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Oh, the life of a small salon owner! Between clients you are racing around sweeping floors, posting on Instagram, ordering supplies, slamming coffee, and replying to emails at freeway speeds. The ability to enjoy a nice quiet lunch while sitting down feels a lot like a luxury item.If it wasn’t stressful enough starting up your salon and running it day to day, you have to figure out how to get customers through the door when you don’t have the budget to hire a big marketing agency.

Well, you’re in luck. Here are 10 Free Tips on how to start your journey to improving your online visibility and increasing foot traffic.


Listen and listen up good on this one. We put this in the #1 spot by design. We know that you are probably skim reading right now, while trying shove that last bite of a sandwich in your mouth before your next client comes running in. No one wants a hangry stylist cutting their hair. Setting your business up on Google My Business is one of the most important things you can do for your business. For hell’s sake it’s FREE. Sneak off into the bathroom, whip out your phone and get your business listed IMMEDIATELY! It takes only a few minutes to start the process of getting verified.

So how big and important is your GMB listing? According to a recent Bright Local Study “49% of businesses receive more than 1,000 Views on Search per month.” Imagine getting in front of your target audience over a thousand times a month and letting potential clients know the most important information about your business such hours of operation, services you offer, promotions, and most importantly, as we’ll talk about later in this blog, item #5 “reviews”.

To get started with your free GMB listing click here or to learn about more features offered through a GMB listing



Yeah, I know what you are thinking… Who in the hell uses Bing? Though not always the household name for search engines like Google, Bing surprisingly is home to over 6.25% of searches online worldwide. This may not seem like a lot but it roughly equates to 72 Billion searches a year according to Bing. This is also a great medium to reach older demographic clients as 54% of users are over the age of 45 according to

Bing Business Profiles are built through their portal entitled “Bing Places for Business.” Much like its aforementioned competitor Google My Business, Bing Places for Business listings offers many similarities to GMB listings. To learn more and to sign up for your Bing Places for Business listing click here

Apple Maps

Apple currently holds 52% of the market share, and Apple Maps is the default map engine that comes installed on every Apple device.  Your clients may not always find you by way of search engines like Google or Bing. Mobile Map applications are also a very popular destination for people looking for services; Apple Maps has been one of the front runners in recent years. As of May 2018, an average of over 23.3 million unique users per month used Apple Maps to find services and destinations!

Apple Business Listing is very similar to Google My Business and Bing Places for Business (# 3 on our list) in the way of shared information about your salon. You can sign up for your Apple Maps Listing through your Apple iPhone per their App Store or if you don’t have an Apple iPhone you can apply for the Apple Business Listing on desktop by clicking here. If you need additional help setting up your Apple Maps Listing click here




If you have ever looked for the perfect restaurant in a foreign city then you know Yelp is your go to every time. But much like trying find the best Sushi in the city, clients are looking for the best place to the find most beautiful version of themselves as well (aesthetically speaking of course) Yelp is a social networking site that is dedicated to a community of user reviews and ratings of businesses from its massive directory.

This is another big kid on the block, garnering over 178 million unique visitors monthly across mobile, desktop and app platforms and according to, “45% of customers are likely to check Yelp reviews before visiting a business”.  There are multiple ways to setup your listing and there is a probability that Yelp already listed your listing for you, so that means you might have to claim your listing as opposed to creating it. To sign up or claim your current Yelp listing, click here. Much like all the directories named in this check list, Yelp helps your clients understand all the informational pieces of business.


If not for the fact that we had to cover some of the most important online directories this would of have been our absolute #1 item. Nobody tells the story of a salon better than someone whose been there. Search Engines and Mobile Map Applications alike lean on user experience to determine whether or not to display your business during a search. When someone searches for “Salon near me” the search engines and map applications want the businesses with most reviews of which a majority should have positive reviews. Those reviews help to assure the best users experience for the people looking for service through their search medium.

So how do I get these reviews you ask? The easiest answer is to ask your clients to leave you a review. This can be done a number of ways. Here are the easiest two ways.

  • You can verbally ask a noticeably happy client during the check-out process. You might even consider having a small print item that has easy instructions on how to quickly leave a review.
  • You can send links for your listings via text message or email to a customer list from your CRM. If your not sure what a CRM is or need to know what CRM fits you best click here.

