Finding the best outlet for freshly snapped photos might seem daunting, but industry veterans seem to have it down to a science. Frequently the first marketing slot that gets filled is art for the Yellow Pages or a local newspaper ad. Next, owners tend to apply the images to the salon menu and business collateral such as letterhead, business cards and the website. Posters are another idea for in-salon marketing. Frank Shortino, owner of Shortino’s Salon & Spa in York, Pennsylvania, does it all.
“We blow up the photos and hang them in our windows,” he says. “We put them on our menus. We’ll go to a local chamber of commerce event and show some before-and-afters. That always brings people in the door.”
Charlie Price, owner of Click Salon in Denver, Colorado, echoes this approach. He recommends, “In any communication with clients—an invitation to a special event, an announcement that a stylist has been promoted—use those photos as your collection for the season.” Through consistency of image, clients will relate your brand to that look. “We change the big photos in our salon every eight months. I think clients realize that an avant-garde style is a piece of art. Mailers, brochures and ads should probably be more commercial.”
Shortino posts images at his salon’s site, www.shortinos.com, under a tab marked “Gallery.” Price, this year’s NAHA Hairdresser of the Year, as well as a 2008 contestant on Bravo TV’s Shear Genius series, keeps his freelance endeavors separate from his salon business by devoting www.charliepricehair.com wholly to images. Alan Ruiz, owner of two Jackson Ruiz salons in Austin, Texas, shows rotating images on his homepage and also uses the photos to fill a portfolio that he leaves out for his clients to thumb through. This adds to the salon’s credibility, he says, which promotes client retention and referrals.
You may believe that magazines are beyond your reach, but according to Shortino, just the opposite is the case. “Get to know your local magazines and choose some national hair magazines, too,” he suggests. “Call or e-mail the editors and tell them you’ll be sending them some material. Unless it’s really terrible, they’re going to use it. After a while, they’ll start calling you.”
Although Shortino recommends using shoots “to market your inside, your staff,” he does not market stylists individually. “All of our shoots list ‘Shortino Salon’ or ‘Shortino Salon Styling Team’ in the credits, not the name of the stylist,” he explains. “We try to keep it a team.”