What is success in the context of a hair salon business? It is the ability to attract new and high-quality customers, retain existing ones, and convince them to spend more in your salon. None of that is easy; at least not if you keep rinsing and repeating the same business strategies that everyone else is rinsing and repeating. For example, everyone is posting on Facebook and Instagram and hoping to capture the attention of the same customers that you are targeting. Of course, you cannot afford to ditch social media marketing in this digital world. But you have to be different. Rise above the marketing noise and give your target audience real value. Dig deep to outperform the competition in what really matters: Customer experience. That’s exactly what this article will help you do by answering the question: What does your hair salon need to succeed?
1. A foolproof plan for attracting and retaining customers
This goes without saying: No business can get off the ground without a reliably firm customer base. That is why you shouldn’t leave anything to chance when it comes to customer attraction and retention. You must have a solid plan for that. Your plan should answer these questions:
- How can I turn existing clients into brand ambassadors?
Modern clients value word-of-mouth advertising and online reviews more than traditional advertising. If there is any way you can incentivize your clients to put in a good word for you to their friends, family, and online followers, go ahead and do it. You can offer them free consultations or discounted services/products as a reward.
- How can I inspire clients to create user-generated content (UGC) in my salon?
The single most important piece of your social media marketing is UGC. You want people to post pictures and videos they took at your salon on their social media timelines, and mention your salon while at it. That adds a layer of authenticity to your salon’s online reputation. One way of inspiring UGC is to create an Instagram-friendly space. You can work with an interior designer to create a space that makes clients feel picture perfect.
- How can I add men and children to my clientele?
Most salons leave out men and children in their business models, but you definitely shouldn’t. Offer competitive prices for barber services and create a dedicated kids’ corner. That would be a great additional revenue stream.
- Besides the usual social media platforms- Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram- where else can I market my skills?
A good place to start would be YouTube. It is free to run a YouTube channel, plus the platform has inarguably the biggest audience for video content. Post anything relevant, from videos of hair stylists at work to step-by-step tutorials on hair and beauty.
Interestingly, YouTube will pay you for views on top of allowing you to advertise for free. That’s another revenue stream right there.
- What can I do to push my salon higher on local Google searches?
The simple answer is to work on your local SEO. Update your Google My Business Listing (GMB), use the right “salons near me” keywords, and motivate clients to review your services on Yelp and other review platforms.
2. The right booking software
Salon customers want to book appointments at any time and from anywhere. That’s why you need to invest in a reputable hair salon online booking system. Find subscription-free software, that is easy to use, has great features, and that has no limits on usage. On top of that, ensure that your salon’s booking system:
- Has mobile-first design: Excellent mobile experience is critical for bookings because most internet searchers use smartphones and tablets.
- Supports group bookings: You know how young women love doing things in groups? Well, encourage “Salon girl’s day out” by making it easy for friends to book appointments together.
- Saves a customer’s visit history: Millennials hate time wastage and redundancy. They will be happy if they don’t have to re-enter their profile info to log-in back to your system.
- Doesn’t have too many sign-up steps: Make it a breeze for first-time clients to create profiles. Even better, have a system that allows guests to book appointments without at all having to sign up or log in.
3. Quality employees
How do you create a quality team that will help you attract and retain new customers? Well, you can do that in three steps:
Step I: Hire the right people
- Ask for recommendations from trusted friends and family, advertise for job vacancies on social media, or poach for talents from your competitors. You can also find top talents in cosmetology schools or at trade shows.
- Don’t hire someone because of their hairstyling skills, experience, or certificates only. Go beyond and consider a candidate’s “people skills”. The people you need in your team are empathetic, good communicators, understanding, disciplined, calm under pressure, good listeners, and humorous, among other positive personality traits that maximize clients’ comfort.
- Include trial periods in your recruitment process. Before new workers sign contracts with you, take them through a few weeks of paid trial sessions to see if they’re a good fit.
Step II: Educate them
Continuous education is important in any workplace because it boosts staff loyalty, keeps everyone updated on new styling techniques/products, helps retain key talents, and boosts employee productivity. You can educate your employees by sending them to international hair and beauty conferences or sponsoring them for refresher courses. If you are struggling financially, you can opt for in-house onboarding training sessions.
Step III: Motivate them
A motivated team (which is also carefully selected and trained) is the most valuable asset any salon can have. Motivation is broad, so it’s up to you to know what your team needs in order to feel appreciated and supported. Just to give you a few tips:
- Create a positive work environment and workplace culture. You can, for example, create a small staff-only kitchen, gym, or break room where workers go to chat, have coffee, and relax in between appointments.
- Make realistic goals and reward exceptional employees. You know, keep a healthy competition!
- Include them in decision-making processes that might affect them in one way or another. And because they interact with clients more than you do, they will surprise you with their knowledge of what your customers need or want.
- Invest in frequent team-building activities. You can have multiple teams working in shifts during your slow days in order to create time for dinners, staff outings, and other team-building activities.
4. High-level efficiency
The first step to improving efficiency at your salon is to declutter. Unnecessary furniture, disorganized desks, poor furniture arrangement, and dysfunctional styling stations will only slow people down and hurt your team’s productivity.
Other efficiency-boosting tweaks you should try include:
- Encourage your team members to exercise enough, eat healthily, and get the right amount of sleep. That’s great for their energy.
- Build a routine and help your stylists to create and abide by their own routines.
- Use shelving to maximize space, especially vertical shelving.
- Label your products & color-code your schedule for easier task management.
5. Optimal comfort for clients
Clients spend hours in your salon, so you better make their stay as comfortable as possible. Here are some client comfort tips for you:
- Invest in comfortable chairs and couches. Good width, quality cushioning, adjustable height, and full lumbar support of your chairs can help you turn one-time clients into returning clients.
- Play good, relaxing music. Obnoxious music is inappropriate for a relaxing environment.
- Create a signature scent for your salon. You can use scented candles and essential oils for that.
- Provide massage clients with headrests with cooling gels.
- Encourage cozy conversations. Make clients feel like your salon is a safe space to offload. Don’t be intrusive or overbearing. Let the client control your conversations.
- Explain every little styling detail to clients before you get started. Let the customer know what to expect, be it sensitivity, pain, or both.
- Ensure that your space has enough lighting, good circulation of fresh air, and the temperature is adequate.
- Create a quiet space where all clients do is breathe, inhale your salon’s sweet aromas, enjoy music, and relax.
Don’t run an okay-ish salon if you want to rise above the intense competition in your industry. Focus on creating an environment that clients want to keep coming back to. Invest time and money in both the hardware and software of your business and with time, you will get your salon where you intend it to be.