How to create the perfect salon marketing plan for 2019 (that will save you time and money)

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This is it, this is your year! This is the year your business is going to grow, prosper and shine.

2019 is the year you get organized, take control of things, and plan ahead.

Whatever your new years resolutions, whatever kind of beauty business you have or what stage you’re at, I’ve got something to tell you:

One of the best time and money investments you can make in 2019 is in your marketing. In a nutshell, this means:

  • Getting more people to know about your salon.

  • Creating a professional, polished image.

  • Having an online presence that is so captivating that people want to book with you.

Marketing is all about reaching a large amount of the right people and communicating with them in an attractive way to turn them into clients.

And I know you probably know this, but you also know that marketing takes time.

It takes time to post on social media, it takes time to build a website, it takes time to learn Facebook ads etc etc.

But if you plan out your year ahead of time, and spend a bit of time each month planning and doing easy marketing things, I promise that by December 2019 you will be amazed at where your business is.

This blog post will show you step by step how to set marketing goals, build a marketing calendar, and plan out your activities in advance to save you time and get better results. It also gives you a bunch of fun salon marketing ideas that you will love.

Let’s jump in!

Setting your marketing goals for 2019

Before decided where you want your salon to be by the end of 2019 (how many more clients, Instagram followers, revenue-wise, brand familiarity, etc), let’s look at how your business went in 2018.

Look at your numbers from last year and think about how you’d like to improve them this year. Remember, if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it!

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How did your business do last year?

So take a look back and write down your important 2018 numbers:

  • #of new clients per month

  • Total number of clients

  • % of clients rebooking

  • Revenue per month and the year

  • Your retail sales numbers

And then look at your important online marketing numbers such as:

  • # of website visitors per month and for the year

  • Number of online reviews received (and how many were 5 stars)

  • Number of email addresses collected

  • Views and clicks on your Google My Business page

  • # of bookings from your website/online booking app

  • Money spent on advertising and the results

  • # of posts on social media, average engagement, follower count, actions from social such as clicks to your website

How can you improve on that in 2019?

Once you’ve collected all that info from last year, it will help you set goals for where you’d like to grow in 2019. How many more new clients would you like to bring in? How much more money do you want to make? What services would you like to grow revenue-wise? How do you want your online marketing to improve this year?

Write these goals down, even if they might seem slightly unrealistic. It’s important to have something to strive for.

The next step is to think about how we’re going to achieve those goals.

Put in place a plan to reach your goals

When it comes to client growth and revenue, a large part of reaching your goals comes down to things like customer experience, the quality of your services, and what happens when your existing customers are in your salon, or when a new client walks in.

And it is important to set goals and put plans in place for those things.

However, a very large part of growing your business has to do with your marketing, specifically how you market your salon online. It is nearly impossible to grow if no one in your town has even heard of you, if you don’t have a website or an attractive online presence.

So, it’s time to think back to your last year of business, and ask yourself these questions:

  • How did most of my NEW clients find me last year? Google? Instagram? Word of mouth? Advertising? Write down your top answers.

  • What are some of the things I did for marketing last year that worked really well?

  • Where are my competitors doing really well where I’m not? What things am I missing out on? Do they have a kick ass Instagram feed? Is their visual brand on point? Do they run a lot of ads?

Which areas of marketing will you focus on?

Next, write down the marketing areas that you’d really like to focus on this year.

Here are the marketing activities I believe will be most important for your salon in 2019:

  • Branding - create a strong visual brand and a branding board

  • Website - update it or create a new one from scratch

  • Search engine optimization - get found on Google

  • Photography - getting professional photos and taking more, high quality photos

  • Email marketing - Sending out regular emails

  • Running seasonal promotions and planning around holidays

  • Instagram & Facebook - Scheduling social media to stay consistent

  • Advertising - Investing time and money in Facebook ads

I’ll go into more details about each of these things later on, but for now take some time and write down these important things. You can also download my free Salon Marketing Planner 2019 below!

