The promotion that has gotten the most attention is our monthly pedicure special. These pedicures are $55 and if you buy one you get one half-price. We advertise them in the local newspaper and we send them out to our clients via e-mail before the ads hit the press. Since introducing our monthly specials, we have sold 40 to 50 of these pedicures per month! My staff has been great about upselling services and products. It has created a lot of traffic into the salon, including gentlemen buying gift certificates for their significant others. I have more than made up for the half-price offer in volume.

Greta Lesh, The Nail Station, Huntington, Ind.


My most effective promotion was a marketing venture with a “New Clevelanders” group. We did a presentation at their luncheon a few years back. We did “before and after” makeovers and spoke for about 30 minutes on beauty-related topics. We offered everyone at the luncheon 20% off their first visit. We had people in droves. It linked us with newcomers — clients who had not yet found a salon “home” — and they referred new ones. I would venture to say a third of our clientele was built on this promotion.

Millie Haynam, Natural Beauty Salon, Twinsburg, Ohio


This fall I created a Pumpkin Peel Pedicure and a Cafe Mocha Pedicure. To promote them, I created a beautiful full-color postcard and mailed it out to all my clients and posted it on my website. I received a great response. Not only did this promotion drum up new business by upgrading regular pedicure clients to a new, higher-priced service and remind long-lost clients to come back in, but it raised the perception of the quality of my salon’s brand in the minds of all my clients. I even got a couple of clients back who had been going to discount salons. I am finding that specialty service promotions have given me a strong point of difference from the competition.

Deb Blatchley, HFN: Hands, Feet & Nails, Fort Collins, Colo.


By far the best promotion we have offered is buy-one-get-one-half-off. We run this promotion a couple times a year, offering different spa services with each promotion. Pedicures, facials, and massages are the best-selling ones. The client can use both services herself or give one to a friend as a gift. This way our existing customers enjoy getting a deal and feel appreciated and new customers are introduced to our salon.

Michelle Nieman, Ecotage Salon and Spa, Cincinnati, Ohio


I also own a bridal store and I cross promote with the salon. We offered a $25 gift certificate to the salon for every $500 spent in the bridal store. So if someone came in and purchased her wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses, we would take the total of, say, $2,200 and she would receive a gift certificate for services in the salon for $110. It’s a great avenue to use to get new business in the salon.

Carrie Kohuch, About U Bridal & Salon, South Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada


The top promotion that brought people to my salon was buy-one-get-one-free on our services.

But the secret here is that the free one has to go to another person. One person could not use two pedicures, for example. This brings two people to your table. And then we give those two people $5 off coupons for their next visit dated within 30 days. We also tell them if they refer anyone in for the buy-one-get-one-free promotion in the next two weeks, we will give them another $5 off. We did this for 30 days. The new clients came rolling in and stayed with us for long periods of time without any dollars off.

Diana Bonn, Identity Salon, Muncie, Ind.

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