Marketing & Promotions

Give It to Them in Writing

From business cards to brochures, salon handouts remind, inform, and promote your services to clients.

Offering your client the salon newsletter, brochure, or flier to take home with her after her visit is like giving her a free gift or an additional service. She can take with her your professional tips on nail care and nail products as well as information about your services, but, most important, she’ll have your salon’s name in front of her at home.

Salon handouts not only give the client valuable information, they also reinforce a professional image, cultivate client loyalty, and keep the salon name in clients’ minds. Salon owners can offer clients many kinds of handouts, and they don’t need to be expensive to be effective.

Introduce Your Services

First-time clients don’t know all the services your salon has to offer, so why not hand them a brochure that explains all your services in detail? A brochure that folds into thirds can be used to describe services, while a price list can be inserted in the brochure and updated when necessary.

All first-time clients at Volpe Nails are given a written guarantee during their first appointment. “The guarantee sheet tells them our policy, what type of nails we’ve put on them, and how long they’ll last,” says Gary Donson, vice president of Volpe, based in Endicott, N.Y. “Every new customer gets it.” Sheets such as Volpe’s written guarantee tell the client what level of service she can expect from her salon as well as explain the product used.

Be sure to show on your service information sheet, salon brochure, or price list that you sell gift certificates. “At the bottom of our menu, it says ‘Gift Certificates Available,’” says Dana McAtee, owner of Illusions of Beauty in Manhattan Beach, Calif. “We sell a lot of them that way.”

To take this service one step further, design a flier for each service your salon has. When a client asks for more specific details on waxing or nail wraps, for instance, you can hand her a sheet of paper along with your verbal explanation. Or give her a flier for each service you’ve performed on her to explain how she can maintain her nails or skin at home. She’ll value advice from a professional, and it’s an extra service you can provide to distinguish your salon from the rest.

Shopping for Info

Just as a nail technician wants to use products from a manufacturer who backs them up with educational programs, a client will be more impressed if your services or products come with a guide for proper use. The retail section of the salon is an ideal place to distribute this kind of information. Manufacturers will often provide brochures and information sheets with retail products especially for distribution among clients, and you can take it one step further by developing your own fliers.

“You can do your own Use and Care Guide,” says Paula Gilmore, co-owner of Tips Salon in Foster City, Calif. “Give or sell clients a pack of products with the guide inserted.”

Some manufacturers provide salons with a “prescription pad” so that nail technicians can prescribe the proper at-home treatments for nails. You can do the same thing. Or, if you have your own private label line of nail polish or cosmetics, you can develop a personalized color guide for your clients. Design a form that includes an outline of a face or a hand, and fill in the form with the names of the colors that best suit the client as well as a swatch of the color on the outlined hand or face. Your client can refer to this sheet when making purchases, and will appreciate that you’re helping her choose what’s best for her.

News, Views, and Promos

A salon newsletter can be used to promote specials to regular clients as well as keep them up on what’s going on in your salon. It can be a more personal handout than a brochure or information sheet. If your salon is doing its part for the environment through recycling efforts, or technicians are volunteering their time to do community work, a newsletter is the perfect place to let your clients know.

“The Volpe newsletter is half educational, half promotional,” says Donson. “In our newsletters, we put something informative about the service in the salon. We’ll say something about promotions, whether there’s a coupon with it or not. We’ll say something about one of the staff members and what goals she’s trying to achieve. The customers like that because they’re part of helping her achieve her goal.”

Salon owners find newsletters versatile—they can mail them to potential new clients or offer them in the salon only to existing clients. Newsletters provide nail technicians the opportunity to alert regular customers ahead of time about any upcoming specials, thus providing them an extra service.

Punching Out

Gilmore instills client loyalty by providing them with a punch card. “We’re gearing up for our natural nail special, and we’re using the punch card for natural nails,” she explains. “If the entire card is punched, they’ll get a free manicure. It’s a good way to keep clients loyal. If people think they can get the card punched, they’ll keep coming here.”

