The ultimate guide to building your salon’s email list (and making sales from it!)


One thing that I talk about constantly on this blog, on my Facebook lives, and wherever you can find me online is social media. Everybody wants to know how to grow their salon client list and engagement using Facebook and Instagram.

And it’s no wonder: social media is a huge part of promoting your beauty business in 2019 and in the future. But this blog post isn’t about social media. It’s about another way to grab the attention of potential clients, build a relationship over time, and then turn them into loyal customers:

Email marketing.

Email marketing is so overlooked because it’s seen as old-school, difficult to do well, and un-fun. Admit it, you probably don’t look at email as the best way to measure how “popular” your salon is, or how you stack up against other salons in your city.

Instead, you probably look at how many Instagram followers you have, how many comments your videos get, and what everyone else is doing on social. Right?

Here’s the thing, though: Email is hands down the most effective way of building a real relationship with people, getting them to actually pay attention to what you’re saying, and getting them to take action.

Some things about email you might not have known:

  • My email list consists of over 10,000 people and it’s the number one way I publicize my blog posts, videos, workshops, and courses

  • The average return on investment for email marketing is $32 for every $1 spent (source). Talk about an inexpensive way to get more bookings!

  • The average open rates for emails is 22%, whereas the average engagement rate for your Instagram posts is less than 5% (source). What would you prefer, having 22% of your audience open up and eagerly read your emails, or 5% of your audience lazily tap the “like” button?

  • And if you’re thinking that email’s irrelevant, think again. Most Americans check their email more than 10 times a day! (source)

Email really is a super relevant and important way to communicate with not just your clients, but also anyone who has shown an interest in your beauty business.

Think about it: the majority of your followers on Instagram are probably not your clients yet, right? Well, same thing can go for your email! Just because they haven’t booked with you yet doesn’t mean their not interested in you, your business, and your services!

Email is the perfect way to introduce yourself, get them curious about what you do, and then convert them over time into clients.

But everyone wants to know:

How do I get more people to join my email list?

How do I convert those people into clients if they’re not one yet? Like, what do I put in the emails to make them work?

In this guide, I’m going to answer these questions for you and show you step by step how to do both of these things. I hope that by the end you’re feeling excited and confident about jumping into “REAL” email marketing for your salon (the kind that actually works!)

How to get not-yet-clients to join your list: Enter the Freebie

I hope that you’ve gotten into the habit of grabbing your clients’ email addresses when they come in for their first appointment. If you haven’t been doing that, you need to get on that!

Getting client email addresses is pretty straight forward, because they already know, like, and trust you with their contact information.

But in this guide, I’m going to show you how to use email marketing to turn non-clients into paying clients using email. So the first part we’re going through is: how the heck do I get the email addresses of people who don’t even know who I am?

Enter the freebie. This is a free piece of highly valuable content that you can put on your website and social media - and anyone who wants to get access to it needs to give you their email address.

You’ve probably noticed popups and forms on my website to download my free ebooks (like these ones). Well this is pretty much the exactly same thing, except it’s all about your beauty business - and no, you don’t need to write a full ebook!

Here are some examples of what this freebie could look like for different beauty niches:

  • Waxers, microbladers, or brow artists: Free guide: How to choose which brow shape is right for you

  • Spray tanners: So you want your first spray tan? The Ultimate Guide to choosing the right spray tan, prepping, and taking care of it

  • Hair stylists: The top undo’s for this wedding season 2020

  • Makeup artists: The experts guide to stocking up your cosmetics bag


I’ll give you some more ideas further on in this guide as well.

So at this point you might be wondering: but Stephanie, if I want to collect emails, why not just ask for them on my website? Why bother writing a guide?

Because you can’t get something for nothing, and an email address is considered a valuable piece of contact information. Most people don’t give theirs away willingly unless they’re getting something in return.

That’s why a freebie is such a great strategy! A Freebie:

  • Helps qualify leads as a potential client. If they’re interested in the ultimate guide to spray tanning, there’s a good chance they’ll want to book a spray tan with you!

