Marketing Ideas from the Salon Masters

Sarah Flutey
Head of Marketing at Timely
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Finding time to think of marketing ideas isn’t easy when you’re running a busy salon or spa. You’ll be pleased to find out then, that we’ve collated a bunch of marketing ideas and tips from hair & beauty industry leaders right here in this business guide.

Alice Kirby, Lockhart Meyer

Did you know that 33% of all new businesses fail within the first six months?

I’m not trying to dissuade you from setting up a salon or mobile hair and beauty business. Quite the contrary. I’m trying to equip you with some of the knowledge you need, and being aware of the failure rate is helpful for would-be salon entrepreneurs.

Marketing Salon master alice kirby

Over the years I’ve seen many new salon businesses succeed, and sadly, a few fall by the wayside. Before you start researching marketing ideas, you need to know what not to do.

These are the six most common marketing mistakes that start-up hair and beauty businesses fall prey to:

1. Not bothering to do your market research

Make sure you fully understand what you’re letting yourself in for. It’s all too tempting to look at your boss and think, “I could do that. Easy peasy.” But it’s not easy. There are many banana skins out there just waiting to slip you up.

The best advice I can give you is to do your homework. Get stuck into your market research before you sign on the dotted line for your new business. Research your prospective customers and competitors, and find out as much as you can about the local marketplace. Speak to anyone and everyone who may be able to help you – other salon owners, local business people, potential clients, and even family.

2. Not writing a marketing strategy

With everything else going on, the thought of coming up with new and exciting marketing ideas can seem daunting. It helps to build a marketing strategy first. There is plenty of sound advice out there on creating salon marketing strategies. Read it. You don’t need to action everything you hear or read, but take it into consideration.

A common slip-up owners make with salon marketing strategies is to think they are ‘writ in stone’. To me, a good marketing strategy should be flexible. It should gather your research and ideas so that you can make informed decisions.

Of course, you need to know where you’re heading and roughly how you intend to get there. But hiccups will happen, and great opportunities arise along the way, so don’t blindly stick to your plan. Re-assess. Re-write. Then carry on with your marketing ideas.

3. Mixed messages in marketing ideas

When it comes to marketing your new hair or beauty business, don’t try to be all things to all people. If you struggle to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no-one. That’s not a good marketing idea. Instead, decide on your marketing message and stick to it. Potential new clients need to look at your social media, website, or premises, and immediately grasp what your marketing message is.

First decide on your target audience. Are you aiming your new business at the affordable family market or the edgy fashion-forward crowd? Is your core market young professionals wanting express treatments in their lunch-break, or well-heeled older clients looking for languid pampering sessions?

Having settled on your target audience, you can now tailor your marketing ideas to coax them into your new salon. Whatever you do, avoid mixed messages with your marketing ideas – they confuse your potential customers and drive them towards your competitors.

4. Failing to market the unique aspects of your salon – why is it better?

In the excitement of thinking of new marketing ideas, it’s easy to forget what you’re selling. You’re absolutely not selling a haircut or a leg wax. You’re selling an experience.

If you’re doing and offering the same things as your competitors, why will clients come to you? Bluntly speaking, they won’t. You need to give them something better. Resolve to stand out from your local rivals. Decide where your skill and passion lies, and then create a WOW experience for your clients.

Hayley Mears, Six Underground Media

Fresh marketing ideas are no doubt invaluable for the growth of any business. Making sure these marketing ideas are successful starts with setting the right goals.

Set goals

The first thing to do is get clear on your goal. Make sure it’s well defined. This starts with being specific.

DON’T USE: Get more likes

DO USE: Increase our audience this year. Drive our new audience to our website, through online booking and into our appointment book.

What’s the point of all this posting, following, growing and effort if all those new likes are just following you around on your social media pages? It ultimately needs to drive clients into your business and make your business profitable and successful. Social media marketing is a very relevant part of your business growth plan, make sure it’s driving traffic to your website, through your online booking button and into your appointment book! Otherwise, your number of followers is simply what is commonly referred to as a vanity metric.

Marketing Salon master hayley mears

Measure performance against goals

The next step is to define ways to measure whether or not you’re being successful in achieving your goal.

DON’T USE: Get more likes every month

DO USE: Increase our like audience this year from 1,000 to 3,000 (Increase likes by 166 per month, and 38 per week). Drive our new audience to our website, online booking button and into our appointment book.

Getting clear on the incremental steps required each week and month ensures you are on track toward to your larger goal.

