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Want to find, book and review a beauty salon? Times have sure changed from doing that in 1955. Today, the hair and beauty industry is no different from other sectors in that it must adapt to the times and to new technologies. Moreover, this very technology is constantly changing and unless you are just relying on walk-ins and a traditional phone call, salons must offer more affordable and flexible options. This is the only way to keep and attract new customers. Yet, there are so many options and as a salon business owner, it can be hard knowing where to start and what should be prioritised.

Here are a few pointers to make your salon business, way, way more beautiful: 

Booking ease

In the old days, you used to have to wait until opening hours, call, maybe be put on hold, and generally have been slightly inconvenienced by the process of just making an appointment to glam up. Those days are no longer. Allowing clients to book appointments online is all about providing ease and accessibility. One of the very best ways you can do this is by tapping into the newest and coolest software to outsource this function. Sites (like AcuityScheduling, SalonLif, Schedul.com, Simplybook.me, Chidesk, Bitrix24, and Bookstream) offer clients the possibility of viewing available appointments and booking themselves in. These sites also offer additional features such as automation, which allows you to send out automatic thank you messages and appointment reminders through SMS and email. There is also the opportunity to use the software to manage your in house-salon products, which means you’ll receive notifications when you need to re-order more items.

Another option is to partner with third party apps and list your business on Google My Business. Your salon will show up when clients are searching by location or for particular services, and they can book appointments directly through the app or by linking to your page in just a few clicks.

Attracting clients online

Online marketing is often the major concern for salon business owners. So how best to do that? Think about featuring a solid loyalty program online as a way to reward returning customers and attracting new ones. This could be set up through your website or social media. Next, just start networking. Sure you can network the old way at actual functions, trade fairs and conferences, put up flyers on street corners, and such. But what about using technology to help? Start by looking up online networking events. Perhaps your nearest Meetup is an even better way to connect and spread the work on your business? 

Next, it goes without saying that your existing customers have a goldmine of information and networks of their own. So following a visit, definitely contact them electronically, by text or email, and ask for referrals from them. Think about incentivizing these VIP clients to spread the word about how great your business is by rewarding them (say, 10% off that next haircut if the new customer mentions their name). This is one more way to focus on the new clients and keep the old ones happy. Finally, along these lines, be sure you have a contact form on your website. That way, all the folks visiting your site are immediately known to you and not lost. Perhaps think of offering them a free consultation to really get them in the door! 

Boosting your online presence 

Customers usually start their search for a salon online. As such, you need to be ahead of the curve. One obvious way to get their attention is to start blogging. Offering free advice through a personal or company blog is a more involved way to offer ideas, feedback, or just plain advice. It also presents you as an expert in your field. It might even help to be a guest blogger on a well known online spa or beauty magazine to boost your profile, your existing readership and get new clients. 

Social media is also an area to explore. It is free and powerful and one of the most effective advertising methods out there. Is also leaves a lasting impression. So, post what you are up to, your news, updates, and details on  Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Share images, showcase your newest talented hairdresser and engage with your followers. One of the very best, tried and true methods is also running a contest, raffle or competition on Facebook and beyond to increase your customer base.

Finally, focus on on your online reviews. With so many options, customers do read and make critical decisions online in seconds. These reviews will bring up all manner of issues: hygiene, final result, customer service and even the most random details you never thought about. It is all in the eye of the customer. But just remember, those online reviews really do leave a lasting impression and the research supports this. It suggests, online reviews impact nearly 70% of purchasing decisions. When it comes to actual negative reviews, the impact is no different. The same research suggests businesses risk losing as many as a quarter of customers when just one negative article is found by users considering buying their product. So, bottom line, you need to make sure your customers are happy. Build those relationships, ensure they have a great experience and please, ask them to leave an online review on Facebook, Google or beauty salon focused review sites like SalonSpy! 

These are just a few ideas on how to boost your salon business today. Online bookings, reviews, and marketing are proven ways you can better communicate with your customers and attract new ones. So start thinking differently about technology and don’t be afraid to virtually beautify your beauty salon one click at a time. 

Jessica Brown
Jessica is a globally renowned writer specializing in International Relations, Economics and Political Affairs. A graduate from Brown and Cambridge Universities she now focuses on helping small to medium businesses grow their bottom line.
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