Salon Marketing: 10 Ways to Sell a Service

Tracey Lydiard
Marketing at Timely
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Want to know the secret to running a thriving salon or spa? Three words: always be marketing.

While it’s true that some salons can ‘sell themselves’ (because of famous clients), having an ongoing salon marketing strategy is critical to bringing in a steady stream of foot traffic and clients.

In this post, we’ll share some pointers to help you do just that. We’ll be discussing the ways that you can market your services (since they’re your bread and butter), and we’ll also shed light on tactics to help you sell more products while you’re at it!

Let’s start with marketing your services, because they’re most likely your primary revenue source. Selling a service can be tricky because unlike physical products, customers can’t touch, feel, or try them on. You’ll need to spend time minimizing uncertainty and selling clients on the benefits and results that they’ll get from your offerings.

Let’s dive in.

Marketing and selling your services: 10 things you can try:

Look the part

You’ll be hard-pressed to sell your salon’s offerings if you and your employees don’t have fabulous hair or skin, so make sure everyone in your team looks the part.

Salon marketing starts with hiring.

Recruit individuals who are already doing a good job maintaining their appearance. Then once you’ve hired the right people, make it easier for them to look their best by offering benefits like hair and skin allowances or product and service discounts.

Ulta Beauty for example, offers employee discounts of 20-50% off their products and services. Meanwhile, the Loft Hair Design in Escondido, California, “grants monthly product allowances and complimentary personal services,” according to Chron.

Have a detailed menu explaining each service

Imagine sitting down at a restaurant and looking at the menu. Which item would you be more inclined to buy? The one that simply says “hamburger” or the one that has a description of the burger’s ingredients and preparation? Chances are, you’d pick the latter. Salon marketing works the same way. Your customers are doing the same thing when they’re looking at your service menu.

Having vivid descriptions of your services gives customers a better idea of what they’re getting. This eliminates uncertainty and allows shoppers to be more at ease with their purchase.

In some cases, adding compelling descriptions to your service menu can also increase the perceived value of your offerings, allowing you to sell them at a premium.

Here’s a great example from O Skin Med Spa. Each service comes with compelling copy describing it in great detail.
And notice that they’re not just selling the “features” of the service (e.g. microdermabrasion, extensions, etc.). They also go to great lengths to sell the experience and benefits that you’ll get out of their offerings.

Salon marketing on your website is vital

The O Skin Signature Facial description reads:

This advanced luxurious whitening and brightening facial treatment gives skin back its youthful glow. Highly effective, it immediately lifts dullness and diminishes the look of dark spots while immersing the skin in moisture.

Consider doing something similar when you’re describing your services. In addition to telling people what comes with each offering, describe the benefits and results that they’ll get out of it.

Offer free consultations

Providing free consultations is a great way to get people through your doors. A complimentary session alleviates concerns for customers who may not be too sure about your services. Free consults are also a boon for you, as a service provider, because they enable you to assess each client to figure out the best treatment or service for them.

Here’s a tip when giving complimentary consultations: offer tremendous value and see to it that the client has a great experience.

You usually just have one shot at converting a potential customer, and bear in mind that the client may also be shopping around for the best provider.

So, make sure their experience with you stands out.

The team at O Skin Med Spa does this incredibly well. During their free skin consultations, their team takes photos of your face using a special camera that lets them examine your skin in close detail. This allows them to get a very clear picture (literally) of each client’s skin, and their treatment and service recommendations are based on the each customer’s specific needs.

Stay on top of your online listings

Salons and spas are quite popular on business listing sites such as Google and Yelp, so if you haven’t set up or claimed your listings yet, it’s high time to do so. Provide as many details as you can about your business and add lots of photos.

Once your listings are all set up, you should encourage customers to leave reviews. Social proof goes a long way, and positive ratings can tip the scale when potential clients are deciding on which salon or spa to visit.

Consider the images below. Based on these listings, which salon do you think gets more calls or visits? Judging by the appearance of their listings (and let’s face it, most consumers judge businesses by their online profiles), the one on the left gets more attention. Why? Because it looks more attractive thanks to its numerous reviews and photos.

Salon marketing on google

Make booking easy

Make ease and convenience part of your salon marketing by letting customers book appointments on your website or even on your Facebook page.

Get yourself some online appointment software that has these capabilities so your clients can quickly and easily book services online or on social media.

For best results, choose a solution that offers automated reminders via SMS and email. You’ll not only reduce no-shows, but you’ll save a ton of time from having to manually touch base with customers to remind them about their visit.

Position yourself as an expert

One of the best ways to attract more customers (and retain existing ones) is to position yourself as the go-to service provider in your niche.

If you can, invest in thought leadership and PR by getting yourself featured in news outlets. Connect with the local media and offer beauty tips and other helpful information to their audience. Doing so allows you to show off your expertise on a wider platform, thus increasing your exposure and building credibility.

You can easily find outlets to pitch to by checking out USNPL, a media directory with “links to US newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, and colleges.” You could also subscribe to HARO (Help a Reporter Out), a platform that connects journalists with potential sources and experts.

Take your services to the customer

If it make sense for your business, consider taking your services to the customer.

There’s a significant demand for event-based beauty services. Think hair and makeup artists for weddings, photo shoots, and other functions. Tapping into this market can open up new revenue opportunities while giving clients another reason to choose your salon.

If you’re offering on-site beauty services, see to it that you’re marketing them well. Mention these services on your website, post signage all around your salon, and talk them up in-store while you’re interacting with your customers.

Salon marketing is about sales

What about marketing salon products?

Now, let’s talk about the retail side of things. Physical products may be secondary to your services, but they can still contribute a great deal to your bottom line. Here’s how to use salon marketing to move more inventory in your shop:

Optimise the position and placement of your merchandise

First things first. Make sure your retail items are positioned in key locations in your shop. For salons and spas, the best places to showcase products would be near your reception or checkout counter.

People tend linger in these areas, so you want to give them the opportunity to look around and find something they like.

Practice upselling

Make it a point to upsell products to your clients.

The key to doing this successfully is to make it a natural part of the conversation. Take the time getting to know the customer and building rapport. Figure out their needs and then educate them on the products that would benefit them the most.
For instance, if your client tells you that their eye-bags are bothering them, you could mention that you have the perfect eye cream for them to try.

You could also upsell products that serve as natural extensions of your services. Let’s say you’re providing a keratin treatment to one of your customers; why not upsell her your sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner so she can maintain her hair effectively?

Again, you want to educate the client, so rather than just pushing her to buy the items, inform her on the benefits of sulfate-free products and why they’re recommended for people who have keratin-treated hair.

Use product-specific deals

Another good way to move your inventory is to give customers the opportunity to rake up additional savings during their visit. Run a promotion in which the client can get a discount on their retail purchase when they get a service done in your store.

The hair salon Cool Cuts 4 Kids does this really well. Whenever someone comes in to take their kid for a haircut, the stylist gives them a scratch card that comes with a mystery discount.

Salon marketing tricks, product promos can help with service sales

See if you can do something similar in your salon or spa. Run a retail promotion and offer it to clients who are already buying a service. For best results, throw in a little twist to your promo — perhaps a mystery offer or a raffle.

Final words on salon marketing

Selling both services and products can be tricky, but the right marketing mix makes it completely doable. Test the different methods mentioned in this post (and our other resources) and see what works!

Have you tried any of these salon marketing tactics? How did they work for you? Let us know in the comments!

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