disappointed client and hair stylist

Bad hair day: 5 beauty marketing mistakes (and how to recover from them)

By: Jeff Law

Tried everything to market your salon business, but don’t have your calendar as full as you would like? Between managing your customers and handling everyday salon issues, it’s hard to put together a cohesive beauty marketing strategy to keep the wheels moving. 

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Most of the time, small mistakes slow things down instead of increasing your visibility. They may seem harmless, but before you know it, they eat up your marketing budget without providing any return on investment (ROI).  

Improving your salon’s profit margins takes more than increasing prices or selling more products and services. You need to master your marketing and build a strategy that gets you new clients and simultaneously improves retention rates. 


The industry revenue is expected to register consistent growth in the next three years and reach an $800 billion market value by 2023. You need to find out what keeps your marketing disheveled and turn those mistakes into opportunities in order to benefit from this growth. 


Here are five beauty marketing mistakes that make each day a bad hair day for your salon business and fixes you can make to secure successful outcomes. 


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You have no strategy  


Not having a marketing plan means gambling with your marketing budget. Testing marketing techniques randomly may work once in a while, but most of the time, you end up overspending on “magic formulas” that don’t bring clients. 


Putting together a cohesive marketing strategy means setting clear goals and deciding how much you can spend to achieve them. It’s documenting your campaigns, setting milestones, tracking efforts, and measuring results. When you track everything, you can replicate the campaigns that generate ROI and fix what’s not working to make sure you spend your money wiser next time. 


You make assumptions about your target audience 


Being in your salon all day makes you feel like you know your clients better than anyone. So, you skip market research hoping to cut down marketing costs. It’s a method that limits your growth possibilities and results in poor customer service in the long run. It’s also bad for marketing--when you don’t know what your clients want, your messages don’t capture the attention necessary for getting new clients. 


In the beauty industry, many customers only know what they’ve used and seen. So, you need to learn how to read between the lines when taking feedback from them. Anticipate their needs, educate them about new products and trends, and encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone. 

To do that successfully, you need to know your potential clients well.


Anonymous questionnaires and in-person interactions can help you understand why people chose your salon in the first place. Use this data to ideate marketing campaigns that target similar people in your area who have the same problems, needs, or aspirations. 


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You ignore or underestimate the power of social proof


Social proof is another name for informal social influence: people tend to copy others’ actions, which they see as the “correct behavior” in a given situation. When your potential clients see other people coming to your salon, they’ll perceive it as the right behavior and copy it. 


This social phenomenon makes reviews and testimonials a powerful tool in marketing. Word-of-mouth can bring clients without spending a dime on advertising. And you can use it to create a reputation for your salon offline and online to reach more people. 


As much as 82% of customers read online reviews before stepping into a local business. Ask your current clients to leave honest Facebook and Google reviews. Then, don’t forget to answer back politely, even when the feedback isn’t positive. It may seem like a small gesture, but 97% of people who go through reviews also read the answers before deciding. 


You improvise social media strategies   


Social media management is time-consuming, so it’s easy to lose track of posts and interactions when you already have a business to run. However, inconsistent posting, not engaging with your audience, and answering messages an hour too late are all marketing mistakes that push people away. 


On the other hand, you can’t afford not having a social media presence. This is especially true when your competitors have active Facebook pages and rock it on Instagram. If people can’t find you online or arrive on a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated for six months, they might think you’re out of business. 


A lot is happening on social media, and you need to stay on top of the trends to remain in your public’s eye. Marketing blogs and podcasts are excellent sources of information for local business owners who want to keep up with what’s new in the industry. 


Also, small hacks, like eye-catching visuals, Messenger bots for business, video content, or stories, take a relatively small budget to implement and have excellent ROI. If it’s hard to keep up with all this, you can always outsource the service and still get a great return on your marketing efforts.    


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You use discount sites to get new customers


Discount sites may seem like a cost-effective method to get a significant number of new clients fast. However, it’s more of a trap than an effective technique to generate consistent business growth. 


Discounts in this industry can easily turn into a marketing mistake, as they can influence how people perceive the value you provide. Plus, they often attract the wrong category of clients. Discount hunters rarely turn into loyal clients, so the strategy isn’t sustainable in the long run. As soon as you start charging the correct price for the service, clients acquired with discounts go somewhere else.   


Instead of paying for subscriptions on discount sites, invest the money in loyalty programs, local search engine optimization for your website, or high-quality social media content. They’re all lucrative ways to open new conversations and consolidate relationships with existing customers.


Any of these five beauty marketing mistakes may seem effective methods when you first start, but it’s essential to look at the long-term effects. Posting random messages on Facebook or offering discounts could still bring enough clients at the beginning, but it’s not necessarily a good thing if people enter your salon for the wrong reasons. You want to attract the right type of clients and make them come back to secure consistent revenue and business growth. 

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