Google data shows that there are approximately 2,323,000 searches made online in the UK each month for phrases relating to hairdressers and hair salons- that’s a lot of hair needing to be cut or styled! Despite this, an estimated 40% of UK SMEs don’t have a website and rely solely on offline promotion. Many independent hairdressers are guilty of this and risk losing out on a substantial amount of business.
While recommendations via word of mouth or an advertising spot in the local paper are perfectly valid ways of getting your name out there, an increasing number of customers nowadays look online for beauty services – be that on a computer or a mobile device.
The first, and most important, step is to build a website. Think of it as your store front in a virtual high street! You needn’t build it yourself – the cost of employing a web designer or web design agency can be pretty small these days. Just make sure that you can easily and cheaply make changes to your site so that it can grow with you. You’ll also want to think about the look and feel of the site so that it’s identifiable with your brand, and the content of the site; it ought to display an email address, a phone number, information on the company, testimonials from other customers, industry accreditations, rates and fees as well as the area you work in and, if you’re a mobile hairdressers, how far you’re willing to travel for a start!
Once your website is up and running, have a think about social media. Willow Colios, Yellsites web project manager, says: “How many customers do you get from word of mouth? That’s all Facebook is really- it really is just another version of the traditional telling your friends about a great service you’ve received, except it’s instant and it’s global.” By setting up a brand page on Facebook, your business can be found in just a few clicks. It’s an easy job that can be done if you have just a spare hour or two and access to a computer and is well worth doing – Facebook bosses announced this year that 30 million people in the UK use the social network- that’s almost half the UK!
Twitter can be a fantastic and, of course, free way to promote your business. If you use Twitter for business, you can build up a group of engaged customers who then receive whatever messages you put out, allowing you to speak to people who are interested in what you do, directly. And they can talk back!
Yell works with hairdressers and other small businesses to create websites and promote them on the web. If you’re thinking about investing in online marketing, Yell has provided some top tips to get you going. More detailed guides on all of the above can be found at http://marketing.yell.com/