In the workbook you’ll write down your marketing priorities and calendar such as:

  • The top 5 things you’d like to focus on when it comes to marketing your salon in 2019

  • The specific goals you have related to each of those things (for example, I will send out 1 email each month to my clients, I will schedule all my Instagram posts a month in advance and post 3 times a week on Insta)

  • A marketing calendar with important dates and events

  • Your marketing budget for the year (or per each month)

To get access to my workbook where you can write down all your ideas and planning, put in your email address above and grab the editable PDF!

Once you’ve put in your first thoughts into the workbook, let’s look at some of the most important marketing activities you can work on this year for your salon.


Branding: Create a professional branding board


A consistent visual brand is at the base of everything else you do, which is why I always put it first in terms of marketing priorities. I used to overlook branding for my business before I realized how important it is.

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All of your marketing should be consistent and professional, and share a consistent style. That way people can recognize you online and become familiar with you. On top of that, your branding shares your values and personality at just a glance, while attracting your perfect clients to you.

What’s the best way to make an attractive, professional brand for your salon? A branding board!

A branding board is one of the first things you should work on this year, and I think January is the perfect time to refresh your brand, or get started on a new visual brand that expresses who you are.

So, how do you make one?

First, start an inspiration or mood board on Pinterest and start collecting colors, images, designs, etc that you love and that express what your business is all about.

Then, choose a colour palette that fits with your personality and is full of attractive, beautiful colors that you’ll use everywhere. You can read my blog post about choosing the perfect colors here.

Once you’re done choosing your colors, it’s time to pull everything together with a branding board. It contains your logo, color palette, font palette, and inspiration images. I show you exactly how to make a branding board for free in Canva here.

Oh and by the way, if you want to work with professional designers to create a color palette and branding board that expresses who you really are, we’d love to work with you on it!

Photography: focus on beautiful photos

Beautiful photos are becoming a necessity online, and everyone is stepping up their game when it comes to photography. In order to stand out online this year, your salon needs to focus on taking great pics and even working with a professional photographer.

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I know that a professional photographer may seem like kind of a stretch and unaffordable, but it actually doesn’t need to be very expensive, and if you do only one photoshoot, you can use the photos all year long.

Think about what a difference professional photos will make to having a professional website, as opposed to using stock photos.

Think about how just 30 great photos of yourself, your staff, salon, and clients - peppered throughout your Instagram feed throughout the year - can make your feed more beautiful and consistent.

Think about being able to update your Google My Business profile, Facebook cover photo, email template etc… with stunning pics.

Professional photography is an investment that I truly believe will pay off for your marketing in 2019. And they don’t have to be very expensive! If you work with someone you know, or exchange some of your salon services for a professional photoshoot, you can get hundreds of great photos for a great price.

In addition to getting professional photos, I recommend you also focus on taking your own high-quality photos this year. If you have a digital camera, keep it at your salon. In addition, a huge part of great photos is good lighting, so you might want to invest in a ring light (you can get a good one from Amazon for under $160). You might also want to think about a fun photography backdrop or selfie station for your salon, so you have a pretty place to take pictures. You can get some ideas for beautiful photo backgrounds to put in your salon here on Pinterest.

To get more ideas for beautiful salon photos to take and share online, read my blog post here.

Search Engine Optimization: Get found online in 2019

I know that getting found on Google may seem so complicated and out of control that it feels like there’s nothing you can do. But actually there are so many things you can work on this year to rank higher when people search for salons near them!

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First of all, make it a priority this year to refresh your website and optimize it for Google. Here are a few things you can do that will improve your website performance and help Google to rank you higher:

  • Run a speed test on your website (check out how fast your website is here) to make sure it loads fast. If you have a slow load time (over 4 seconds you’re turning away potential clients and Google will penalize your site.

  • Make sure your website is mobile optimized, meaning that it looks good from a mobile phone - test it out to make sure! This is another thing that Google takes into consideration when ranking your website in search rankings.

  • Check out your homepage title and description, the info that will be shown on Google search results. Is it attractive, the right length, and descriptive of where you are and what services you provide?

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  • Do you have your important keywords included throughout your website, in page titles and within the text of your site? Your keywords are what you want to appear on Google for, and are usually a combination of your services and your town/city name. Do some research for your own salon keywords and sprinkle them throughout your site.

