Salon owners are using online advertising today more than ever, and it completely makes sense. Gone are the days that word of mouth, good customer service, and having a central location are enough to keep your books full (although of course, those things are still very important!)

Facebook and Google ads have become easier to learn and master than ever. All it takes is a bit of financial and time investment, and you can have a stream of new clients coming through your door. Very attractive!

However, I’ve seen so many salon owners commit this fatal advertising mistake over and over again, especially with Google ads: they bring people that click on their ads to their salon website homepage 🙁

I’m sorry to say, but this is a major no no.

Whether you’ve never done Google ads before or you’ve been doing them for years, I hope this blog post will help you to create Google Ads that are cost-effective and help you make major revenue for your salon, using this simple tool:

Landing pages.
 

An introduction to Google Ads

 
Most salons can expect to pay between 1 -3$ as a cost per click for Google ads. That means that if you want 10 people to visit your website, you’ll have to pay around $20.

Now, that does sound pretty pricey if you’re talking about 10 random visitors, but these are not random visitors. We’re talking about people who have a problem and they’re searching for a solution.

These are “hot” visitors who have every intention of purchasing.

So yes, Google ads can be quite a bit more expensive than Facebook ads (my cost per click on Facebook goes as low as 5 or 10 cents a click at times).

But you’re talking to two very different types of people on Facebook and Google. And it all comes down to intent.
 

Why Google ads are so important, and how they’re different from Facebook ads

 

72% of your potential clients prefer to find information about local businesses like yours via search (source). Google is their main source of info to learn about salons in your city.

However (and this is the potential downside) 98% of those searchers choose a business that is on page 1 of the results they get.

Does your salon appear on the first page of Google when people search “balayage” or “best eyebrow waxing” in your city? If not, you might be out of luck.

But with the right setup, in AdWords you can easily target the exact searches you want. So you can target people searching for “Hair Extensions”, and give them an ad about Hair Extensions.

And the real magic of Adwords is that you’re reaching people who you don’t need to even need to “sell” to very hard. They’re already searching for the best eyelash extensions or rainbow hair or couple’s massage in their city.

This is one of the biggest differences between Adwords and Facebook ads, which many beauty businesses are experimenting with. AdWords is more active whereas Facebook is more passive. This means that with Facebook you need to create great copy, find the right images, the right message, and even the right offer to get someone to commit to your business.

With Adwords, you’re talking to people who are already half-committed to make an appointment.
 

Where salons are going wrong with Google Adwords: they’re sending traffic to their homepage

 
This is a problem I see time and time again on Google, and it kind of makes me sad. Because I see that salons realize the power of Google ads; they’re committed to investing in them and growing their client base.

This is so commendable, because so many people are content with just complaining that “social media doesn’t work anymore” and wondering why no one comes knocking on their door.

However, so many salons that do try Google ads are making this deadly error: they’e sending search traffic to the homepage of their website.

When they do that, they’re possibly tripling the cost of getting clients through Google, if not more.

Because the main purpose of a Google ad is to try and get people to book an appointment or claim your offer. And when you bring people to your homepage and not a special landing page, they’re much MUCH less likely to do this.

There are several problems with bringing your Google Ad traffic to your website homepage:

1) The homepage of many salons is poorly designed and gives a not-so-great impression (learn how to design the perfect salon website here)

2) Regular websites have lots of distractions: menu items, pictures, options, social media links. The best way to get people to NOT FOLLOW THROUGH on something is to give them too many options

3) Similarly, the most successful Google ads are for a specific service or product, and usually the homepage of your website is not focused on that specific service
 

How to supercharge your Google Ads: landing pages

 
So how exactly can you…

  • Lower the cost of your ads
  • Collect more leads to market to
  • Get more new clients for a fraction of the price?

By doing Google Ads, but sending your traffic to a specially designed landing page.

Here’s an example of a landing page for our spray tan studio client:

This is a specially-designed single page, almost like a “mini website”, that people click onto from Mystini’s Google Ad.

It has everything included on it that anyone would want to know before booking an appointment, it’s tailor-made for a specific service in a specific location (spray tans in her city), and it only gives you one option of what to do: book an appointment.
 

What exactly is a landing page?

 
Landing pages show everything that a person would want to see in order to know/like/trust you, and then finally to book an appointment.

Ideally, a landing page will be for a specific service that someone could look for, as opposed to a general ad for your salon and everything you have to offer.

This goes back to your Google Ad, before people even end up on your landing page.

As I talked about in my blog post here, the best way to get more clicks on your ad for less money is to make your ads very granular and specific.

Instead of showing an ad for “salon in Toronto” you’re much better off running ads for:

Balayage Toronto
Highlights and cut
Rainbow hair
Or baby lights

If you set up multiple ads for your most popular services, targeting different people and leading to different landing pages, you will be set for success.

Yes, it does take more time to write up multiple ads and to create variations of landing pages, but your return on investment will be huge!

