For many salon owners, their only attempt at Internet marketing will have been a website produced at some considerable cost by a team of clever techies a few years ago. But the Internet is developing at a break-neck speed, and every salon should have an understanding of the opportunities it offers their business, and the simple tools that are now available.

My Salon Guru Internet marketing checklist is intended to help salon owners assess both their understanding and use of the web. Starting with your first cautious steps onto the web, it follows a chronological sequence of using new tools and grasping new opportunities as you grow in confidence and knowledge.

Internet marketing is no longer a quick battle to get a salon website “live,” it is a long campaign with daily skirmishes. However, the rewards are higher salon sales income, more loyal ­clients, and cost-effective marketing spending.

This is a very condensed three-year campaign to create the perfect online marketing plan for your salon in just a few key steps. The process is more involved and there are many other issues to consider. But, the first task is to identify where you are on this roadmap and determine if you have the drive to take the next step.

Trainee salons will have dipped their toe into the water with a website that is now some years old and seldom has new content. They may be unaware of their visitor numbers and are unsure of their search engine ranking for keywords.

 > Install Google Analytics or a similar measurement tool. It will let you measure traffic to your website and see where site visitors came from, what pages they visit, and what brought them to your website.

> Start a Facebook page for your salon. Facebook has revolutionized the way people talk, and your salon needs to be part of their daily conversation.

> Analyze your search rankings using analytics and improve your website pages to gain higher positions. Better ranks equals more traffic.

Graduate Salons will have both a website and ­Facebook page with regular new content and engaging messages to sell your services and promote your salon.

> Capture client e-mail addresses using forms on your website or Facebook page, and plan e-mail marketing campaigns.

> Create a calendar of messages that you can use on Facebook and in e-mails to promote events like Mother’s Day and Christmas or other seasonal offers.

> Use the new Facebook Tabs as a powerful tool to attract new clients — using newsletters, sign-up forms, voucher downloads, and image galleries.

Professional Salons will be updating their website and Facebook almost daily, sending e-mail campaigns, and improving their search rankings constantly.

> Offer downloadable vouchers and guides; these are great tools to entice new clients and can be embedded in your website or Facebook Tabs.

> Use Google advertising to target keywords that are high-value salon services and force your way to the number-one spot on Google.

> Use Facebook ads as engines to drive traffic to your Facebook business page or your salon website. They are local, targeted, and cost-effective.

Expert Salons will have a busy and engaging website and Facebook page with lots of new content and great marketing campaigns.

> Changeable ads on your website allow you to add timely promotions (for specific upcoming holidays, for example).

> Develop blog stories that are interesting and engaging — and bring them into your website and Facebook page.

> Using Facebook Tabs you can run viral campaigns where friends tell friends, and the “reach” of your messages grows exponentially.

Phil Evans runs the Salon Guru website (, which encourages salon owners to grasp the opportunity of Internet marketing for their businesses.

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