Also, keep in mind though that most search engine platforms don’t allow for you to incentivize for reviews, for instance running a promotion where you get 20% off your next haircut if you leave a positive review can get your listing penalized or removed.

Almost Free Websites

It was not all that long ago that having a company website built was terribly expensive. Fortunately with the advent of DYI websites like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly , salon owners can build their own website on easy to use platforms

And the cost? Well that’s the best part, prices can range from no cost at all to in upwards of $40 a month depending on what features you want your website to be capable of. With so many choices it can be hard to know which of the DYI Website companies is right for you, here is a list of all the companies and their pro’s and cons. Click Here

Social Media

Oh the mighty Social Media, a place once only used to find out how bad of a mistake your friends had made the weekend before has morphed into a powerhouse medium for cost-effective marketing. We know the most challenging piece to being successful on Social Media is remembering to take the damn before and after photo.

A lot of successful salons have a special place within their salon with good natural light or trendy photo walls that make their photos stand out in the newsfeed. This is a sure-fire way of reaching new clients!

Unlike anything we listed thus far, Social Media by far offers the most variety of opportunities for marketing. However, we wanted to keep this topic simple, so let’s start with do you have Facebook and Instagram Business Page? If yes, Great, If No, Click here

So how often should you be posting? We recommend posting every 1-3 business days to keep your brand in front of customers without blowing up their feed. Content can range from recent client pictures, upcoming promotions, memes, customer reviews, inspirational or humorous quotes, or salon events.

These simple rules of thumb can help build an organic following that keeps the foot traffic coming through the door for years to come, but be patient because building a large organic following takes time. Now, we only touched on the big platforms with Facebook and Instagram, but if you are targeting the millennial audience you better bring your best SnapChats and Tiktoks as they have become great ways to captivate a new audience!

Email Marketing

So your working way through this list, all is well and there’s foot tracking galore. It’s so good you catch yourself wondering “will this last forever?” Though nothing in life is a guarantee outside of death and taxes, you can take steps to stay in front of your customers beyond using social media platforms, one of the best answers is E-mail Marketing campaigns

There’s a good reason 85% of U.S. retailers consider this form of marketing as one of the most effective customer acquisition and retention tactics. So how do you do it? There is multitude of ways but let’s start with the most popular, easy to use online email marketing platform and our recommendation mailchimp with prices ranging from free to $14.99 a month. Mailchimp allows users to create e-mail marketing campaigns targeted to email list that are exported from their salon’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or POS (Point of Sales) System. Much like social media platforms, you have an immediate reach to an audience already familiar with brand when trying to convey things such as newsletters, events and upcoming sales. You can even boost the email conversions with tactics such as promo codes exclusive to the email. To learn more about how to setup your mailchimp campaign click here.

Keep in mind that e-mail campaigns can be subject to anti-spam laws, to make sure you are staying compliant click here.

Community Forums

If it takes a village to raise a child than it certainly takes a community to grow your salon. The great thing about local forums is it can be a referral machine for your salon if done right. The trick is weeding through the multitude of local forums that fit your salon best because internet and social media platforms are packed with them. These forums can range from a general place to post about service inquiries to what’s going on in your community at large. They can even be industry specific forums that deal with only Cosmetology related topics.

A great and easy place to find community forums is on Facebook (or “Groups” as defined by FB.) The easiest way to find community forums that relate to your business on Facebook is by clicking here. Other online forums that live on the internet can be a little more daunting to find. You’ll have to spend some time researching using search engines to find forums that fit your salon best.

Once you’ve found the forums you want to engage with, it’s time to focus on how to build trust amongst its users. Again, much like posting on your Social Platforms, the key is checking in regularly to post offerings and sales events. Also, keep a lookout for people who are looking for your services; the more people you can happily service from these pages, the more likely you are to get free referral traffic from the community.

Something to keep in mind when searching for the right forum (or group) is that each one has its own set of rules and guidelines for posting and responses. Make sure to read all descriptions and restrictions carefully to ensure your status on these pages.

Referral Marketing

Nobody wants go it alone, so encourage your clients to refer or bring a friend. Remember all those handy social media handles you setup on item 7 and all the new community friends you made on item 9? Put them to good use by offer a discount for referring a friend.