Three Decisions To Make Before Writing a Hair Salon Marketing Plan

Edited by Admin
Growing Hair Salon revenue for Salons, Hairstylists and Suite Tenants

You are an independent hair salon or self-employed hairstylist or salon tenant looking to build a marketing plan to grow your hair salon business.  Available web content is too generalized and not specific to the salon business.  There is also nothing that you can find that summarizing the pre-thinking that should be done BEFORE you try to build your hair salon marketing plan.  Chain salons and franchise salons buy into a business wide system that guides their marketing.  It’s part of the brand process and franchise arrangement.  Independent salons, stylists and salon tenants may need some direction or support. This DIY Marketing module is here to change that.


But first….we have made a few presumptions on your behalf:

a)     You have a location with the kind of space you need,

b)     you know what kind of hair services you are providing, level of services and pricing,

c)     you know the type(s) of dream clients you want to attract and clients you want to retain.


Now let’s make sure you have the following in place before writing a hair salon marketing plan:

A/ Commitment:

You are firmly committed to growing your hair salon business, increasing revenue and identifying and filling your empty appointment slots.  You are also committed to making some tough decisions such as replacing lower paying clients should the effort you expend is not equal the reward.

B/ Goals:

Every marketing plan is developed from goals set by the business at the start of their calendar or fiscal year. Some goals might be the most obvious such as an annual revenue goal, lead generation goal or new client goal.  Although these revenue and business type goals are very important to impact business growth, you may want to add a reputational goal which indirectly attracts business.  Perhaps the business wants to contribute to the geographical area the business is located, such as a community goal. This could lead to recognition as a local business leader, which indirectly can contribute to new business for the hair salon.   

Although difficult to measure a non direct business goal, your direct business goals must not be vague, must be measurable and specific, yet ambitious and realistic. For example, “I want more dream clients” is a vague goal, instead, try something like “I want 2% more dream clients by December 31st”.  If instead, you replace 2% with 10%, have you set yourself up unrealistically?  Or is 10% achievable in the 12 months of the plan?  Only you know what % is best for your business, just ensure the % is enough to push and is realistic, but not easy. 

At year end, you will know if you’ve over or underachieved that 2%. If the goal was not achieved, consider rolling over to the next year.  Your current results now help make a more realistic estimate of the % to be achieved for the next new 12 month plan.  


We seem to commit more to written goals rather then just keeping in mind, so write them down. You will refer to them throughout the year anyway, as they are the benchmarks for your achievements in your plan, and at the end of the year, give you a barometer of marginal or complete success.

C/ Target Audience* (*referred to also as target market, target group, target segments):

There are different characteristics that define each target audience. Since you can’t be all things to all markets, pick the top one or two, but don’t commit to more than 3 target audiences to focus your marketing attention and budget in any 12 month period.  Your top target audience should represent at least 30%-40% of the type of business you are and want to be. Don’t spend marketing dollars elsewhere during that 12 month period unless you clearly have discovered a different, better target audience that you missed when first making your choices.  


What characteristics separate one target audience from another:

i) Demographics*:

- Age, Gender, Ethnicity/Race, Household Income (HHI) and Education. Your marketing message communicates differently to a 25 year old woman vs a 45 year old man with kids.

*Demographic characteristics also includes religion, but not a consideration when creating target audiences for marketing hair services.   

ii) Location, Location, Location:

-       Where are your dream clients located? How far will they commute to reach you? Referred to as your “trading district.  If the furthest away clients come is 50 miles, then your trading district is 50 miles.  Picture your location in the centre of a circle whose circumference is 50 miles.  In your plan, you will want to reach your target audience within this trading district.  If it is 30 miles, the furthest the client will come, then the trading district is 30 miles. A consideration when you are using online advertising which is geographically targeted.  

-       Where is your salon is located? Downtown core of a major city or a suburban area or in a retail mall? Downtown location might have a lot of walk ins, suburban might instead have drive to traffic. A consideration when determining your marketing message.

iii) Psychographic characteristics:

-       Lifestyle, Personality, Social Class, Habits, Behavior, Interests.


After defining your demographic and psychographic characteristics for your top target groups, an example of one might look like this:

Target Audience #1:

30-40 years old, university educated, female, married + kids, well versed in mobile, HHI $100M+.

D/ Competition:

You should already know who your competition in the hair profession is within your trading district if you have been in business for a while.  But if starting, you’ll need to do a bit or research on your competitors, who they are, what they are doing and how they are doing it. Even existing businesses should do this from time to time.


This will help you determine what direction your hair salon marketing plan should take and help determine what your unique selling points are – the things that makes you stand out from the competition. Why would someone choose you over another hair salon for hair services? 

Here are two examples of how to help your marketing plan take shape through competitive research.  Perhaps you find out that one competitor has a great reputation for taking exceptionally good care of their repeat clients yet is lacking on using technology to service their clients.  They still have an old functioning web site with outdated content and the only way to make an appointment  or buy product is to call the salon. You’ve determined your target client is well versed in mobile for most everything.   Stand out then by budgeting, in your marketing plan, to create an interactive app (or buy/lease the 3rd party software) where clients can easily schedule hair appointments or order products online at your location through their mobile devices.

Or say perhaps you know one of your strengths is styling great wedding hair, and your research tells you the competition does not, showcase this talent in your marketing efforts.  Wedding hair engages eyeballs on your social media channel and it lends to beautiful photography on your web site, making you the go for wedding hair. These are just two examples of how competitive research can help shape your marketing plan moving forward, but only if research is done before writing the plan.

E/ Marketing Budget:

Ensure you have a budget and money committed to implement the tactics of a marketing plan.  You will be tempted to create a plan that contains many more ideas and initiatives than available money to spend.  Make sure the marketing plan realistically resembles the money available to execute the plan’s tactics.


This plan is not just doing Instagram.  The plan’s initiatives may include establishing a Google Business Page or an organic social media presence (including Instagram) but it may also be building or improving the functionality of your web site, creating content for it, writing and producing video, distributing an ongoing email newsletter, an ad campaign on a social media channel or google ads and so much more.    

A good way to justify how much you need to spend on your hair salon marketing is thinking of the return on investment of your marketing efforts.  How much are you paying for new clients or for the new leads you receive that hopefully become clients? Look at the cost effectiveness and results of any marketing initiative.  If it is online advertising and if a single Facebook ad costs $50, is geographically targeted and generates 5 new leads for your business (it doesn’t happen this way :.), then each lead is worth $10. That is a great return on the investment.  On the other hand, if a billboard produces only 3 new clients and costs $5000, then it won’t be as effective and is it worth the money spent?  It may be if a goal is brand awareness, but not be if its intent is generating leads.


Lastly factored into any marketing budget is the cost of the people resources asked to administrate.  Someone has to create the posts, admin the social schedule or create and design the Facebook ad.  They are paid for that time.  If there is no in-house full or part-time resource, consider bringing in an outside marketing communications company to run the initiatives with you and include that service fee in the budget.


If you have done the pre-thinking of the goals, target audiences and marketing budget, now you are ready to write the 12 month marketing plan to grow your hair salon business.   


Our next DIY Marketing Module will be written as a framework for a  hair salon marketing plan.  In the meantime, write down your goals for this year and apply some marketing ideas against each that can get you started.    


Authored by Janice Maguire, Growth Marketing and Google Analytics,


MANEreviews is a marketing communications company for the North American hair professional.  For independent hair salons, self-employed stylists and salon suite franchisees, and the dedication of our team help you grow your hair salon business.