How to Get More Salon Clients using your Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile is one of your most valuable pieces of online real estate and it's free. It's valuable because when someone searches for “salon near me” or something similar Google Business Profiles are prioritised by Google and rank well. Also “Near Me” type searches have increased by more than 200%. For example a prospective client is likely to search “hairdressers near me”, or “best salon in Edinburgh” or “Balayage Expert Brighton” and Google will optimise Google Business Profiles in these results.
A good proportion of people discovering you online will come via your Google Business Profile, so it makes sense to get it in order. Imagine If you are getting ready to sell your home? You would probably run the hoover around before the estate agent arrived.
So let's get your Google Business Profile cleaned up and ready for business.
Getting people to your profile is actually quite simple. But getting them to engage with it can be hard. How often do you land on a website only to immediately decide it's not for you and navigate away? Many of these sites would have had teams of experts working tirelessly (and at great expense) for you to do the opposite!
The brilliant thing about your Google Business Profile is, it’s built by world leading software engineers who make it easy for you to optimise it. No coding or technical skills required, just a little time. Also, because Google has big plans for GBP they want you to use it. Ensure yours is well populated and regularly updated in order to rank well.
This is not the same thing as SEO (search engine optimisation) and your website will probably not go position one on Google nationally. But, you will locally, which is where your potential clients live and work. It's like you’re a big fish in a small pond and that's exactly what you need.
Here is where to start:
Name: When people search for you Google likes continuity, so ensure your GBM name is identical to your salon signage and other listings. In other words your online name should be identical to your real world name and have no variations or abbreviations. Avoid using keywords as Google does not like this and will penalise these types of tactics. For example you should not name your business “The Best Salon In Edinburgh” in your profile unless this is your actual business name.
Address: Ensure your address is listed identically across all of your web and social media listings. Prospective clients can use this to navigate to your salon via Google Maps.
Hours: Update your standard working hours and ensure these are updated during public holidays. It’s important that when a prospective client sees you are open and calls that you are actually open and answer. These prospective clients have no relationship with you at this stage so will just go to the next salon on the list.
Service Areas: This is the radius that would be realistic for a client to visit you from. Keep this relevant. If you are in an urban location keep the radius realistic, people tend to travel less distance in cities and expand it a bit if your salon is more rural. Avoid edge cases. Just because you have a client from Edinburgh who visits your salon in Birmingham does not mean this is normal. Niche is better.
Categories: Select the relevant categories for your business. This will optimise your search results and it helps to use multiple categories. For example if your salon does ladies and gents hairdressing, nails and beauty you could add a category for each. This increases the chances of you ranking when someone searches Hairdresser near me or Barber in Bath etc.
Phone: Your phone number should include the area code so your clients can click and dial from mobile devices.
Web Address: A large proportion of websites get visited for the first time via Google Business Profile. It is very common for your profile to outrank your website so prospective clients often see this first. Adding your website URL will increase traffic.
Appointment Links: If you have an online booking page on your website add the page URL. If you run online booking but don't have a site or designated page add that here so your clients can book easily. Clients can book directly from here 24/7 without needing to contact you. Remember over 40% of online bookings happen out of hours.
Products: Most of us use Google as our initial point of reference. If you were looking for KMS shampoo and you were in Crawley you might well search for “KMS Shampoo Crawley” If you have KMS shampoos in your product section and your salon is in Crawley hey presto! Up you pop.
Add your products to the product section. Use customer friendly descriptions and include the manufacturer names as well as any unique or relevant information. For example If a product is vegan or anti cruelty include this. If you are pushed for time, start by adding your most popular products as opposed to the whole range. It's easy to revisit this later and better to have something than nothing.
Services: Just as people search for specific products they also search for services. Add your most popular services to your profile including pricing. If you have a broad price range add the to and from and avoid anything misleading. If a new client books for a service displayed at from £25 on your profile and then books with a director and gets a bill for £60 it can cause avoidable confusion.
Use descriptions that clients use. For example: clients will probably use the term highlights as opposed to foils. Searches like “where can I get highlights in Oxford” will produce results.
Attributes: Google will provide you with a list of attributes based on your selected categories. This could be things like wheelchair accessibility, parking or LGBTQ+ Friendly. The devil is in the details. Take a few minutes to complete this section. Your benefit will come from niche searches like “hairdressers with wheelchair access near me”
From The Business: Avoid repeating anything already entered in other sections here. Use the whole allocation (750 characters) but aim to get your key information in the initial 250 characters. For example you might write something along these lines::
Pictures and Videos: There are subsections including Interior, exterior, at work and team. Add pictures regularly. Google rewards regular activity so while you are uploading an image to Instagram add the same to your GBP. It’s nice for clients visiting for the first time to have an idea who you are so Include team images as well as examples of your work.
Posts: Whenever you post to Facebook or Instagram get into the habit of also posting on your Google profile. You will not get the same engagement you associate with social media but your profile will remain active and that will optimise your ranking.
Google will repay your commitment to detail. Your secret weapon is that most salons don’t bother with this much detail. Pretty much everyone has a profile but the majority add a bit of information when they set it up and then forget all about it.
While I wrote this I tested many searches. I live in Brighton on the south coast and there are hundreds of salons in the area. One search was “Balayage expert Brighton”. No salons in Brighton ranked but one based in Crawley over 25 miles away did. This salon has added just one service to their list and it was Balayage. I wonder how many salons in Brighton offer this service? There is no doubt plenty of opportunities to be taken advantage of with just a small amount of time and effort.