Marketing Basics for Solo Artists

As a solo salon or spa artist, do you find yourself at a loss for ideas when it comes to promoting your business? If so, here are some tips to help get and keep your marketing on track, plus some simple ideas for promotions for your products and services.

 The Long Haul

Marketing is an important part of any business and involves finding ways to promote your products and services in order to retain and grow your clientele. For marketing to be successful for any business size, it’s advised to create a yearlong plan that consists of multiple campaigns that are deployed over regular intervals. You’ll find that some campaigns will be more effective than others, but the key is to keep at it and to learn and grow from all efforts.

 Stay On-Brand

Before starting, be sure that you have clearly defined your brand. Outline the style and or appeal of your business, the services you offer, any specialties that you are known for, who you offer your services to, and what message you want to get across to current and future clients.

 Is your clientele only men, mainly professional women or is it family-focused? Do you specialize with any specific services such as color, extensions or a certain type of massage? If you have your own place, does it have an upscale appeal, an industrial vibe or a downhome barber shop charm? You get the idea.

 If you own a one-person salon or suite, chances are that you’ve already taken all of this into consideration when designing your facility and it is likely reflected in your décor. For booth renters, however, you may need to get more creative so that your signature style shows through when renting from someone else’s facility.

 Regardless of business size, have a logo designed and carry over all aspects of your corporate identity into your business cards, website, and all advertising and promotions. In addition to your logo, always use your signature color palette, keep the same font for any lettering and think through layout styles and the message for any wording so it appeals to your audience and stays consistent with your brand.

 What to Promote

It’s always recommended to offer a product or service that is simple, as well as easy to promote. For example, if you are a color specialist, consider adding to your color line to accommodate the current trends and then market around these new trends.

 Another idea is to promote an add-on service like an intense hair conditioning treatment, a mini massage or a facial treatment in your spa. It’s best if these services are already part of your offerings, that way you don’t need to invest in special equipment or supplies in order to perform them. A great way to upsell existing clients, add-ons can also be used as rewards for their loyalty or for referrals.

 Value First

For a promotion to work, the messaging should communicate the value of the product or service being provided. For example, if you’re offering a free haircut for every color referral, you wouldn’t ask for referrals and then mention a reward. Instead, lead with the reward or benefit, in this case the free haircut. The wording for any promotion would be something like: “Want a free haircut? Refer a friend for color and it’s all yours on your next visit.”

 How to Promote

There are a lot of ways to alert potential clients about your offerings. First, make sure that your website is up to date and that it reflects your corporate identity and current marketing message. Also, be sure that you have an ample supply of business cards. Next, add your business to as many local directories as possible, that way people can find you and have easy access to your website. Most listings are free but have options to purchase preferred placement or even banner ads, if you’d like. Digital ads are usually the most cost effective way to advertise, as there are no direct costs, so check into your options to see what suits you best. You may also want to set aside a small budget for possible direct mail pieces, like post cards, or general advertising with local magazines and newspapers.

 To cater to your existing clients, you’ll want to use different tactics to grab their attention. Use an automated system to send personalized emails for their birthday, anniversary or other special occasion or to reach out to reconnect with anyone who has not been in for services in a while. For promotions, consider designing counter top displays for your station. You have a captive audience while your clients are having services done, so make the most of the opportunity by promoting any specials, announcing new services or asking for referrals. Just be sure to change out the artwork often so your marketing stays current.

 Another great way to reach your clients is by creating regular newsletters using a mass email application. You can offer hair and or skin care advice, announce upcoming events or trends, and promote your services and products, even ask for referrals. Just remember to mirror all efforts on social media so your message stays consistent and reaches as many people as possible.

 Regardless of how you promote, just remember that marketing is a necessity for any business to prosper and grow. Just remember to keep at it and to stay true to your brand.


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.


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