Best Free & Paid Salon Advertising & Marketing Ideas

Best Free & Paid Salon Advertising & Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Customer Base

Getting new salon customers can be a frustrating thing for salon owners, especially if you are new to the game.  I see this issue across Facebook groups, in talking with salon coaches and pretty much everywhere I go.

Becoming a successful salon takes time and energy and let’s face it, it’s NOT cheap to run ads! BUT effective salon advertising does not have to be difficult…

Hello there, my name is Susan Wos and salon advertising is a game I love to play!  So much so that we are launching a salon client recruitment program in the fall of 2024 to make your life easy.

Yes, that’s right, Salonspa Connection is a pro at effective salon marketing and we are SO excited to be able to help you, your staff and independent beauty pros find, attract and build a great client base! Get notified when this program launches, register for free on this page!

Of course, we are not the only solution so let’s dig into the best ways to get in front of your ideal salon clients!

photo of a salon billboard ad

Table of Contents

Salon Loyalty Programs Suck but Referrals are GOLD

Literally no one wants another app, punch card or program to track in their busy lives. What your loyal clients want is to be rewarded for sending in their friends, family and co-workers.

The client in your chair is the absolute best client recruitment funnel out there! People do business with people they like, know and trust- what better way to grow your beauty salon than by giving free haircuts, a blow dry or retail to those who support you?

The best new customer is someone who comes to you because their trusted friend referred them. Grab a Google sheet or your favorite salon software, start tracking referrals and blast your new referral program across the salon, give a stack of your business cards to the best clients, post on social media and in emails to get the ball rolling!

SEO is King in Online Salon Marketing

Ever noticed how some salons rank really high in search engines while others aren’t even visible? What about the corporate giants like Great Clips that dominate the word “haircut”?

Ranking high in search engines and maps is no accident. Search engine optimization, (SEO), is a multi-billion dollar industry that is extremely valuable to local business owners.

Attract a potential new client or multiple clients, every single day by implementing SEO into your salon website, today! One caveat here to hiring someone to optimize your business- there are several shady SEO companies out there. Contact us to discuss the right questions to ask before hiring a marketing “expert”.

Google My Business = Free Salon Promotion

Advertise your salon business for free by getting your salon services on the map, (literally), by completing your Google My Business profile. Google shows your services, categories and how close you are to a potential client who is looking for a business like yours!

Put as many details, services, hours of operation and great photos into your profile as possible. BUT don’t list services you don’t provide…I have seen that mistake made several times and it will not pay off!

Link your service pages on your Google Business profile and add great descriptions to get the most out of Google!

Local Business Salon Reviews Matter on Google

You can have the most beautiful website in the world and pay thousands of dollars for SEO, but without reviews you won’t rank high in maps. Getting reviews signals to Google that you are a quality business and can be trusted. 

Get as many people reviewing your business as possible. Share your business information, encourage happy clients to talk about the service they received! Customers value reviews and often check them before doing business with you.

how salon marketing is best achieved through search engine optimization
best practices for social media marketing for the beauty industry

Market Your Salon Business on Social Media

Ok, I know social can be a grind, BUT done correctly, social media is an excellent funnel for hair salons. This is true for both hiring hair stylists and to get more business. Not only is this free salon advertising, it is an opportunity to show who you are, and the talent that lives in your business.

Just posting only does so much… Engage with your followers, support your customer’s businesses or achievements and make your social platform a community. Standing out on social is tough, especially for a new salon so show personality, go light on the “selling” and make your accounts work for you by showcasing the full picture of your business.

The Beauty Business is a Visual Experience

Invite new business by showing off your best work. Learn how to take great photos, include smiling faces and demonstrate awesome before and afters!

Instagram is the go-to platform for salons, with TikTok at a close second. Let’s not forget that Facebook is also a wonderful place to be found.

Even salon video tours can draw in curious neighbors, are great for sharing and give customers the experience they can expect.

Sick of the Social Algorithm? Get your Salon Listed for Free with Salonspa Connection

Be the first to be notified when we launch our salon customer building tool with a free professional business listing! Sign up to get notified on this page when we launch!

Promote Your Salon with Paid Ads Marketing Strategy

Grow your customer base with paid ads on social media and Google. Ads are a great way to get more business and create awareness for a local salon.

Be careful with ads if you are budget conscious! Ads can get expensive, fast.  Hire a social media or Google advertising professional or learn for free from experts like Ben Heath on your own timeframe.

Social Media Ads

Facebook Meta ads are quite complicated but are very useful. Social ads will help to get more followers, engagement and potentially more business.

Social media ads for salons are saturated so I recommend only utilizing this marketing strategy to promote your business when something happens that is more unusual or extraordinary. 