  • Google loves to see fresh, new content on your website, and one of the best ways to do this is through blogging. No, your blog posts don’t have to super long and boring! I recommend writing at least 1 great blog post a month. It should be helpful, valuable, and related to your business, and is the perfect place to put keywords that you want to appear for in Google.

Having a Google-optimized website is one of the best things you can do for your marketing this year. To learn more about exactly how to do SEO for your salon, check out my blog post here.

Another thing that will make a huge difference to your Google ranking is your Google My Business page. If you get consistent high-quality reviews, make sure it’s optimized with your info, and share updates from it, your GMB page can be an amazing way to appear higher up in Google Maps when people search “best salons nearby”, for example. Read my blog post about Google My Business for salons to learn more about that.

Website: Refresh it or start from scratch

This year, it’s important to make sure your website makes a great impression for your business. This can mean either making some updates to it or work on starting a new website.

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A new website doesn’t need to be difficult. You can do it in a weekend if you want to do it yourself. Just don’t let it drag on forever (remember, done is better than perfect!)

If you want to do it yourself, I recommend using Wix or Squarespace and following their templates for beauty businesses (I have a workshop where I show you how to build a Wix website here!)

If instead you want to have your website done by a professional, you can also work with a website designer, like us, and we’ll design it for you in Squarespace.

The things that you definitely should have on your website, whether your starting fresh or just updating it:

  • Include professional photos instead of stock photos. Read my point above about photographer for more about this.

  • Implement basic SEO to make sure your website is optimized. Do an SEO “audit” by following my points above.

  • Use your branding to make it your own, with custom colors, fonts, and image styles. Use your new branding board to make your website come to life!

  • Show lots of pictures of your own work. Include a gallery page, embed your Instagram photos, and/or show your own work on your homepage.

  • Include info about yourself. Show your photo and include a bit about yourself. People are genuinely interested to know who you are!

  • Make a call to action button on the homepage of your website: front and centre should be a link or “click to call” to book an appointment with you. Don’t make people hunt around in order to book.

Email: The #1 overlooked way to keep in touch with clients

Email is often overlooked when it comes to salon marketing, but it is SOO important. Emails get opened and read so much more than any post on social media, and they are a lot more personal, too!

Email is perfect for keeping in touch with current clients and getting them to rebook more often. If you write emails that are engaging, beautiful, and fun to read you’ll have people opening them up, getting updates, and spending more money with you.

How to collect email addresses

This year, it’s important to make a plan to collect more email addresses. Gather them from your online booking, from in-person salon visits, and from your website (you can do a popup with a discount or freebie in exchange for a visitor’s email address).

Plan out what your email communications will be like in advance

I recommend one you send at least email a month to your list.

Look at your calendar ahead of time and decide which holidays/themes/events you want to send out emails about. Schedule them ahead of time so you’re not doing everything last minute and you have time to plan.

You could aim to send one email at the start of every month.

Choose how you’ll send out emails

I love Mailchimp for email marketing: it’s free for under 1000 subscribers, and very affordable for more than that. You can easily import contacts from your booking software or connect Mailchimp directly to it (find all the integrations here).

You should also create a branded template that you can use and re-use for your emails. Branded templates get people familiar with your visual branding and make your emails look more polished.

You can easily customize a template in Mailchimp or work with professional designers to make a pretty, branded template.

Decide what content to put in your emails

The emails you send out shouldn’t just be sales based. They should contain a mix of:

  • Photos of you/staff/your work

  • Helpful, value based info like tips, beauty ideas and tutorials, etc.

  • Personal updates to connect with you as a person

  • Updates about events, sales etc.

  • If the emails are seasonal based you could also include a seasonal sale for that month.

If you’re ready to get serious about email marketing this year, check out this blog post where I show you exactly how to do it right.

Instagram: Save time and stay consistent by scheduling your posts

Although we all know how important Instagram is for promoting your beauty business, sometimes it can become a big headache. You feel pressure to post pretty photos consistently, but work gets so busy, and it’s never straight forward to choose the right pic and write the right caption.

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Social media can be a headache for all of us, but I’ve learned that scheduling your posts can save you a ton of time, stress, and most of all it actually helps you to post better content.

