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13 Salon Discount Ideas to Boost Business Promotions in 2021

Salon discount ideas

All salon business owners have, at some point, been posed with this age-old question: “Is it smart to offer salon discounts?” 

While it might not always be the best idea, it cannot be completely discarded. Offering discounts can indeed prove to be a strategic marketing move. In fact, discounts are a big reason why customers go out of their way to buy products, or to subscribe to offers on an ongoing basis from different businesses.

Businesses, on the other hand, have increasingly capitalized on this opportunity and used various salon discount ideas to increase their ROI by implementing regular promotion campaigns.


To get a better understanding, here we have discussed the pros and cons of offering salon discounts:

Pros of salon discounts:

  • Simple and quick to implement.
  • Attracts new clients.
  • Increases customer loyalty.
  • Introduces clients to new services, treatments, and products.
  • Easy to track and measure.
  • Bolsters quiet days.

Cons of salon discounts: 

When wrongly applied they can-

  • Reduce profitability in the long term.
  • Damage your salon brand.
  • Create a discount culture as clients wait for sales.
  • Encourage price-driven coupon-clippers.
  • Dent customer confidence.
  • Lower loyalty.
  • Slash average services invoice value. 

Before you start developing your discounts, keep the following things in mind.


1. Terms and conditions

Always make sure that your promotion is posted on your salon’s website and that the terms and restrictions are clear. Clearly mention the expiry date of your offer and under what circumstances you are offering them

For example, in the case of back-to-school discounts, you might want your clients to show their student id. 

Think about:

  • Which hairstylists/beauty therapists you should allot to such schemes? For example, you might not want your junior team to attend to new clients.
  • Which days of the week would the offers be applicable?
  • Do you want to restrict it to certain times of the day?

Not figuring out your terms and conditions properly can cost you money and this promotion strategy can end up causing more harm than good. 

For example, if you don’t explicitly mention in your T&C declaration that a client must show proof of their date of birth while availing the “birthday discount”, anyone might claim it as their birthday just to be entitled to a discount. In such cases, you might end up either disappointing customers and reducing the value of your promotion strategy or losing a lot of money in hefty discounts. 


2. Target audience

While considering discounts and offers as a marketing strategy, target the following audiences:


A) New salon clients

There are two primary methods for enticing new clients and providing a discount:

  • Percentage discount
  • $x money off discount

Tip: Looking for more effective ways to attract new clients to your salon? Check this out!


B) Your current loyal client-base

When it comes to salon discounts for your current clients, ‘don’t unless you really have to’. Avoid competing on price alone. Why dramatically cut profit margins, potentially damage your brand, create a sales mentality amongst your clients and lower your average invoice?

Your clients already love what you do and how you do it. If you want to use salon promotions, deals, and offers to reward loyalty, build new columns and fill quiet days of the week with value-added offers rather than discounts

For instance, you can give:

  • A free in-salon hair treatment with a color service
  • An upgrade from a file and polish to a premium manicure
  • Buy two and get the third free in case of retail products, etc.
  • Irregular clients

You should follow a different approach while designing a strategy to attract your irregular customers. They have already been to your salon probably more than once but are not regularly coming to you for their salon needs. 

Try attracting them with bonus offers such as a haircut free with a keratin treatment. Pitching referral programs to them (such as inviting a friend and getting a discount) might not be worthwhile since they haven’t yet become your loyal clients. 

Impress them with your services by allotting your more experienced and talented staff to cater to these clients. 


Salon discount ideas and when to use them 


1. A free hair or beauty gift

Mother's day gift bag and greeting card

A gift with each purchase raises the perceived value of the service in the mind of the customer. Try offering:

  • a  mini moisturizer gift with every facial
  • free Olaplex treatment with every color
  • a complimentary file and polish
  • free at-home treatment with hair smoothing services
  • a salon gift card

The key to making it profitable is to include strict terms and conditions, as well as an expiry date to add a sense of urgency.

Give your suppliers a call and ask how they can help you with samples, special prices, and freebies.


2. Referral discounts

Why not give your customers a little bonus for sending new clients your way? 

We recommend an email or postcard with a nice note, “Thanks for referring us to your friend, Jane! We’re so glad you thought of us, and we want you to know we’re thinking of you as well. Here is $15 off your next visit.”

