VerticalResponse Blog

I was talking to a hair salon owner here in San Francisco about how a salon goes about getting new customers and retaining existing ones. Wow, did I get some good ideas about marketing and selling for salon owners. Do you need some ideas for your email marketing campaigns? Check out the ones below, I think they’re pretty creative.

Also, check out this post for using email for appointment reminders and this post for collecting email addresses. You might even get a good idea or two if you don’t have a salon so read on…

FREE is Good

For the most part there are many things that you charge for that have pretty high margins. Consider giving these products or services away for free with a higher-priced service.

  • For hair salons highlights can be expensive, why not give away something of lesser value for free, like a conditioner?
  • For nail salons, what about a free manicure with a pedicure? – Do you have a time during the day when you’re slow? Get people in the door with a free offer.
  • Free product with a treatment – The margins on products are usually great and chances are you can afford to give away something small for free.

Getting NEW Customers

  • The shared restroom – Are you in a building where you share a restroom with other businesses? Why not put a coupon or a sign there so visitors know you’re there and could potentially kill “two birds” with one stone next time.
  • Customer trade – Do you do hair or nails for someone who works at a local magazine, newspaper or other advertising venue? Give them free treatments in exchange for advertising.
  • Friend get a friend – Offer a free color, cut or manicure when you bring a friend OR bring a friend and the friend gets it free.
  • Punch cards – Give your customers a card and each time they get a treatment they get a punch in their card. On the 10th punch they get a free treatment. One last idea, keep their cards for them so that they don’t have to remember to bring them.
  • Birthday promotions – Free treatment on your customer’s birthday. Email them on their birthday week.

Need More Stylists?

  • See some fabulous hair on the street? Ask them who styled it, call them and invite them in!

Get Your Information Digital Now!

  • Take all of your cards you have customer information written down on and put them into an information manager. Quickbooks and Filemaker are very easy to use and affordable!

Do you own or work at a salon? Are you doing some creative things with marketing AND email marketing? Chime in with some more ideas!

© 2006 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

  • Kim Howells

    Great advice for anyone looking to do some salon marketing. You need to be bold and stand out from the crowd to make it in today’s business world.


  • Rich Salon

    Thanks for sharing these great tips! My aunt is planning to open a salon soon that’s why i’ve been looking for some helpful tips. Im glad I found your blog!

  • Elfrieda Dews

    Suzzy Nail, I can not agree with you. In my opinion people are ready to pay a little bit more, but to receive quality service, rather than paying less or no money, but for something which isn’t helpful.

  • Francisco Izquierdo

    Francisco Izquierdo

    Hey, thanks for the post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  • LC


    One thing we’re doing to promote our hair salon clients is featuring high margin products like a Brazilian Blowout in incremental offers. For example, we have one going now where the first 4 get it for $75, the next 6 at $125, and the next 8 at $217. The response is as expected; the first two offers sold out quickly and we’re getting a decent flow for the third.

  • Suzzy Nail

    I agree, free is good for business. There are many things that could be free and by that inviting new customers. People like feeling of getting something free, even if other service is a bit more expencive.

  • Claude Clubbs

    Thanks for the great tips! The shared restroom tip was awesome, I never in a million years would have thought of that.
    Since this is a great resource, here are a couple of my own tips to expand on the ones above:
    Don’t forget the power of online advertising. Set up a facebook page and point it to your website. You’d be surprised how quickly word of mouth and social networking (fueled by your existing clients) can get your name out there to potential customers in your area.
    For offline marketing, team up with businesses that offer complimentary products and services to cross promote each other’s business to your clients.

  • SalonProfit

    I like the shared restroom idea. You could would create a little “spa display” Perhaps a handful of beach sand, a pretty shell and a fresh flower, business cards and free samples. This is sure to grab attention. A small message relating to the “beach-spa” display is another option.
    “Wish you could have a Holiday?”
    Escape to (xyz salon) and drift off to a Comfortable, Relaxing place where you can Shut your eyes, Breathe deeply, Float into the Clouds, Release tension and feel Refreshed, Lighter and Ready to face the world with Renewed Power and Energy. You deserve a Moments Bliss, don’t you? Ph 123 123 to Experience Innovative Salon and Spa Treatments.

  • Lilly

    Great list of tips! Highlighting often times is extremely expensive and to throw in a conditioner is nice thought, even if it is a small bottle it is nice gesture. Also, I do think it is important to collect email addresses so that you can offer a friendly reminder of upcoming appointments or even offer discount via email newsletter. Additionally the idea of a punch card as been effective at some of my local Chicago spas generating more repeat business then before.

  • Lori Elder

    You have a very helpful website, with many great ideas. Keep it up!

  • Janine

    For J:
    I think there are tons of ideas for you, I’ll list what I think might be good, others please comment away!
    Appointment reminders in the beginning of each week (since many of you are closed on Mondays)
    Free product – A free skin care product with the first treatment.
    Scheduling the next appointment – This is a must before your clients leave. Then remind them with email.
    Sales on SPF lotion – In the winter for the ski season, in the summer for the beach! 2 for 1 specials? Wrap the content around a newsletter about he sun’s UV rays!
    Before and After – Show photos of a few successful operations.
    Hope these help, anyone have any others?

  • J


    Vertical Response is great! Question: Any pointers or suggestions for using Vertical Response in the Cosmetic Surgery / Spa industry?

  • Alan Allard

    To get free publicity:
    Once a quarter, enlist all stylists, and invite customers to volunteer two hours at a nursing home, homeless shelter or hospital to provide services…styling hair, manicures, coaching on keeping hair healthy…
    The media publicity will be worth more than any paid advertising, will promote good will, further establish a salons brand in the community, and enrich the lives of those serving those who are often neglected.

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