how to advertise your salon online

How to advertise your salon, spa or clinic online [8 steps]

8 Dec 2020 by Kirsten McHarg

Do you want to start advertising your salon online, but you don’t know where to start, what to budget, or how to ensure your ads are a success? 

If you’ve put online advertising into the “too hard basket”, never fear. We asked digital marketing expert, Kirsten McHarg of Savvy Salon Marketing, for her top tips for getting started with digital advertising for salons, spas and clinics. 

Here’s how to get started with digital advertising in eight simple steps, according to Salon Marketing Strategist, Kirsten McHarg.  

Step 1: Create a strategy

The first step is to develop a strategy, which is the overarching plan of what needs to be achieved (goals and objectives), who the target market is, their pain points and frustrations (what outcomes are they looking for), the best way to reach them (Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc) and messages that will resonate. 

Questions to ask include: 

  • What is my goal from digital advertising? 
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What will my offer be? 
  • What can I afford to spend? 
  • Will I do this myself or do I need to hire an expert? 
  • What would success look like? 

The strategy is the overarching roadmap and once that’s in place, the platforms (or digital marketing channels) will become apparent. I wouldn’t advise embarking on any paid digital marketing without a strategy in place. You will only waste time and money and this is why I hear salon owners saying over and over that their marketing isn’t working, or that marketing doesn’t work.

Quote: don't do digital advertising without a strategy 

Step 2: Decide on your budget

There are various parts that go into making up a digital advertising budget and they are:

Ad spend + production costs + the fee for the digital marketer + and any third party costs (such as subscriptions to marketing software).

I recommend those getting started with digital advertising should be willing and able to pay at least $1,000 + GST per month for a minimum of three months. This would include the ad spend, fee for the digital marketer, basic artwork and ad copy. Three months is needed to allow for testing to take place and results to be generated. 

The beauty of digital marketing/advertising is that it’s measurable and trackable. That means you can test what’s working and what’s not to figure out where to put the spend to get the greatest results and return on investment.

It’s important that salon, spa and clinic owners think about digital marketing as an investment and not a cost. Digital advertising is trackable and measurable, so getting results is aided beautifully by it’s transparency so return on investment can be easily measured.

calculating ad budget with a smartphone calculator

Step 3: Choose your ad platform/s 

Once you’re clear about your goals for doing online advertising, you know your budget and your target audience, it’s time to choose your ad platform! 

The best digital advertising platforms for the hair and beauty industry include: 

  1. Facebook and Instagram ads (both run through Facebook business and ads managers) 
  2. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising through Google Ads (also known as Google AdWords)

Generally most salons, spas and clinics will start with Facebook and Instagram ads with a goal of attracting potential clients to their social channels and website. That’s because Facebook and Instagram ads are the most affordable. 

Pay per click advertising through Google Ads includes your ads being shown in Google search results. This is often more expensive and you can pay from $1 per click to sometimes $10+ per click depending on how competitive your keywords are. 

I recommend starting with one platform and mastering it before embarking on another.

Quote: The best digital advertising platforms for the hair and beauty industry include Facebook and Instagram ads, and Google Ads Pay Per Click.

Step 4: Ad copy and creative

Once you’ve created your strategy and know what platform/s you’ll be advertising on, it’s time to create your ad creative, including artwork and copy. 

The ad creative will depend on the platform you’re using, as each platform has different requirements. If you’re doing Google Adwords, you’ll need to write ad copy that fits the required character lengths of the text ads. If you’re doing Facebook and Instagram ads, you’ll need to write ad copy as well as create images or videos. 

Make sure your ad copy and creative is eye-catching, to-the-point, and has a strong call to action that makes the viewer want to take the desired action. You can create the artwork yourself using free creative tools like Canva, or hire a graphic designer.

Computer with ad creative and design 

Step 5: Create your ad campaign 

Once you have all your ad creative, it’s time to create your campaign. The steps you need to take to set up a campaign will differ depending on which ad platform you’re using, such as Facebook or Google, however you’ll always need to enter your daily budget, target audience, and ad creative and copy.  

The ad platform you’re using will guide you through the campaign set-up process, and if you’re unsure about certain aspects you can visit the platform’s help centre. 

Getting started with Facebook and Instagram paid ads can be quite a minefield and you can easily chew up money quickly with no results if your campaigns aren’t set up well. My advice is to seek the help of a digital marketing expert to plan the best strategy to meet your goals, and either run paid ads for you to set them up correctly and optimise them over time, or train you to do it yourself. 

Step 6: Set up conversion tracking 

The beauty of advertising online is that it’s trackable and measurable. However, you’ll need to set up conversion tracking for your ad campaign to be able to accurately measure whether your digital advertising is successful or not. 

This includes adding a Facebook Pixel to your website so Facebook can accurately track conversions for Facebook and Instagram ads, or adding a tracking tag to your website if you’re using Google Ads. 

Learn how to create a Facebook Pixel, and how to set up conversion tracking for Google Ads

Once your campaign is ready and has conversion tracking in place, it’s time to make it live! 

Google ads dashboard 

Step 7: Analyse and optimise your ads 

Advertising online isn’t a ‘set and forget’ marketing tactic. Once your campaign is running it’s important that you check on it regularly, at least weekly, to make sure it’s working as it should and make adjustments as necessary. 

Insights can be gathered from the following platforms:

  • Insights inside Business Manager (or Ads Manager if that’s what is being used), where you will find information under each campaign, adset and ad
  • Google Ads has insights within it’s dashboard
  • Google Analytics has a myriad of data for the website and various connected platforms such as Google Ads and also Facebook Ads. 

The trick is to look at the insights as a whole from the platforms being used and draw together a story about what is working and what isn’t and from that, make decisions about how to tweak and optimise a campaign. 

This could include increasing or decreasing budget, adjusting keywords, changing the creative or copy, or stopping an underperforming campaign or ad altogether.  

Once your campaign is running it’s important that you check on it regularly, at least weekly, to make sure it’s working as it should and make adjustments as necessary.

Step 8: Be patient

Salon, spa and clinic owners need to understand that digital advertising (and any form of marketing) takes time to generate results. 

One Facebook ad campaign in isolation, run for seven days at $5 per day, won’t do the job unless it’s part of a programme of over three months at least to test, learn and adjust. Digital marketing builds data and data provides information for decision making, which is what gives way to effective marketing that achieves great results. 

So, be patient with your digital advertising, optimise your campaigns over time and the results will follow! 

Start advertising your salon online

Now that you know how to get started with digital advertising for your salon, spa or clinic, it’s time to create your strategy and start advertising online! 

If you need a marketing expert specialising in the hair and beauty industry to help you, get in touch with Savvy Salon Marketing.  

For more marketing tips, read our marketing guide for salons, spas and clinics

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