Web Design in my opinion is an awful term that gives far too much emphasis on how your website should look, rather than how your website should function. In reality there are very few industries where you need to design for aesthetic appearance, so beautiful website design is not important for the majority of industries and sectors. It’s about having a good understanding of the business and knowing: what is normal? what are the customer expectations in that industry? Don’t break away from the normal. People have fixed ideas when it comes to websites and industries. If you go for innovative or unconventional design, people are less likely to like them. The design of your site will be predetermined by what visitors portray as normal for the industry. In the beauty industry, you don’t need beautiful websites. What you need is good clear images, good useful content that explains the treatment processes (in other words what exactly do people get for their money), simple design, easy navigation and trust elements (we’ll talk about these later).
As business owners what you really want is your website to convert and to bring new leads and customers. Lets have a look at one sector and discuss website design.
Website Design for Beauty Salons
I’m going to talk about this industry in this article because I have considerable experience in this sector and an enormous amount of data to back up my claims. Many of the tactics featured in this article can be applied to the vast majority of small businesses regardless of sector or industry, so even if you are not in the beauty industry, read on.
My first encounter with the industry was back in the early 90’s and I have to say very little as changed. Sure there are some new treatments and techniques, but the core treatments remain the same. Hair removal, skin therapy, massages etc. Now you would think that perhaps an industry where personal appearance plays a significant impact that there would be a need to have an aesthetically pleasing website, but this is not the case.
The key to building a successful* beauty website that promotes your salons services comes down to three key areas:
3. Price and Promotions (Persuasive Content)
*I describe success as those websites that brings lots of new leads and customers. There is no point having a beautiful or search friendly website if it doesn’t convert!
You see, the beauty is not in the design of the website, but its function. As long as the website is easy to navigate, your content is compelling and holds the visitors attention and you have appropriate means of persuasion to get them to enquire about your services, your website will convert. Just don’t be on the ugly end of the spectrum, or appear amateur as this can cause trust issues. Keep them elegant but simple and easy to update. The problem with beautiful websites is that they are often difficult to navigate, and they are often complex to update. If your visitors cannot navigate the website, they hit the back button and go elsewhere. If your website is complex and difficult to update, this means your competition can react much faster, and they do! Some really good examples of websites where beauty lies in the function are Google, Ebay, Facebook, LinkedIn and Amazon. Amazon is probably one of the most unpleasing websites on the eye, but there is absolute logic to every piece of content on an Amazon page, because they have split-tested their content to ensure the best possible conversion rates.
Let’s begin by discussing trust. Trust comes in many forms, and as well as trusting a product, there is also the need to trust the therapist and the business. Someone may trust your products, but not your company. It’s fair to say that most professional salons provide high quality products, such as Clarins, Guinot, Dermalogica, Decleor Paris etc. So little is required to build trust in the products you use, as this is taken care of by the product manufacturers. There is however a significant need to build therapist and company brand trust. This can be done with the use of client reviews, professional reviews, qualifications and specialist courses. When it comes to web design, trust elements such as these are often built into ‘about us’ pages and other pages that don’t really see the day of light. The truth is, these elements need to be built into your core services pages, so you can begin to build trust with your visitors. Other forms of trust that help a company are affiliations and memberships.
The biggest mistake that web designers make with beauty salon websites is they forget about trust. If you have a large number of positive reviews, then make a point of communicating this throughout your website on every single page. Why every page, because don’t assume that the visitor will or knows how to locate your reviews page. Let’s say you have over 100 x 5 star reviews, you will make a huge statement if this is illustrated on all pages and above the fold. (Above the fold means anything that is visible on a screen without having to scroll down. On all sites where we have highlighted the significant number of reviews, our clients have seen improvements of well over 200% in website leads. Imagine what 200% more leads could do to your business!
Other ways you can build trust are through the use of guarantees and money back offers. These are particularly useful at building company trust, because only good companies are prepared to offer guarantees and money back offers should their services not meet their usual high standards. A good guarantee really does build consumer trust and removes any anxiety of stress a potential customer may have about using your services.
