Part substance, part strategy, staking out your spot on local “best of” lists requires a game plan. NAILS attempts to demystify the process of claiming your spot on the list.
As I travel down the highway, I spy a billboard up ahead on the left. “Best Pedicure on the Beach,” it proclaims. The salon is Diva’s Day Spa; the location is Southern Shores, N.C. Like top salons around the world, they know how to get noticed and what to do to get the word out once they are.
Pam Lontos, president of PR/PR in Orlando, points out, “A salon is like any other business. While often times, smaller salons offer great service and quality, they don’t have the financial means to get the word out and advertise against larger corporations or chain salons. Therefore, a "best of" ’ list should bethought of as free advertising and another way to achieve name recognition.” A “best of” list will often act as an endorsement, which will increase credibility within the community. This is also a way to set your salon apart from the rest of the competition and put your name in elite status.
Staking your spot on top of the “best of” lists in your town may require some legwork on your part, but the benefits in terms of PR value and bragging rights are worth the effort.
Step 1. Finding Opportunities
Larry Oskin of the marketing firm Marketing Solutions in Fairfax, Va., advises that salons interested in “getting more ink” develop a list of local “best of ” lists, regional editorial picks, and national directories as a starting point. “Research what the requirements are,” he says. He stresses that editors and journalists are looking for professional presentation of the information “without any commercial presentation.” Here are some other ways to get started:
- Call your local paper and those of neighboring bedroom communities and nearby large cities to ask when “readers’ choice” campaigns are run.
- Flip through trade magazines and take notice of “best of” lists. Keep an eye out for fashion and beauty consumer magazines that point readers to “editors’ picks” for services.
- Contact regional publications for an editorial calendar.
- Search for websites that review businesses in your city.
- Consider using a publicist to do your research for you.
Diane Fisher, owner of Eclips Salon & Day Spa with locations in McLean and Ashburn, Va., uses Marketing Solutions to send press releases and media kits. This frees up her time to run the business. Eclips has been chosen for a local readers’ choice list and others, including the “best of ” list in the Washingtonian Magazine. “Once on the list, other opportunities for exposure will develop. For example we were chosen to do a makeover, for which we received additional press”, says Fisher.
Step 2. Getting Nominated
If the “best of” list is populated by reader choice, a client (or pretty much anyone else) can nominate you and then the salon can encourage its clients to go and vote. Some lists are generated by editorial choice. Nassar shares, “A salon may be on the list because an editor or writer heard about it or received a media kit they were impressed by. The publication may judge from the media kit or send in a mystery shopper”. Roula’s has garnered such awards as Best Manicure in Houston from the Houston Chronicle. Though Lucky Magazine is a national publication, they have a city specific listing and Roula’s was listed as one of the top places to get a pedicure in Houston. “It’s really about cultivating relationships with publications, so that you are aware of opportunities that exist,” she says.