You're on this page because you want to grow sales and leads for your beauty salon services using Google ads. Perhaps you have a med spa, nail bar, day spa, or you offer hair or waxing services. Google Ads is undoubtedly one of the most effective advertising tactics available to you to grow leads and sales (a related post here on med spa marketing which is a good read and will help your overall plan).
More People Searching in Google Than Ever Before for More Queries
Are you capturing this traffic? With Google Ads, you can.
Google has a steady stream of qualified potential clients for your business. It has 98% of all search traffic! And the number one mobile phone operating system with Android. So when people need information, they grab their phones and start searching Google.
Watch the below video - just hit the play button. I cover a lot of information, but you can scrub the video timeline (mouse over it) and find the sections you want if you prefer. (don't forget to give me a "like" if you found any part of the video helpful. 🙂
Just consider consumer behavior. The below data are from Google a few years back so these numbers are far larger now.
Google Ads Reach Customers Where Their Eyes Are - On Mobile Devices
So for a salon, what are the best options to reach those future customers with Google Ads?
The goal of this post is to help you shorten the learning curve and understand the following:
So whether you're doing ads yourself or just need to educate yourself because someone else is running the ads for you, you now have a better understanding of where to start.
Are Google Ads Worth It for Beauty Salons or Day Spas?
The short answer is yes!
People are actively searching Google for all kinds of beauty and day spa services. From nails to hair, lashes and lash extensions, brows, facials, massages, blowouts, Brazilian waxing services, and more.
The services people search for in Google are endless.
Google Ads are one of the most effective ways to tap into that stream of searchers. Google delivers warm, pre-qualified leads to businesses. Those potential prospects typed into Google what they were searching for, so we know they are interested. We just have to capture that traffic.
Take a look at the monthly volume of searches below for hair salons and related in Google Search. This search volume is in the geotargeted areas of Newport Beach, Irvine, and Costa Mesa, California.
Thousands of Searches per Month for Hair Salon
Or what about nail salons or nail bars in the same geographic area? Thousands of more searchers looking for these services.
People are searching. And here's how you can access those potential prospects with Google Ads.
The First Two Important Decisions:
Search or Display Ads?
If you're new to Google Ads, the first thing to understand is that there are two core advertising options for you to reach your ideal customers. Those two options are Search or Display campaigns.
We first discuss search, and then down below display ads.
Search ads are when you bid for keywords that people are searching for in return for the opportunity to show your ad (screenshot below). For example, in the screenshots above, I posted samples of just some of the terms people are searching for related to hair extensions and lash extensions within the geotarget of Newport Beach, Irvine, and Costa Mesa. You can also see the cost-per-click (CPC) columns in that example.
Definition: Cost-Per-Click (CPC) is the cost you pay as an advertiser every time someone clicks on your ad.
Here's an example of Search ads related to "lash extensions." Three different companies are showing their ads for the term "lash extensions near me."
How To Set Up A Winning Search Campaign
I will skip the basic initial steps of setting up your Google Ads account (billing, time zone, etc) and get right into how to set up a successful campaign.
Choose Your Campaign Objective
When you set up a new campaign, you first have to choose your objective. This is an essential first step.
We are going to start with the Leads campaign objective.
Leads for our specific case are phone calls to book an appointment, leads coming from forms on our website, or through booking an appointment online. Once, you start a "New Campaign," you are presented with several campaign objectives. The Leads objective is the most relevant for a salon that wants to book appointments and get butts in chairs.
After you click on Leads, you will then choose Phone Call Leads.
Choose The Campaign Type
Next, you have to choose your campaign type - Search or Display.
In this case, we’re going to choose Search and then check Website visits and Phone Calls. The other options are not optimal for what we’re trying to achieve, which are phone calls, form submissions from the website, or booking an appointment online if your site allows for it.
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Set The Daily Ad Spend Budget
Next, you have to choose your campaign type - Search or Display.
Next, set your daily budget. You can set any daily budget you want. Read our section below on how to set the right budget on your goals and what stage your company is at in its evolution. Our bidding is set to Conversions and right now we do not want to a target cost per action. Setting a target cost per action at this point can restrict campaign performance before it has any data to work from.
Choose The Networks
Will the ads show on Search or Display? Or both?
Once you have set your daily budget, choose Search Network (and include Google partners), and uncheck Display. We do not want to run Display with Search in the same campaign. It is always better to have a separate campaign for Search and another for Display, but not in the same campaign.
