Make a strong first impression
Make sure your Business Page makes the best first impression.
Now create posts to appeal specifically to potential new clients.
2. Woo them with your posts
Use testimonial posts to reassure prospective clients and encourage them to book. Encourage clients to post Facebook reviews (look back to section 5 of this blog for ideas).
Above all, avoid constant selling messages. You want potential new clients to get to know you, then importantly trust you. So give them tips and useful information in posts to start building a relationship with them. Take this a step further and link to your blogs, which again, need to be packed with helpful hair and beauty advice.
Showcase your expertise with before & after photos, bio posts on team members, training sessions and awards won. It’s all about building trust so followers eventually feel confident to pick up the phone or go online to book. Let new followers get to know you, your team and business better. They need to see you as authentic, genuine people with a passion and technical expertise for what you offer and customer care.
Facebook loves videos and rewards you by showing them to a larger audience so whip that phone out and get shooting. 25-40 seconds is plenty – no-one expects a Hollywood blockbuster.
3. It’s social. Get talking.
It’s difficult when you’re busy, but always reply to comments and interactions as, again, this is building trust in your brand and a relationship.
4. Target potential new clients on Facebook
Contests work well to grab attention and get you seen by a new local audience. But don’t overdo it. Two or three times a year for a month at a time is plenty.
Use a discounted offer especially for first visit appointments. Ideally collect their email address in return for the promo code.
The best way to find a new local audience on Facebook is to advertise, but it also a quick way to waste your marketing budget. Facebook targeting is highly precise but you have to know whet you’re doing, and Facebook are constantly changing their systems and guidelines.
Why do so many owners dismiss Recommend a Friend systems as old fashioned marketing?
I believe they are one of, if not the best way, to attract new clients to your hair or beauty salon.
Research from BABTAC shows clients are twice as likely to try a new treatment if friends or family members recommend it, rather than their beauty therapist. When asked what inspired them to try a new beauty treatment…
1. Make them feel good if you want them to introduce their friends
So what makes a loyal client willing to stick their neck out and recommend your salon to their nearest and dearest?
The answer, as Maya Angelou famously said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
You need to make them feel fabulous about themselves. Wow them. And inspire a sense of trust in your clients.
This last one, trust, is often overlooked.
2. Trust is fundamental to getting new client recommendations
Your clients must feel confident that if they recommend you, their friends will have that same great experience.
It’s common sense really. Ask me to recommend a good restaurant I will only suggest one that I’m certain serves delicious food with excellent service – on every visit.
Why? Because no-one wants their friends sitting at a restaurant thinking what possessed Alice to recommend we come here.
3. A successful salon referral scheme
Harness this powerful word of mouth marketing and get your clients finding new salon customers for you.
- Ask them. It may sound obvious but many hair or beauty salons overlook this. Even in this online age I like a simple card referral system so your client has something to pass on to their friends.
- I also think it’s important to be generous. 10% off is hardly going to tempt someone to spread the word. When you calculate how much a new client is worth to you over the period of a year it doesn’t make sense to be tight-fisted with your marketing incentives.
- Tell them. Promote the system on your salon website, social media, email marketing and even in advertise it in your washroom. Get the word out there.
- And finally, don’t forget to measure the number of new salon clients who come via recommendation. If they’re not being referred then you know you’ve got a big problem with your service, pricing or technical know-how. It’s as simple as that.
4. Getting new clients doesn’t stop at their 1st appointment
The big day has arrived. After all that marketing effort your new client arrives for their first hair or beauty appointment. Don’t blow this golden opportunity you’ve worked so hard for. Ensure they feel super-special and re-book their next appointment.
Watch my quick explainer video, then use my free calculator tool to see how much money you lose when new clients don’t return for that 2nd appointment. And I think you may be surprised…