In Salon & Spa Marketing, Sometimes Less is More

We’ve talked a lot about face-to-face communication on this blog. Whether it’s checking in on your client’s health history, or learning the delicate art of a necessary “no,” communication is a key skill for stylists, estheticians and other salon and spa pros. That is just as true for digital messaging as it is for in-person conversations.

Your website, social media profiles, and digital ads are some of clients’ first points of contact with your business. You cannot control the reviews, the conversations or the public photos, but you can control how you present yourself.

It sounds as though I’m about to give you, say, my top ten tips for salon and spa digital marketing. But I only have one simple—but important—suggestion: don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Beauty and wellness consumers are confronted with a deluge of digital messages every day, and it can be hard to figure out how to make your business stand out. Some businesses resort to hyperbole, which can seem harmless. These messages probably sound familiar:

  • “Stop by for the only facial that makes fine lines and wrinkles disappear.”
  • “Electrolysis is the safest way to permanently remove all of your unwanted hair—in just three sessions.”
  • “Life changing! This new color line is the safest, most vibrant we’ve ever used.”

These statements range from playful to misleading—and misleading clients can lead to trouble. Few reasonable people will expect hair color to change their lives, but they may believe it is the safest. What happens if she turns out to be allergic to it? New clients may also believe that electrolysis always removes all hair in only three visits. After all, electrolysis is actually permanent and is safe under the right conditions. But what if someone requires more than three sessions?

At the least, these kinds of conflicts will lead to complaints, clients who never return and bad Yelp reviews. But at the worst, they can put you in an uncomfortable position in the event of an injury or accident. If a client attempts to hold you liable for performing a treatment that harmed them, their legal defense may be able to depict you in a negative light by demonstrating you advertised that treatment as safe.

Even if they only result in complaints, making overblown promises in the name of marketing isn’t worth it. It is an easy habit to avoid or break. Simply review your web copy and marketing materials, and have your co-workers or employees review any new messages. Make promises you can keep, like that you will give them a fabulous, new hair color, or a proven product may reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Clients trust you—and earning that trust is an ongoing process.

Kathy Lopez, Account Manager for SASSI, the Salon and Spa Specialty Insurance program at Brownyard Group. She can be reached at klopez@brownyard.com.