A lot of businesses are scrambling to get their business in the cloud, but most online businesses are working to do the opposite. From Google to Facebook and beyond, digital networks are spending a large proportion of their development resources finding ways to connect at a local level. Why? It’s more relevant to users. Think about it – are you more interested in fashions that girls are wearing in Brazil if you live in Madison, Wisconsin? Likely not. What’s happening around you is much more relevant to you as it’s something you can engage with and act on.
Local businesses traditionally do business card swaps, meet up and refer business at local events and sometimes collaborate on offers and events. Ahhhhh, the good ol’ days. Well, we’re happy to say that those days aren’t over and local salons and spas that aren’t still doing the tried and true promotional activities could be missing out on a great way to get clients from their local area.
Attend Every Community Meeting
Yes, it may be boring. Yes, parliamentary procedure may bore you. However, these are the influential people in your community and it’s good to be seen and be in the know. Plus, when you want to do any fun, interesting promotions you will know exactly who to talk to.
Find Complementary Businesses
Create a list of businesses in your area that are complementary to your target audience. For example, if you have a lot of soccer moms, look at your local schools. If you have some hipster fashionista’s, look at the local off-beat fashion boutiques and radio stations. If you are a mens salon, check out the local sports bars, watering holes or golf courses. These businesses are catering to the same clientele that you are and you can help each other become more valuable to your mutual clients.
Keep an eye out for events and opportunities to get the word out about your business. Donate time and participate in anything that will put you in front of people that you want to become your clients. Also consider the public relations potential for each event. Would being involved in that charity drive help promote you on the web? Likely so.
Beyond waiting for cool opportunities to spread the word, go out there and find them. One of my stylist friends is really active with youth skate parks and he’s strategically hitting the skate parks with all the cool mom’s and networking within the skate scene. Another linkup client hits up all the coffee shops to serve different coffee in the salon and promote their cafe. Yet another linkup client is offering a voucher to a local wine bar for happy hour if they come in during certain slow days. There are all sorts of creative ways to help other businesses spread the word about you and vice versa.
Word of mouth is still a vital part of the hair and beauty business and it’s important to balance what we do online with what is happening off-line. They are part of the whole brand marketing ecosystem that you want to have an overall positive effect. Neglecting one part will only make the other piece less effective. So, get out there and start connecting!