Marketing & Promotions

If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Toes-Day

Top salons use promotional gimmicks, discounts and targeted advertising to get clients to try their pedicures.

Brochures Sell the Salon Experience

A Place for You Salon owner Mae Hare bills her nail technicians as “manicure and pedicure specialists” on all her salon literature. The salon which opened in July 1992, has rapidly built a loyal clientele by target-marketing area residents. The most effective campaign is a color brochure describing the salon’s services with photos of the salon interior.

The salon’s lavish pedicure area is pictured in the brochure, which also goes into great detail on the three pedicure packages – The Classic, The Deluxe, and The Royal. “We have a built-in pedicure salon with eight stations that we call our Pedicure Palace. It’s a salon within the salon. The brochure has been very successful in attracting attention to our unique pedicure facilities, developing business from new customers, and increasing business from existing customers who upgrade their usual services,” says Hare.

The pedicure brochure was mailed to 5,000 area residents and got an immediate response: 40 phone calls in one afternoon. With-in three months, 138 people had responded to the brochure, and Hare says she is still getting several calls a week four months later.

While the cost of producing the brochures and mailing them was not cheap – almost $3,600 – the 73 new pedicure appointments have brought in $1,460 for the salon. Hare estimates the annual profit potential from the clients who became regulars at an additional $21,640, meaning a potential return of $23,100 in one year. She is already planning a second mailing of 6,000 brochures. Her expected costs are much lower this time because the brochure is already written and designed.

Draw Clients in With Pampering Promises

Whenever Designworks in Dubuque, Iowa hires a new technician who needs to build a clientele, owner Linda Wolff runs an ad for a free manicure with a pedicure in the local newspaper. Her most recent advertisement featured a picture of a man relaxing in a black pedicure whirlpool spa. The ad described the pedicure station, high-lighting its massaging back unit and whirlpool, and promised pedicure customers a relaxing foot massage. Wolff made note that her salon uses an autoclave sterilization unit to disinfect because, she says, sanitation is becoming a big issue in her area.

The advertisement cost $165 to run in the Sunday paper, including having the photo taken. Wolff says 18 people responded to the ad, and about half of them became regular clients. The other nine promised to return for special occasions.

In addition to advertised promotions, Designworks donates facials, pedicures, and massages to non-profit organizations that are holding fund-raisers. “It brings us a new client and it’s tax-deductible,” says Wolff.

Mall Coupons Sell the Location and Service

Business is so good at Nailway Express in Cockeysville, Md., that owner Janet Adams refuses to discount services to draw in new clients. But, in the belief that business can never be too good, she did place an ad for a free bottle of polish with every pedicure in a mall mailer where her salon is located. The mailer promoted the mall’s spring fashion show and merchants were asked to provide a discount or giveaway to entice consumers to the mall. In return, the mall paid for the mailer. Although Adams didn’t track the number of coupons returned to the salon, she says she did notice an increase in business after the mailer came out.

Target Long-Term Clients, Not One-Timers

Never forget the value of a tried-and -true promotion when you’re trying to build pedicure bookings. Cathryn Myers, owner of Nail Shop of Carrollwood in Tampa, Fla., discounted her $25 pedicures to $18 for first-time pedicure clients. As an incentive to get clients to continue getting regular pedicures, she extended the discount offer to clients who booked standing monthly pedicures. Now, 60% of the salon’s pedicures are standing appointments. Myers promotes the pedicure discount to the salon’s regular clients only. She says that only regular nail clients will come to see the benefits of regular pedicures. Myers is not interested in one-time pedicure clients; she wants clients to commit to once-a-month pedicures to keep feet looking and feeling healthy.

If They See It, They Will Come

Some might say that Salon Chevere owner Saida Hartmark hasn’t promoted her pedicure service at all. She hasn’t held any two-for-one offers or pedicure discounts. She hasn’t advertised, and she hasn’t sent any direct mailings. Instead, Hartmark lets the service sell itself. She simply purchased a whirlpool pedicure spa, placed it in full view of all clients, and in two years pedicure business has tripled.

While some salons find that clients are uncomfortable with other people watching them get a pedicure, Hartmark says her clients seem to delight in other clients enviously watching them get the service. The salon’s pedicure technician, Jean, has clients come from as far as 40 miles away to get her “foot treatment,” which includes a long soak in the whirlpool pedicure spa, a 20-minute massage, and a paraffin treatment – all in addition to the standard foot grooming that goes with a pedicure. During the 1½ -hour appointment, the client relaxes in the generously padded spa chair that has a built-in lumbar massage unit.


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