More advice for small salon owners – Marketing Secrets

March 17, 2008

We all know there is business advice available on the internet, but for many of us, we don’t know where to begin looking for the answers.  I found a publication put together by Hewlett Packard that is a collection of advice from online business writers.  Not only is the publication full of good advice, it is a great list of experts (full of links to their websites where you can get even more help!)  I am a big believer in taking advantage of all the free information you can find.

It is always easier to travel the road if you have tales and tips from those that have gone before.

A Letter from the Publisher of Small Business Trends
Welcome to our first—but not last—eBook featuring tips and advice learned from 100 savvy readers.
It was humbling to see the breadth and quality of these reader-contributed pointers. The knowledge of many is far greater than the knowledge of one. No matter how much one person might know, it pales when compared to the wisdom of those who live and breathe the need to go out and get and retain customers every day in order to put food on the table.
I’m reminded of the narrow margin for error under which most small businesses operate. As one reader said, “Market or die! When you’re a small business owner, if you don’t succeed at marketing, your business literally could die.”
And small businesses have to make everything count. As George Langan, CEO of eXpresso ( told me, “When you’re on a tight startup budget, you can’t afford a $2,000-a-month marketing mistake.”
Throughout the submitted tips, I noticed three themes over and over:

1. Simple and inexpensive tools are more popular than complex or pricey approaches.

“Duh!” you might be thinking. “Isn’t it obvious that entrepreneurs and small businesses, being on tight budgets, would favor low-cost approaches?” Well, yes and no. What was surprising is just how many of the tips cost literally nothing but your time. A large proportion of others, such as those that focused on using business cards or blogging, can be done for hundreds, not thousands, of dollars. So don’t be tempted to throw up your hands and say “I can’t afford marketing.” You can.

2. Authenticity, friendliness and relationships matter.

When you count your customers in the single or double digits, as opposed to the thousands or hundreds of thousands, relationships tend to matter much more deeply. The importance of smiling and being friendly was brought up again and again. Doing something nice for others and being yourself were common themes. Most small businesses are NOT about mass marketing campaigns. Instead, we rely on attracting and retaining a relatively small number of customers to be successful. A solo consultant or small Web design firm may have as few as five or six regular customers. For small businesses, investing in relationship building goes a long way.

3. Creative online marketing plays a key role.

We drew tips from those who are active online, so on the one hand you might think that the results would naturally be skewed toward online marketing. And to a degree I suppose that’s true. But I was surprised by the sophistication of the online marketing—especially on limited budgets. Some of the online approaches are very detailed and go far beyond the plain-vanilla “create a nice Web site” type of advice. A number of the small-business marketing techniques represented in this document get into advanced online marketing, including social media marketing.

Read (or print and save) the entire publication here.


7 Responses to “More advice for small salon owners – Marketing Secrets”

  1. 47project Says:

    Nice post. On that front…I just recently started reading Meatball Sundae from Seth Godin and he talks a lot about the new marketing that is out there and the importance of tailoring your company’s way of doing business to marketing options rather than the other way around. I’d highly recommend it. There’s lots of great info for the big picture thinkers as well as those specializing in viral marketing tactics, etc.

  2. Hey I have a good friend who has her own salon – I know she will benefit from these ideas.

    47project – I’m glad to hear the review on Meatball – I had wondered if it was a good as the name is at attracting my attention.


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  4. Ed Says:

    Some great advice. By the way, for Salon owners wanting to get some free advertising in the UK there’s this director service which has just started

  5. Sam Says:

    Great post! On salon advice, Lee Staffords is a good site I came across recently. The training videos help reduce staff training costs, the haircuts are modern and client friendly, and it’s an excellent supplement for hairdresser training in the salon or at home of course.

    Each video is a detailed step-by-step of haircuts and there’s a video that shows you how to color hair with each haircut. Lee does some of the video’s and Stacey Broughton does the hair foundation section.

    Good luck to all!


  6. tanya Says:

    Hey Sam, I’ve signed up with it’s very cool and have been practising hairdressing training at home. Some of my stylists have their own accounts also. Wouldn’t have known these training video’s were on internet if you hadn’t posted, so thanking you very much!

  7. youproblog Says:

    Hi, I found your blog on msn. I’m pretty happy to have found your blog because I think it is informative! I will definitely come back! Great resource for my students. Youproblog

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