Though word of mouth remains a significant way to acquire new customers for businesses of all kinds, modern businesses require more. Today we’ll explore how salon owners specifically can harness Yelp and other contemporary advertising methods to drive customer acquisition. Still, these lessons can be applied to other business types as well.
Always remember that any business marketing strategy must involve multiple customer acquisition streams. Which marketing venues you use will depend on the needs of your specific business, but these might include supermarket advertising and billboard advertising on top of online, social-media-based advertising.
If you’re in supermarkets, you might want to research Cartvertising, so you’re sure to reach customers the entire time they’re shopping. That said, let’s get into how you, as a salon owner or marketing coordinator, can best use Yelp to grow your business.
Using Yelp to Grow Your Business
Yelp is extremely important for all kinds of businesses, but mainly service and product-oriented, consumer-facing businesses like salons, restaurants, or dry cleaners.
People use the app and website to source user-generated content informing them on every aspect of these businesses. How is the service? Is the product good? Is the product consistent? Users also rate businesses on a five-star scale. Negative reviews on Yelp can impact your business in a significant way.
You might know Yelp as a user, but here are some tips for using it as a salon or other business owner or marketer.
1. Claim your Yelp listing
The first step to effectively utilize Yelp as a salon or other business owner is to create or claim your page. Whether or not you’re on Yelp, your business probably already is.
The platform usually creates listings for every business in an area automatically to ensure their users keep using the platform and don’t go elsewhere to find information. This will always happen if users search for an unlisted business frequently.
Before you create a new listing for your business, see if Yelp has already done so. There will be a button near the top of the page that will allow you to claim the business as the owner.
After a quick verification process, you’ll have complete control over the page and will be able to update it with relevant new information as needed. Crucially, you’ll also be able to respond to both negative and positive customer reviews.
2. Keep your Yelp profile updated
Salons and other small businesses need to keep the information customers need to know as up-to-date as possible on all online platforms. If your hours are listed wrong, and a customer shows up expecting to find your salon open, but it’s not, the chances that they’ll return will drop.
Here’s a list of some of the information you’ll want to keep up-to-date on your Yelp page.
- Business name
- Phone Number
- Payment methods (are you cash only?)
- Parking availability
- Wi-fi (do you have it or not)
- Service pricing
If there’s more information people need to know about your salon, make sure it’s there. This is just a basic list. Even something that seems inconsequential to your business, like wi-fi access, is very important! Maybe one potential customer needs to access the internet on their phone while you do their hair. If they aren’t sure you offer wi-fi access, they’ll find someone who does.
3. Post photos
The majority of photos on any given restaurant page will usually be user-submitted. For a salon, it’s imperative also to post your own professionally shot photos. Whether you do hair or nails, you can’t always be sure your customers’ photography skills will be good enough to show off the high quality of your work.
If you’re good with a camera, take photos of some of your best, most representative work, or hire a professional to do it. As a salon, what you sell is very visual, so customers will want to see what they’re getting before they commit to visiting your business, let alone paying for your products and services. Use Yelp as a portfolio for the best examples of your work.
4. Receive and respond to Yelp reviews
Always ask your customers, especially those who you know love your work, to leave you a review on Yelp after you do their hair or nails. A healthy population of user reviews is crucial to the success of any Yelp page.
More frequently reviewed and more positively reviewed businesses tend to list higher up for Yelp searches. If your salon has a 4.5 average rating from 1,234 reviews, your Yelp page is going to be way more helpful than it would be were those numbers lower.
You don’t need to respond to every positive review, but you do need to respond to every negative review. Maybe reply a nice thank-you message to positive reviews occasionally to show that you’re engaged. But for every negative review, leave a professional-sounding reply that addresses the issues the disgruntled customer brings up, or offer a refund for the service they didn’t like, or offer a future haircut free of charge — anything that shows you’re committed to excellent customer service.
5. Offer deals and discounts
Yelp has a platform called Yelp Deals that you can use to offer and promote discounts and deals to potential customers. Conversely, suppose you lack reviews because you’ve only recently created your Yelp page. In that case, you can advertise elsewhere, whether in your window or at a grocery store, that you’re offering discounts to people who review your salon on Yelp.
6. Advertise on Yelp
Besides being essentially free advertising, you can use Yelp for paid advertising as well. Yelp has an advertising platform you can use within the platform.
Unfortunately, this will cost you. That said, it’s a great way to target specific local demographics and to get your business to place higher on local Yelp searches for “salon.”
7.Use your Yelp listing as a website
Hopefully, you already have a website for your salon. If you don’t, we recommend making one. In the meantime, use your Yelp listing as a website.
If you manage it well and keep it updated with all relevant information about your business and stocked with quality photos, customers should find everything they need on your Yelp page.
Yes, you absolutely need a good Yelp page for your salon. By now, you should have the tools and knowledge to make that happen. Once you’ve polished up your page, ask Yelp for some stickers. They provide branded stickers you can put on your window to show your customers you’re on the platform.
Hopefully, that sign will encourage customers to check in at your business on the platform, as well as leave a review. Soon enough, with a combination of great service and a proactive Yelp page, you could have hundreds of five-star reviews!