When you’re in business, it can feel like you’re handing out money, left, right and centre to get your salon marketing going.
Having enough money for marketing can be tough on top of all your other business costs, but you know you need to keep on top of your marketing to grow your business. What’s a girl to do?
Well, let me share some of my favourite free marketing ideas. Most won’t cost you a penny but some will require a small spend and a bit of time to get them working.
Just remember, you need to get into the head of your STAR client before you embark on any marketing for your business.
Videos are one of my FAVOURITE free marketing tools. They are so easy to make on your phone or tablet and let’s face it, most of us have one of them.
Videos are brilliant for lots of reasons, from helping your clients to get to know you (building trust) to helping you stand out from the competition (they can’t copy you on video!) and letting you demonstrate your products and services right there and then.
They are super quick to make, especially if you can get over your fears and understand that your clients just want to LEARN. They are not there to judge you, they want to learn from you.
I challenge you to start making videos for your business today – you can share them on social media, on blogs or on your website. If you want some feedback or likes for your video, tag Blush Academy so we can take a look and congratulate you on your effort!
2. Build Your Client List
You might have heard people talk about client databases and not given it much thought. But they are actually a brilliant free marketing tool that you could be using to grow your salon business. Why? Because if people sign up to hear from you regularly, that means you can use email newsletters to grow your business without hesitation!
You can build your list using Mailchimp, it has a great free package which is more than enough for most small businesses.
You can sign up to use Powered by MailChimp for free.
How do you attract people to your list?
You tempt them! Offer an irresistible freebie in return for their email address. It could be a discount coupon or voucher, a free sample, a free report or guide – anything that will attract the right people onto your list. Remember, you don’t want just anyone, you want the people who are most likely to buy from you – your Star Clients.
3. Email Marketing
Once you’ve got people onto your list, what do you do with them? Well, using Mailchimp (or any free email software) again you can create beautiful e-newsletters that your Star Client subscribers will love.
You can share beauty tips, makeup advice, lifestyle articles, special offers, videos, inspirational quotes – anything that adds value for your subscribers and keeps them wanting more.
A word of warning here though. Do not make your emails all about selling – it’s a sure fire way to get lots of people unsubscribing. Instead, think about what useful topics your star clients would love to read about.
Here’s what they advise…
“It may not be the new, fresh or fancy but one of the greatest ways to communicate with clients these days is through email. It’s true. This is because with email marketing, you are directly contacting clients individually in a format that they are known to check regularly. When putting a salon email campaign together, many people make the mistake of believing that the communication alone is enough i.e. by sending a message chockfull of text, the client will be wooed and persuaded to book their next appointment with you. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true.”
Email newsletters are great marketing tools, and they’re free! They help to build trust and relationships with potential clients and position you as an industry expert. They provide the ideal opportunity to showcase your products and services and ensure you are not forgotten. Email newsletters (if done correctly) will also drive sales for your business.
4. Social Media
Social media is still free, despite what you might think with ad options appearing everywhere. Good content aimed at your Star Clients will always get people chatting and engaging, and the more engagement you can create, the more your business page will appear on people’s timelines.
It doesn’t matter which social media platform you use, always keep your Star Client in mind and write posts and tweets that they will find useful, valuable and interesting. The more time and effort you put into this, the more you’ll get out of it. Don’t discount it, just adjust your focus and stop trying to attract everyone.
Post planner is a great tool to help you plan and post on your social media platforms months in advance. Easy!
For ideas of what to post, Wishpond has some really great ideas…
“Salons should post content such as hair and beauty tips or the latest how-to guides or engaging content related to your business that is available in a short, easy to read format. Examples would be an intriguing photo with a simple caption, a short list of beauty tips, a fun beauty vine video or an infographic. These types of content are interactive and appealing to your target audience.”
Competitions are a great free way to market your business. Your only costs are whatever stock you are offering as a prize or your time if you’re offering a service.
The key with competitions is to offer a prize that will attract the RIGHT people, you don’t want just anyone, you want those people who are most likely to buy from you. Your Star Clients. Make sure your prize will attract them and filter out people who aren’t such a good fit.
You can promote your competition in your salon (if you have one), on your website, on social media or via your email newsletter. Give yourself two weeks to promote and market it – the aim is to grow your list (you want clients to give you their email address to enter) and make people aware of the products and services you offer and how you stand out from the others on the High Street.
6. Speaking at Events
Lots of people need regular speakers, from the Women’s Institute, local community groups, business networks and the business team at your local council to name but a few. Speaking about or teaching your topic is a great way to get in front of groups of potential buyers (again, choose your groups to focus on Star Clients rather than just anyone) and costs nothing other than perhaps a little for travel. If you think nobody would be interested, have a look at your local paper in the events section and see what groups are featuring speakers – you’ll be amazed at the broad range of topics covered. The easiest way to do this is to get in touch with a few groups that are a good fit for you and ask them if they need speakers. They can only say no, but they might say yes – so be prepared with one or two things you could easily speak about.
Not all networking groups involve a fee, some groups are simply informal get-togethers where you meet and chat, cover the cost of your own refreshments and do business. Perfect! Do a search on Google and Facebook for your local networking events.
The NHF (National Hairdressers’ Federation) knows a thing or two about networking. They’ve also got some great other free (or very inexpensive) salon marketing ideas on their blog.
Here’s what they have to say on the matter:
“Networking has changed radically. You no longer need to face a room of business people munching breakfast, whilst brandishing your business card and desperately hoping someone will speak to you.
With the advent of social media everyone, seemingly, wants to engage. It’s so much easier to approach someone online, introduce your salon and arrange to meet over a coffee.
Still overwhelmed? Try breaking it down into bite-sized chunks. Target yourself to find one new contact a fortnight. At the end of the year you’ll know 25 new business owners in your local area.”
8. Email Signature
This is so easy but hardly anyone does it. How many emails do you send out each week? If it’s more than one or two then you’re missing a trick! It’s easy to do with most email packages – just add your social media and website links plus a line saying what you do – hey presto!
Phorest Software share some really useful insights into this subject…
“When it comes to marketing your salon, every little helps and one of the most over-looked places to do so is via salon email signatures. You might, at present, finish your email with your name and your salon number. However, well-crafted salon email signatures can be a low-cost, powerful marketing tool and we have come up with some easy-to-adopt ways for you to stand out from the crowd!”
Blogging can work brilliantly for many reasons, not least because search engines love blogs, so you are helping your website to be found on the internet.
Think about what you could easily write about. Pick topics you know your Star Clients are interested in. Things like “how to apply liquid eyeliner” – “how to cleanse your skin effectively” – “steps to make your shellac last 2 weeks”.
Blogging is THE BEST way to really build your credibility and expertise. Premier Software share this theory. They share some really useful tips in this post.
“Prove your Credibility. You’re already an expert in your field, and you know all the little touches that turn a good experience into an amazing one for your client; but how can you prove it on your website? Blog about it. Blog about your treatments, about new things you’re learning, about things that you’re interested in that are relevant to your business”.
You can share blogs on your social media platforms and via your email newsletter Blogs showcase your expertise, they help you build relationships with your readers and they can be recycled for things like your social media posts and email newsletters.
There’s No Excuse Not To Market Your Business!
So, you see there are loads of free marketing options to choose from, you just need to use your imagination and keep your Star Clients in mind at all times so you attract those who are most likely to buy from you.
Being short of cash is no excuse not to market your salon business, even if you book 2 hours per week to work on the project; you’ll reap the rewards in no time.