Management Practices

Niche Marketing

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 1:34 PM

by Alison Shipley & Megan Vickery


The consumer market is way too large for the same message to appeal to everyone—and the salon industry is definitely not short of competition! A way to stand out among competitors is to continuously refine both your product and service offerings to diverse buyer groups.

Here are some tips to build your business with teens, moms-to-be, mature clients and men—just some of the niche markets that your salon can attract and retain.

1.     The Teen Scene

Whatever you do, certainly don’t neglect the teen marketplace. Through word-of-mouth (and a little extra motivation), teens can bring tons of business to your salon. Set up a “Refer a Friend” system where clients are rewarded each time they refer a new client. Offer a discounted service, or a coupon toward product—teens will be much more inclined to spread the good word about your salon. Also, take advice from Debbi K. Kickham, co-author of Off the Wall Marketing Ideas: Jumpstart Your Sales without Busting Your Budget,who suggests salons offer to do the hair and make-up for a student play at a local school. Have your stylists hand out business cards and service menus to the students—that way, when homecoming or prom rolls around, your salon will be first in mind.

2.     Oh, Baby! Prenatal Pampering

Throw a prenatal party! Serve alcohol-free drinks, decorate the salon in pale pinks and baby blues, and have clients enter a raffle to win baby-oriented prizes—like a post-pregnancy facial or a free how-to demonstration on baby massages! During pregnancy, a woman’s hair often grows significantly faster, which means more salon visits to maintain her style. In addition to rapid growth, many women experience a change in the texture and dryness of their hair during pregnancy. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your clients to an add-on service, such as a deep-conditioning treatment. Remember: Pregnant women are likely to be reading a lot of books and magazines dedicated to pregnancy and child care—be sure to stock up on this kind of reading material!

3.     A little MANtenance goes a long way

Instead of assuming your male clientele will be MIA until the Superbowl passes, use football season to your advantage. Create an evening devoted solely to men. Try a spin-off of Monday Madness: Monday MANtenance. Entice the dedicated fans with multiple TVs spread throughout the salon. Create special services just for men. Those new to the salon scene may not be inclined to try the ultra-feminine polished-and-pretty pedicure, but The Buff Guy foot treatment won’t seem too intimidating. Stick with the sports theme when naming services—who knows, The Touchdown Trim could become your most popular service! Without feeling guilty about sacrificing game time for grooming time, what could stop guys from occupying a chair in your salon instead of the worn out La-Z-Boy at home? Men’s grooming pioneer and creator of John Allan’s Men’s Grooming Club, John Allan, says one of the most important things in attracting men to the salon is making them the focus. “If you set the environment, then the service becomes a part of their lifestyle and not a one-time intimidating gift certificate,” Allan says.

4.     Mature adults

With ever-evolving trends in beauty and grooming, your older clients might feel lost in the shuffle when it comes to looking polished. Make grooming become more manageable with how-to demonstrations. Encourage mature clients to stop by the salon for an afternoon workshop. By providing an opportunity to socialize and feel great, your salon could become the place for an afternoon outing. Here are a few tips for success:

Tip #1: Recognize that mature clients aren’t looking for the same services as the younger crowd. Focus on refreshing, rejuvenating and polishing. Trade the avant-garde for the elegant and classic.

Tip #2: Don’t let transportation be an issue. Arrange to pick up clients who would otherwise be unable to attend.

Tip #3: Acknowledge that many mature clients may not have energy to fuss with their hairstyles everyday. Provide tips to make looks last as long as possible so hair care doesn’t take too much time and effort, and isn’t too strenuous. Incorporate retail products into the demonstration—think dry shampoos (so hair doesn’t have to be washed daily), shampoo/conditioner combos and products specifically branded for sensitive skin.

By making a concentrated effort to appeal to distinct buyer groups, your clientele will feel valued and you may gain a stronger presence within the community—not to mention, a healthier bottom line.

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