Website content will determine your online visibility. You may want to read my article: Number 1 reason your beauty website is not attracting visitors – this article explains the need to build large targeted pages that focus on specific treatments and keywords. One of the biggest mistakes I see with beauty salon websites is a real lack of content and in most cases the repeated use of supplier branded text. Yes you may use Clarins products, but rest assured if you simply use the same blurb that Clarins have supplied to all of their customers, your website will never bring you new customers. If there is one thing search engines such as Google dislike, it’s duplicate content. When did you last conduct a search on Google and get a list of websites on page 1 that featured the same text? It just doesn’t happen.
I have built some of the most successful beauty salon websites in the industry (when I say successful, what I mean is websites that bring lots of leads and customers). The biggest secret I can share with you is too make sure that you separate all of your treatments onto their own pages and you create lots of useful content. It’s really easy to create content, and with the help of client and professional reviews you can easily pad the page out with additional text. Think about the type of people who want your services. Let’s say we are building a page about threading. Your page needs to reach out to three key visitors. 1) Those that have never tried or experienced threading before. 2) Those that have tried threading before but never used your salon. 3) Your current threading customers. All three groups require different content. Group 1 will need content that perhaps talks about the treading process, any pain or discomfort to be expected, and what they can do before the treatment to lessen such pain. Those that have experienced threading before will primarily need to know about prices and whether they can trust your business. Group 3 may want to know how to minimise any redness after their treatments. In addition to this, you can also add specific frequently asked questions about threading.
Hopefully, you are now starting to get a picture about how easily it is to build good content, even for such a simple treatment such as threading. It’s even easier to write quality content for some of the more complex and more enjoyable beauty treatments.
The key point I want you to takeaway regarding content, is build lot of content and make sure that you designate a page to each treatment. I don’t mean you have separate pages for each threading treatment, you have one very high quality page about your threading services. Again, where most website designs fail, is because they group hair removal together, when waxing also needs to have it’s own page. Even worse, they group all their treatments on a single page. Where you create large amount of content, it is wise to interlink them. See our article: The importance of internal linking for SEO success to learn just how to link your articles together.
I know that if you build a page about threading and it has over 1000 words of content, (that’s about how much you have read so far of this article) you will absolutely reap the benefits and bring new leads and customers. How do I know, because your customers are NOT doing this and Google will reward you with excellent rankings for such content.
Price and Promotions
Treatment prices and promotions are very important when it comes to your website. Those in group 2 above will specifically be seeking to establish the costs of your services, so these must be included on your website. Promotions are the difference between a visitor leaving your website and never to return, versus generating a new lead and customer. Promotions provide that sense of urgency and persuade visitors to become leads. Without promotions and creating a sense of urgency, 94% of visitors to your website will never buy from you. With every client where we introduced promotions, the number of leads and new customers rose by in excess of 400%. Just image what a 400% uplift in your business can do?
You can offer promotions for new customers, as well as promotions to existing clientele. Remember, it’s cheaper to offer a discount to an existing client, compared to the cost of trying to attract new ones. The best promotions are those that are timed and have an expiry, because they create that sense of urgency and the need to buy now. Don’t run month long promotions, as these are way too long. The best promotions are those that last 7-10 days, then promote a different service.
By running online promotions this will enable you to collect visitor data and for us marketers this is as good as it’s weight in gold. For our clients we’ve managed to build databases containing thousands of names and emails addresses, this enables our clients to run email campaigns to boost business when required, plus send out personal messages and introduce new services and treatments. Imagine having a database that contains over 1000 names and email address of customers and leads? It really is a game changer when it comes to the success of your business.
This is the first in a series of articles. A link to the next one will appear here shortly.
What you should do now
If you are serious about having a great website, you should read my blog, it’s packed with ideas and suggestions to help improve your site.
If you’d like me to dramatically improve your website and bring you new customers, visit my Hair and Beauty Salon Website Designs for UK Businesses page or if you are in a different sector my website designs for small businesses page and then contact me for more information.
And if you have any comments or questions about this article, contact me.