Q: “What are the best salon marketing tools for a one-location tanning salon owner in a fairly big Midwestern city? I’m all for trying different approaches, but I want to get the most bang for my buck even when I use free marketing tools like social media. Which ones do you recommend and why?”
A: Excellent question! As salon marketing tools go, radio can be an effective. For it to work, you have to know how to partner with your local radio stations. That said, you already qualified why that might not work – your tanning salon is located in a large Midwestern city.
As you know, traditional marketing for big cities is problematic for a single salon. So it’s time for guerilla marketing. That is to say marketing techniques that are innovative, unconventional, and low-cost. Guerilla marketing is aimed at obtaining maximum exposure for a product. In my opinion, anything that offers these qualities are salon marketing tools that you should embrace.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is an obvious option as long as you manage that approach correctly. The key to social media marketing is keeping it “social.” Facebook is great guerilla marketing because of its low cost/no cost factor. Better still, it’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has already given us the formula for effective marketing on his site. He once told business owners that the most effective way to advertise on Facebook is to make 80 percent of your posts social and the other 20 percent business. The idea is that you need to build a large and loyal following above anything else.
I see some tanning salon owners make the mistake of posts several different deals on their products and services each day. While this does get word out about their promotions, I don’t think it’s the main reason people come into their tanning salon. As a tanning salon business consultant, I encourage my clients to think like the average social media user. You know, the people who clicks “like” whenever one of their friends “checks in” at the gym, or posts about driving to the story to buy a jar of pickles. (People love this stuff for whatever reason.)
I encourage you to concentrate on that 80 percent of social posts that Mr. Zuckerberg mentioned. There are ways to do this while keeping your salon as the focus while not being overly commercial. Here are a just a few examples:
- If you get a heavy snowfall and have to shovel the sidewalk, take a picture of it. Include a post about how you and your hardworking staff cleared the inches of snow so clients won’t slip and fall. Ask your Facebook friends if they had to shovel.
- Similar to the first tip, you can’t go wrong with any weather-related post. If you have a hot day, take a pic of a thermometer. If it’s raining, make a post about the puddles in the parking lot. (Be sure to include a pic.) And who wouldn’t love a gorgeous pic of the colors of fall reflected in the trees. Posts like these get people talking and keep your salon’s Facebook page active.
- If you ordered pizza or other food from a local restaurant, take a pic. Make sure to post about how much you love the local restaurant’s food and how glad you are that they deliver. Be sure to tag the restaurant, as well. This will get a lot of likes and comments, and could lead to cross-marketing opportunities.
- One of my favorites is to conduct a contest for the cutest dog picture. Let your Facebook friends do the voting. Keep in mind, everyone thinks their dog is the cutest; but as dog lovers, they will tune into your page to see other cute dogs.
- Post about serious topics get a lot of attention, too. Since many women tan, you can share posts that focus on women’s issues. For example, a discussion about harassment would likely stir some discussion because it’s so timely right now.
Email Marketing for Tanning Salons
Email marketing is an effective salon marketing tool. Much like social media, the emails have to be attractive and worthy of being opened. The key is developing email campaigns for clients with the intent of getting higher open rates. This is done by offering real deals or contests. It is amazing how many people will participate if they think that stopping into your tanning salon can give them an opportunity to win something, such as a month of free tanning at any level.
Use Your Salon Marketing Tools!
Whether it’s social media or email marketing, the key is to reach an expanded audience. One effective way to use these salon marketing tools is to combine them with a cross marketing partnership with a local business. For example, you could work with a fitness center that does not offer tanning. This is a great way to reach a bigger audience using the salon marketing tools at your disposal.
It was a pleasure answering your question. I hope this information helps you better understand the salon marketing tools you have. If anyone has any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask this tanning salon business consultant.