Choose Your Geotargeting
Where do you want your ads to show geographically?
Now we will choose our geolocation of where we want to show our Search ads. Click on Advanced Search.
in this example, I entered the zip code 92037, which is the La Jolla area of San Diego.
You have many options for targeting your ideal geographic areas. You can also drop a pin on the map and set a radius by checking the Radius radio button.
Set Your Language
Next, choose your language - in this case, I have English chosen. Choose Next once you are done.
What keywords are you going to use?
Now, move on to the keyword selections by clicking next.
You'll notice that we are now at the Ad Group level. Ad Groups hold keywords and ads. And here's where you have to stay organized if you have more than one salon service.
For example, perhaps you do hair and lash extensions. The critical point to remember is that you should have only one ad group for each type of service. So, for example, you would have one ad group for haircuts and another for lash extensions.
I will walk you through setting this up for nail services. I will type in "nail salon," and Google will populate with some good high-value search terms.
As you scroll down this keyword list, there are some terms that perhaps you won't want to include.
I see a couple of phrases that should have their own ad group - anything related to manicure, manicurist, and then pedicure.
While both fall under Nail Salon services, you still want to align your ads to the keywords. So you would have a separate ad group for "manicure" related terms and another ad group for "pedicure" terms.
When you organize this way with ad groups, the ads in each ad group will reflect the keywords you're adding, increasing performance and lowering the cost for you.
Here's the final initial keyword list we'll start with:
Additionally, we are using Broad Match keyword types. You have several options for keyword match types - Broad, Phrase, or Exact.
You can learn more details about Google's match types here.
But for our initial campaign, we are using Broad match. Broad match will match to similar keywords, it will match to misspellings, and it will match to synonyms.
Here's an example. The keyword nail salon will match to:
- nail salon near me
- nail salon [and your zip code]
- best nail salons near me
- And more combinations
The benefit of using Broad Match is that it will capture keyword variations that perhaps we didn't think of that customers are using to find your services.
But, the caveat for using Broad Match is that you need to tighten it up over time. In the first couple of months, you will want to run a Search Terms report weekly to see all the variations of keywords that the ad showed for using Broad match. There will be variations of our keywords we do not want. And in that case, we will add those as negative keywords.
Creating The Search Ads
Now that we have our keywords in place, we are going to create our ads.
Go ahead and type in the Final URL - hopefully, this is a page that speaks ONLY to your nail services as this will improve the performance of the campaign. Similar to how we kept keywords narrowly focused on one service along with ads that reflected that service and keywords, our landing page should take a similar approach and focus just on the primary service keywords.
Now we're going to add multiple headline variations. Google will mix and match and automatically find the best combinations of headlines that produce the best performance.
Then add your Descriptions. Up to four variations and Google will test the best performing descriptions.
Off to the right as well, Google will give you hints and ideas for descriptions and headlines to help you along the way.
Sitelinks are additional links that direct people to other parts of your site and are part of the ad but show below it. Google decides when sitelinks show in your ads. Still, these are excellent ad features that help expand on the ad and increase the possibility of you getting the click and hopefully conversion.
So what do you include in your site links?
For evergreen sitelinks (i.e. they never expire), you could include a link to About Us, Contact Us. Or a link to a Gallery page that shows examples of past work.
For seasonal sitelinks, perhaps you have a page dedicated to Gift Cards or unique nail services pages.
So click on New Sitelink and fill out the information. Add at least three different sitelinks.
Date Sensitive and Special Promo Sitelinks:
Sitelinks can be hugely beneficial as well when you have a date-sensitive promotion.
For example, maybe you have a special for Valentine's Day with special pricing. You created a specific page on your site for Valentine's. Create a sitelink for this but set an expiration date to stop running on the 15th of February. So in the below example, I put a start date and end date. But think of all the holidays or specials you might run and how you can incorporate that into your sitelinks.
Next, click Save on your site links and scroll down to Callouts.
Callouts are short text phrases that appear below your ad similar to sitelinks, but in this case, they are not as long and do not link to other parts of your site. Callouts are best suited for adding phrases that help you stand out even more. Add as many as you can. For ideas on more callouts, think of the questions and pain points customers have. Are there any that you could turn into callouts?
