Ready to take the plunge and create your own website? Congratulations! Websites are valuable tools of the digital age and any reputable business is expected to have one. These information hubs can not only aid in customer retention but help attract new business.
Here are some suggestions for getting the project going and marketing it once the site is up and running.
Do Your Homework
Chances are you’ve been mulling over the idea of creating a website for some time and have a general direction in mind. Before diving into specifics it’s important that you do your research. Jot down a list of competitors who have killer web presences and diversify that list further with a handful of websites from unrelated industries. This mix of industry specific sites and “others” will give you a well-rounded perspective.
Take note of any strengths and weaknesses. How do they present key information? Are there any unnecessary distractions? How often are the websites updated with new material? What’s missing? This information can serve as a roadmap for building your own site but steer clear of copying any of your findings. Instead draw on the experience to make your site the best it can be and revisit your research monthly.
Stand Out From the Crowd
Your salon has taken careful steps to differentiate itself from competing businesses and highlight its unique qualities. That same focus needs to be applied here. An attention grabbing look and feel, reinforced with stunning imagery and convenient navigation, inspire customers to use the site again and again, and eventually try your services.
Streamline and Simplify
There’s an old saying, “A confused buyer never buys.” While this is referring to sales in the classic sense, the sentiment reigns true. A busy, cumbersome web presence is counterproductive and will only deter your customer base. Remember, this is the age of instant gratification. A salon’s website should be simple in structure with a series of well delivered, contentiously laid out pieces, not an overly elaborate, multi-leveled entity. Make sure key information such as how to book an appointment, links to social media accounts, links to stylist profiles and portfolios, and pricing is visible at all times. Eliminate any unnecessary obstacles and streamline your pages navigation. Customers should find any information they seek in 3 clicks or less.
Content is King
Quality content has a host of benefits. Short, interesting blocks of copy and enticing imagery can help build your customer following. Furthermore, content rich websites often rank better in search engine results which leads to new potential customers. Search engines use a portion of that copy as callouts in search results. In addition to using a voice that your market will appreciate, make sure you are using terms in the copy that reflect how a client might search for your services.
You Must Market
A website with little to no exposure is essentially useless. Anywhere the salon name is listed the web address should be found, including business cards, company newsletters, email signatures, social media, salon signage, and service receipts. For salons with a dedicated budget, online advertising such as pay-per-click marketing can help increase market reach and competitiveness in search engine results.
Stale and Easily Forgotten
Your website is an extension of your business and must evolve with it. Weekly, bi-weekly and monthly updates to keep the content fresh will give customers something to look forward to with each visit. Plan your content strategy out as far in advance as possible and set up regular update reminders on your schedule for these changes.
Monitor & Reflect
We as creators tend to marry ourselves to an aesthetic that suits our personal preferences but that doesn’t necessarily make it effective. That’s where access to valuable data tools is essential. Data is wonderfully objective and can reveal weaknesses otherwise unknown. Monitor site activity regularly using free web analytics tools such as Google Analytics. In addition to measuring the success of the site, invite customers to share feedback so you can make the site really work for you!
Jim Bower is the founder of Floydware, LLC and Rosy Salon Software. He is a former salon and spa owner with over 30 years of experience in the industry.