The Ultimate Salon Marketing Checklist: 52 marketing questions you need to answer
If you want your beauty business to grow and prosper, your marketing needs to be set up for success. But marketing is such a vast subject! There are always more things you *could* be doing, and it’s hard to know which ones to focus on first.
Let’s be realistic: you’re super busy on the salon floor. The last thing you want to do is spend your evenings and weekends slaving away at a computer with endless marketing work.
The best thing you can do is focus your efforts on smart marketing. Choose the most effective things that can bring you the most attention, clients, and revenue and work on those.
In my opinion, there are 6 main areas that you should “get down pat” for your salon’s marketing.
The 6 main areas that you should focus on first for your business:
This guide gives you a quick checklist for each of these points, and extra resources to help you along the way. Enjoy!
And don’t forget to use this as an actual checklist! Check off the points you've done so far and count how many points (out of 52) you've got. If that number is low, don't fret! I've included links at the end of every group so you can keep reading and learning about salon marketing.
Branding: Start out with a strong visual expression of your business
With so much competition out there, your brand has the power to make or break your beauty business. It will help you be recognized, attract the right kind of clientele, and add a level of professionality to your business.
That’s why, whether you’re just starting out or your salon has been around for years, I recommend starting from a strong “visual” perspective.
What exactly is a visual brand?
Your colour palette
Your font palette
The types of images you use
Your design style
Once you have your visual brand down pat, everything else comes so much easier. You know exactly how to create social media graphics that “look right”, your website is exactly expressive of your style.
Plus, every time you consistently use your brand, it gets stronger.
So, have I convinced you yet the the first place to start for strong online marketing is your brand?
Salon branding checklist:
You’ve identified exactly who your salon’s target audience is (not just age and gender, but down to their personality and interests)
You know what your business personality is (if your studio were a person, what would she be like?)
You’ve created a mood board or inspiration board for your brand (Canva and Pinterest are both great for this)
You’ve developed a color palette of 3-5 colors and you are using them consistently in everything you do
You’ve done the same thing for your fonts
You have a business name and logo that is expressive of your business personality, and attracts your ideal clientele
You have a style of writing or communicating that is consistent everywhere (email, website, social media etc). This means that your writing should have PERSONALITY, it should not be flat
Your Instagram and Facebook graphics consistently use your colour palette and font palette
Your website is on-brand. The main colours of your palette are all represented and your fonts are consistent. This is especially important on the homepage of your website.
Branding is a massive subject, but here are some resources to make sure yours is perfect:
And if you want to start on your salon's visual brand RIGHT NOW, grab my top-downloaded eBook, "The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Beautiful Salon Brand":
Website: the online home of your salon
Before you do anything else for marketing - your business NEEDS a website. Even a simple one on Wix.com will do.
Your website is the public face of your business, and it is the centre of your bookings, reviews, SEO and more (or at least it should be!)
One of the big mistakes I see salons making is overlooking the importance of a beautiful, personalized website.
Having a great website shows potential clients that you are professional, polished, and that you’re high quality in every way (is may even be a reflection of the quality of your services).
Salon website checklist:
You have a website (seems obvious, but so many new business skip this step!).
It’s fast and mobile optimized (should load in 5 seconds or less)
You have a strong “Call to Action” button in the main top space of your homepage. For example “Book an Appointment”
Your paragraphs are short and sentences are short, too. No large blocks of text or long sentences. People like to skim so have large titles and short text.
Your website has clear images, but not they're massive. Try to make them under 300 kb each
Make it very easy to get in touch with you: email, address, phone number
Your website is consistent with your brand: your colours, fonts, and image style are all consistent and representative of your overall brand
You collect email addresses! People want to keep in touch with you so invite them to join your email list or “beauty club” in exchange for something - a PDF download, a new client offer or something else
Include links to your social profiles
Include reviews: either screenshots, a widget connecting your Yelp Reviews or Facebook reviews to your site, text testimonials, or just saying “See our 150+ 5 stars reviews on Facebook” with a link to your page
Introduce yourself: have a page with a photo of you and introducing yourself as a person. People want to get to know you!
To read more about websites for salons, check out my in-depth articles here:
Social reviews: Show the world you’re worth it
Getting social reviews is absolutely critical for standing out among your competition and showing potential clients that they’re in good hands.
67% of consumers will read up to 6 reviews before deciding whether they want to visit your salon or not! So give them a good reason to come in.
Salon social reviews checklist:
Set up a Google My Business profile so you can collect Google Reviews, and complete it at 100% with pictures and all
Enable reviews on your Facebook page, and keep your page active
Set up a Yelp page and complete it at 100%
Share your top reviews in your emails, on your website, any anywhere else where people will look
Send follow-up emails after appointments and link to your reviews sites, asking for reviews (it’s worth noting that Yelp says in their conditions that you should not ask for reviews. Consider leaving them out of this email)
Have a “reviews” section on your website
Make reviews a priority for your marketing, and mention them to your clients at the end of their appointment
If your clients don’t leave reviews immediately, don’t get offended! They probably either forgot or don’t realize the importance of reviews. If you can find an excuse to remind them, or if you’re contacting them for another reason, include those review links again!
