When you’re a small business owner, the marketplace can sometimes seem like a desert: desolate, dry, and a little unfriendly. It’s hard to build a client base, and marketing isn’t as straightforward as we all wish. Salon owners, though, have it a little easier. What salon owners sell is confidence itself. People want to look good, because when they look good, they feel great.

To say your salon’s services sell themselves might be a bit of a stretch, but you have an advantage, and the groundwork is already laid out before you by scores of other salon owners and marketing professionals who have been there, done that, and came back with these essential tips.

1. Google My Business

Your Google My Business page is the single most important free marketing tool you have. A solid profile will show up in searches on Google Maps. Customers use maps extremely frequently when looking for a salon.  All small businesses, salons or otherwise, should have a Google profile.

  • Set up your profile, confirm your address via the provided postcard. 
  • Make sure your profile is thorough. Your profile should mention the most common term searchers will use to find you. For example, include “nail salon” in its title or description, and all of the available info fields should be completed to the best of your ability. 
  • Update it regularly with pictures and video.
  • Encourage your customers to upload pictures. Offer to take a picture for them.
  • Get reviews: trust us that most of your customers are eager to help your business and just asking them to leave a review is usually all it takes. 

2. Use Local Influencers

We’re always hearing about social media “influencers” making millions from advertising big brands to their huge numbers of followers. Small businesses can actually play this game too, and you’ll be surprised how easy and effective it can be.

One approach is to take before and after pictures of promising clients and offer to share them on your social media accounts; if it’s an enthusiastic and satisfied client, she’ll probably agree to it, and will be willing to share the pictures herself as well. But if you really want to be strategic, identify which of your regulars have the best social media presence and offer to perform a free service for them in exchange for exposure. If you can spare the labor hours, this will pay off big time as your new influencer-partner leads their friends and followers to your salon.

3. You MUST Be on Instagram and Facebook

Speaking of social media, we’ll remind you: ignoring it is not an option. If there’s one thing multinational brands, small local businesses, and consumers of all breeds can agree on, it’s the absolute necessity of social media platforms in today’s market. As a salon owner, your focus should be on Facebook and its sister service Instagram. 

Instagram will be your bread and butter, since its visual-centric structure is perfect for showing off your best and most striking manicures, but Facebook is just as important because it functions as an alternative to your Google Business profile and facilitates quick, convenient engagement with your local audience, so they always have a way to reliably contact you and find out any new information.

4. Tag the Big Brands

Just as you should make an effort to foster brand-influencer relationships with local socialites, you should try to build relationships with the large brands on which your salon relies. We’re all leaning on each other in this industry; without premium nail polish products, your customers will be unsatisfied, and without the expertise of professional technicians, our products won’t get to shine the way they should.

When you’re posting manicure shots to Instagram, don’t forget to tag #snsnails so you can gain exposure to our wealth of loyal, enthusiastic followers. And you never know -- if your manicures make the cut, we might just post it on our own social media profiles and on the SNS website!

5. Marketing via Email

Email might be old news, but it works as well as ever for marketing purposes. An email newsletter is a great way to keep your clientele in-the-know, and it opens up possibilities for various promotional exercises like raffles, giveaways, and coupons. Plus, it’s basically a reminder that you exist! Sometimes, people need their memories jogged.

You should build a mailing list as soon as possible by making email part of your point of sale procedure. Try to get every new customer to provide their email address. If they have doubts, let them know that they’d be missing out on exclusive offers and customer appreciation events. In your regular newsletter, talk a little bit about the state of your business, and definitely mention any new, exciting products, like our revolutionary Gelous dip powders. And as with any other online publication, your email newsletter should feature plenty of photo content, preferably of the fantastic work done in-house at your salon.