When you are marketing your beauty business, you need to think from the perspective of your potential clients. Ask yourself–if you were looking for a reputable place to book a beauty service, where would you start looking? You would probably look online and search on Google.
The first step is to build an online presence to gain awareness and reach. While social media platforms are great places to market your business, you need to also be on Google. When clients search for a new salon, they will more than likely turn to Google to find places near them. It was shown that a staggering 46% of all searches to have local intent. This means a large portion of consumers will turn to Google to find businesses near them.
Search marketing is the process of gaining an online presence from search engines, such as Google. This can be through paid or unpaid marketing efforts whether you have a website or not. We will be covering both methods to determine which ones you should try for your business.
Lash Technician and Owner of LashMi, Sammi Zhao, has great experience with search marketing in boosting her clientele. Before entering the beauty industry, she came from a writing and marketing background. Right after graduating from university, she jumped into a full-time marketing position at a software company. Though it paid well and was respectable by her friends and family, it didn’t feel right.
“Nonetheless, I stayed in the position for a year. I watched my higher-ups live demanding and stressful lives. I realized I simultaneously would hate to be them, but was also working toward becoming them,” says Sammi. “That’s when I knew that changing careers would be incredibly difficult, but not as difficult as watching my life pass by in that office.”
When Sammi quit her job, she had no plans except to try more things that would bring her joy. She made a list of criteria she wanted to see in her career, which included having control of her schedule, compensation to cover her necessities and being able to work with products or services she could relate to. She had tried several jobs from dog sitting, freelance editing, and tutoring young children. It was to the point she had almost given up and thought about going back to her marketing job.
“Finally, I saw that a good friend began doing lash extensions. Though I had considered it before, sometimes it takes someone else to show you what you’re capable of. It seemed like something that would fit my criteria, so I got the certification and gave it a try,” says Sammi. “Out of all the jobs I tried, lash extensions offered the closest match to my ideal lifestyle allowing me a flexible schedule, ability to work with my hands, and an outlet to exercise my creativity with marketing.”
Search marketing has helped Sammi to broaden her reach and most importantly, attract the specific people who are actively seeking the services she provides locally. “With Instagram and Facebook ads, you’re not always reaching the people who are searching and ready to book immediately,” she explains.
Facebook ads are a highly targeted form of advertising and customizable to your marketing needs. It’s a great form of marketing to get in front of potential clients. While your targeted audience is probably interested in your services, they may not be actively looking or be ready to book. However when people are searching for new businesses on Google, they are probably doing so because they’re actively looking and are ready to book.
With search marketing, there are ways to boost your presence for free. This is done with search engine optimization, commonly known as SEO. It is simply a term used to earn traffic through unpaid or free listings. There are several ways for your business to use SEO to increase bookings.
Google My Business
When you search for online businesses near you and see the profile pop up on the side, that is a Google My Business profile. It is completely free and works in favor to allow businesses to expand their reach. It helps to increase visibility, gain trust with clients, stand out from competitors, and learn more about potential clients. We have an article that goes over how you can optimize your Google My Business profile.
To strengthen your Google My Business profile, you will need online reviews. Potential clients will read online reviews before they decide to book an appointment with you. A majority of consumers use reviews to determine if a local business is good or not, and most don’t take action until they have read reviews. This is especially the case when it comes to beauty businesses because it involves the client’s well-being.
Sammi’s Google My Business profile has over 40 reviews and an impressive 4.9 rating. She had several clients tell her about their search for a lash technician and how it came down to her and someone else. It was her reviews that had ultimately helped convince them to book with Sammi. “In an industry like lash extension where there are unfortunately many horror stories, it’s reassuring for first-time visitors to hear the positive experiences of like-minded consumers,” she says.
Optimizing Your Website
While it’s not mandatory to have a website for your beauty business, it can help you optimize for search. Creating a website itself can come with a few costs if you want your own domain, design, and depending on the platform you choose to use. Once you have one, there are ways to make it favorable for Google.
There are many factors considered for SEO on a website. One of the most common ways is by using keywords. These are search terms your potential clients will enter into search engines, such as “eyelash extensions” or “eyelash extensions near me”. Your keywords will be the primary words defining your business and services. To find keywords and how often they are searched on Google, you can use Google’s free Search Console. It also allows you to monitor how Google views your site and optimize your non-paying traffic.
Google will scan your website for these keywords to get a better idea of what your business is about. They are to be included in places like page titles and meta descriptions.
Take a look at Sammi’s website on Google as an example. Her main website title contains her business name, service, and location. Under the title is the meta description, which gives a short description of her business. Google has an SEO Starter Guide to help you better understand how it works.
Write Blog Posts
To complement your website, start writing blog posts. This will allow you to use a variety of relevant keywords to help boost your website even further. For example, Sammi has three blog posts covering topics that are commonly asked by her clients. This includes knowing the difference between the types of eyelash extensions, eyelash extension aftercare, and answering if they will damage clients’ natural lashes.
Potential clients can search these topics on Google and may run upon her articles. Having blog posts will also help to:
On the other end of search marketing is search engine marketing, also known as SEM. It is a form of marketing that involves paid advertising to increase a website’s visibility. There are several areas under SEM, however, we will be looking at paid search.
Paid search is paying for your website to show up at the top during a search. Google Ads is the platform to use if you want to boost your business and get in front of potential clients when they’re searching for businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps.
You can tailor your ad based on the results you want, whether that’s to increase visits to your salon or drive people to your website. Then you can decide where you’d like to show your ads. For beauty businesses, you should focus your ads on your local community. Next, you’ll be able to create your message to speak out to potential clients. Focus on your specialties and what you can offer.
Google Ads work with any budget and you will only pay for results, like the clicks to your website. You can set a monthly budget cap and pause or adjust your spending anytime. It’s a good idea to test around with Google Ads and see how it will work with your business. They have a team of Google Ads specialists on hand to help you through the process.
Your cost will also depend on the keywords you pick. You will need to bid on certain keywords for your ads to show up in Google’s search results. Testing out different keywords and working with a specialist will allow you to optimize your ads and ensure your money is being spent well.
Since Sammi had worked in marketing before, she understood the value of using Google Ads. “It was always a priority of mine and I implemented it as soon as I found the time and budget to do so. To someone unfamiliar with digital marketing, Google Ads may seem expensive at first,” she says. “However, I think of it not as simply how many appointments it can bring me each month. I see it in terms of the potential life-long value of each customer. This is especially important when dealing with recurring beauty services.”
Having a solid online presence on Google will complement what you have built for your business on social media. They will all work hand-in-hand to expand your reach and encourage potential clients to book with you. Sammi encourages beauty professionals to take a digital-first approach.
“Sometimes having a digital presence is viewed as a secondary aspect to the business; it’s something extra, a good-to-have, or not quite essential,” says Sammi. “I think in the world we’re in today, we have to start thinking about our online presence as our primary presence. It’s often how our customers come in contact with us first. If we are not compelling online, they may never get to our store or product.” To learn more about her business, you can check out her website and Instagram.
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