Management Practices

Advertising for the Season

Laurel Nelson | July 10, 2011 | 12:31 PM

Did you remember to set aside a few extra dollars in your advertising budget for the holidays?

It’s the time of year you’ll do the most retail sales and sell the most gift cards and certificates. But if you want to make an even bigger impact on your bottom line, amp up your advertising in November and December.

Post Turkey-Day Shopping

The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. Make sure you get your coupon or special offer in the ad pages of your local newspaper that day. Shoppers will be out in hoards and ready to spend. Better yet, make your salon/spa a destination for weary shoppers that day. Run ads the week before offering a 25% discount on gift cards on that day only. When they stop in, have hot cider and other refreshments waiting along with a retail display they can’t resist.

Lucia’s … the Salon in Lyndhurst, Ohio, takes advantage of the day after Thanksgiving with an early bird special. “From 7a.m. until 9a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, we offer 15% off on gift cards only,” says co-owner Sally Zarlinga. To further boost sales, from 9a.m. until Dec. 24, Lucia’s offers clients a $10 gift card to use in January or February when they purchase a $50 gift card. If they purchase a $100 gift card, they get a $25 gift card to use in January or February.

Internal Advertising

Ads in the newspaper or local radio station are great. But don’t forget to tap into the database you already have. “We have about 4,000 clients we send an e-mail out to,” says Andrew Zarlinga, co-owner of Lucia’s … the Salon. “We start sending them out in early November and send around 10 from then until Christmas. It’s very effective—last year was crazy and this year we expect even more sales than last year.”

Zarlinga says they usually see about 75% of their gift cards redeemed. Although some owners see cash in their pockets when only half of their gift cards are redeemed, Zarlinga feels differently. “We want the cards redeemed so we can get them as new clients,” he says.


Pre-empt a post-holiday sales slump in November and December with special sales to get clients in the chair in January and February. Offer a discounted color service with each $100 spent on gift cards. Or entice with a free add-on spa service like hand massage or brow waxing with a massage or facial booked in the month of January.

Other post-holiday slam dunks? Have clients refer a friend in the month of January and earn a half-priced hair cut for herself. Give a group rate for pedicures, a typically slow service in boot-wearing months. Offer couples a discount if they book a massage together. And don’t forget to start promoting Valentine’s Day services!

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