You might include the following callouts:
- Voted Best Nail Salon
- Appointments Available
- Professional Manicurists
- Book Online Today
- Open 7 Days A Week
And callouts can have start and stop dates, so leverage these whenever you have something unique and time-sensitive to promote. Create as many callouts as you think that will help differentiate you and appeal to your future customers' needs.
Add a phone number they can call when they click on the ads. You can set dates for this if you want as well. And you can designate for mobile or not.
We're almost there…stay with me
Now consider loading an image that will appear next to your text ad. This is a great way to differentiate your text ad from the competitors. So choose a quality image that shows your services well. Or a photo of the final product.
Now click Next. If everything is ready to launch, you will see the blue "PUBLISH CAMPAIGN" button. If not, it will highlight any issues that you need to fix.
Once you are ready, go ahead and click the PUBLISH CAMPAIGN button and the ads will go to Google for review and once approved, go live. This typically takes 24 hours for ad approvals.
In comparison to Search ads, Display ads are banner ads, videos, or text ads that show on other websites, on YouTube videos, or within Gmail and to only the people you want to target.
If you're not familiar with Display ads, here's an example of a Display Retargeting Ad showing at the top of Jim Cramer's show, Mad Money on CNBC. But Display Ads can show on hundreds of different websites. And you have many options for targeting just the right people.
But most importantly, Display ads are inexpensive. Many Display ad campaigns cost pennies per click.
Compared to Search ads where we bid on keywords, Display ad targeting is entirely different.
For example, you can target based on demographics, including:
- Sex: Male or female
- Education level
- Household income
- Whether they are parents, and other demographics.
This allows you to target only your ideal customer so you can keep your ad spend focused and reduce wasted ad spend.
And similar to Facebook ad targeting, with Google's Display Ads you can reach people specifically on unique behaviors.
Affinity and In-Market Audiences - these are people that are actively searching for or are regular visitors of beauty salons, day spas, hair stylists, nail bars, and more. Because Google knows so much about what sites we visit and what stores we visit, it has built large audiences of people we want to sell our services to.
Here are some of the options for In-Market Audiences for Beauty and Personal Care:
Here's are the options for Affinity Audiences for Beauty and Wellness:
And one of the most effective ad tactics you can use with Google Display Ads is Retargeting.
With Display ads, you have the option to show ads to people that visited your website at any time in the past year. This tactic is referred to as remarketing.
Remarketing is a very effective and low-cost tactic for increasing repeat visits with existing customers or bringing back prospects that didn't convert on a first visit.
Imagine if you wanted to push gift card sales during the holidays, Valentine's Day, or Mother's Day. You can create new Display ads with an offer and push that out to all your past site visitors. And lists of past website visitors can be substantial in size - it's not uncommon to have a list of 50,000 or 100,000 people just in your local area. Where else can you get that kind of exposure for such little money?
And consider that the people most likely to buy from you in the future are those that are already customers and have purchased from you in the past.
Benefits of Display Ads:
- Lower cost-per-click (CPC)
- Huge exposure potential so you can create broad awareness in your local market
- Retargeting - show your ads to past customers or people who didn't convert to a lead yet
- Helps close longer sales cycle customers
When and Why Run Display Campaigns?
When you want to create broad-level brand awareness to a very targeted audience, Display ad campaigns are the best option.
For example, maybe you want to reach women between the ages of 18 - 45 who are interested in or actively searching for beauty salon services. Or, more specifically waxing, or hairstylist services who live within 3 miles of your salon or spa. The options are endless here.
But because these banner ads that show on other websites, what we call interrupt marketing, the prospects are not as close to converting to a lead as Search ads.
But keep in mind that creating broad brand awareness locally for your salon or nail bar will positively impact your leads over time.
Google Ads Budgets:
How Much Do I Need To Spend?
There are several ways to arrive at a reasonable monthly ad budget that you should spend.
If you're somewhat new with advertising your salon services, the first thing to understand is that the size of your ad budget directly affects results. This is because budget equates to the number of leads and brand exposure you can achieve in your local market. And larger budgets mean more leads, more brand exposure.
If you're serious about growing your salon leads this year, you have to spend to grow. You cannot shrink your way to growth. Excellent customer service, great reviews, and customer referrals are necessary for growth but will only take you so far. With ads, you have unlimited potential.
Current Sales or Projected Sales Method To Estimate Google Ad Spend
The first place to determine a Google ad budget is to decide what budget is reasonable for your sales goals.
