In the beauty industry new customers are like gold, as more often than not they turn into return customers. At the same time, it’s not easy to find new clients – it takes a lot for someone to divorce their beloved hairdresser or beautician and find a new one – but it’s certainly possible.
But, how to attract more clients to your salon? If you’re willing to invest the necessary time, money and effort, there are a number of ways to lure new faces through your doors.
Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
10 ways to attract new salon clients
1. Make the most of local SEO
When you type “salon [your location]” into Google, does your business come up? If it doesn’t, you have some work to do in terms of local search engine optimisation (SEO).
Local SEO is the process of making your business more Googleable for people who are in your area and who are searching for the services that you offer. Core to this effort is to ensure you have a Google Business Profile. This guarantees that you have a listing in Google’s business directory, which helps you to be displayed within Google Maps and as a rich result on Google search.
Fill out your profile completely, update your information and post to your profile regularly, and consider advertising within Google Maps to ensure your business is seen.
2. Encourage reviews and referrals
Speaking of Google, do you read and reply to your Google reviews? Simply put, people trust people – 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations. Ratings and reviews are critical for salons, as a new customer wants to be confident that they’re going to enjoy a quality service.
One of the most powerful strategies for attracting new clients is to encourage reviews. When you feel as though you have a particularly happy customer, ask them whether they’d be willing to post a Google review. Always reply to your reviews, whether good or bad – while they might hurt, bad reviews should always be seen as an opportunity to be better or to show who you are as a business.
You could also incentivise referrals – consider offering a discount to a customer who brings in a friend or family member.
3. Develop a social media strategy
Perhaps the best answer to the question of how to get new clients in a salon lies in the work you do. As a salon owner, you deal in aesthetics, spending all day making people beautiful. This means that your business is tailor-made for the content-driven world of social media marketing.
You should have an online presence wherever your ideal customers can be found, be that Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube or anywhere else. You should set serious time aside every week to create and schedule posts, ensuring that your profiles always showcase your latest and greatest work. You should offer a mix of content that keeps your followers interested – along with showing your work, you should educate them with beauty tips, entertain them with fun videos, or perhaps do both at the same time. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to social media, consider hiring a freelancer to help!
You can also invest in paid social media posts, to ensure your business gets in front of eyes that it otherwise wouldn’t organically
4. Offer online bookings
Call to make a booking – it’s the way many salons have always taken appointments and continue to take appointments. But to some, making phone calls can be an intimidating prospect, particularly if they don’t already know you and your business. For others, it’s simply inconvenient, as there can be a lot of back and forth before an appropriate appointment time is found.
But, there’s a better way: online bookings.
By including an online booking tool like Square Appointments on your website, you allow new customers to browse available time slots and choose one that suits them, all in a matter of seconds. It removes one of the main barriers stopping new customers from visiting your salon. Square Appointmentsalso allows for better team management by delegating work, offering social media integration and even sends the customer a reminder in the lead up to their appointment.
Scheduling that puts time in your hands.
5. Offer Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)
Not only should you allow your customer to book the way they want, you should also allow them to pay the way they want. And for an ever-increasing segment of the population, that way is Buy Now, Pay Later.
When Afterpay was established in 2014 it promised a new way to pay, dividing small purchases (less than $1500) into four instalments spread over six weeks. This allows a customer to break larger purchases into more bite-sized pieces, and if payments are made on time they aren’t even charged interest. The seller, meanwhile, gets the entire amount straight away. This compelling pitch is why ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ services are such a popular payment option today.
The good news for Square Sellers: Afterpay is available as a payment option right now through Square Online!
6. Work with a local influencer
While it’s a label that is used by and applied to many people, true social media influencers do what their title suggests: they influence their audience. The best influencers are authentic. They develop a real connection with their followers – one built on trust over time. And as far as the success of your salon goes, the best influencers are distinctly local.
Ask yourself: what local social media personality do you follow who a) ticks the boxes above, and b) has an audience that closely aligns with your customer base? If you can’t think of anyone, search Instagram for local influencers who have a dedicated and decent-sized following. People with a few thousand committed followers will be far more valuable to your salon than the Kardashians of the world!
Depending on the influencer, a free visit to your salon might be all that it takes to get a shout-out. Send some DMs and see who might be interested!
7. Post tips and tutorials online
We briefly mentioned it earlier, but salons are a goldmine for content. Beauty tips and tutorials have been wildly popular since the very beginning of social media, and as a professional in the space, you can use your knowledge and expertise to make the most of it!
Post short clips on TikTok and Instagram Reels and longer-form videos on Facebook, IGTV and YouTube. Consider creating non-video content like infographics and how-to guides that you can post on social media or offer as downloads on your website.
As you gain a following you can begin to turn your audience into paying customers by feeding in promotions amongst your other content. Be careful to strike the right balance!
8. Partner with a local business
Unlike other businesses that can work remotely and internationally, your salon is a distinctly local affair. Your customers will almost always live in the same area as you, which means that they visit the same shops and go to the same events as you. This means that showing your local side can be an effective strategy to lure new customers in.
Consider getting in touch with a local business that complements your own. Day spas, massage parlours and hotels are examples of businesses that don’t directly compete with salons, but that serve a similar type of customer. You could develop a mutually beneficial deal with these complementary businesses – perhaps their customers get 10% off your services, and your customers get 10% off their services.
You might also consider sponsoring local sports, entertainment or community events, as it’s a great way to get your salon’s name up in light, while also showing that you support your area.
9. Create an Insta-ready photo space
When US fashion retailer Paul Smith painted its flagship Los Angeles store bright pink in 2005, it couldn’t have imagined the Instagram icon it would later become (especially because Instagram wouldn’t be created for another five years.) Fast forward to today, and the Pink Wall has turned into a pilgrimage for Instagrammers the world over, making Paul Smith a household name in the process.
What does all this mean for your salon? If you create an Insta-ready backdrop for your customers, that could be the difference between them making a booking and looking elsewhere. And as Paul Smith showed, this could be as simple as painting one of your walls an evocative colour.
10. Experiment with fun promos
Everybody loves a good deal, and fun or different deals tend to stand out far better than the standard 20% off variety. Get creative with promos, offering customers things like:
A free deep conditioning with every cut.
Refer three friends, get a free cut.
An affordable express service during lunch hours.
A champagne with every cut on Friday.
Loyalty rewards: get your 10th cut free.
In order to attract more clients, you could offer these deals to new customers only, or you could offer them to current customers who write a Google review, or who give you a shout-out on social media. Get creative and have fun with it!
There’s no one way to attract more customers to your salon – the options are endless, and the 10 above represent just the tip of the marketing iceberg. If you use a diverse range of strategies to attract new business, you’ll be far more likely to do so successfully and enjoy all the perks that these new clients bring.
The good news? With the help of Square’s complete suite of tools for businesses in the beauty industry, the process of attracting those customers is more efficient and effective than it’s ever been before.