At March Media Chicago we have been paying constant attention all year long to what’s happening in a rapidly changing digital marketing space. Along the way we’ve developed new tools and strategies – and retired old ones – to deliver a high return on investment for our clients, and we’d like to share some insights on what we believe will trend in the future.
As we see it there are three big themes that will come into focus.
– Changing technology, which will impact how we use and search the internet for information.
– User-focused content, which was also a big theme in 2018 but will take on new layers and nuances in the future.
– Increased competition, which will urge many salons to find new ways of taking a bite out of the competition by bolstering their internet presence.
From the importance of online reviews to incorporating video content and launching innovative social media campaigns, this increased competition accounts for many of the stronger trends we’ve included. It appears that it’s no longer enough to have a website, to be active on social media, or even to write loads of content.
Lots of salons are doing these things now, increasing the standard and forcing each other to take their marketing more seriously – at least, if they plan on it helping them build their brands, grow their salons, and get real results.
We’re here to let you know that if you’re interested in getting real results for your salon in 2017, it’s time to get to work. Starting now, don’t delay.
Here are 11 salon marketing trends we believe will take center stage this year, as we strongly encourage you to consider ways to include them in your marketing efforts.
1. REVIEWS WILL BE THE TOP PRIORITY FOR SALONS
You’ve heard of the importance of online reviews, and have probably made some effort to gather and manage them. But with the extent of their impact being made more clear as of late, with 68% of users saying that positive online reviews increase the likelihood of using a local service, salon owners will look for new ways to streamline and improve their review gathering and management processes.
Some tools, like GetFiveStars, even allow webmasters to create review widgets that live on your site, apart from any third-party platform, giving you the ability to review and approve reviews before they’re posted.
Three simple tips for prioritizing your online reviews
1. Never stop collecting reviews. While we encourage salons to have at least 5 reviews in Google and other important platforms (most notably Facebook and Yelp), you should not stop trying to get more positive reviews. Even if you have a lot, volume isn’t the only important metric to go by. Recency is also important. A long gap before your most recent review can be especially disconcerting for someone checking out your online presence before making the call. Two tools we love and use are Podium and Reputation Stacker. Podium specifically allows users to receive a text message from your salon which encourages them to leave a review.
2. Respond graciously to negative reviews. Negative reviews are pain in the butt, but they won’t just go away (it’s not worth trying). The best way to handle them is to respond graciously and timely, doing your best to mitigate any concerns that the negative review could have on future customers. And if you’re worried about this scarring your digital presence forever, see previous point.
3. Use a review tool. The best way to keep track of what’s being said about your firm online is not to sporadically or inconsistently Google yourself to see what you can find. Feefo is a newer tool and worth the try.Learn How to Bring More Customers Using Yelp
2. SMALLER SALONS WILL TAKE A DIY APPROACH TO THEIR INTERNET MARKETING EFFORTS
While technical SEO is by no means dead, and there are a number of other things related to internet marketing that take a good deal of know-how, we believe that with all of the tools and resources openly available, more salon owners will look into handling their internet marketing efforts in-house.
It’s ideal to have an marketing agency, and we do recommend hiring a marketing and intake specialist for in-house work, but it’s possible for pretty much anyone – especially intelligent, capable solo salon owners – to do the majority of what they need to do to see results online.5 Tips to Keep Your Salon Busy During Slow Periods
3. MORE SALONS WILL CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA CHARITY CAMPAIGNS
This has been trending over the past couple of years, but we haven’t seen it as it being immensely relevant for most salons, until recently. But as salons become increasingly open to using social media to reach out to their local communities, creating brand awareness and making a legitimately positive impact on causes members of their communities care about, we see social media charity campaigns as a natural strategy for many.The Ultimate Instagram Marketing Guide
4. CONTENTS WILL BE LONGER AND BETTER
Lengthier content is better because people prefer lengthier content for many types of subject matters.
This is something we’ve been thinking about a lot this year after seeing some original data indicating that updating and extending content over time leads to some pretty great SEO love from Google. It correlated with a lot of other studies that have shown positive relationships between length and SERP rank, leading us to believe that longer just might in fact be better. Hence, we’ve been recommending that many of our clients not only extend the content of existing pages, but also start with lengthier pages in the first place.
5. MORE SALONS WILL INVEST IN COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Community outreach will help accomplish two big goals for salons: 1.) Brand development and 2.) SEO
Getting involved in community outreach is a great way to build a lasting brand within a local community. But the SEO side of things is a relatively new development, since businesses have become increasingly aware of how associating themselves with good organizations, including universities (.edu links) and nonprofits, can help bolster their web presence, as well.