Schedule in a time each week to take a look at your growth and engagement results. Document your weekly scores of new likes, engagement scores and post reach. If you’re buying likes, check on your cost per like and make sure it doesn’t get over $1 per like (ideally around $0.50). If you’re running competitions to increase your following, check you’re getting results and if not – change it up and try something new.

Attainable goals

Goals that are too large or too small are not only counter-productive but they can also affect your morale and momentum. It should be a slight stretch goal but also something that you can enjoy gaining some wins with.

DON’T USE: Triple my likes each month

DO USE: Increase our like audience this year from 1,000 to 3,000 (Increase likes by 166 per month, and 38 per week). Drive our new audience to our website, online booking and into our appointment book.

Be realistic with your social media marketing time commitments, plan how frequently you can commit to posting content and engaging your followers. Book out time in your appointment book just like a client booking, it holds you accountable to stick to your plan.

Finally, always remember to celebrate the wins, no matter how small. You deserve it.

Relevant goals

Your social media marketing strategy should be aligned towards achieving your overall business goals.

DON’T USE: Get more likes so we look great to other salons and our customers.

DO USE: Increase our like audience this year from 1,000 to 3,000 (Increase likes by 166 per month, and 38 per week). Drive our new audience to our website, online booking and 6 new appointments booked each week to support our yearly sales & revenue goals.

Your social media plans will be helping you work toward your larger goal of increasing your businesses income. There is no point posting, engaging or growing your following just to look good. Any business activity should be returning on your investment of time and money. For a hair and beauty salon that equates to bookings in your appointment book.


The time frame for achieving your goals must be clearly stated to be effective.

DON’T USE: Grow likes and bookings this year.

DO USE: Increase our like audience this year from 1,000 to 3,000 (Increase likes by 166 per month, and 38 per week) by a certain date. Drive our new audience to our website, online booking and 6 new appointments booked each week to support our sales revenue goals.

Remember: A goal is just a dream with a deadline!

Are you ready to grow your salon revenue with some great marketing ideas? You can’t arrive at your destination until you know where you’re going!

Elissa Hudson, Hubspot

Growing your business on a budget can be tough. So it’s important to make sure you are maximizing your marketing dollar and your limited resources on the right activities that will get you measurable results, fast!

You may have heard the term ‘inbound marketing’, but what exactly is it? How can it help you grow your business on a budget? Inbound marketing is simply the term used to describe a type of marketing that brings potential customers (or leads) and customers to you through creating content that is useful and valuable to your customer base.

Tens of thousands of businesses around the world use inbound marketing ideas to grow their reach, and the good news is that it usually costs much less than traditional marketing techniques.

Marketing Salon master elissa hudson

Attracting your ideal customers

The first step on your journey towards implementing marketing ideas that people love, is creating content online that appeals to the audience you want to attract.

Grow your business on a budget by defining exactly who these people are by creating a framework for your ideal customer. Start by asking yourself ‘what are their goals?’ and ‘what are their challenges?’ If you need some guidance, you can use the Customer Avatar Guide which guides you through the process step-by-step.

Once you’ve defined your audience, you can think about creating content that’s going to be useful to them. You can do this by blogging on your website, to start with.

Is there a question you’re constantly being asked by customers? Is there something they’re interested in learning about that relates to your industry?

These questions are great starting points for determining what content you decide to create to add value to your audience.

For example, if you’re a hairdresser, you might find a lot of customers come to you with questions about hair styles for special occasions like weddings and graduations. The chances are there are lots of people searching for the answer to that question online, too. So, you might think about creating a blog post entitled ‘5 Elegant Hair Styles for Bridal Parties’.

The point here is not to sell your service directly to the reader, but to present your company as being knowledgeable on the topic.

At the end of a blog post, you might choose to add a non-pushy call-to-action, suggesting the reader can get in touch for a free consultation if they’re thinking about hairstyles for their wedding.

There are many other ways you can promote your content to take your inbound marketing to the next level, such as guest blogging on websites that relate to your industry, creating newsworthy content to secure media coverage, and much more. If you’re just getting started with inbound marketing ideas, you can scale your strategy to include these types of promotion once you feel comfortable with the basics.

Louise Blakely, Hooked On Marketing

Marketing Salon master louise blakely

When it comes to thinking of marketing ideas for your business, there are any number of different methods you can use. One of the most effective in my experience, is email marketing.

Is email marketing right for your business?

When it comes to marketing ideas for your business, there are any number of different methods you can use. Some stick to good old word of mouth, but there’s certainly more ways to spread the word. The next on the list is usually creating a website and a Facebook page. But there’s one method of marketing that I consistently see businesses ignoring, and that is email marketing. This is despite the fact that email marketing is an extremely effective and affordable way to reach your clients.


