However, all that’s changed dramatically.
Competition on the ground has increased, with more salons and spas popping up in most suburbs. And this means of course, there’s an even greater need to stand out among the crowd these days.
The once-optional web presence has now developed into an absolute essential for all businesses that want to be found by potential clients.
Your web presence can be broadly broken down into your website and various social media platforms; both important, but often serving different needs.
Your website forms an important part of your business brand, and is in fact, the primary client attraction tool for your salon or spa. It provides your prospective clients with a sneak peek of your salon, which in turn allows them to feel confident enough to make that initial appointment.
But not all websites are equal in terms of their ability to help prospects find you in the first place.
The truth is that a visually appealing website, while lovely to look at once found, may not necessarily be helping you to get discovered by those prospective clients looking to do business.
Here are a few points to consider when optimising your website for client attraction purposes.
SEO: Improving your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO for short) helps search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo (plus all the others) find your website when a prospective client types key words into her search bar. If you’re responsible for your own website maintenance, then take the time to learn more about how S.E.O. works, and then keep your website updated with the necessary changes.
If you’re not technically minded, do some research and find a reputable company to help you improve your search rankings. It’s well worth it, given that the internet is now the number 1 place people go to find a new service provider and most people seldom scroll past the first page of search results to find what they’re looking for. It really does pay to be on page 1 of those search results.
Blog: An entertaining and informative blog on your website helps to accomplish several things.
First the fresh content supplied by adding a blog article will help improve your SEO. Search engines are constantly striving to find fresh, up-to-date and relevant content for their customers (you and me), and so interesting blog articles help them to achieve their goal, which in turn helps you to achieve yours (being found).
As well as improved SEO, a well-written article also offers you the chance to showcase your professional expertise to prospective clients who’ve found your website. Keeping this in mind, remember to write in a non-technical way so that your readers (who won’t be industry professionals) can easily understand what you’re trying to tell them.
For those of you who have video skills, adding a video makes your website very attractive to the search engines and you can add these to your blog also.
Whether you choose to write text articles or upload videos, do so regularly (at least twice a month) to maintain the need for fresh content.
User Friendliness: No matter how attractive your website may look, if your readers find it hard to navigate around, then there’s a better than average chance that they’ll click out and go elsewhere. Try testing your own website for this by asking yourself:
• Can my readers easily find the information that they’re most interested in?
• Is it structured in a way that allows them to drill down to find a specific treatment or category of treatments quickly and effortlessly?
• Is the information easy to understand and based on the benefits they will receive, rather than the technical aspect or the method of delivery?
• Have I included good photographs where appropriate, to help the client understand what I’m trying to say?
• If I were the prospective client who knows nothing about my business, have I provided enough information to encourage them to make a booking, or at least an enquiry?
Contact page: There is nothing more frustrating for a prospective client, who has taken the time to read through your information, than to send an enquiry and never receive a reply. If you have a contact page on your website (and you should), then ensure you’re checking your emails regularly every day, so that you don’t lose the chance of gaining a new client due to poor communication skills.
e-Store: In a previous article, I discussed how important it was to protect your retail sales from on-line competitors. One way you can do this is by having an e-store on your own website so that your current clients can re-purchase a product they’re currently using without going elsewhere.
With this option in place, clients are less likely to head off to other websites in search of their favourite product when they’re running low.
As well as retail product, your e-store can also provide the option to purchase profit-boosting gift vouchers.
This is a great convenience for purchasers who live outside your trading zone when they want to purchase a voucher for someone who lives close to your salon or spa. As with your contact page, you need to be aware of product orders, so be sure to keep a close eye on your emails where you’ll be notified of sales and payments.
If it’s been a while since you’ve actually visited your own website, make time to do so soon. Try to navigate through your site as if you were a new prospect looking for information.
Ask others to help you with this task by giving them a particular service or information to look for and then presenting you with their feedback. Make sure to ask them to time how long it took to find what they were looking for and most importantly, act on the information you receive.
Social media platforms are often places where your existing clients will go to connect with your business and check out your latest promotional offers. This makes them, in most cases, more of a client retention/sales tool.
There are so many social media options to choose from today, that it’s easy to get totally confused about which ones you should choose, as well as when and what you should post. You want to make sure that the valuable time you invest in posting on social media is going to provide a worthwhile return for your business.
The truth is that there’s no ‘one right social media option’. Your choice will depend on where your potential and existing clients like to visit.
For some it’s Facebook, others Instagram, maybe Twitter, or it could be any one of the dozens of choices now available.
The best advice I can give you is to find out where your clients like to hang out online and focus on 2 or 3 social media platforms at the most. Any more than that and you’re sure to be spending too much time online, leaving you not enough time to manage your business effectively.
To find out what the best sites for you are, consider asking your new clients where they first heard about you, and possibly survey your existing clients also. This should provide you with enough information to decide on where you should concentrate your online marketing.
Special tip: Many business owners make the mistake of bombarding their online readers and prospects with “why you should buy from me’ messages. Readers soon get tired of these types of posts and tune out quick smart.
Whether it’s your blog articles or social media posts, the rule of thumb is generally about 80% of your posts should provide worthwhile and feel-good information for your readers, leaving 20% for promotional messages about your business and services.
Remember, you have to woo, romance and engage your readers before you have the right to ask for their hand in everlasting commitment.