Launch a Fourth of July-Inspired Contest

Who doesn't love seeing the before and after shots of a lucky makeover maven? We're willing to bet that a good portion of your clients wish they could go from drab to fab by having a gorgeous transformation of their own. In the spirit of Independence Day, we suggest creating an annual contest in which the winner is awarded with a makeover designed to reflect and celebrate his or her individuality or independent spirit. Do you have a brunette client who is really a blonde at heart? Perhaps a client with long locks has been contemplating a shorter, sassier 'do? Now's their chance to make a dramatic change!

Here are some pointers for creating a memorable contest that will get clients excited and maybe even recruit a few new ones:

1. Show and tell. When clients come in for an appointment, have a fun, prominent display at the front desk that tells all about the contest, plus a drop box where they can submit an application. If you don't have a staff member who's talented with graphic design, try placing an ad on Craigslist or with a local university to find a skilled student or freelancer who can create promotional flyers, e-blasts and in-salon displays for free or for very cheap.

2. Spread the word. Talk to neighboring cafes, boutiques, gyms and other businesses where potential clients might frequent. Ask if you can leave a few flyers with them about the contest. Who knows? Maybe your regular barista could end up the winner!

3. Get online. Don't forget to post the Independent Streak contest on your website. It's free advertising, after all! Also, send an e-blast to everybody in your salon's database, encouraging them to enter. The more entries you receive, the more prestigious the contest will be, which will lead to even more participation when it rolls around next July.

4. Join the drama club. Build up the excitement and the drama of the contest by emphasizing that only one winner from a pool of hundreds will be chosen. On the application, have entrants explain why they deserve an "independence makeover." Ask them to describe the personality traits that they would like to see brought to life in the form of an outrageous new look. The bigger, the bolder, the better!

5. Enter the Blogosphere. Once the contest has wrapped, document the winner's transformation to fabulosity. Have a staff member snap photos (and video) throughout the makeover session, plus the big reveal at the end. Post the images on your website and your blog with descriptions of each step. To generate even more buzz, invite the local media to check out the transformation or send the images with a press release after the makeover is complete.


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