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2020 is approaching us quickly and it is important to lay out a strategy to use your website as a magnet to attract new clients. Whether you are just starting out and looking for a digital marketing plan or you have been utilizing digital marketing for years, this guide will help you adapt to the changing conditions of our industry and the potential clients' website actions.

Here are the most important steps for you to take to ensure you have the highest probability of increasing your new client count using your website!  

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Audit and Optimize your Website

This means making sure your website is the best it can be. Believe it or not, potential clients are searching for new salons every single day in your city. If your website is not optimized, you have a tiny chance of landing these new clients. Start with these questions about your current website:

  •  Are all your pages written with your client in mind?
  •  Do you use words that your client would be searching for?
  •  Does it tell the client what they need to know?
  •  Does it have good content?
  •  Does it have good performance?
  •  Is it easy to navigate?
  •  Does it currently convert website traffic into appointments?
  •  Is your website mobile responsive (does it shrink screen sized or run off the page, is the text too small, does it have a mobile action button that hovers over every page?) Google uses mobile first indexing, which means it crawls your website in its mobile form and if it is not mobile friendly, Google penalizes you.

These questions can help you determine if you are in a good position to show up on a Google search and also convert any traffic into clients!  A website audit is a great place to start with technical optimization.  Salon.Marketing provides a FREE WEBSITE AUDIT here:  https://salon.marketing/free/free-website-audit/

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Get Found on Google

Around 89% of consumers use a search engine to find information or products. There are 2 ways you can be found through search engines:

Paid: Paid search drives traffic to your website by placing display advertisements on key segments of a site or through the use of hyperlinks to your site on top of search results. Paid search provides immediate results. A typical budget for a salon can range from $150 - $800 per month in paid search.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization is a complex and living machine. Google is the most popular search engine and most of your clients and potential clients are using Google. SEO can be divided into 3 main categories: On-Site Content, On-Site Technical and Off-Site Optimization. matching words and phrases on your website to words and phrases people are searching for on Google. This drives tons of traffic and is worth investing in. A typical investment period for a solid SEO strategy is 12 months of initial SEO and ongoing for maintenance SEO. A typical budget for a salon can range from $300 - $1500 per month depending on the competition of your location.

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Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) has become one of the most important parts of an SEO strategy for salons and spas. Ensure your profile is claimed and optimized. It is also important to be active on the platform weekly! Make sure your website links to your GMB profile and ideally that you embed the GMB map on your website as well!

Things to examine when you are editing your Google My Business profile:

  • Are my categories correct?
  • Have I added all categories that I am in?
  • Are my hours correct?
  • Is my website linked (homepage, menu / services, appointment)?
  • Have I added my services?
  • Do I have sufficient photos? 
  • Do I have more GOOGLE reviews than my competition?
  • Am I utilizing GMB posts? 

Google My Business posts are offered and it is recommended that you use posts as your ongoing efforts to stay active on the platform. Add your photo to the photos section of GMB then create a post from that photo. This way you have added two pieces of content to the platform.

93% of people say online reviews impact their buying decisions, which is huge! Make sure you have a strategy to obtain online reviews. In the salon and spa industry it is important to have a strategy for Google Reviews. Positive Google reviews help push your Google My Business listing to the top of search results. Your goal should be to have DOUBLE the amount of reviews as your next competitor. Also, respond to reviews. Responding to reviews will also help you stay active on the GMB platform.

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Website User Experience (UX)

It is important that you utilize the traffic that you drive to your website to create a user experience that is easy for a potential client to turn into a paying client. 

Current statistics show that over 70% of the traffic on websites in the salon and spa industry are coming from a mobile device. Creating an easy to navigate mobile experience can be the difference in a 1% conversion rate and a 20% conversion rate. For example if your website gets 1,000 visitors a month and you have a 1% conversion rate using a bad UX, you are only getting 10 potential actions on your website. If you have a great UX with a 20% conversion rate (which is what we see with a good UX), you have a potential 200 website actions with a good amount of those being possible new clients.

Using Book Now / Call Now buttons are essential in today's digital landscape. Having call-to-action buttons that will be static at the bottom of the screen is ideal to create a mobile UX that gets utilized at a high rate due to the ease of use

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Track Your Progress

Since you have decided to put the effort in and execute a website that can get traffic and convert that traffic to actionable efforts, it is important to know if what you did is working or not. The most important things to track are:

  • Website Traffic (Sessions, Avg Session Duration, Bounce Rate, Traffic Sources, Landing Pages, etc)
  • Goal Conversions
  • Google Search Impressions
  • Google Search Clicks
  • Google Search Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Google My Business Reviews
  • Google My Business Calls, Clicks and Directions
  • Google My Business Searches
  • Google My Businees Views

Tools that will help you track these statistics are: Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Googe My Business. I would suggest possibly using a service that can put all of these together in 1 dashboard or report for you to review monthly. If you are going to invest in an SEO partner, make sure they are going to be providing you a report with these statistics monthly. 

If you decide to execute this plan, you will nearly guarantee positive results in 2020 for your salon on the digital marketing spectrum. It is not an easy task and I would rate it a 5/5 in terms of time needed and difficulty, but for an ambitious salon owner that has time to invest, the dividends will pay off long into the future.   

As a salon owner and a digital marketing agency owner, I can attest that these steps have created a solid groundwork for my salon, Roots Southern Salon  in Savannah GA, and many others around the USA and Canada.  

About the Author: Lucas Renfroe is a founding partner of Salon.Marketing, a digital marketing agency specializing in the salon and spa industry.  Lucas also owns a salon in Savannah, GA with his wife Susan, Roots Southern Salon. He works with other salon owners on a daily basis to overcome the challenges of leveraging Search Engines to generate more new clients.  You can reach him at lucas@firstpagelife.com.