  • Gives them the information they might need to take the next step and book with you

  • Positions you as the expert in their eyes, as someone who really knows her stuff

  • Allows you to start communicating with leads regularly, so you can send them valuable emails and offers to turn them into a client

In this guide I’m going to show you how to create a Freebie that provides value and knowledge to your potential clients, and is exactly what someone who could potentially be an ideal client would want to download.

I’m going to show you how to put this freebie up on your website using Mailchimp, and how to get your website visitors to download it (I get between 20-40 downloads a day from my website freebies - I’ll show you how I do it)

Finally, I'll show you what to do with that person’s contact info to introduce yourself to them via email, send them more information about your business, and then eventually convert them into a client.

Alright, let’s jump in!

Step 1: Decide on your Freebie topic

Before we go ahead and create your special freebie (your ebook, guide, pdf, whatever you want to call it), it’s important to understand what your real goals are for it.

What kind of client to do you want to attract, and what service do you want to promote? You want to align your freebie topic with the type of service you want to promote.

One thing to ask yourself is: What are the things that clients typically want to know before booking an appointment for this service?

Some ideas for Freebies that answer questions for potential clients:

  • What’s the difference between microblading and power brows?

  • What are the different types of lash extensions, and which one is right for me?

  • How is balayage different from regular highlights?

  • How exactly does IPL work?

Think about making a short guide that answers the question, and gives details and photos about your different services.

Still stuck for ideas for your Freebie? You could also create one that services as inspiration around your chosen service.

What are some things you can inspire them with that will get them excited about booking? For example...

  • My guide to hot summer makeup looks

  • The top nail polish colours and designs for fall

Or how about a piece of knowledge you can share that positions you as a real expert in your niche?

  • The best all-natural skincare products on the market right now

  • Why waterless pedicures are good for the planet and good for you

You want to choose a topic that you know is going to attract your ideal clientele, something that you’re passionate about, and something that is going to lead them closer to booking with you after they read it.

I recommend you create a new piece of material, rather than copy/pasting information you already have on your website. You want it to be a real juicy, exclusive piece of content!

Okay, now that you’ve given it some thought, it’s time to create your Freebie!

Step 2: Make your Freebie with Canva

Canva is a free graphic design software that’s so easy to use. I use it all the time! We’re going to use it to create a 3-page freebie that looks something like the one above.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Log into and make a design with custom dimensions that's 1000 x 1500 pixels large. [image]

2. Once you’ve got your blank template open, press “add a new page” three times so you’ve got 4 blank pages

3. Scroll up to the first page. On the right, under templates, choose a “Cover” template for your Freebie. There are tons of options to choose from! Once you find one you like, edit the photos, text, and colors. Give your Freebie a catchy name and put in your business name, too!


4. On the first page show a photo of yourself and little blurb about you and your business. You can take it from your about page. Thank them for downloading it and give them information about your business - address, phone number, email address:


5. On the second and even third and fourth pages (add more as you need them), write your content and put your images. Write it first person, make it fun and casual, but most important make it useful. If it helps, open a blank doc and write what you want to say point form ahead of time.


6. On the last page, include a special offer with voucher and code and info to book an appointment for first time clients:


7. Now that you’ve finished your Freebie, in the top right corner, click the down arrow button and download it as a PDF document onto your computer. You now have your very first freebie!

Step 3: Make your Freebie downloadable on your website and set up your automated email

Now that we’ve spent all that time and effort writing and designing the freebie, we want to make sure that it gets into the hands of as many people as possible! So, where can you promote it and spread the word? That’s where Step 3 comes into play.

1. The first thing you’ll need to do is upload your Freebie as a PDF document onto your website. On a page of your website, or at the bottom of your homepage, insert a link and upload the PDF Freebie on this link. You can find instructions for how to do this with Squarespace here and with Wix here.

