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.

Perk up salon business or just break the monotony for your regular clients by designing a pedicure promotion that not only gets your client’s attention, but their business too. Compel clients to book a pedicure by making your offer so enticing that they wouldn’t think of saying no. To help get your creative juices flowing, NAILS spoke to 20 salons who shared their special promotions that made their pedicure programs grow by leaps and bounds.

Promotion So Successful It had to Be Cancelled

Harrold Laxman, owner of Harrold Salon in New York, N.Y., discounted pedicures 30% on Tuesdays, calling his promotion “Tuesday Is Toes Day,” and every Tuesday the salon was fully booked. In fact, because his nail technicians were so frazzled from working non-stop to fulfill the demand, Laxman finally had to discontinue the promotion. But it was great while it lasted: Laxman had posters made by a local sign company that he displayed inside the salon to promote to current clients. He also sent a slick flier to 2,200 clients.

Laxman advises against discontinuing nail serviced if the demand for them is already strong in your salon. Instead he recommends discounting new or slow services. In his salon, Laxman uses discounts to move hair and coloring services. If you do run a nail promotion, he suggests a gift with purchase. His last nail promotion gave first-time clients a free bottle of polish if they purchased a manicure and pedicure. The polish required only a minimal investment on his part. And the giveaway helped boost the salon’s polish retail sales.

Guest Speakers Sell the Pedicure Service

Maximus Day Spa Deluxe in Long Island, N.Y., hosts a community seminar the first Saturday of every month. In February, salon general manager Robin Kluge arranged for a podiatrist to speak to current and potential clients about foot grooming. “When people hear a doctor promote a service,” she says, “they view the service differently. We gave a gift certificate for a free reflexology massage for every pedicure that was booked at the seminar.”

To promote the seminar, Kluge printed 1,000 fliers for in-salon distribution and sent press releases to local newspapers. Her efforts paid off: Thirty clients who had never before visited Maximus attended the seminar and booked appointments for pedicures. Better yet, the cost was minimal because the fliers were done in trade for salon services and the press release was written by a public relations person on retainer with the salon.

Says Luge, “It’s easy to get speakers to come in for free because they like to talk about what they do. If they can get a new audience, they are happy to come.”

Special promotion or not, pedicures are an easy sell at Maximus because clients get a taste of their relaxing benefits at each visit. Every client who comes in starts her visit with a complimentary 10-minute herbal foot soak, which says Kluge, naturally sells a full pedicure.

Tomorrow’s Nail Client Is Today’s Hair Client

To sell mail services to hair and skin care clientele, Seattle-based Gene Juarez Salons used posters and tabletop cards with a picture of a woman on the edge of a bet painting her toenails. The elegant black-and-white photo zooms in on the woman’s hands and feet, which makes a compelling visual, says marketing director Linda Mikulski.  Also on each poster and table top card was an invitation for clients to try a “Classic Manicure & Pedicure” Special.

The photo shoot and printing the signs cost the solon chain about $600, says Mikulski, but the pay-off was fully booked nail departments. She says the salons have at least one promotion going at all times to keep clients interested. Gene Juarez also uses the promotions to help new technicians build a clientele.

Another promotion that Mikulski recommends around holidays is the “Mini-Spa Treatment,” which is a facial, manicure, pedicure and paraffin hand treatment. This package is popular with men who buy it for their girlfriends or wives. “We use phrases like ‘hand and foot massages,’ ‘relaxation,’ and ‘pampering’ to sell the packages because those are phrases men identify with,” she says.

In-Salon Promotions Work Best in Winter

Lisa Raimondo, owner of Lookin’ Good Salon in Edison, N.J., reminds salon owners not to become complacent, even when their pedicure business is booming. Instead of blasting callers with music while they’re on hold, Lookin’ Good Salon plays a promotional tape that tells callers about the salon services. (When NAILS called for an interview, the tape described the salon’s pedicure service in detail.)

In January and February, Raimondo also sent out coupons to regular clients, encouraging them to keep their feet in shape with a winter pedicure. “If you had a manicure and pedicure combination with us on the same day, you got a free hot oil treatment on the hands, which is a $10 value.” Raimondo promoted the special through a mailing to 1,000 clients who hadn’t had a pedicure in at least eight weeks. She had 41 clients book the $45 service. She considered the response good because “it’s always hard to get clients to come into the salon when the weather is cold and wet,” she says.

Raimondo recommends targeting existing clientele when planning promotions. “It’s easier to get a current client to try a new service than to get a new client through an ad in the paper,” she says. “I just did one of those market coupon books that cost me $300, and dollar for dollar I did much better on the in-salon coupons.”

Offer a One-of-a-Kind Service for Two

For two weeks before Valentine’s Day and one week after, Erica’s Naughty Nails salons in Sun City, Phoenix, and Chandler, Arizona, invited clients to book a couple’s pedicure service that would “make your toes curl.” Many female clients booked a pedicure for two, which came with champagne, crackers, and cheese. If a client wanted a more elaborate feast, owner Erika Gianotti made arrangements for whatever the client wanted (for an extra charge.) The pedicure was $25 per person and the champagne and snacks were complimentary.

The promotion was inexpensive to advertise because technicians just spread the word among regular clients about four weeks before the promotion started, which allowed plenty of time for clients to book then or think about it for a few days. The promotion endeared the salon to its clientele, and many of the client’s loved ones became regular pedicure clients.

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