More Self-Promotion: The Gift Bag Drop

When we drive to work, do we pay attention to all of the neighboring businesses? Do we realize the buildings we pass are full of opportunities? Do we miss out on all of the potential clients we could accumulate because we don’t know how to approach them? Do we have so much potential surrounding us, but not know how to tap into it?

We get that a clientele isn’t going to just fall into our laps. We know we need to get out there ourselves in order to obtain clients. Last week we learned that sometimes self-promotion means stepping out of your comfort zone by stepping out of your salon. I predict that the Business of the Week idea has got you thinking about all of the businesses and opportunities in your area. I hope that post inspired you to think outside of the box and motivated you to promote yourself outside of the salon. This week is no different; we’re going on another field trip!

Hopefully by now you have compiled a list of potential companies in your area for the Business of the Week. Constantly update this list with new businesses that have opened, places you hear your clients talk about, the stores, services and restaurants you frequent. Keep this list for the Business of the Week as well as the new self-promotion idea: the Gift Bag Drop.

When we do this at our salon, we begin with a salon product bag with our logo and name printed on it. These are the bags you put your clients’ products in to carry home. They are usually smaller plastic bags or paper gift bags. You don’t have to use your logo bags, but we figure it’s one more way to see our name and get exposure. We’re going to fill the bag with many items to promote our salon.

Start by putting a few candies or chocolates like Kisses or miniature chocolate bars into the bag. Why candy? It’s good to sweeten the deal and everyone has a little sweet tooth. Insert a salon menu, so they can browse the services we offer. Add a frequent buyer product card. This lets them know we have a rewards program for buying products from us. Enclose a product sample or two (a purse-sized nail file, shampoo packets, miniature cuticle oil or nail polish, etc.). Everyone likes a freebie and sampling something new. Include a brightly colored or decorative paper with your current salon promotions printed on it. (We print three or four to a sheet, so they can easily be cut apart and added to the bag.)

The last and most important item to be placed in the bag is a gift certificate for $20 off any service. This is aggressive, but it gets people in the door. Discounts of $5 to $10 used to be enough to bring in new clients. But with the price of gas and other costs competing for their dollars, you have to be assertive and offer more. The value has to be there. Make sure your gift certificate has your salon phone number, website and address on it. The discount certificate should expire in 30 to 60 days. Why? So, you have a call to action and it forces them to use it quickly.

You can do the Gift Bag Drop two ways. You can call a manager, as with the Business of the Week, or you can drop off the gift bags unannounced. We have done this both ways at our salon and found both to be equally successful.

When calling a manager say, “Hi! My name is Sandy, I am calling from ________ spa/salon. We would like to drop off gift bags along with a gift certificate for your employees. How many employees do you have and when would be a good time to drop them off?” You then honor the time suggested and drop off the gift bags in a big box or bag to the manager.

We also have done this as a team. When we have open time on our books instead of reading about Brad and Angelina, we assemble the bags as a group together. We then load up a car with staff members and plenty of the gift bags and go on our field trip. Again, as always, when stepping out of the salon, make sure you step up your look. For many, this will be the first impression they’ll have of you and your salon. Always smile and be friendly and polite.

Make sure, as with the Business of the Week, that you tell your front desk the names of the places where you dropped off the bags. This avoids confusion when they call to schedule an appointment. We also post a list in our back room of the companies that have received the Gift Bag Drop. Each time you drop off bags, post it so the same business doesn’t receive bags twice. If you are doing this project solo, enclose a business card and write on the gift certificate ”$20 off any nail service with Sandy.” You may also be specific about which services are discounted: “$20 off any pedicure, manicure, or full set of nails with Sandy.”

This is fun for the entire salon, to do on your own, or as a team. This idea and more can be found on my audio CD Building a Nail Department. The CD is available at in our online store (enter code “nails”). For phone orders, call (800) 718-5949 and please mention Jill when calling in your order. One more way to help you standout above the rest and become the best!     

— Jill

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