In designing a client recruitment campaign, Cyndi DeSoto, owner of Caruh Salon Spa in Seattle, Washington, started paying attention to the people with whom her team associated.

“In building a relationship business, I wanted our new guests to be people my team would enjoy spending time with,” DeSoto says. “Who are their friends? Where do they spend their time? Where are they most comfortable? It became clear their circle of influence included people in hospitality, teachers, emerging artists and other caregivers.”

“My staff loves to serve others and give their time to people they perceive to be making a difference in the world." -- Cyndi DeSoto

DeSoto likes to journal, so she started writing about her staff, their passions and her own observations. “They have a soft spot for anyone striving to do a good job at something important…just like they do every day," DeSoto says. "They would rather give someone a complimentary service than a $20 gift card. It embarrasses them to feel like they have a real connection with someone, then turn it into a self-promoting business tactic.

As a result, the salon designed a four-pronged campaign called “We Love People Like You…because we are a lot alike.” Working with Imaginal Marketing, she had images of beauty designed with profound messages that the team would use in a number of ways.

Beauty Notes: First, the team turned the designs into simple note cards that the staff can use to handwrite a special message to people they meet and want to serve. “The note could be used for a complimentary service, a 50% savings, a send-a-friend-in offer or a BOGO—anything that comes to mind and the team is excited about,” says DeSoto. “The goal is that each card feels personal for the staff and for the new guest.”

Beauty Magnets: Next, a series of magnets with the messages of beauty were created that the team can gift to both existing and new guests either on their own or as part of another promotion. “They are really fun, and we’ve found people want to collect all eight.”

Professional Partner Program: In gratitude for the work that people like waitresses, teachers, artists, and caregivers do, the salon created a special Professional Partner Program. Through the program, the team can gift one of these influencers 50% off their first service, plus 10% every service after that forever. “For example, a team member can give an envelope with a gift of gratitude card and one of our magnets to their waiter at a restaurant, a teacher at their child’s school, artists they like at the 1st Thursday Art Walk,” says DeSoto. “The gratitude card reads, “We know what it’s like to work with our hands and our heart every day, to serve others. To give and be inspired by what we receive. Thank you for making the world a better place—in gratitude, you are invited to be our professional partner.”

Guest Referral: While word-of-mouth remains the salon’s best source of new guest recruitment, DeSoto didn’t feel guests were inspired to give $20 cards to friends and colleagues just because. “We needed something that captured emotion, captured our brand point of difference and felt like a real gift our guests were excited to pass along.  As a result the salon redesigned its menu to have blank space for their favorite guests to handwrite a personal note to someone they love which includes a gift card for a complimentary service with the salon’s messages of beauty.

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