Marketing on a budget is something everyone does, whether he or she is the sole proprietor of a mini salon in Lawton or the head of a huge multinational corporation with a team of accountants, lawyers, and marketing/publicity people. Budgets are set—and sometimes blown—but having one is something everyone does at every level of business ownership. Most small businesses don’t have an annual marketing budget with a fixed number or percentage of revenues dedicated to advertising and marketing, but smaller businesses need to see what they can afford when the need arises. The good news is advertising your small business has never been easier now that practically every electronic device we own has access to the internet. Promoting your mini salon has been simplified by our cultural love of social media and just being online in general. You can use that to your advantage! Pair inexpensive online marketing with a few other wallet-friendly advertising methods and you’ll see results.
Create Listings for Your Salon Business in Search Engine Directories. Maybe you’re tired of hearing it, but there’s a reason we keep saying it. Making sure your salon in Lawton can be found on Google and the other major search engines is the most important thing you can do to get your name out there. And it doesn’t cost a dime. Google and Bing both offer free listings for any business. To get listed on Google, go to Google My Business. To get listed on Bing, go to Bing Places for Business. All you have to do is fill out some information about your mini salon suite, such as your operating hours and contact information, upload a few cute pictures, and that’s it. You’re done. You never have to do it again. It would behoove you to update your pictures as you add flavor to your mini salon, but after you register your business, you’re done with the crucial part: making sure prospective clients can find you.
Already Posting Pics? Have You Tried Video? People love to post pictures to social media, but video is the newer craze. Videos are all over the place. It doesn’t matter if they’re posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, or Snapchat, videos get attention. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a 10-second video is worth a dozen still images. If you’re not an amateur videographer, don’t worry! You already have a smartphone in your back pocket or purse, and that’s all the equipment you’ll need to create a video for your business. Just use it to shoot some video of your place when you hang a few new items on the walls, or have someone shoot video of you while you’re doing what you do best. And if you can shoot an educational or instructional video, that’s even better. Ask yourself how many of those “nail your winged eyeliner every time” videos you’ve watched on YouTube. Or what about those cooking videos on Facebook? You know you’ve watched someone show you how to make baked spinach artichoke dip ravioli or some such. Chances are, you know what we’re talking about, so leverage that for your business! Show viewers how to do a cute updo, some sort of nail technique, or a best stretch for people who work at a computer.
Guerrilla Marketing in the Streets. Foot traffic is real. While it seems like everything is online these days, it’s still true that an eye-catching sandwich board or poster in your salon window can bring people in the door. Window art and window displays bring people in the door, especially if you’re locally focused, and a sandwich board can reveal specials, boutique services you alone offer, and more. Bring your flavor to the sidewalk in front of your shop, and as we head into the summer months, why not put a dog bowl with water there, too? It’s a nice service to offer people, and you never know whose curiosity you might pique as they stop to read what you have to offer.
Offer Bonus (Discount) Points for Sharing. These days it’s surprising when a company doesn’t offer a rewards program. Coffee shops, hardware stores, grocery chains, shoe shops, cell phone companies: Everyone seems to have their own card or app that lets you earn rewards by using the service. While giving away your time for free is no one’s dream, inspiring loyalty in your customers boosts your revenue over time. Picking rewards that don’t cut too deeply into your bottom line can be a process of trial and error, but in the end it’s worth figuring out how to further incentivize your customers to choose you.
If you’ve done any online shopping, you’ve also likely encountered referral bonuses. Many sites will give you a discount code to share with your friends that will then bestow upon you a discount or bonus. Giving your customers a financial reason to tell their friends about you helps everyone!
Text Messaging for Openings and Specials. The vast majority of Americans walk around all day with a smartphone of some kind. Even if your clients are those holdouts who have traditional cell phones, they can still usually send and receive text messages. If you already have your clients’ mobile numbers for appointments and reminders, they’re perfectly okay with you sending them messages. Why not use their number to get in touch about last-minute cancellations, discounts, and more?
Go BIG on Client Reviews and Testimonials. They used to say the proof was in the pudding, but these days, the proof is in your reviews and testimonials across the internet. Review sites such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp can encourage business or drive it away. (If you get a negative review, know how to deal with it: we wrote an article about that too!). Start asking for reviews, and don’t let up. Customers definitely notice when reviews are old, and they wonder about your business when there are no new ones, so encourage your clients to post them. You can always give an incentive to post a review as part of your rewards program, as we mentioned above!
Stick with It. You don’t need a million-dollar budget to promote your salon in Lawton. No matter what you do or where you do it, when you’re actively promoting your salon suite business, you’re slowly building your brand—and your client list!