Here are the steps you need to schedule your Instagram content to help you save time and make a beautiful feed:

  1. If possible, get professional photos taken, but don’t post them all at once. Collect your high-quality photos and drip them out a bit at a time (I’ll show you how in just a second).

  2. Gather photos you’ve taken in your salon from the past few months, and take some new ones. Even if you’ve posted similar photos in the past, don’t worry! Collect these pics and keep them in one folder on your computer, because we’ll need them later. Think photos of yourself, your team, your salon location, etc.

  3. Gather client photos. Of course you want to mix your personal photos with photos of your work, but make sure that it’s a mix: you shouldn’t JUST be posting pics of your work or JUST pics of you/your staff.

  4. Gather extra stock photos or photos from retail brands you sell. It’s nice to break up your Instagram feed with different types of content, and that’s where these types of photos come in. Click here to learn where to get these types of photos.

  5. Now that you’ve gathered your photo content, don’t post it yet! The next step is to research the hashtags you want to use for your Instagram posts, before you even post them. Most of your hashtags should be local-based hashtags, specific to your city. You can learn how to research salon Instagram hashtags here.

  6. Create an account with my favourite scheduling tool, Later.com! This amazing app for desktop and mobile lets you schedule up to 30 posts with the free version, so you can schedule a month of two of content easily.

  7. Schedule a month worth of content in one day. Take a few hours and schedule out your next month of content. The great thing about Later is that you can move content around using the preview function and move photos around until they look “just right” beside each other. Try to space out your photos by putting a busy photo beside a simple one, a dark photo beside a light one, a photo of hair beside a non-hair photo etc.

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8. Write engaging captions that tell a story. Pre-write captions using Later so you don’t have to think of what to write on the fly. The caption is so important for not only describing what’s in the photo or describing your work, but telling a story. Share a story about yourself, about your client that came in, about something special that happened when you took that photo. Keep the captions personal and you’ll be surprised at how much more engagement you get.

9. Save an insert your hashtags. Later has a great feature where you can save and paste in your hashtags. Be sure to include those at the end of your captions, as hashtags will increase the reach of your posts by a lot.

10. Extra tip: During the week use Instagram stories to share videos and other content on the fly that didn’t fit into your feed. While your feed is best suited for sharing photos, videos and lower-quality photos that you take on the fly can be shared in your Instagram stories.

Advertising: Invest some time and money into Facebook Ads this year

Facebook ads are one of the best places you can invest money into bringing in new clients.

Google Ads also work, but tend to be more expensive and can take a while to get right.

Yelp and Groupon ads tend to bring in more deal-seeker type clients, and have been the subject of quite a bit of controversy.

Facebook Ads on the other hand are fun and easy to create, and if you make compelling content with an attractive offer, you can easily target your perfect clients and get them to book an appointment.

The first thing about Facebook Ads is to see some examples of successful ads and learn a little bit more about how to set them up right.

You can learn more about Facebook ads for salons by reading my blog posts here here and here.

Once you’ve learned the basics and feel more confident, set up a schedule and budget for Facebook ads throughout the year.

Think about the major events and holidays you want to promote your services around and put them into your salon marketing calendar, which you can download below.

Next step is to film a video (videos tend to do better than photos) and create an offer around those events and services.

Finally, once you’ve launched your first ad, it’s just the start. You should learn from the performance of your ads, create different versions and experiment. A single ad is a good start, but really you should have multiple versions of your text, video and/or photos and test to see which one performs best.


In conclusion


Now that you have a good idea of the different areas to focus on for salon marketing in 2019 (of course, you might have different ideas and priorities, and that’s fine too!), it’s time to put everything in one organized place.

Download my salon marketing plan 2019 below and follow along with it to:

  • Write down your priorities for the year (limit it to 5-6)

  • Create an action plan for how you’ll execute each thing

  • Create a calendar of events, ideas, promotions, things you want to work on for each month.

  • Put together a budget for how much you can spend each month and where you’ll spend it.

You can download my free salon marketing planner for 2019 right here:

Grab it and enjoy an exciting and well planned out year that will be a great one for your business!

Stephanie Mitchell