For many potential clients, the Internet is their first stop in the search for salons. While a salon menu, contact information, and great pictures of your salon (and even your nails) are a necessity, a snazzy, snappy promo-video can really help set your salon apart from the rest.
An interesting thing has happened to the film industry, and though you might not realize it yet, it could have a big impact on how you choose to market your salon. Technology in film production has improved so much that now high-quality videos can be made by anyone with a quality camera, a home computer, and some good editing skills. And at the same time, the distribution technologies, namely the Internet, have brought video quickly and easily to your computers — and now even to your palm devices like iPhones and BlackBerrys.
Because of the greater ease of making videos and distributing them, many companies are hiring professional film crews to help shoot short promo-videos for their websites. Video is one of the quickest and most compelling ways to get a message across. Movies and television have long had the monopoly on the video medium and only interests with lots of money could afford to shoot and distribute quality videos.
But now, excellent quality videos can be realized and displayed on modest budgets. And for nail salons, a quick and well-done video on your website can show clients exactly what type of experience they can expect if they make a visit to your salon.
Getting the Shot
Websites that specialize in business listings, like Citysearch.com and Yellowpages.com, have video production options available by which businesses can purchase a video and arrange to have a professional videographer come to the salon.
Emi Wayner, owner of Zenka Nail Beauty Lounge in Manhattan Beach, Calif., used Citysearch’s video program to make her online video debut. "There was a promotion Citysearch was doing the month I got it done," says Wayner. "If you signed up for one of their business partnerships" [paid programs where Citysearch helps businesses get better placement and coverage across web search engines], then Citysearch would throw in a free video."
Once Wayner signed on, Citysearch sent a videographer to her salon to discuss what she wanted to convey about her salon through the video. "It’s like an interview," said Weyner. "He had us sit down so we felt comfortable, and then he would just ask us questions about the salon. There were a few lines we had to remember, but they were very easy." The entire shoot took no more than a couple hours, and within four days, Citysearch sent Wayner a link for the finished video. Once she gave her approval, it went live on the Citysearch listing next to her salon.
A Plethora of Talent
Going through Citysearch or Yellowpages can be great and easy if your business has a relationship with them, but there are also many talented professionals outside of the Citysearch and Yellowpages forums. You’ll need to have some savvy though, and be able to negotiate the price and ensure you’re getting quality video.
Depending on where you’re located, freelance videographers might be in abundance or very hard to find. Russell Mills, owner of Coloma Productions in Los Angeles, says salon owners should first and foremost review the already-made clips from any potential videographer. "Owners need to have a clear idea of what they’re looking for before they start contacting videographers," says Mills. "And then when they do, they need to look over the videographer’s past work, which are usually available on their website, and make sure it has the same look and feel you are going for."
It’s also important to plan out ahead of time exactly what video clips you want, and what you want to convey about your salon. Do you want to show more technical and service shots, like putting on gel toes or intricate nail art designs? Or do you want the ambience of the salon and locale to be more the focus?
The choices you make will depend on your own preferences, but there are a few things you should know. With so many video experts in the market today, the range of quotes you can get for a job can vary greatly. The experts we talked to said a professional promo video of your salon should range between $500 to $1,200.
Hitting the Mark
To take the guesswork out of looking for videographers, two larger companies have established themselves as the go-to companies for quick promo videos, TurnHere Video Production (turnhere.com) and Studio Now (studionow.com). Both have created a network of videographers across the U.S., so they are able to send someone out to businesses quickly and efficiently to help create a custom video.
"We have this down to a science," says Studio Now’s vice president of sales Tom Truitt. "We have a network of 3,500 professional filmmakers in our database. When a customer puts in her zip code, we offer a listing of the closest available videographers we can send."
Studio Now has a thorough vetting process for the videographers in their network so you know the professionals that show up to the salon are top-notch. "Many times these are the same people who are already working professionally in the area, like on the nightly news," says Truitt.
These companies aim to make video creation as easy and painless on the client as possible, while at the same time giving them the professional-quality results they are looking for. And it’s about as affordable as any other option out there.
Videos in Action
Julep Nail Parlor
With four locations in the greater Seattle area, Julep Nail Parlor has an excellent video on its website, which was acquired through Citysearch. At about one minute and thirty seconds, the clip is perfect for fast-paced web surfers who are in a hurry to choose a salon. Owner Jane Park explains the salon’s homey concept, while the B-shots (secondary footage) transport you to the cozy and bustling salon. This video also does a great job of going over products and sanitation procedures.
Zenka Nail Beauty Lounge
Zenka Nail Beauty Lounge has an excellent video, with sweeping shots of the salon, closeup shots of gel manicures, and great quick interviews of manicurists and of owner Emi Wayner. The video was made through Citysearch, was shot in only 90 minutes, and edited within four days. "This video has been great for not only clients, but also new hires," says Wayner. "I’ve gotten so many compliments from both applicants and new clients who said they thought the salon looked friendly and nice just from the video, and that’s why they came in."
Bonjour Nail Spa
YouTube: "Bonjour Nail Spa"
If you’re on a super-tight budget, you can even shoot your own quick video tour, like Bonjour Nail Spa in Winter Park, Fla. The video is a point-of-view walkthrough of the salon with intermittent narration to highlight different features like window views, sanitation procedures, and pedicure stations. The video is broken up into three parts, and has been posted on YouTube. The video does a great job of giving potential clients an idea of what the salon looks like.
Solar Nails and Spa
YouTube: "Solar Nails and Spa Park City"
It might be worth trying to contact any local public access news channels and invite them to come have a complimentary pedicure in exchange for an interview and video of the salon. Solar Nails and Spa in Park City, Utah, has a nice video from www.ParkCity.tv that covers local news and events. This video includes a nice demonstration of a spa pedicure, showing the mask, scrub, and lotion being applied to the very happy interviewer, which will likely entice potential local clients who are watching.
You’re on Film: Things to Remember
Whether you’re thinking of getting a video through Citysearch or Yellowpages, finding your own local videographer, or going through Studio Now or TurnHere, there are some things you should keep in mind to make sure your video turns out the way you want.
Storyboard your ideas before you meet. If you have artistic talent, or know someone who can sketch, it can be helpful to draw out a couple of camera angles that you think could help reinforce your salon’s strength. This can be a panning shot of a nice entrance or waiting room, or a zooming shot to show your salon’s depth and floor space.
Identify any retail that sets your salon apart. At Julep Nail Parlor, a Seattle-area salon chain, they feature their signature brand of polish in the video. If you have something unique that you retail, or a presentable retail section, make sure you tell your videographer that you’d like to show it off.
Practice speaking in front of a camera. Don’t be too shy to talk on video and help represent your salon. Think about what you’d want to say to potential clients, and practice a few times with a personal camera, (or a mirror if you don’t have one). That way you won’t be as nervous when the videographer turns on his camera the day of the shoot. (And don’t be afraid to ask them for a second take if you don’t feel comfortable the first go round.)
Pick a time when there are people in your salon. Potential customers like to see a salon with a healthy attendance. Pick a time when the salon has a nice mix of clients so the frame has some action in it when it pans over your salon. You could even invite some of your best customers (or friends and family) in to "stage" a bustling salon atmosphere so you have more control.