Industry • Best Practice
Sep.29,2021By Boulevard Staff
We might not yet be in a post-Covid world, but as we try to get used to how things are, people are slowly coming out of their caves.. Salons both old and new are trying to bring in clients after a long dry spell — many of whom have been reluctant to be out in public for months. If you run a salon, you need to reinvigorate your client base. And while there’s no one universally true answer how to increase salon clientele, there are some tricks that will help along the way.
Though the current situation has an extra Covid twist, the methods for attracting and retaining customers are something you likely already know well. Whether you used some of these methods when you were just getting started, or every time you opened a new location, nothing on this list should sound too daunting. It’s unfair and unfortunate that you have to go through it all over again, no question, but with just a little thoughtful effort, you’ve got this.
Covid hasn’t gone away and not everyone is comfortable visiting a salon. You can help them feel safe in your establishment by establishing your Covid safety protocols, and making sure people know those in advance. You can prominently place that information on your website, in an Instagram highlight, and on your booking platform. Will everyone on staff wear masks — and what kind? Will clients have to? Are you taking temperatures at the door? Are the stylists vaccinated? Do clients need to be? How much space is between chairs? People that feel safe and comfortable are more likely to book appointments, and a well-established safety protocol may also help bring back old clients that are reluctant to re-engage with society.
Instagram has been the go-to social media platform for stylists and salons for years. A well thought out, and well managed, Instagram profile is one of the best ways to build (or rebuild) salon clientele fast. If you don’t have an Insta for your shop yet, now’s a great time to set one up. If you do have one, a tonal refresh will give your feed a boost.
Make your shop easy to find on Instagram by including your city (and in some places, the neighborhood) in your profile. Focus most of your content on topics that a new client will be interested in: Show pictures of your space to show how inviting it is, and before-and-after shots of your clientele to display the skills of your stylists and make your clients feel special. It’s also easy to use Instagram to run short term deals and promotions (which are a breeze to set up with Boulevard), as well as drop news updates about hours changes and new team members.
Ensuring your space is one that people want to visit, and are happy to spend potentially hours in, is a great way to entice clients back to your salon. A poorly lit and cramped business does you no favors. Somewhere with natural light, art on the walls (especially from local artists), and live plants is a place where clients will want to be. If you have the budget, a selfie wall with an interesting backdrop and good lighting will encourage your clients to share their hair, and spread the word — and also provides a handy spot to take before-and-after photos.
If you’ve taken all this time to set up a gorgeous space where people want to spend their time, consider connecting with your local community, and putting that space to good work. It could be something as simple as finding other local shops that you vibe with, and having their business cards nearby. But you can also do a lot more — like letting local artists display their wares on your walls or on your shelves, or giving local groups wallspace to advertise upcoming events. These connections help link you to the community as a whole, and create a feeling of goodwill that will pay off in people on your chairs.
Only some 30% of clients return after their first visit to a salon — and increasing that number is crucial to building a community of repeat clients. If you make a new (or returning) customer feel great from the moment they walk through the door to the moment they leave, they’re far more likely to come back. That point we made earlier about doing before-and-after photos to make them feel special? Think that sort of a thing. But beyond hospitality, don’t be afraid to engage in some light sales tactics. If at all possible, get them to book their next session before they step out the door, guaranteeing another visit. But if you don’t manage to, salon software like Boulevard allows you to easily follow up and gently nudge them to come back.
Clients who feel well loved are also more likely to refer you to their friends, which is a huge boon, and a headstart on how to increase salon clientele. These happy clients can bring in others through the strength of their haircut and their enthusiasm for your service. A small referral-based rewards scheme can also help nudge clients into looping in more people.
Boulevard’s advanced client management tools allow you to track referrals, schedule followups, and even establish loyalty programs to keep your customers coming back for more.
The majority of new customers will probably find you by searching “hair salon city” or “hair salon near me” through Google or Yelp. While you can’t outright control how many stars you have on those (though hopefully your amazing service and wonderful space will keep you in high regard), you can (and should) claim your business on both. By marking yourself as the business owner on those services, you gain more direct access to tools to improve how you look when people click on you. You can make sure hours are accurate, respond to reviews directly, and confirm that the right website is linked — all of which contribute to your listing appearing more professional.
Your website doesn’t need to be huge or fancy, but what it should be is modern and full of up to date information. That means your own URL (not a long and complicated freebie one from Wix), and have basic info like hours, Covid safety protocols, location, contact information, and stylists that are all kept up to date. Above all else, it has to be mobile-friendly. Nearly 70% of customers prefer to book online if that’s an option, and more often than not, they’re doing it on their phone. For a potential client facing down a wall of local salons, a hard-to-use website can be enough of a red flag to send them looking for another option.
Building a clientele is more difficult than it has ever been, thanks to the ongoing pandemic. But that’s also created a huge number of people who want an opportunity for a moment of self-care, and just need the right push to come into your salon. These tips are all you need to welcome them back to your shop.
Boulevard was built to help your business achieve profitability at scale without losing an inch of sanity. See for yourself! Get a free demo today.