New selling idea: catch stylists when they’re about to open a salon

Over the last several months I’ve been I’ve been working to get Snip to rank high for the keywords salon software and hair salon software. I’m currently doing tolerably well (in Huckleberry Finn parlance), ranking 10 and 6 for those keywords, respectively, for about 1300 and 500 impressions, 30 and 16 clicks. Achieving these results required a surprisingly small amount of knowledge and effort.

As anyone who has at least a basic knowledge of SEO knows, it’s not necessarily all that great to rank for such generic keywords, though. To give a concrete example, someone searching for bmw is probably just browsing, while a person searching for red 2003 bmw m5 probably has an actual intention to buy. Does someone searching for salon software have an intention to buy? It’s hard to say, but my guess would be that she’s just in a research phase. I’m not too sure what salon software‘s equivalent to red 2003 bmw m5 would be, though.

Anyway, I was trying to think the other day of keywords other than just variations on salon software for which I could try to rank. I wanted long tail keywords, specific terms indicative of an intent to buy. After some brainstorming I thought that how to open a hair salon might be something good to rank for since people who are just opening salons are probably likely to be in the market for scheduling software. How might I rank for how to open a hair salon, I wonder?

My first thought was, “Well, I’ve never run a hair salon or even worked as a stylist, so I’m pretty thoroughly unqualified to talk about this. NEXT!” But then I forced myself to think a little harder and I had an idea. “I don’t have to generate credible advice on how to start a hair salon,” I thought. “All I have to do is present credible advice on how to start a hair salon. Maybe I can interview salon owners and see if they have any advice I can use in a blog post.”

And that’s exactly what I started to do today. I’ve had a few Google Alerts set up for a long time that send me articles about new hair salons opening up. I dug through a few of those and called the salons, asking for the owner. I did get through to one owner. I told her what I was doing and she was happy to provide me with a good amount of advice on opening a salon. I figure if I get 10 or so different perspectives on opening a salon, that’s pretty good for a credible article.

There’s another important takeaway here: although I’m purposely avoiding selling Snip to these people I’m calling (since that would just muddy the waters and take away from my purpose of collecting content), I think I may be onto an effective mechanism for getting the decision-maker on the phone. Contrast the following two approaches where I’m trying to get salon owner Susan on the phone:

  • “Hi, this is Jason Swett. I’m calling for Susan. Not there? Okay, well I was calling to see if Susan was interested in salon software…” (self-serving purpose)
  • “Hi, this is Jason Swett. I’m calling for Susan. Not there? Okay. I’m writing an article with advice for would-be salon owners about how to open a hair salon. I was hoping to chat with Susan for about five minutes and see what advice she might have…” (positioning Susan as an expert worth listening to, making Susan feel important, approaching with non-threatening purpose)

I wouldn’t realistically expect a call back from either of those messages, but I think the latter approach would make me seem a lot more likable, since people like people who make them feel important. If I chose to do so after chatting with Susan about opening a salon, I bet I could ask her a couple questions about salon software and she would be willing to talk openly about it since her anti-salesperson defenses would not be up. Only experience will tell if this is actually a good approach. I haven’t tried it enough yet to be able to tell.

Anyway, my point is that I think if I can put up a blog post that gets to be the first result when people search for how to open a hair salon or similar, they’re really my (hopefully) good advice from seasoned salon operators, say, “Hey, what is this site, anyway?” and consider Snip as their scheduling tool for their new salon.

One thought on “New selling idea: catch stylists when they’re about to open a salon

  1. Peter

    Write short blog posts, 200-500 words, each about another facet of opening a salon. Plus a post per interviewee. Then also bundle them up in a PDF and put it in an ad on your sidebar or low on your homepage. “Get a free ebook on opening a salon, sign up now to my email list”.

    Reply

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