So, once you have decided which specific service you want to advertise and you’ve written the ad (see how to write a great Google ad here), it’s time to create your very first landing page.

Your landing page should have:

1) A headline with an attractive message specifically about that service. For example: “Toronto’s top voted hair salon – specialists in Balayage”

2) A subheading explaining the specific offer you have and the most important information

3) A Call to Action (like a button) placed at the top of the page and throughout.

4) Your branding colors. These are important to emphasize your brand, and to make you more recognizable elsewhere

5) Social proof about your salon to make people trust you: reviews, local press clippings, number of 5 stars

6) Information about where you’re located (maybe include a map and some major nearby sites so people understand)

7) Pictures of you, your staff or your location. Don’t overload your page with photos, but give them just enough info to feel like they know more about who you are and your overall personality.

8) Photos of some of your work specifically related to the offer. If it’s balayage, show that. If it’s lash lift and tint, show that.

9) Your landing page MUST be mobile optimized

Download the landing page checklist!

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Remember to put yourselves in the shoes of your ideal client

 
Imagine you just moved to a new city, and you want to get highlights. Of course the first thing you do is search on Google:

Looks interesting! It seems like this place specializes in balayage! You click on the ad, only to be brought here:

Hmm… not really the best presentation. You have too many options to click around to, you don’t see anything about what kind of salon this is, what kind of package or pricing they can offer, or how you can book an appointment.

That’s because unfortunately this is not a landing page.

Think of your landing page as the best sales pitch ever for your salon. Imagine if someone walked into your salon and you had 2 minutes to wow them.

What would you tell them? What would you show them?

Think of your landing page like this.
 

Two awesome tools to make landing pages

 
So hopefully by now you’re all ready to either start doing Google ads for the first time (yay!), or you’re ready to start getting even more bookings from your ads by using landing pages.

But, the next question is: I’m not a designer or a tech person… how can I make landing pages?

You definitely don’t have to be either of those things to make landing pages nowadays (I’m not, and I make landing pages all the time!)

There are two tools that I recommend you try out. One of them is free and simple, but not as powerful, while the other one is paid, but creates really lovely looking pages.

Both of these landing pages I made in under 15 minutes to promote my pretend facial bar, Skin Candy.

I’m imagining someone in the city of Toronto looking for a place to get a facial. She sees an ad for something like this:

It looks like an interesting place, so she clicks on it and is brought to a landing page made specifically for this offer.

Let’s see how I made two different landing pages for this ad using two different tools.

Mailchimp Landing Page Builder (link)

Pros of Mailchimp:

  • It’s free
  • It’s super simple to use
  • It integrates with your existing Mailchimp account

Cons of Mailchimp:

  • Since it’s simple, it’s not as beautiful or customizable
  • There aren’t as many different templates to work with

Now let’s look at what kind of landing page I made with Mailchimp for my pretend facial bar:

 

My personal favourite landing page builder: Instapage (link)

Instapage is a professional landing page builder which I use for myself and my clients. I use it for everything from eBook downloads to advertising offers.

Pros of Instapage:

  • It’s got 100’s of templates to work with
  • The landing pages are beautiful and you can customize everything

Cons of Instapage:

  • It costs minimum of $70/month (recommended though if you run a lot of ads)
  • It is pretty easy to use, but not as simple of Mailchimp

Okay, that said, let’s look at this landing page I made with Instapage:

Both of these platforms are good for landing pages, but they produce different results.

Just remember that no matter which platform you use, your landing page must have the following (you can see that I included them in both versions above):

  • A headline and subheading repeating what was in your Google Ad and explaining your offer
  • A Call to Action button at the very top of the page, and in several other places (often your button will say something like “book your appointment”
  • Your branding colours
  • Explaining what’s included in your offer, its benefits, or just a paragraph description of what’s special about it
  • Photos showing your work, your staff, or your location
  • Social proof: either client reviews, showing your star rating, or news clippings
  • Location: Info about where you’re located
  • Your landing page HAS to be mobile-optimized! The majority of people who click on your ad WILL be on their phones, so be sure it looks good and works well on mobile, too.

 

In conclusion

 
Google ads can be one of the BEST ways to get new clients in your door, fast. It does require some investment and time to get right, but they definitely work.

However, one mistake that many salons make is to put all of their effort and time into making the ad itself, and they send the traffic directly to their website.

By setting up different ads for different services or packages, and then directing your Google Ad traffic to a customized landing page, you can double, triple, or even 10 times your return on investment.

By creating a landing page that shows everything great about your salon in a single page without distractions, you’re ensuring that more people will follow through and book an appointment, which means more revenue for your salon.

If you want a simple 17 point checklist for your Google ads and landing page, download my free PDF guide to Google ads and landing pages below! It’ll show you the exactly steps you need to take to make great ads, plus a checklist for your landing page.

Download the landing page checklist!

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