Aggressive Growth Ad Budget
Established companies that are aggressive spend 5% - 10% or more of monthly sales on marketing. But the general range for an established business is to allocate 2% - 10% of monthly sales towards marketing and advertising. So if you're spending on the lower end of that scale, then growth is not the main priority. Instead, you're just maintaining sales to squeeze more cash out of your business versus setting it up for bigger successes in the future.
Establishing A Budget For Less Established, Newer Salons or Spas
If your salon or spa is on the younger side or not as established, then using the percentage of current sales method to determine an advertising budget is not the best approach.
Here's a more practical approach to help you reach your sales goals and arrive at a reasonable Google Ads budget.
Estimate your ad spend or ad budget as a percentage of your monthly future projected monthly sales goals. So if you want to grow to $80,000 per month in sales, then 5% - 10% of that amount is considered aggressive.
Of course, your budget needs to be within your comfort zone and your business' cash flow. Most importantly, however, your Google Ad budget needs to be sustainable month after month. Starting and stopping marketing campaigns is not effective. If anything, start smaller but maintain consistency in spending and grow it as your cash flow improves.
Consistency is a crucial ingredient to successfully growing leads and your salon sales.
Read my related post here for a more in-depth process on how to determine how much you should spend on Google Ads.
Benchmark Ad Spends From Other Salons and Spas
For reference, compared to your peers, from more than two hundred different beauty salons, nail bars, massage services and spas throughout markets in the US, the most conservative businesses and the minority of this group spend as little as $500 per month on Google Ads. Conversely, the most aggressive spenders allocate $4,500 per month on Google Ads, with additional ad spend above this going to Facebook and Instagram Ads.
What Will I Get with My Google Ad Budget?
Any advertising you do has a cost per lead for that tactic. For example, for massage services, we found direct mail provided a cost per lead of $50 - $300 per lead, which is crazy expensive.
For this same business, Google Ads provided leads in the range of $5 - $13. A huge difference and a difference that can mean whether you are successful or not. And whether you will be cash positive or negative after advertising.
The below chart are unique phone calls coming from Google Ads for two beauty salon locations in a metro market with monthly increases in Google Ad spend. Would you not want a steady stream of customers calling?
Google Ads and SEO generally provide retail businesses with their lowest cost per lead out of any advertising that is available with the highest returns on ad spend. And most importantly, you are generating positive cash flow - meaning after spending on Google Ads, you have more cash coming into the business than is going out of the business.
Budget will determine if you run Search or Display, or Both
If your monthly ad spend is less than $500 per month, I generally recommend starting with only Search campaigns to generate the leads now that can help you grow.
Suppose your ad budget is higher than $500 per month. In that case, I generally recommend a 90% to 10% split on ad spend between Search and Display, respectively.
How Much Do Google Ads Cost For Salon and Spa Services?
You can set whatever daily budget you are comfortable with. But Google Ads cost-per-click (CPC) varies significantly between Search or Display campaigns. Specifically for Search ads, the cost-per-click (CPC) range for salon and spa services generally falls between $1 - $7 per click depending on the competitiveness and value of a keyword.
In comparison, Display ads typically cost $0.20 to $1 per click.
And you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. So any unused budget is not charged to you.
What Determines My Google Ads Cost?
Cost with Google Ads is determined by the following three factors:
- User Experience
But these three factors differ slightly depending on whether you're running a Search or Display campaign.
Here's what's vital for you to know.
For Google Search ads, the cost varies based on several different factors.
So keywords that have more economic value, meaning they lead to more sales and leads, are more competitive and thus more expensive (higher CPCs). But higher CPCs can be interpreted as a positive signal to you as it shows that other advertisers are finding value in it otherwise the keyword would be cheaper.
Take for example, these two keywords:
- "lash extensions near me" is double or triple the CPC compared to the keyword phrase
- "individual lashes" from the earlier screenshot.
The intent of the latter keyword is not as clear, and searchers are likely looking for many different things. As a result, other advertisers are unwilling to bid it up as much. Some advertisers probably won't even bid on that keyword. Conversely, "lash extensions near me" is clear that the searcher is looking for lash services close to them.
Another factor that affects your cost for Google Ads is what Google calls Quality Score.
Every keyword you bid for in a Search campaign is given a Quality Score rating from 1 to 10, with 1 being a poor score and 10 being excellent. And, unlike the level of competition for a keyword, you have control over your Quality Score (unless you're a franchise). Here's how.
