November 2010

Retail Matters

Retail Matters | by Steve Sleeper


Marketing Magic for the Holidays

You can smell it in the air -- the holiday season is upon us.

For every salon and spa across the country, that holiday cheer translates into full appointment books and plenty of new faces.

Customers you may not see often, along with new clients, suddenly book appointments looking to spice up their look for their many holiday dinners, cocktail parties and perhaps chance meetings under the mistletoe.

For those savvy salon pros out there, this cheerful season is a great opportunity to entice spend-happy clients (both new and old) to keep up their new look in the New Year, and perhaps bring a friend or family member along.

Spread the Cheer and Get the Word Out

There is nothing like a little marketing to get the ball rolling. You may be offering a discount on products with a service: “Happy Holidays from XX Salon. Enjoy 20 percent off all products with any service in November and December.”

Perhaps you have a two-for-one special to help bring in new customers: “Bring along a friend and get 50 percent off pedicures for both of you.” Communicate your special holiday offers with a seasonal-themed postcard or e-mail and put that roster of client phone numbers to use through text-messaging marketing. In addition, do not forget to post your special promotions and events on your social media tools and pages.

Keep Them Happy and Coming Back

Remember what your mother told you, “It’s better to give than receive.” Why not have both! If your budget allows for it, consider giving new customers a small gift to show them you appreciate their patronage.

Try to make it something they can use as a gift for someone else -- like a gift card or a product gift set specially designed with your logo and packaging. This will not only make that customer feel special, but will also act as free advertising for your salon if they pass it on.

Make it a Community Affair

Reach out to the community and help grow your customer roster. Talk with local merchants to create partnerships that help you both. Consider partnering with a local fashion retailer to conduct a “Holiday Looks Fashion and Hair Show.” The event could take place at the retailer’s location, your salon, or even your local shopping mall.

With advance planning and plenty of great marketing material to hand out, this could become something the entire community looks forward to each year, as well as an annual success for your business.

Start a Charitable Trend and Make a Difference

Another way to reach out is to give back to your community by participating in a local food or toy drive: “Donate non-perishable food items for XX Food Bank and receive a $1 discount per item on any product or service as our thanks.”

Another option would be, “Put a smile on a child’s face. Bring in a brand new wrapped toy and get 10 percent off services.” Communicate your service idea with flyers around town, e-mails or postcards to existing customers, and do not forget to send a press release to local media to help get the word out.

Think Ahead to January and February

The holiday cheer you are experiencing now will not last forever. When things begin to slow down, think about extending the promotion that worked best or finding new ones to celebrate the start of a new year. Perhaps utilize a “New Year, New You” theme, such as, “Get a free manicure with any hair service,” or a “Resolution for beautiful hair. Get a free 8 oz. shampoo and conditioner set with any color treatment.” Consider working with a local health club to swap marketing materials or offer a joint promotion and market it together. For Valentine’s Day, try a “His ‘n’ Hers” or “Sweetheart” special: “Buy one service package for her, get his at 50 percent off.”

Get your Staff on Board

If you are a salon owner, consider doing a special holiday contest or promotion to get your staff excited about the possibilities the holidays bring to the salon: “Bring in XX clients through referrals and get a paid day off.” Make sure you offer extra training on how to sell products and gift cards to clients. In addition, do not forget to add some type of incentive for spreading the word at holiday parties they will be attending this season.

Most importantly -- think creatively and have fun! Let your passion for your craft and your commitment to your customers shine and create a glow that lasts throughout the year.

Steve Sleeper is the Executive Director of the Professional Beauty Association (PBA), which is made up of salons and spas, distributors and manufacturers dedicated to improving their individual businesses and the industry as a whole. For information, visit or call 1-800-468-2274.