October 2009

Build Your Business Online

Would you like to know about some easy, no-cost ways for salons to get more clients using effortless tools and tactics online?

As you know, everywhere stylists and day spa owners look, there seems to be somebody giving them another reason to step up their tech know-how and get busy promoting themselves on the internet. But with mysterious terms like social networking, website development and blogosphere, it can be hard to figure out what it all means, let alone how to use it to promote their services.

But with so many people trading information online these days, stylists may find that spreading the word about their services could be easier than ever—all they have to do is learn a few simple techniques anyone, even those without a website or a marketing budget, can implement.

Below are three steps that are easy and free, so any salon or stylist can benefit by putting them to use. They don’t need to buy a book to figure out the internet or even become tech-literate. Just a few minutes online could help them discover these easy ways to attract new clients through the Web. Building a clientele has never been easier or cheaper.

Step 1: Utilize online review websites. Most day spas and salons have loyal clients who rave about how much they love the services they receive from their stylists. Stylists who have a friendly relationship with these enthusiastic clients can kindly ask them to write a review of their experience on an online business-review website.

More and more salons are finding they are getting new clients through reviews written on sites like Yelp.com or Citysearch.com. Sometimes stylists aren’t even aware there are reviews about their services on these sites, so to be up to speed about what others are saying about you, it’s important to check out online review sites. In addition to the two already listed, also be familiar with Reviewpage.com and Yellowpages.com.

Step 2: Use an online scheduling tool. You will attract new clients and make booking appointments easier by doing so. A common time waster for stylists is appointment scheduling. Stylists can spend hours a week playing phone tag with clients. And often they are interrupted by a ringing telephone when they are busy. A free and easy solution to appointment-booking woes is an online scheduling tool.

When salons use a web-based scheduling tool, it becomes easy for new and current clients to click a button and book their appointments online. These tools were made so that it is super easy for stylists to set up a calendar online, clients can see their availability and book an appointment right then and there. No phone tag, no missed bookings. After each client books online, salons can have the bookings sent to them in an e-mail or put them on their websites, if they have one. Plus there are e-mail alerts to remind clients of upcoming appointments. Some of the best tools are free, so there’s no risk in trying them out. You can find one such service at Genbook.com.

Step 3: Talk About Yourself. There are hundreds of websites specializing in topics of new styles, treatments, and salon business practices; many clients and stylists visit them frequently. Whether it is an advice page or a forum discussion, there are many places where you can leave comments and join in a discussion. Use the space at the end of an article or blog to make a response that is relevant to the topic and reference your salon. A few good sites for this purpose are About.com, Yahoo.com and Answers.com.

It can be that simple. Even if your salon tries just one or two of these techniques, you can find your businesses attracting more attention than ever before. And with each of these techniques being free and not requiring even a website, there’s every reason to give it a try.

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