Salon Tips to Fill up your Appointment Books
The average salon and spa in our industry is only operating at 35% of its potential. That means that if you have a salon or spa with 10 stations or rooms, and you are open 60 hours per week, you have 600 hours of opportunity to sell each week. But the average salon is only filling 210 hours, meaning there is lots of room to book more appointments!
The good news is that in today’s digital world, it’s easier and faster than ever to reach new potential customers to fill your space. The bad news is that there is a lot more competition as every salon out there has the same opportunity to reach out to consumers. Therefore your keys to success are being first, being better and being more consistent in your execution of these tips. Success is not easy, except for those that are willing to put in the hard work to achieve it!
Here are 5 tips to help any salon or spa get more appointments booked:
Salon Booking Tip #1: Have Great Website with Strong Visual Content
The outside window of your salon used to be so important to have powerful visuals and appeal to consumers walking by. But in today’s world, your digital window is 1000 times more important because that’s where consumers will have their first visual contact with you. 63% of consumers use websites to find and engage with local businesses. If you don’t have a website yet, come see us for help, because most consumers won’t even consider you. If you do have a website, make sure you update the visuals regularly and keep a powerful cover image on your homepage. The homepage of your website will make a lasting first impression that has a strong influence on whether a new potential client wants to book an appointment at your salon.
Here is an example of a website with a powerful image and call to action button to book an appointment right away. Your website plays a strong role in helping to book appointments, so be sure to feature a ‘Book Now’ option prominently, even if it simply leads to a message to call the salon for an appointment.
You can check out more website template ideas here. Don’t settle for a dated website that was built 10 years ago. Times have changed, our industry is about change, and therefore you have to keep your website fresh.
Salon Booking Tip #2: Make Online Booking Easy
I know. You don’t want consumers to book appointments online because they don’t know how much time it’s going to take to correct that horrible box-colour that they applied themselves at home. Am I right?? I get it. But rather than thinking about the reasons why not to have online booking, let’s think about the reasons why we should, and then manage the exceptions. Consumers today want things that are fast and convenient. Online shopping and booking reservations are becoming the norm. If you don’t offer consumers online booking, they’ll go somewhere else that does. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to allow them to book an appointment for EVERY service online. You can have exceptions and ask them to call for a consultation when you need more specific information.
If you’re going to offer online booking, you might as well incorporate it into your POS software system at the salon (which, by the way, you should also have). It’s just easiest to have an all-in-one solution where everything synchronizes together. We’re not here to recommend one specific platform. The reality is that there are so many that have been developed for the beauty industry. Here are a few to consider: Milano, Short Cuts, Mind Body, Millenium. We suggest you make a list of your needs, understand the reports and functions you want and research the options to see what suits your salon or spa the best. Don’t forget to read reviews and speak to other salon and spa owners who are using the various platforms to get feedback.
Salon Booking Tip #3: Improve your SEO and Rank on Page 1
Easier said than done. For people to book an appointment with you, they need to know you exist! In order to drive the most amount of people to your website, you need to show up for salon and spa related searches in your area. This is a very long and complicated process and nobody knows the exact algorithms used to calculate search results. Large companies spend thousands of dollars a month to have specialized SEO companies manage this for them. While we recognize this is not feasible for the budgets of our industry, we do offer a basic SEO one-time service that makes sure that your bases are covered. You can contact us for more details.
Here are a few tips that you can implement to maximize your search results:
The first is pay-per-click advertising. These are ads that appear at the top or on the right hand side of the page on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. You can have your ad show up when certain keywords that you choose are typed into a search (for example: ‘best salon Vancouver’). The good news is that very few salons are using this advertising vehicle and therefore the price for your keywords will likely be lower than it would be for other industries (the pricing is based on the demand for the keywords).
Next, you need to strengthen your Google My Business listing. We’ve covered off how to best do this in previous articles. You can check out Part 1 and Part 2 here. Since Google is by far the most popular search engine, optimizing your listing will definitely help your SEO. The best part of this is that it’s completely free.
Then you have organic website listings. Strengthening this takes a lot of work and includes factors such as optimizing your website for keywords, gaining links to other reputable sites, ensuring your business information is exact everywhere across the internet, having active profiles on many review sites (Yelp, Foursquare, Google, Facebook), generating social media traffic, and having an active blog.
If you do it right, you can show up in three spots on page one of a search:
Salon Booking Tip #4: Manage your Online Reputation
Word of mouth referrals are still crucial to the salon and spa industry (as well as most other industries as well). The difference today is that word of mouth happens online. When we are happy with an experience, we usually want to tell 1 or 2 of our friends. When we are upset about an experience, we want to share it online with 10,000 strangers!!
The bottom line is that prospective clients want to know what existing clients say about their experience with you before booking an appointment, so you need to make a proactive effort to get positive reviews about that experience. And when are people feeling the best about that experience? Right when they stare at themselves in the mirror after their service is complete. Once you have validated that they have enjoyed their experience at your salon or spa today (either the service provider or front desk staff should be asking this to every client), ask if they would be willing to share a quick review about their experience. 9 out of 10 people will say yes. You should follow up with a template email that can be sent from your salon immediately, thanking them for their business and including a link to the review platform you want a review on.
Be sure to respond to ALL reviews, whether positive or negative. When responding to a negative review, be careful to avoid getting emotional. You want to reply in a professional tone and work to make the situation right. You can take any ongoing discussion with that client offline in a private conversation or message to avoid any heated remarks being shared publicly.
Hot Tip: include your best reviews in a testimonials section on your website. Your website is the place where you can control your information and image, and usually the first point of contact for a new consumer, so use it to your advantage!
Salon Booking Tip #5: Have a Powerful Salon Referral Program both On and Offline
Harness the power of those positive reviews that you’ve gathered by rewarding clients who refer their friends to you. Here are 2 simple ways for stylists to implement this:
Offline: print out referral cards and encourage your clients to pass them on to anyone who complements them on their new hair (clients typically get rave reviews from friends, family and colleagues within the first 2 days of their salon visit). Offer $20 off for the new client and ALSO the client who made the referral. You can simply have a line on the card where the existing client (referrer) can put their name, and a line where the new client (referree) can put theirs. It sounds simple enough and you’ll be amazed at how successful this tactic can be if you stay consistent with it.
Online: same principle as the offline method, however you can either use a digital referral card which you can send to your existing client by email or text for them to share, or you can ask them to tag you on Facebook or Instagram if they post a picture of their new look, and if a new client comes to see you as a result you can honour the referral offer.
Digital marketing is a double-edged sword. One the one hand it provides so many opportunities to engage and connect with existing and potential clients, many of which are free. On the other hand, it requires so much more time and knowledge because you have to create far more content and manage digital channels that constantly change. Most salon and spa owners simply can’t keep up.
That’s why it’s often worth it to invest in some marketing help. You can get away with spending less in advertising dollars than you needed to 10 years ago, and it’s best to channel some of that budget towards tools and services that can help you maximize the many opportunities that digital marketing offers today, so that you can continue to focus your time on what you do best.
Feel free to reach out to us for a free assessment of your digital marketing needs. Our goal is to provide you with simple, affordable and impactful digital tools to help you grow your business.
Looking for more digital marketing and social media tips for salons and spas? Check out the rest of our Resource Library for valuable content to help grow your salon or spa business!