What You Need To Know About Salon Advertising on the Web
Tanning salon business owners are often viewed as ambitious, aggressive and forward thinking entrepreneurs. It is a trait of these individuals to look for new ways to increase client acquisition through creative advertising and marketing techniques.
Many salon operators will look to the web as an inexpensive way to expand their reach to new clients and keep in touch with existing clients. Initially, their plan seems simple: build a website and they will come. Although this approach seems simple, it is actually a very difficult marketing strategy to master.
Problem 1 - Web Advertising is Harder Than Most People Think
Without careful planning and knowledge of search engine optimization and search engine marketing techniques, your website may look good but it may never be found by your potential clients searching for a local tanning salon. If you hire a company to optimize your site (often referred to as an "SEO company") to increase the chance it will be found by your target audience, you could spends hundreds or thousands and wait many months before any results are seen.
Educating you on how search engines work and how to effectively optimize their website for top search engine placement is beyond the scope of this article but I will tell you that the complexities of SEO span far and wide. I have frequented salon forums whose member think all they need to do is keep submitting their websites to search engines and eventually they will receive a ton of web traffic. This is the furthest from the truth and in some cases this practice can do more damage than good.
Problem 2 - Your Must Reach Your Target Audience
Tanning salons will often have a very localized market. From hard data collected by my own tanning salon and from the salons of my clients, most tanners will come from a 3-5 mile radius (as the crow flies) around the address of the salon. Consideration must be given to the fact that web advertising needs to target people actually looking for your services near their home. If you fail at this, you may reach interested people but they are too far from your salon to become patrons.
Problem 3 - Most Advertisers Only Want Your Money
Some salon owners recognize that they need help in promoting their business online and look to professional web advertising companies for a solution. These may include large national directories like Verizon Superpages all the way down the list to small niche directories that cater only to salon businesses. No matter which one it is, they are in the business of making money and often charge hefty monthly fees to avoid removal and really push unnecessary add-ons. Granted that some forms of this advertising work, most of the time the drain on profits exceed incremental increases in business.
The Salon Web Advertising Solution
The national tanning demographic are men and women ages 18-45 with about 70% women and a growing 30% men. Nearly 75% of U.S. households have Internet access in some form or another with the overwhelming majority under the age of 65. Also, newspapers, phone books and magazines have recognized high readership loss dues to increasing internet usage.
In short, most people use the internet to find information rather than printed paper. Combine this with Google's 80% market reach statistics and you get a potential tanning client looking for local tanning salons on the internet using the Google Search Engine!
Based on this assumption, it would make sense to advertise in such a way that potential clients can find your business by searching the web. The trick is to find a reliable way to accomplish this without overspending and without investing a lot of your personal time in maintenance or learning search engine optimization.
Business directories are fast becoming a maintenance free way to advertise. Many of these directories are designed for quick results because of high traffic and ongoing search engine marketing campaigns. Luckily there are directories out there that are free or that aren't outrageously priced and that will provide ample real estate for your salon web advertisement. These present an opportunity for a salon owner to gain fast web exposure, promote their business and ensure that tanners will find their contact information when looking for a local tanning salon on a search engine like Google. A well designed salon directory will have the following:
- free or paid listings that do not expire and do not require monthly renewal
- ample space to get your message or advertisement across
- navigation that is easy for visitors to use
- optimization for top placement in the search engines based on keyterms that people use to find tanning salons
- direct links to your website if you have one
- an ongoing directory promotion campaign to maintain high traffic volumes to the site
What to Expect
Like any form of advertising, it will take time to begin working. Most salon owners will see their salon come up first on a Google maps search when looking for salon businesses in a particular town. This is especially true when Google retrieves this information from a "reputable" source. Also, salon owners may see their directory listing in the search results when using keyterms like "tanning salons in [insert town or city here]."
Keep in mind that a well formulated tracking system is almost as important as the ad itself. It will help you to pinpoint which types of advertising are working best and allow you to know where to allocate more or fewer resources.