If you’re looking to build your clientele, there’s no need to discount your services, but you can run specials and use some creative marketing, says Sharon Frenz, co-owner of Fusion Hair and Nail Studio in Tomah, Wis. “I’ve gone from a so-so book to a completely full book in less than a year,” says Frenz, who shares these tips.

1. When you make your daily deposit, wait until the bank is closed and put a few business cards in the night deposit envelope with your money.

2. Put your business card and brochure in the payment book at a restaurant or leave them on the table. (This is fun because you have to eat out a lot!)

3. Seek out charitable events and offer gift certificates. “I can’t begin to tell you how many regular clients I’ve gotten from this,” says Frenz. Gift certificates for pedicures work best. Who can resist having their feet pampered?

4. Don’t underestimate the power of laundromats. Hang a flier on the bulletin board with information about your specials and change the flier often. People wash their clothes weekly and will be looking for something different every time they come in. Also leave your brochures out on the tables for people to read. It gives them something to do while they wait for their clothes to dry. If you have a military base nearby, this is especially effective.

5. Do you know someone who does home party sales (like Tupperware, AtHome America, or Signature HomeStyles)? Pick two or three demonstrators who are successful and offer to do their nails for free and really “bling” them out! Do this in exchange for them telling people where they get their nails done. Give them some business cards with a 10%-off service discount stamped on the back to hand out to everyone who asks about their nails.

6. Make a flier on a regular piece of printer paper with information about your salon and the specials. Fold the paper into thirds and tape it shut. Get out the phone book and send the flier to as many businesses close to your area as you can find. All it costs you is postage, a little paper, and some of your time.

7. Use Facebook. Go to each of your friends’ walls and tell them about your specials. That way all their friends see it and you’ve immediately increased your advertising reach.

— Judy Lessin

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