Salon branding strategies for successful hairstylists

A brand is like the soul of your business. It’s what transmits life, energy, color, and attracts the ideal clients you want in your hair salon. In this article, we’re looking at your salon brand. Do you need to revive it? Let’s say there’s this new client. We’ll call her Jessica. She is new in town and searching for a hairstylist. Jessica had a great stylist where she lived before, but now she moved to your city. She received a work promotion and got transferred to your area, so she’s here to stay. Jessica is an ambitious young professional in her 30s. Would you want her as a customer in your hair salon?

One of Jessica’s first concerns is to find a great hairstylist in her new city. A professional who would understand the kind of service her hair needs, and would provide that service and much more in terms of advice and the right products to use in between salon visits, would be her ideal hairstylist. Jessica’s hair requires extra care as she likes to color it in different tones according to the different seasons. Therefore she needs a hairstylist with experience when it comes to recommending the right tones and what the process should be when going from a redhead to a strawberry blonde, for example. 

Searching for the right hair salon 

Being new in town, Jessica doesn’t know where to start looking for the best hair salon. She doesn’t have many friends in the area yet. So Jessica decides to do some research online. First, she goes to her friend Google and types: “best hair salons near me.” She knows that Google is smart and will hook her up with some good options without having her travel too far. 

Jessica looks at the results, and the first option is Glow salon. It’s only a few blocks away, so Jessica starts reading the online reviews. The first review she can see on Google, without even having to go on the salon’s website, is: “best place for Japanese hair straightening.” She’s not interested in that, so she’d like to see if she can get more details from other reviews. Jessica wants to know who the color miracle stylist is, and what other customers are saying about their color or balayage experience. 

Jessica reads the reviews and sees several people mentioning that this salon has “reasonable rates for regular services, and the staff is helpful and friendly.” It looks like a beautiful place, especially as other reviews mention how “cold and hot beverages are available.” As she continues to read the reviews, she learns about great hair cuts and fantastic manicure services. Not much about color or balayage so far. 

Who wrote your last fantastic review? 

Jessica keeps patiently reading the reviews. They are very positive. Everyone talks about how the salon exceeds their expectations. “Every cut it’s the best haircut I’ve ever had, then I cut it again, and it’s better!” Others mention the friendly service and how the staff is knowledgeable about styles. So far so good, but still nothing specific about color and balayage, these being the things she’d be more interested in. 

Eventually, she reads a review from an upset client saying that her hair is now green, which was not at all the color she was going for. Oops! The client wanted blonde hair. That sounds like something Jessica would never want to go through. She still remembers that one time at the pool, after she just had her hair done, how her beautiful new blonde color turned green because of the high chlorine in the water. To make it worse, it was just the day before having to speak at a conference while traveling for work. Imagine the nightmare going to a few different salons the next morning, trying to find a hairstylist who would come to the rescue turning the green into blonde again, but with so little luck. Thank God for the homemade remedies she eventually found online. It involved tomatoes and ketchup, which she remembers as if it was a nightmare. So no, she can’t really give a chance to this salon anymore. 

Why online reviews matter 

That negative color review was all that Jessica had to read to move on with her salon search. It just ruined it all for her. So how are your salon reviews online? What kind of services are you specialized in? Hair salons typically include the services offered on their webpage and on their social media channels. Clients can see the options they are interested in, starting with haircut & style, color correction, full color, highlights or lowlights, toning, balayage, ombre, hair treatments, etc. 

Many salons specify the services and prices for children too. Some salons have very long lists of services. That is great, you might think. The more services you offer, the more clients you’ll have. That can be a trap, and you should put your business glasses on to take a closer look at your salon branding. 

How to build a strong salon brand 

Every salon needs to build a brand to be recognized by. When clients think about your salon, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it that you offer the “best Japanese straightening,” or that “prices are very affordable,” or that “you provide hair color magic?” 

When it comes to branding, this is the essence of your business, which can be found in everything. From how you communicate with your clients, to the images you use on your social media, your salon name and logo, decoration, etc. Why is branding important? Because it helps you differentiate your business. The competition is aggressive, and without a strong salon brand, you don’t stand out. 

