It’s a common complaint among salon owners: Good nail techs are hard to find and open positions are hard to fill. Lisa Starr, a consultant, educator, and writer for small business technology platform Booker (, suggests that salon owners adopt a more sales-oriented approach when it comes to placing online ads and recruiting new staff members. Here are her tips for making your ad stand out:

1. Highlight your uniqueness. What makes your salon special? Are you known for your community involvement or local awards? Perhaps you offer services, products, or equipment your competitors don’t, or you draw clients from a wide geographic area. Be sure to note what sets you apart.

2. List any employee benefits. Salons and spas are rarely able to offer traditional employee benefits, such as paid time off, a contribution to health coverage, or education stipends. If your business is the exception, be sure to highlight this fact.

3. Avoid clichés. Every salon’s recruiting ads say that it is “busy” or “popular,” and sometimes even that it’s “a relaxing place to work.” Use realistic language; “You’ll work hard and be well-rewarded.” That’s who you want on your team, after all — people who are serious about their work ethic.

4. Appeal to career-minded professionals. You want candidates who place a high value on opportunities for career advancement. Highlight your commitment to ongoing education programs, flexible scheduling, tiered levels of compensation, or 401(k) contributions for tenured staff. Also be sure to highlight any attributes that make your salon a desirable place to work, such as a cohesive team, an ergonomically designed workspace, or longevity in the marketplace.

5. Change it up. Just as with your consumer marketing, change up your ads in different marketplaces. Try different taglines or features and determine which ones get a better response.

6. Include pictures. Workplace photos can communicate a lot. Post a nice exterior shot, an interior shot of the place in action, and maybe even the backroom, if yours is nice and clean enough to share. When possible, use unusual fonts, colors, or branding in your ads to distinguish yourself.

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