2. Next thing to do is set up a landing page with Mailchimp so people can easily insert their contact information and receive your download. Mailchimp landing pages are free and easy to set up (you can read instructions for how to do it here). Here’s an example of a landing page I made for my pretend guide:


3. Now, we want to set up an automated email that will get sent out to anyone who downloads your freebie, with a link to the freebie. This is also a great way to introduce yourself and get them to pay attention to your emails! In Mailchimp, go to Campaigns > Email > Automated email > Welcome subscribers, and then select the Audience connected to your landing page. Then design a beautiful email with some welcome text and a link to your ebook:


Make sure that you include a button to download the Freebie, and include the link to your PDF from Step 1 above. And if you want to create a nice iPad mockup of your ebook like I did, try!

For more information about sending out automated emails, read Mailchimp’s instructions here.

4. Once you’ve set up your landing page and automated email, it’s time to share your landing page link everywhere! Share it on the homepage of your website, in the “navigation”/menu bar of your website, on social media, and even with Facebook ads (you can learn how to launch successful Facebook ads with my guide here). Share the word far and wide - and you’ll soon have flocks of people downloading your Freebie and joining your list!

Step 4: Send your leads a Freebie upgrade offer

Remember that special offer that we put into our Freebie at the end, with the voucher code? We want to make sure your new subscribers see it and use it, so we’re going to send it to them again through email the day after they download your freebie.

In Mailchimp, under “Campaigns”, select the automated email campaign you just set up for your freebie, choose “Advanced settings” at the top, and then you’ll be able to add a second email to send out 24 hours after your first email:


Make this email fun and inviting like the first one, and include information with your first-time client promo code and how to book an appointment. This will definitely increase the number of leads who book with you!

Step 5: Send out regular emails to your list (including your new freebie download contacts!)

Now that you have all of these email contacts, what do you do with them?

A percentage of them will have loved your freebie and your upgrade offer so much that they use the offer, book immediately, and then you have a chance to turn them into a long-term client during their appointment

But majority of them won’t be ready at this exactly moment to become your client, and that’s okay. That’s why you have to nurture them on a regular basis through regular emails that they love to read.

If they read enough of your emails, and they start to feel a stronger connection with you over time, more and more of them will become your clients. It’s called relationship building, and even though it’s done through email it works the same way as face to face relationships. They take time, and the more you share with them, the closer it bring them to you.

So, how exactly do you do these relationship-building emails?

At least once a month (and more often if possible), send out a newsletter-type email that’s fun, informational, and teases them about your services. I say tease because it should not be a sales-focussed email.

You should write this email in the first-person and include lots of personality in it. In short, write it as if you’re writing friend to friend, as opposed to business-to-client.

Here are some ideas for what to include in your regular email send out:

  • A short intro paragraph about what’s been happening in your salon and life since they last heart from you

  • Details about salon events, new services added, salon upgrades, anything “news worthy"

  • Info about events or happenings in your town that you’re participating in

  • Some photos and helpful info about your favourite retail products right now

  • Some photos of your favourite client work of the month - with a fun description

  • A photo of you or your team

  • A “beauty advice” section with your beauty tip of the month (something short but valuable)

  • Info about current promotions and a link to book an appointment

Sending out regular communications that people can’t WAIT to open up is a huge part of nurturing your leads that you worked so hard to get. And honestly, who LOVES opening up salesy impersonal emails? Nobody. So finish off this whole email strategy strong by keep regular contact and sharing the best parts of your business through newsletters. You won’t regret it!

In conclusion

If you’ve been looking for a way to get more people in your city to know about your beauty business, email marketing can be a hugely profitable option!

By creating a piece of content that offers huge value to your ideal clientele, and using it to build your email list, you’re halfway there. The second part comes down to nurturing your email list with fun emails that they love to read, and converting them into long-term customers.

I hope this guide has given you some ideas for how to build up your own salon’s email list, and what kind of things will get them excited about booking with you!