6. CONTENT WILL BECOME MORE VISUAL
Just accept the fact that many users, as soon as they land on your page, will scroll down to see what kind of time and effort they’re going to have to invest if they stay on this page. If they can tell pretty quickly that the information they want is there, they’re going to stay. By breaking up your content with interesting, accurate headlines, you’ll give them a quick sense of what the page is like, and help them organize the page mentally and know where to direct their attention.5 Reward Systems That Work for Salons
7. VIDEO CONTENT WILL BECOME MORE POPULAR
Similar to social media charity campaigns, a video content will be more and more popular.
But everything indicates that it will only continue to gain in significance (According to Cisco – 69% of all consumer internet traffic by 2017 will be video), and 2017 will be the year that many SMBs – salons included – won’t think twice about whipping out their smartphones to create a short, informative, unscripted video for their social media, or to ask someone to take plenty of pictures at office parties and community events.
Altogether, video content is a great medium for building trust, connecting on an emotional level with your audience, and dispensing authoritative advice to prospects.
8. WEBSITES WILL BE FASTER THAN A LIGHT OF SPEED!
Site speed has been an important factor – for both users and SEO for quite some time. But in 2016, things got more serious. Especially as it pertains to mobile. For example, back in 2009 Amazon learned that every 100 milliseconds of latency on their website resulted in a 1% loss in sales. Which means every second of latency will cost Amazon approximately 10% of revenue!
But in 2009, having a slow site didn’t result in a loss of rankings in Google, so it didn’t receive the press coverage it deserved. Nowadays, having a slow site kills both rankings and conversions. Here are some DIY site speed work, with our checklist on making your site faster than a speed of light.
Three quick tips for making your site uberfast:
1. Remove unnecessary plugins. There are a lot of different plug-ins that promise great features and improvements to your site. And while there certainly are some must-haves, you need to make sure that you don’t have unused – or unimportant – plug-ins installed in the backend of your website.
2. Compress your images. Compressing your images is very relevant to your mobile speed. You don’t need a full resolution version of your images displaying on mobile; it’s not practical, and it just takes longer to load. To compress your images, use a tool like tinypng.com or wp-smush plugin.
3. Use a cache plugin. Using a cache plugin, such as W3 Total Cache, can significantly increase the speed and overall performance of your site. Essentially, instead of having to reach your site’s servers, users will be shown a recently cached, quickly accessible version of your site. Great for your mobile-friendly SEO factors, as well.
9. VOICE SEARCH WILL CONTINUE TO AFFECT SEO IN A SIGNIFICANT WAY
Have you tried the Amazon Echo yet? Or maybe just the Dot or Google Home? Apple just added Siri to their macOS Sierra, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in May of 2016 that “voice search accounted for 20 percent of search queries”, a number that might already be closer to 30 percent, by now. As voice recognition tool has become increasingly sophisticated, it’s rollout to the mainstream is having some significant effects on search.
The reason being that it turns out people phrase things differently when they’re typing into a search engine, as opposed to when speaking with their mouths. We speak to intelligent personal assistants like people, and search engines – and accordingly SEOs – are changing their approach to cater to the ways that people are searching for information.
10. THERE WILL BE BETTER AND SMARTER EMAIL MARKETING
Email marketing will be smarter. Salon owners will recognize the slow periods (most likely the cold winter months – January, February) and will continually engage in email marketing. Here are quick tips on email marketing:
1. Sign-up links should be more visible and must exist in non-intrusive way – no annoying pop-ups in the middle of scrolling.
2. Email marketing is cheaper than direct marketing and tools such as Hubspot, Constant Contact and MailChimp are highly reommended. Autmating your welcome emails and holiday offer emails can bring customers to your salon.
3. Event based emails will get more ROI. Ever notice how UberEats sends you offer emails when you sign up first? They give you a code that can be shared with your friends if they order their first food – making a win-win situation: you get a free meal offer too. Also, when it rains outside UberEats will send you an offer that removes the delivery fee. Think of the event based promotions in your email marketing.How to Open a Salon With No Money
11. MORE SALONS WILL SPRUCE UP THEIR “SPECIALS” PAGES
When you look at salon website analytics, the weekly specials (or coupons) pages are some of the most visited pages. Users don’t often start there, but they very frequently click on these pages. With a services industry like salons, people are more attracted the specials and coupons when there are ten others they can go to. Tie the specials pages to your event based email marketing. If someone is spending more than 5 minutes on your website clicked on specials and other pages – then send them an email offer which triggered by their action(s).
Will 2017 Be Your Best Year?
We hope that this has brought some ideas to your 2017 marketing plans, and that you will achieve a greater ROI, more customers/ more visits to the website, and a more successful marketing campaign altogether. If you’d like some help, don’t hesitate to get in touch (or get in touch with Chicago Marketing Agency if you’re looking into a DIY or in-house promotion tips.) We’d love to give you the assistance you need to get your digital marketing efforts up to par for a prosperous 2017.Get Started on Salon Marketing!