There’s some common reasons why businesses think that email marketing won’t work for them….so we’re going to debunk some of those myths and objections so that you can get started!

“I use Facebook so I don’t need to send out emails.”

Facebook has been around for a while now and those businesses that got on board in the early days are sure to have a big audience today that they built for free! But things have changed a lot since then. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a big Facebook page, have you noticed that a lot less people are actually seeing your posts nowadays?

“I don’t want to annoy my clients with emails.”

The thought of irritating people while promoting yourself is a common one. You do need to push your business in order to get more exposure, and this is an issue you need to work past in order to succeed as a business owner.

“I tried it once and it didn’t work.”

Spend some time building rapport and make sure your content is good. I would recommend 80% useful content, and 20% sales. Once you get around to the salesy part, they’re more likely to be ready to take you up on that offer. Your success can also depend on the size of your list (more people = more chances of purchase). Start building an email list as soon as you start operating as a personal trainer, and allow it to build over time.

“Don’t all emails just to the spam folder anyway?”

There will always be a small amount that do end up in the trash or spam folders. Your email service provider will show you the emails that ‘bounced’ and you should always take the time to check these out after you send an email. Sometimes the reason can be as simple as a typo in the email address – an easy fix! It’s really important if you are collecting email addresses from new clients to make sure you enter them correctly into your system.

“I don’t have an email list, so I can’t send emails.”

There’s no better time to start building an email list than today! It is a daunting task, but baby steps will get you started.

BONUS: Timely has an integration with Mailchimp which means all client information automatically syncs to your email list. You can even email people based on their booking behaviour – a nice way to target your clients who you haven’t seen for a few months, or send out birthday offers (with many more options available!).

How to do email marketing well

While it’s easy enough to say that email marketing will increase your sales, it’s not quite that simple. Here are a few secrets to ensure your email marketing ideas perform well:

Don’t let that email list get stale

Building and keeping your mailing list current is important. It’s not something you do for a short time and then forget about it. To build your list, keep asking for those emails on their registration form. You can also use competitions to entice people to sign up to your list if it needs a boost.

To stop the list going cold, make sure you email frequently enough that the recipients don’t get a surprise when that email arrives in their inbox. Some businesses have been known to wait years before they send out their first email – imagine the surprise when people open an email and they can’t even remember who the business is. Another issue is that many email service providers actually stop the email being sent if they’re afraid it’s a cold list. So definitely stay in touch!

Make the reader feel special

If you’ve ever put a deal on Facebook only to hear crickets, this is either because not enough people are seeing the post or they just aren’t interested in that offer. So why not keep the special deals to your exclusive email list, and make them feel like your VIP’s. This rewards your current clients for their loyalty to your business, and it also protects the value of your brand.

We all know the damage that one day deals can do, but in all reality a deal on your Facebook page showing a big discount for all to see does much the same thing. Keep those exclusive deals for those who will place the appropriate value on it and act accordingly – by booking a session, package or class with you.

Make it different

Although the people on your email list are already familiar with your business, you still need to keep them interested and that is the greatest challenge of email marketing.

You can send as many sales-focused emails as you like, but it probably won’t achieve the results you hope for. Instead, try focusing on how you can bring your own individuality to the emails and add value to the reader. There’s no end to what you can write about in the health and fitness world, so make sure 80% of the content is valuable to them as a reader.

Ideally your readers should be looking forward to your next email, rather than pushing delete before they even open it.

Put thought into the subject line

Your subject line has to have a hook. What is going to get that person on the other end of that email to open it? While it’s not a good idea to give a false statement here (which is called clickbait), the title needs to grab their attention somehow and make them want to open it.

Make it a long-term strategy

Like any good plan or strategy in business, email marketing has to be a long-term game. Look after your email list and send regular emails on a frequency that you feel comfortable with – there is no rule here, just experiment and you will find your comfort zone. Whether that’s once a week or a once a month, it’s up to you.

One thing I know for sure is that running your own business creates a busy life! And sometimes you might not have the time to try a new marketing channel. This may be especially true if you are putting a lot of effort into Facebook. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and weigh up which is better value for money. As a marketer myself, I would highly recommend the use of email for salon marketing. You’ll build loyalty, drive sales and make the best use of your marketing dollar.

Happy emailing!

“Marketing Ideas from the Salon Masters” is part of Timely’s series of business guides written to help salon and spa owners run their businesses. If you found it helpful, why not share it with your colleagues!

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