Here is an article that will help you more with your social reviews:
Social media: The heavy hitter of “getting your name out there”
Social media is a massive topic and it’s hard to put a checklist out there that will cover everything you need to know.
But here are some of the main points to check off, plus some additional resources that will help you.
Salon social media checklist:
You have an Instagram and Facebook page. Both of them are important for different reasons. Facebook is a great “business card” for your business, and perfect for collecting reviews. Instagram is the best way for clients to connect with your team as people, and not just as a business. Plus it’s perfect for showcasing your work.
You’ve enabled reviews on your Facebook page
Your FB cover photo is branded, beautiful and high quality
Your Instagram bio explains clearly what you do and what makes you “special or different”, and it has a “Call To Action” (book an appointment, call, etc)
You post high quality photos of your work on Instagram regularly
You have many photos and videos of you and your staff on Instagram
When you post graphics with text on Instagram, they are original (you made them), and they’re expressive of your brand colors/fonts, and you space them out with lots of photos
You’ve researched your hashtags for Instagram, and use at least 20 well-researched hashtags each post, with a focus on local ones.
Your photos are bright, clear, and follow a similar “visual style” to make them look branded
You’re posting different content to Facebook and Instagram instead of auto-posting your Instagram posts to Facebook. Not only does this look lazy on your part, you’re not using Facebook to its full potential. Facebook LOVES to promote videos (especially live videos) above all else. It’s also great for sharing links to your blog posts and more.
I could go on and on about social media for salons, but we still have several points to go through! If you want to keep learning about Instagram and Facebook for beauty businesses, here are some links:
And if you want to get serious about social media for your salon, check out this salon hashtag spreadsheet so that you can track and experiment with hashtags to get more followers and clients:
Online Advertising: Getting new clients, fast
After you’ve laid the foundation for your salon business with a great website, you’re starting to get some reviews, and you’ve focused your attention on social media, it might be time to pump things up.
Advertising on Google and Facebook are great ways to bring clients in for a reasonable price.
But there are definitely some misconceptions about them, and if you start throwing money at ads without understanding them, they can be a waste.
Here are the most important things to remember about Facebook ads and Google ads for your salon.
Salon online advertising checklist:
Do some reading about “best practices” for Facebook and Google ads before you start. Below this checklist are some important links to read on my blog.
Keep track of your costs and results somewhere (preferably a spreadsheet). You want to make sure that the money you invest gets a good return on investment. Track your cost per click, your cost per lead (someone who’s contact info you collected), your cost per new client, and the eventual revenue per new client (including rebookings etc)
Leads are crucial! A lead is someone who opted to claim your promotion, but hasn’t booked in yet. Their contact info should be treated like gold! Follow up with leads by calling them, and then add them to your email list so you can keep in touch.
If your ads bring people to a website (like Google ads often do), make sure you’re not sending them to your website homepage. You should set up a landing page made specifically for that offer. [link]
The best ads include an offer that is special, time-sensitive or in limited supply. If you don’t want to discount your services, think of another offer that people can’t wait to snatch up!
Facebook ads should be fun, personal, and magnetic. Show a video of yourself, your salon and your team. And keep your writing casual and engaging!
Google ad text should include the name of your city, include pricing info about your offer, and give info about a specific offer
There are entire books written about online advertising, but these blog posts should help you immensely in creating fabulous Facebook and Google ad campaigns:
Email marketing: Remind your clients and leads how awesome you are
Imagine showing up monthly in a place where your clients actually read EVERYTHING that’s going on in your life and in your salon, they get inspired with beauty tips, and they see you as a source of important information.
Email is the perfect place to tell people about yourself, to share useful tips and ideas, to be an inspiration and an educator.
Whenever salons are looking for the important marketing key that they may be missing, I always point out email marketing to them.
Here is a checklist so you can be sure you’re doing it right.
Salon email marketing checklist:
Collect email addresses whenever you can and update your email software list regularly. Collect them in your salon, on your website, and in your ads on Facebook and Google (see points above about leads!)
Have an email template that is simple but beautiful and matches your salons visual brand.
Whenever someone joins your list, send them a welcome email introducing yourself and your business
Have an email automation set up in your email software that sends out emails once a week to new subscribers from the time they sign up. [link]
Send out regular monthly emails that include updates about your salon and team, photos of your work, educational info, and offers included at the bottom.
Remember that at their core your emails have to be beautiful and easy to read, Non-sales oriented, and friendly, educational, and fun.
Always make education and inspiration the main goals of your email marketing, and include lots of useful information.
If you want to read more about how to brand yourself as a beauty expert and get more attention through email marketing, read my blog post about it here:
I hope this checklist has helped you to lay the foundation for a successful salon marketing plan
There is so much to do when you have your own business, but these 6 basic foundations (branding, website, social reviews, social media, advertising and email marketing) will get you off to a great start.
Enjoy the adventure!