Successful hair salons can be found in three basic business models: the standard storefront salon, mobile salon services and hair and beauty services offered out of a home. Unsuccessful salons also come in these three types, and the difference is how the salon owner approaches branding her small business and marketing it to the correct target customers.


The salon business is all about image. Your customers are seeking a certain image for themselves when they hire your services. To attract customers, brand your salon to make it fit the image of the kind of place your customers know can give them the look they want. Don't define your salon's image according to what you think it should be; define your target customer and build an image that will appeal to that customer. A strategic brand incorporates the salon name, logo, interior design, signage, street appeal, location, customer community, customer education, customer service and price. If you make your customer feel your salon is the only one that can provide the right look in the most comfortable, convenient setting, and at the right price, you will have successfully branded your salon.


A key part of your strategic planning is to analyze your competition -- particularly if they target the same customer. Notice their brand images, services, customer relations and the overall look of their salons. To compete, differentiate your salon from your competition, but don't forget to keep it appealing to your target market. One way to do this is to create a customer education program. Establish a newsletter email list of all your current customers and use an email marketing program to send monthly newsletters featuring information on the latest styles, new products and services you offer and a calendar of demonstrations and other events to be held in your salon. Establishing a loyal customer community that views your salon not only as a place to get a haircut, but also a warm and friendly community resource, is a great way to build new business.


Easy parking and a location convenient to other shopping is important for a storefront salon. If you operate a mobile salon service, physical location is not so important but your website, presence in local business listings and active social media marketing is your business face to your target customer. This virtual storefront is also vital to building a salon business operated out of your home. If your storefront salon is not so well located, creating a vibrant virtual presence is also key to bringing in new customers.


Don't try to be all things to every type of customer. Focus on one type of service and perform it well. When planning your strategy, talk to your current customers to discover what they like best about your salon. This is what your community reputation is, and it is how you decide which potential customers to target and what your focus should be in your salon. You may find that certain of your stylists are not well liked, and you may also discover stylists at other salons would make good additions to yours. Build your salon into the best source for certain hair services, market that information to your local community and you will have strategically branded your salon as the only place where discriminating customers will go for their hair styling and treatments.