For example, if you have a new unique salon product to sell or have added a hard-to-find service that is cutting edge, this will certainly stand out amongst competing salons. Overall, my attitude on paid social media advertising is to reserve Meta ads for unique offerings that you want to spread the word about, fast.

what boosting posts on social media does for a beauty business

Boosting Social Media Posts

Boosting posts from your Instagram account or from your Facebook business page differs from Meta ads. You have far less control over these types of ads however they are great for getting new followers and increasing engagement. 

This can be one of the most fun salon marketing ideas to enhance visibility. Boost your salon by posting a reel or use an existing post that got high engagement.

Next, ensure you are using the most popular hashtags in your area. Spend $50 and get your post to the top of hashtags with increased engagement from your ad. The goal here is visibility and new followers!

Followers do lead to sales, (some of the time). Don’t get too caught up in the vanity of having a ton of followers if they never take action!

Search Engine Ads

Great salon search engine ads lead to more sales and customers than social media ads. The major difference between search ads and social ads is the ability to target potential customers.

Google ads allow you to appear at the top of search engines, regardless of your website’s ranking based on words you choose & the areas you want to target. For instance, if you want more hair or nail clients use your salon service keywords to target searchers in your immediate area.

Search engine ads and social media advertising are best when you set a daily budget and track salon or spa new client acquisitions. Configure cost per result and adjust your budget based on the results you get from ads.

Spread the Word About Your Hair Care Small Business With Relationships & Events

Successful salon marketing comes from building relationships and creating awareness. Participating in events, networking, charity initiatives or supporting neighboring businesses in their endeavors can really pay off.

Salon promotions that work the best are those where you draw customers in based on the people you meet at salon events. Partner with another local business and see what cross promotion ideas you can come up with to get the ball rolling!

Keep Customers Engaged with a Salon Newsletter

Never underestimate the power of email marketing. YES it is a hassle to send out emails and come up with original ideas, BUT this is FREE and effective when you are consistent.

Give your salon the boost it needs to get customers spending more by reminding them you exist and can serve their beauty needs! Grow through implementing salon newsletters and marketing through email to remind past customers of how wonderful you are.

When you think about it, email is the only thing you actually own and control out of all digital platforms. Email is one of the best ways to market your salon, nurture leads and re-engage past clients.

If you aren’t sending out specials, holiday booking reminders and emails about your upcoming salon news and events, now is the time to start.

how to gain trust with potential salon clients
how opting into freebies and downloads helps beauty industry businesses

Create an Opt-In or Free Download

How many people come to your website only to bounce when they don’t find what they are looking for? Or maybe a website visitor got distracted before they could book with you.

Collect several tips you can give to potential customers when they find you in searches or on social media. Try something like “Top 10 ways to maintain your hair color” or “Questions to ask your stylist to avoid a bad haircut”.

Get every email address you can to keep customers engaged or use the email addresses as a targeting tool for social media ads! You would be surprised at how many freebies people will grab up if you just put it out there.

A 5 second pop up window works great on a website to get contact information and nurture a new lead.

Salon Marketing Idea to Help Get Previous Customers Back- Utilize Your Salon Software

What has happened to people who have done business with your salon, but didn’t come back? Getting new hair clients is great but reeling lost business back in feels much better!

If you are the salon business owner, export your lost customer list from the salon’s software and take the lead in uncovering why your business has churned customers. Hire a third party to call clients to run a survey.

If customers churned for reasons you can’t control, like a relative opened a nail salon or they moved, indicate these lost customers as no fault. Track why clients chose not to come back and improve on your in salon experience so you don’t lose more.

Grow your Customer Base by Taking your Salon to the Next Level

On the heels of re-engagement, if your client experience is lacking, no amount of hair salon marketing ideas will keep you busy, long term, if this issue is not addressed. The top salons are successful for a reason- they put a heavy emphasis on the customer experience.

The salon industry is a crowded space and there’s a list of salon owners who would love to have your clientele. Find out why customers choose you and enhance each and every client’s experience who walks through your door.


Whether you have a big budget or need to focus on free salon marketing ideas to get your clients coming through the door, there are many options available to owners.  Choose your salon ad spend wisely and always tap into the free ways to get people in the salon and keep coming back for more to make the most out of your salon marketing strategies.

Use these hair salon promotion ideas & effective salon marketing ideas to grow:

  1. Salonspa Connection Salon Recruitment Program
  2. Customer Referrals
  3. Search Engine Optimization & Google My Business
  4. Social Media Ads
  5. Search Engine Ads
  6. Social Media Posts & Engagement
  7. Relationships
  8. Email Marketing
  9. Freebies & Opt-Ins
  10. Re-Engagement of Past Clients
  11. An Outstanding Customer Experience

I hope you have found our salon advertising examples helpful! We are happy to help with implementing salon promotion ideas, however we can. When your salon advertising focuses on building rapport and enhancing people’s lives through your services, you will see the most success.

Best of luck to you in your endeavors!

Susan Wos, Founder Salonspa Connection

list of salon marketing ideas