The importance of standing out is about helping your ideal client find you and communicating the right message to that client. Think about what you do best, and what would be the one thing you’d like your salon to be known for. Think about what your salon personality is and who is your ideal client. Think about the profile of your client. Are you catering to affluent businesswomen in an upscale area of town? Or, are you trying to have the most hipster salon in a university town? Is your ideal client a 30 years old young professional, a 20 years old college girl full of tattoos and piercings? Or, you’re more comfortable catering to women in their 50s? Try to identify your ideal client’s profile, which should tell you something about their age, gender, income levels, etc. so that you know the right message to transmit to them. As it’s easy to see from these examples, you would not communicate the same to the 20-year-old college student, the 30 years old business professional, or the 65 years old retired client. 

Who do you identify with best? 

When it comes to identifying your ideal client, think about what group of people you are most comfortable with. Sometimes you might feel most comfortable with clients close to your own age. That’s not always the best-case scenario, so there are more factors to consider. Think about Jessica’s experience when she was reading the online reviews. With that in mind, look at your own reviews and see who wrote the last amazing review you got. Think about that client’s profile, considering their age, profession, etc. Maybe some of your most stellar reviews come from clients with the same characteristics, and you might be able to identify your ideal client’s profile. 

Is there a market opportunity in your area that your competition is not serving?

This is another good question when thinking about the ideal customer to serve in order to be competitive. For example, college girls need their hair done, but they cannot afford to pay upscale salon prices. This underserved market might represent your ideal client if you’re a recent graduate of the Cosmetology school. If you’re an experienced hairstylist wanting to deal with a very established type of clientele, you might open a salon close to a senior living and retirement community. The women in those great 55+ retirement communities might be your ideal clientele. 

Where would you find your ideal client

Thinking about the above, where would you like to find your ideal client? What would be the places your client frequents more often? Would your client be in the college cafeteria, working out at the gym, gardening around the house, working in a big company, or taking care of toddlers as a stay at home mom? Think about what profile seems more in line with your ideal customer. 

While you’re at it, try to compose a profile of your ideal client. Think about your client’s life, his/her age range, gender, profession, hobbies, income level, and belief system. Having an idea about all of these might seem like a difficult task. Put together as many as you can. You might only be able to think about the neighborhoods where your ideal clients live, their age, gender, and hobbies. That gives you a pretty good idea to start with. 

Your salon personality 

There are salons out there that look very modern, fun, professional, glamorous, just right, hip, etc. Others are in a category they wouldn’t want to be in. These latter ones would be in the blah, flat, dull, nothing-special, colorless, or oh-so-boring department. How you express yourself is what makes your salon personality.

One thing you don’t want in the beauty business is to run a colorless and unexpressive salon. Your communication should never be expressionless and insipid but vibrant and engaging. 

How to bring color and life to your salon/brand 

Start with some basic but fundamental questions to help you define your salon personality. Why are you doing what you do? Think about the reasons you provide the services you offer, and how important your profession is. These are essential factors in what you communicate to your clients. Think about your values and what makes you unique. And yes, you are unique. 

Your story is yours alone. And it’s fascinating. Nobody can be a better version of yourself than you. That is the reason you must really have an answer to your “why” question. That sets the tone for your salon brand, bringing life and color to everything you do. 

The same way you have a great and colorful personality, your salon has to have a personality. You should be able to describe your salon as you’d be describing a friend, using adjectives like fun, attractive, reliable, and fashionable. 

Solutions to your branding problems 

When clients like Jessica are looking for a salon online, you don’t want just to blend in and do what everyone else is doing. What are your reviews saying? And why are your reviews such a mix of everything, instead of transmitting a unique and powerful message about your brand? To be competitive as a hairstylist, defining a brand would clear the air and help you focus all your communication efforts. You would know what to say exactly, and who the right clients to say those things to are. 

Last but not least, as part of your salon branding solutions, the Appointfix scheduling app is there to help. The online scheduling app is emphasizing your professionalism when communicating with your customers. Sounds attractive? Your clients won’t miss their appointments ever again, because the app does the notifying job for you and sends automated text message reminders to your clients. Plus you get Online Booking. These are just a couple of several very helpful client management features for your salon. You can download Appointfix from the App Store or Google Play to discover the many other amazing things it does. Here’s to your success! 

 

Emilia is Content Marketing Director at Appointfix, an app helping professionals and small businesses easily schedule appointments and reduce client no-shows using automated text reminders. Feel free to drop her an email at emilia.pustan@appointfix.com.