Search Ad Alignment to Keywords Affects Quality Score
Without going into too much detail, your quality score is a measure of your relevance to a particular keyword. Your relevance is determined by your ad copy, your expected click-through-rate (CTR), and your landing page experience. (here's a related post on how to align landing pages to your ads for more conversions)
For example, if you are bidding on the keyword "Brazilian waxing near me" but your ad doesn't mention that keyword and instead only mentions your salon services in general, this would qualify as poor quality. Your CTR for this ad would be poor because it is not aligned with the searcher's intent and what they are looking for.
Ad copy needs to align with the keywords. So how would you improve this?
Campaign Organization and Themes Improves Quality Scores
In this case, if you offered several different waxing and salon services, you might create ads for Brazilian waxing keywords that talk about that service, it's benefits, etc, and then another ad for lash extensions with the ad reflecting that service feature and benefits. But mixing those two services will spell disaster for your campaign performance and results.
Landing Page Experience Affects Quality Scores
In addition to the ads aligning to the keywords, the landing page you send the traffic to from your Search ad also needs to align with your keywords and ad.
This is where franchises fail as each franchisee typically only has one location page with all the spa services listed - not a great landing page experience! Franchises are at a distinct disadvantage to independently owned businesses from this standpoint.
So if you are advertising hairstylist services, your landing page needs to reflect those services. For example, showcasing hair options, pricing, customer testimonials, before and after photos, etc.
Does Your Site Load Well on Mobile Devices?
An important consideration is, does your site and page load fast and render well on mobile devices?
Here's an example of a salon website that is NOT mobile responsive.
This is an awful user experience and will kill lead generation. Mobile traffic is 75% of all the salon traffic for many websites. Ironically, this was a salon in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in southern California - Newport Beach. The owners wanted to grow leads but were not interested in improving their site.
Notice near the top there's a red button with a call-to-action, but we can't see it. And then down below it looks like there's a "Book Now" button, but we can't see that either. Plus, there's no mobile-click-to-call number anywhere. This is awful for growing leads or sales. Not only that, the competitors have a better website and they will likely pay less per click for Google Ads (since they are delivering a better landing page experience), and equally important their site will likely outrank this one for organic non-paid searches (SEO) and within Google Maps. The website below is leaving money on the table.
The majority of search traffic is from mobile devices.
If your site does not render well, you will suffer from higher cost per click (CPCs) compared to your competitors that do have mobile optimized landing pages. And most importantly, you will see far fewer conversions and leads due to poor user experience on your website.
So ads, keywords, and landing pages all need to align for good Quality Scores.
Here's an example of Quality Score ratings per keyword. In this example, most of the keywords have a score of 5, with one keyword at a 1. That low Quality Score is one keyword that should be paused until adjustments can be made to improve the score.
Display ad quality score is based on similar factors as Search but differs in important ways. There is no alignment to keywords since the targeting is based on other factors. But the landing page experience is essential - if your site is not optimized for mobile, you will score poorly. And if the page content is not what you were advertising, your score will be lower, and your per click cost higher as well.
Google won't show you Quality Score metrics for Display, but here's what's most important. The landing page experience, as mentioned above, will not only affect your Quality Score but your conversions, too.
Consequences of Low-Quality Scores
If your quality score is low, you will pay more per click, so costs will be higher, and Google will not show your ad as often.
And sometimes, you will pay a lot more per click with low quality scores. Google wants quality advertisers. And it rewards quality advertisers with lower costs. But punishes low-quality advertisers with higher costs. In some cases, I have seen low quality scores more than triple or quadruple the cost per click that an advertiser pays. So suffice it to say, you need to pay attention to quality.
Geotargeting - Only Reach Customers Near Your Location
In addition to the laser targeted Search and Display targeting options using keywords or behaviors, you have very effective geotargeting options, so you only show your ads to prospects near your salon.
Let's say you had a salon or spa in the Del Mar area in San Diego. Below I dropped a pin on the map that goes out in a 5-mile radius. But you can expand or narrow this geotargeting as well. You can also target by typing in city names, zip codes, counties, and more. The options are many. Here's a related post that goes into more depth on hyper local targeting with Google.
So I hope this post has helped you get a better understanding of what you stand to gain running Google Ads for your salon or spa, and what are the most effective strategies and tactics.
If we can help with your digital marketing efforts, please contact us today!
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