Marketing & Promotions

The Nitty Gritty Guide to Marketing Your Salon

Get the lowdown on: the dos and don'ts of website design, salon-finder sites, the Yellow Pages (printed and online), designing a great business card, placing a newspaper ad, and more.

What You Need to Know About… Door Hangers:

The Lowdown: Door hangers are an inexpensive way to get the word out to a large group of potential clients. Distributed in areas around your salon, they allow you to target specific areas and demographics.

The Magic Number: 500 door hangers are a good start for your first try with this advertising medium. ( charges $327.50 for 500 four-color, 4.25 x 11 door hangers on #100 gloss text.)

Distribution Details: Ask your printer for recommendations for distribution services. To save money, use your salon staff to distribute the door hangers. An able-bodied person can typically distribute between 600 and 800 door hangers a day.

Design that Delivers: Door hangers come in two standard sizes: 4.25” x 11” and 3.5” x 8.5”. Most printers offer a line of predesigned templates you can choose from (starting from about $10 and up) or they can custom design a layout for you.

Jessica Cooper, marketing manager at, offers these additional tips:

• Try transforming your door hanger into a flyer, business card, and coupon all in one by using perforation marks to allow recipients to neatly tear off important information.

• Consider an attention-grabbing headline and image on the front of your door hanger or design it in an unusual shape or color to stand out from the pack.

• The most important thing is to make it easy to respond to your offer and have a clear call to action.

Response Rate: Response rates typically vary from .5% to 15%. Some factors that affect the rate include the affluence of the area you’re targeting, the door hanger design, the message and offer, your call to action, and the local economy in general.

Source: Jessica Cooper, marketing manager,


What You Need to Know About… Exterior Signage:

The Lowdown: Your salon must have a sign outside identifying it, so it’s in your best interest to make it work in your favor. A clear and catchy sign can bring in walk-in traffic as well as make you stand out from other local salons.

Perfect Placement: Visibility is key. Place the sign in the most visible, traffic-heavy area.

Size Matters: Build your sign as large as the city planning department will approve. Print your salon name as large as possible.

Design Details: Stick with your brand logo and colors to create a consistent look throughout all aspects of your marketing.

Cost and Other Considerations:  Exterior signage typically starts at several thousand dollars and up, depending on materials, intricacy of design, and other factors. Ensure you choose a reputable sign company by checking references and asking other nearby non-competing business about the signage provider they used.

Source: Robert Rivas, business development, TDI Signs (


What You Need to Know About… Direct Mail:

The Lowdown: A time-tested method, direct mail allows you to send your ad to targeted recipients, breaking it down by factors like zip code, age, and income level. You can mail your piece solo or include it as part of a coupon envelope, such as Valpak.

Know Your Audience: Direct mail offers pinpoint accuracy, so make sure you know the exact demographic you’re trying to reach; for example, homeowners with children in zip code 12345.

Get a List: Find a reputable direct marketing agency by asking other businesses in your area for a referral (or studying the direct mail that arrives in your own mailbox) or ask your local chamber of commerce if they have lists available for purchase.

Another Point of Impact: Many direct marketing agencies, such as Valpak, are linked up with websites that offer printable and e-mailable coupons to consumers 24/7. Consider enhancing your direct mail campaign with an online component.

Source: Valpak Media Kit (, Direct Marketing Association (


What You Need to Know About…TV Advertising:

The Lowdown: TV advertising combines sound, motion, color, and emotion. It has the ability to convey a thorough, easily digestible message about your salon.

Station Specifics: Pick a TV station that carries the programming that is most watched by your salon’s target audience. Call the sales representatives for the stations you’re considering and invite them to make a pitch for your business, or hire a local ad agency to do the research for you.

Crunching the Numbers: A 30-second time slot will give you the maximum flexibility in choosing when you want your spot to run. (More than 75% of local TV spots fall into this category.) Other options include :15s (about 14% of local TV ads) and :60s (about 6%). The typical campaign runs for at least a month. The cost varies widely depending on market size and the time of day you want your spot to run.

Perfect Production: The station you choose will be able to help you produce your ad. Because of the economic recession, you may even be able to get a deal for use of the station’s production facilities. A local ad agency would also be a valuable resource, as is the Television Bureau of Advertising’s website ( Visit the advertiser/agency resource channel on the site for helpful information for first-time advertisers.

Measuring the Impact: Aside from direct-response ads (which ask viewers to call a specific number or visit a website), it’s harder to measure the impact of a commercials. A local ad agency can help measure awareness of your salon before and after a TV campaign, which is a good supplement to your own findings of increased salon traffic.

Keep in Mind: Television stations maintain websites that are promoted by news anchors and receive heavy traffic. Ask about multiplatform packages that combine traditional on-air ads with a presence on the station’s website.

Source: Gary Belis, VP of communications, Television Bureau of Advertising (


What You Need to Know About…Radio Advertising:

The Lowdown: Radio attracts large, loyal audiences who enjoy unique relationships with their favorite on-air personalities and music formats. Leverage that association to target your ideal salon clients.

Selective Listening: Use radio’s lifestyle-specific formats to your advantage by choosing a station whose audience most closely resembles the clients you want to reach. For most nail salons, stations with strong female listenership work well, making adult contemporary, contemporary hits radio, and soft rock stations all smart choices. If you’re trying to reach men (such as to promote gift card purchases around Mother’s Day and other key holidays), then choose male-skewing stations like rock or sports radio.

Spot On: Some stations will create messages as short as three seconds or as long as three minutes, but the typical spot length is 60 seconds. (Other typical options are 30- and 10-second spots). Costs range based on a number of variables, including the size or economic status of the market, the popularity of a station within that market, and the time of day.

Writing & Development: Most radio stations offer advertisers complimentary copywriting support; if yours doesn’t, you can hire a local agency. Because radio production is inexpensive when compared to other media such as television, you can develop variations on your commercial message that reflect the lifestyle of a particular format’s listeners. Most radio stations offer full production facilities for free or at a nominal cost. The radio sales and production professionals typically handle all the technical aspects.

One Last Note: You can create targeted, integrated advertising plans that include not only on-air, but off-air elements such as coupons or web components like advertiser links, banner ads, streaming inserts, audio and video pre-rolls, and more.

Source: Mike Mahone, executive vice president of services, Radio Advertising Bureau (

Have you ever thought about…

…grocery store carts or separators, taxi tops, bus benches and stops, billboards, windshield flyers, movie theater promos? Log on to and tell us what other interesting forms of advertising you’ve employed.

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