Punch cards can be used for retail purchases as well as services. For example, provide a few $5 and $10 squares on a card; when a client makes purchases of those amounts, punch out the appropriate squares. When her card is completely punched, offer the client $5 to 410 off her next purchase. This will encourage her to continue buying professional quality products from your store.

Add a Twist to the Usual

Many salon owners make their business cards do double duty. On the front of the card is such information as the business name, address, phone number, and business hours, while on the back is an appointment or referral card. Susan Strickland, owner of Nails, Etc. in Waycross, Ga., added a creative twist to her business cards by providing a client excuse: “Dear Family, Please excuse (client) from all housework. She just had her nails done at Nails, Etc.”

“Clients love them,” says Strickland. “Most people put them on the refrigerator, definitely because of the excuse. It works out real well because they keep up with their appointments.”

Tips Salon’s business cards double as referral cards, and many other salons use their business cards as appointment cards. Use humor, a catchy phrase, a bright color, or a cartoon to draw clients’ attention and help them remember appointments.

Where to Get Literature

The information you can give to your clients on promotions, products, and nail care is unlimited, and some of it is available free or at low cost to you. Manufacturers will often provide literature for clients, so check with them first.

If you have a computer, you can develop ideas for fliers and information sheets right in the salon. “A lot of printers have laser printing capabilities to create the final product at a reasonable cost,” says Donson.

If you know someone who can design salon literature on a computer, you may want to trade nail services for computer design services. “I found a lady who does desktop publishing, and we trade her nails for her work,” says Gilmore.

Professional printers will also take your ideas and develop them. “I went to the printer and told them I wanted a greeting card type gift certificate,” says Strickland. “I wrote exactly what I wanted, they printed it, and I proofed it. It was easy, and our gift certificates go over real well.”

While a printer gives your literature a personal touch, don’t overlook a full-service beauty distributor who can provide you with fliers and gift certificates, often at a lower cost. “We have different borders and typefaces on a computer that we can print into gift certificates,” says Sandra Kornuth, co-owner of Oakbrook Beauty Supply in Camarillo, Calif. “We also have standardized cards they can purchase.”

Suzanne Nolen, owner of Pacific Salon Accessories in San Clemente, Calif., adds, “The premade gift certificates let you insert your business card so it isn’t a generic card. It’s cost-effective to buy premade cards compared to printing them. You can spend $200 at a printer for 25 cards, compared to $12.50 for 25 premade cards.”

Making Them Effective

Money spent on making cards, fliers, and brochures will be money thrown out the window if they don’t serve their purpose or aren’t clearly written. Don’t forget the basics when designing handouts: Always include your salon’s name, address, and phone number on any piece of paper that goes home with your client. The piece should be professional-looking and have no typing errors.

If you target your salon literature specifically to your clients’ needs, they’ll leave the salon like you leave a trade show—with pockets and purses stuffed with information.

Tips for Successful Handouts

  1. Include the salon name, address, phone number with area code, and business hours on all literature.
  2. All literature should be easy to read and have no mistakes. The more professional your piece looks, the better image you give your salon.
  3. Be creative. Humor, a catchy phrase, a bright color, or a cartoon can draw clients’ attention and help them remember appointments.
  4. To keep your salon brochure timely, use an insert for your price sheet rather than printing prices in the brochure. When you change your prices, you will have to change only the insert.
  5. Provide an information sheet for each service. A client will want to know beforehand about a waxing procedure, for example, and she’ll need to know to treat her skin gently when she gets home. A flier will give her something to refer to if she has questions.
  6. Also provide an information sheet for at least some of the products you sell. Include tips on making polish last longer, on proper filing technique, or information on how a skin lotion works and how to use it. Clients will appreciate advice from a professional.

Is your salon recycling? Sponsoring a little league team? Involved in charity events? Holding skin and nail care classes? Tell your clients in a newsletter. Even if it’s only a page, it will spark a conversation, and a client can read it while waiting for her polish to dry.

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