paid ads vs word of mouth

Paid ads vs Word of Mouth for you Nail Salon

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After starting a nail business, you have to start thinking about marketing strategies. Thankfully we live in a day and age where marketing is as easy as the click of a button away. The question however remains; what are the best ways to get your business out there? When just starting, you might not have a lot of money to spend on excessive marketing, so you will have to invest in something that works. 

This post will focus on paid ads vs. basic word-of-mouth techniques. These are just two strategies amongst dozens of different techniques. Note that this is my personal experience, and might differ from person to person

Paid ads and word of mouth have a lot of pros and cons, but in my experience where I have paid for ads, I have to say. Word of mouths is the better options out of the two. I have seen a lot better conversion rate from people recommending me to others by just doing quality work from the start.

Paid Ads


  • Can reach a lot of people quickly
  • Grow your client base faster


  • Expensive
  • Not always target the desired audience 

Word of Mouth


  • Free
  • Clients trust you more
  • Less likely to get suspicious customers


  • Slow growing process
social media

Alternatives to social media

In recent years, the use of social media has become largely widespread among people of all ages. When starting a business page on social media, you will quickly be asked if you would wish to boost your post, or in other words, if you’d like to pay for the platform, to advertise your post more effectively. 

This might seem like a good idea, and don’t get me wrong it might be very effective. But when you’re just starting, it might not be the best route for you to follow.  I did another post on growing your Facebook page.

Cons of paid ads

In my personal experience, when making use of paid ads, if you’re not widely known, and don’t have a lot of followers and page likes, is not as effective as some people might make it out to be. Yes, you will reach a lot more people than you originally might have, and get a lot more engagements on your post. The problem is, a hundred engagements on your post means nothing if none of those people will book an appointment with you.

Paid ads might get people to like your post, and they might even leave a comment, but more than half of them will likely not like, or follow your page and even less will contact you.  Paid ads also target users according to their preferred searches and post clicks. This might leave you with a post reach of a hundred people, where ninety of those people are nail technicians themselves.


I have tried many different forms of advertising, and one of the most effective ways I have experienced is through word-of-mouth. This is when you do someone’s nails, and they tell their friends about you. Or when someone sees their nails while walking past, and ask them where they get their nails done. This has been one of the best ways that I have gotten new clients for my nail business. 

My experience

I’m not completely bashing social media, and have gotten some clients through these platforms, just not as many as I would have liked.  People tend to trust the words of close friends a lot more than written statements of a post made by a stranger, Especial in the beauty business. I have had people start coming to my salon by asking some of my clients about their experiences with my work. 

They had been following me on social media for a while, but couldn’t decide if they should give me a chance. By getting positive feedback from my other clients, they were persuaded to make their first appointment. And now I have new regular clients!  There is no harm in creating social media pages for your business. On the contrary, it is recommended to do so. I would just not advise any new business owner to spend thousands on paid ads from the get-go. 

Quality work

Investing in quality products, and ensuring that your clients are more than happy when they leave, might be the best investment for your business. I wrote a post on awesome nail salon decor that will give your salon a new feel. Invest any money that you can, into nail art and new, trendy nail products so that your client’s nails will always be up to date. Put effort into every single set that you do, no matter how basic it might seem. That person might walk out of your doors and refer their mother, daughter, and sister to your salon. 

That being said, you can motivate your clients to refer a friend or to tell someone about your salon through various methods. 

A great idea to achieve this can be by making referral cards for your existing clients. Referral cards work the following way:  you stamp a client’s card every time they refer a friend or when someone comes by your salon, because of them. 

After a set of stamps have been collected you can “reward” the client by giving them a percentage off on their next set, or by doing another service like a pedicure for free.  This way, clients will be eager to tell everyone they know and to “recruit” new clients for you, with very little effort needed from your side. So, think out of the box and create affordable ways to motivate your clients to refer their friends and family members to your salon.

Spread the word

Don’t be shy to ask people to spread the word about your work.  A few happy clients that post the result of your work on their statuses, might be all you need to attract new clients. When starting, you aim at close friends and relatives, but the end goal should be to widen your horizons. One day you want people to be willing to drive the extra mile to visit your salon. Soon everyone will know about your work.  

Put the effort into how you take and edit your photos. Send these photos to your clients, so that they will rather use them, than photos they took themselves. This way, even your client’s posts will look like quality advertisements.

woman with camera

Money does not always have to be at the centre of your success. If you have a dream and are willing to work for it, anything is possible. Many times you’ll find that the only person standing in your way, is you. 

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