The holiday season is a busy time in salons and spas. Customers you may not see often, along with new clients, suddenly book appointments to ensure they look their best for the many gatherings and parties taking place at this time of year. This is also a great opportunity for savvy marketers to entice them to return in January and perhaps bring a friend or family member along.

I am a new owner of a studio that will begin marketing promotions this holiday. I hope to see a large number of clients and new shoppers taking advantage of the discounts we’ll offer.” PBA Holiday/Seasonal/Theme Promotions Survey Respondent

Here are Five Great Tips for making your special marketing programs a success:

Know your customers! Do they skew younger, older, avant-garde or are they more the country club set? Study your demographics and tailor your marketing plans to your niche.

Keep it simple! It shouldn’t be a complicated formula to take advantage of your offer. Make it easy and make it accessible.

Be consistent! As one industry professional shares in the comments section of this article, “Don’t give up. Keep at it until the guests get used to the idea.”

Use all communications channels! Don’t merely send out a postcard – let it shine on your website, Facebook page, text and email, and tell clients and customers about it in person, on the phone, and on your hold message.

Track your success! What worked, what didn’t? How did customers hear about it? How much did your sales increase as a result? Review the campaign with staff immediately after it’s over and note observations and ideas for the next time.

Seasonal and themed marketing ideas can boost your business throughout the year. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • To grow your customer roster, why not partner with a local fashion retailer to conduct a Holiday Looks Fashion and Hair Show? The event could take place at the retailer’s location, your salon, or even your local mall. With advance planning and plenty of great marketing material to hand out, this could be an annual success for your business.
  • Another way to reach out is to give back to your community by participating in a local food or toy drive. Ask customers to donate non-perishable food items for your local food bank to receive a $1 discount on any product or service. Communicate your service idea with flyers around town, emails or postcards to existing customers, and don’t forget to send a press release to local media to help get the word out.
  • Think ahead to January or February, when things may slow down, and extend your special offer. For example, offer a free manicure with any hair service, free product, etc. Or start a “New Year New You” by working with a local health club to swap marketing materials or offer a joint promotion and market it together. For Valentine’s Day, try a “His ‘n Hers” or “Sweetheart” special – buy one service package for her, get his at 50% off.
Want more? In last month’s PBA survey, beauty industry professionals shared their great ideas, lessons learned, and successful seasonal and themed marketing plans:

Black Friday GC [gift card] sales!

Mother’s Day Mother/Daughter Package.

We are a specialized marketing, advertising and PR agency, so we regularly create monthly and seasonal promotions for salons, spas, manufacturers, associations, distributors, trade shows and cosmetology schools.

Snow globes as a GWP,  Believe it or not…..

We do the twelve days of Christmas and each day something different happens…Some days they need to come into the salon and some days they can call….We run it all through our Facebook page and we get tons of clients and non-clients playing…. All for a can of hairspray, shampoo, or a free spa service…..This year on day 11 we are looking for a bagpiper to arrive at the salon after 11 a.m. to play the bagpipes for a free massage…. It is the unusual things that keep people interested in the salon and watching our Facebook page…

I normally get jewelry in for Christmas.  I try to keep all of my holiday gifts around $25.00. That seems to work for me.

Pre-packaged retail items along with a gift certificate for Christmas. Pre-wrapped.

Biggest lesson:  Don’t give up.  Keep at it till the guests get used to the idea.  Our FIRST annual holiday party had 1 show up. We saved her life by finding a tumor on her thyroid and encouraged medical attention.  Sure enough it was cancer.  She survived surgery and continues to be thankful.  10 or 15 years later our guests are saying, “When’s the party?”  I think the biggest attention getter was a gift certificate and a basket that adds up to 500.00. We give services, products, and encouraged the winner to give a gift certificate to a friend.  Some of the products and services were very inexpensive and/or items that exposed the winner to something new.  We have tickets for the drawing.  We think of all kinds of ways for the guests to get a ticket in the drawing.  Most around spending xx amount of dollars, bringing a friend, signing up for Facebook, etc.

I had a Sex and the City event for our local school and it was mobbed. My Housewives charity party was not as well attended and I never figured out why. I think we all relate to the Sex and the City women and love them and their flaws but the housewives are more dysfunctional and not as lovable in their dysfunction. We made a lot of money for the community and we had fun either way.

We kick off a sluggish fall season with a once a year customer appreciation event.  One day only purchase any gift card and receive a second card of equal value.  Not usable on retail, tips or combinable with other offers.  We collect about 50% of one month gross receipts.  Very popular and the team is trained to upsell.  The most successful is the 25/25 gift card promo over the holidays.  We send our top 1/3 of our guests a gift card worth 25 and they receive a second to give away to take someone off their list.

Free haircut with color service.

Holiday Open House every year around the same time and year and offer product promotions and prize giveaways.

My most successful holiday promotions were after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) and before Christmas.   People love to Christmas shop, especially when deals and discounts are offered.  I send out promo flyers/emails via Constant Contact and heavy promotions via Twitter and Facebook.

Last year we had a holiday gift grab off our Christmas tree. Clients who had spent over $50 were able to grab off our Christmas tree which was covered in paper ornaments. On the inside of each ornament was a percentage off of a service/product and buy one get ones. During Spring, we always hold our national spa week where we offer 10% off body waxing and $40 body wraps and other spa service discounts. Both we have had success in.

I am a new owner of a studio that will begin marketing promotions this holiday. I hope to see a large number of clients and new shoppers taking advantage of the discounts we’ll offer. We will have liter duos, stocking stuffers, and great miscellaneous gifts.

I am focusing this year on buying smaller items that retail for $15 or less, usually stocking stuffer items like nail polish and hand lotions. What I did purchase in prepackaged items, I bought in small quantities and immediately broke them up to sell individually and I will continue to purchase these throughout the holiday season but not to sell as holiday, but to replenish my shelves. Instead of focusing on retail items, I purchased nice gift card holders and ribbon and we will focus on gift card promotions and baskets that I make up myself…This year, we will have a nice display on our counter that contains pre-filled gift card amounts for the impulse purchase. We will see how that goes. In order to differentiate my business from that of the big box retailers, I feel it is also an absolute must not to sell the gift sets they have, but to focus on what we do that is unique, which in the end boils down to gift cards for our unique services and selling retail that comes from our boutique product line…

We have had a lot of success with our “black Friday” promotions. We usually offer a discount of products as well as a gift card special (ex: buy a $100 gift card and receive an extra $25). We also did a “12 Days of Christmas” promotion for the 12 days prior to the holiday. We released a list of the 12 promotions to our email subscribers and then also listed each day’s special on our Facebook page. Each day was something different, such as a buy 2 get one free, 20% off of a specific product line, etc. Another one of our most successful promotions is a shampoo/conditioner liter sale during July and August which we tie into back-to-school.

Final words of wisdom: embrace your creative spirit and have fun! Let your passion for your craft and your commitment to your customers shine and create a glow that lasts throughout the year.

Have a great link you want to share, a benefit provider suggestion, or questions about PBA resources? Email Teena Austin,