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Industry • Best Practice

Navigating Salon Success with Creative Strategies


By Boulevard

Four adaptable, data-driven strategies for your salon from Boulevard Senior Education Manager Jozlyn Miller

There’s no one right way to run a salon; this is an industry that thrives on expression, individuality, and attention to detail, not formulaic optimization. But that doesn’t mean you have to build every strategy from scratch. If you’re looking for inspiration to take your business to the next level, you need the right creative framework informed by real-life data.

That’s what our Senior Education Manager Jozlyn Miller provided at the Data-Driven Salon Summit in Denver, Colorado. Her panel broke down four strategies that any self-care or beauty business can adapt to build toward a better business. It was great to see it in person — but don’t stress too much if you couldn’t make it. Here’s what you need to know straight from Jozlyn’s presentation.

Fostering a modern team culture that thrives in adaptability

Adaptability isn’t just a desirable trait in today’s industry; it is 100% necessary for today’s fast-paced and competitive industry. So, what can you do to bring that adaptability to your business? It starts from the top and how you foster adaptability within your team. Your style of leadership plays a significant role in shaping your team culture. Effective leaders must:

  • Share your vision and goals. This way, everyone knows where you’re trying to point the ship, and they can join in on the mission.

  • Instill confidence and draw passion. Keep reminding your employees that you hired them — not someone else — for a reason. Empower them to do the damn thing in the way only they can.

  • Motivate resilience and adaptability. Nobody gets everything right all the time. Do mistakes and missteps cause blame and anger at your salon, or do your employees take the lesson and knock it out of the park next time?

That last point ties into another important cultural note: great leaders understand that you need to blend leadership with mentorship. You have to support your team’s development both personally and professionally. You have to challenge them to think critically and push past their comfort zones. You have to share your own hard-won knowledge to help them learn from big wins and blunders alike.

Remember that you’re part of a lineage of beauty professionals: locally, nationally, and historically. What kind of legacy will you leave behind?

Finally, don’t forget to share the bigger picture of your business with your team because if you don't, how do you expect them to adapt to operational enhancements? Sharing this will help them understand the “why.” From there, make sure you are encouraging open communication and collaboration within your team. Be receptive to their suggestions as they can offer a unique perspective. Think about leaning into your technology. Tech plays a crucial role in enhancing a salon’s operations. Your staff being able to adapt to your technology is important because it enables your business to respond quickly to changes, it helps streamline your workflow and it’s an easy way to personalize the client experiences. Giving you the advantage when trying to stay competitive in today’s industry.

Attracting and retaining clients in a competitive market

It may seem paradoxical, but your growth mindset should always start with retaining your existing clients. If a client returns within the first 30 days of coming to your salon, you have a high chance of converting them into a regular. Since it costs 5 to 10 times more to attract a new client than to retain an existing one, building up your base of regulars is a very cost-effective way to grow your business.

How do you retain? Two words: client experience. The skills you bring to the table are important, but they are only a fraction of what matters compared to the overall client experience. Refining your client experience means evaluating each step of the client journey: the booking experience, preparation,  welcome, service, send-off, and nurture. By zoning in on this journey, it allows you to find opportunities for personalization and better anticipate your client’s needs, automatically elevating the type of service you are delivering at every client touchpoint. Some crucial points to remember about the client experience:

  • Consumers have shown they want personal experiences, especially those that enhance their quality of life. Personalized, luxury experiences, aimed at strengthening self-esteem and beauty will hold the highest regard in this evolving economy, as long as the client sees the value.

  • A strong client experience is therefore crucial for turning first-time visits into loyal clients.

  • Client loyalty is your top KPI (key performance indicator)! It is a direct correlation with repeat business.

Of course, you have to get some new clients in the door to convert them to regulars. If none are showing up, you have a marketing problem. Most modern salons can look at their marketing as a three-part practice:

  • Optimize your website. Do you offer a seamless booking experience that’s mobile-friendly? Do you show off client testimonials that will let new clients know the quality they can expect? Do you showcase your team to excite new clients about who they’ll work with?

  • Build your social media presence. Social media’s fun, but don’t let it play you. Invest in targeted advertising, share great content such as before-and-after shots, and make sure your call-to-action buttons are easy to find to keep those conversions rolling.

  • Invest in broader marketing. Some more potential wins include rolling out referral programs, cross-promoting with local businesses, and hosting events and workshops.

How to effectively track your ROI

Not all business owners are numbers people, and that’s fine. But if you want your salon to keep going for many years to come, you need to keep a close eye on your return on investment (ROI). 

Always start by defining your goals first. Then, determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) you need to measure your growth toward your goals. Here are three common examples:

  • Increase brand awareness: Track engagement metrics, such as conversion rate and impressions, to determine how your marketing efforts are working.

  • Boost client retention: The clients you already have are key to your success. Track your average client lifetime value (CLV) and return rate to see if your retention efforts are getting them to come back and spend more.

  • Increase overall revenue: Keep track of fiscal metrics, such as annual revenue and average tickets, to see how your business is growing from year to year.

Consider the financial aspect of this too. Increasing revenue this year compared to last year could mean paying off bills, hiring more headcount, or kickstarting expansion plans.

Once you've nailed down your goals and their timelines, the next step is figuring out how to track progress. Engagement metrics, CLV, revenue growth, and return rates are all fantastic KPIs to monitor, ensuring you're on track to achieve your desired outcomes.

When measuring your ROI for digital marketing, focus on key metrics to ensure that you are putting your money towards the right efforts. Yelp and Google Ratings are necessary for but this is only one aspect of the equation. 

Zone in on methods to better understand what channels are working for you. It's vital to identify the source of each new customer that books an appointment with you. Were they a client referral, from a promo, or from your social accounts? Think about how you are monitoring the performance of each channel. Once you’ve gathered enough data, you will want to focus on loyalty metrics with measurable financial benefits, such as: 

  • Which channels attract the most clients  

  • Determine the retention rate to understand how many of those clients are rebooking.

  • Then, determine which channels produce clients with the highest CLV to understand the total monetary value of a client. 

This will help you make a data-driven decision, telling you exactly which channels warrant your investment and which channels may be misaligned.

How embracing technology can leverage your business

Nothing will ever replace the core relationship between a client and their stylist. But there are so many new and effective ways to center and elevate that relationship. These advances in technology are revolutionizing the salon industry, and they’re coming faster than ever before.

Automation is key to creating a better client experience at scale. Digitized forms and intelligent data capture ensure your business has what it needs with minimal hassle for clients. Automatic confirmations and smart marketing keep your outreach rolling while freeing up staff for more valuable one-on-one interactions. Online storefronts let you close the gap in the client’s shopping experience.

AI, too, has the potential to revolutionize the way your salon operates and thrives. Think about how you can implement AI into your training and development to empower new employees faster and reduce hands-on requirements. Use AI to generate fresh, relevant topics for blogs, social posts, and newsletters. AI can even help you draft service descriptions and staff biographies before you hand them off to team members for the personal touch.

Whatever new technologies or strategies you try out for your salon, take gradual steps. Focus on training your staff so they see why the new way will be a big help instead of just one more hoop to jump through. And always remember that you have a village! You don’t have to do it all on your own.

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