Such rewards and messages will not only increase customer loyalty but also encourage them to bring more referrals! 


3. Loyalty reward

Getting new customers to come to your salon for the first time is only half the battle. You’re also going to have to work to get them to come back and become a regular.

This is where your salon loyalty reward system comes into play, each time they visit they get points and that brings them one step closer to receiving a reward. It is ultimately up to you to determine how many visits they will require before they begin to receive incentives and rewards for their loyalty.

These incentives and rewards could be anything from $20 off a service, to 20% off their next visit. Just ensure that your rewards are not only good for the client, but for your salon as well. 

Also, make sure to put an extra effort into making sure that your cards are nicely designed! You don’t want people tossing them off as soon as they head out the door.


4. Bring a friend

The ‘bring a friend’ promotion is one of the most traditional hair and beauty salon promotion ideas, and it has been used to fill salons for quite some time. It’s a win-win for everyone involved because the salon gains an extra client from the deal while the client that brought in the friend can receive a discount or some other reward.

The trick with these sorts of salon deals is to make sure your offer is sustainable. You don’t want half of your day’s work done at zero charges. It’s critical to strike a balance between the attractiveness of the deal and the value to your salon.

Don’t get hooked upon where you want your prices to be yet. For now, just know where you are and start thinking at a per-minute rate. What you actually sell is time.

Tip: Want to help your team avoid undercharging services? Restrict price changes with a salon booking software

To keep your customers informed about your hair salon promotions, use bulk SMS or email to send out messages. Social media can be used to reach out to people for whom you do not already have contact information. 


5. Back to school

A boy and a girl with books on their head

No matter where you are, chances are there are plenty of families nearby who would appreciate the opportunity to get a haircut discount for their child who is returning to school. 

And because parents frequently have to worry about new clothes, school supplies, and so on, offering something to entice them to bring their children in is a good idea. Again, if you decide to offer a discount, make sure it will not have a negative impact on your bottom line.

The upside to offering special cuts for kids is that the mother or father will often choose to also get their hair done at the same time. Parents love an opportunity to save time and energy!

The ‘back to school’ discount can also apply to those attending university. Market the offer in such a way that students are encouraged to get their hair done before the start of the new semester.


6. Seasonal salon promotions and offer ideas

Always provide a reason for your special offer or discount; otherwise, it appears as if you’re desperate for business. 

It could be a seasonal promotion or something tied to an event. For example, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. You can tie it to your salon’s anniversary, a client’s birthday, or a local event in your town that you want to commemorate.

Tip: Make your holiday promotions more interesting with gift cards! Use our free templates and market them effectively to boost your sales!


7. Birthday discounts

Birthday gift and greeting card

Sending a client an email or SMS for a salon discount coupon on their birthday is sure to put a smile on their faces as well as strengthen their relationship with your salon!

Tip: Design ‘customer birthday reports’ to give you a full list of clients having birthdays in a given month. Use it to schedule a birthday email for these clients with your special hair salon promotions!

The most important part of running a hair salon promo, however, is finding out exactly how effective these strategies are for your salon. Make sure to look at your business reports for an in-depth analysis of how much money you’ve made using discount promotions.


8. Pre-launch special promotion ideas

If you have just invested in the latest equipment, have a new team member on board, or are launching an innovative service, come up with pre-launch promotions.

A pre-launch offer will drive traffic to your salon website, create a buzz and build awareness. 

Rather than a discount, market the launch to your existing clients with an added value offer, such as:

  • Buy 4 of our new CACI treatments and enjoy the 5th session for free
  • Book a color appointment with our new stylist Claire and receive a complimentary blow-dry.

9. Thank you offers

Reward your clients and show your appreciation by emailing or texting an added value offer to thank them for their loyalty. 

An impromptu thank you makes sure clients feel good and is perfect for filling the chairs in the early part of the week or during seasonal quiet times.


A few bonus discount ideas

10. Stand-by and last-minute salon deals and promotions

When it comes to filling last-minute appointment gaps, lower your prices. Make sure that these salon discounts, deals, and packages are only available at the last minute.

Don’t advertise. If these discounted appointments are advertised as always being available, they will be taken for granted and will appear to be the norm rather than a bargain.


11. Aesthetic, non-surgical & cosmetic treatment offers

A woman getting a face Botox

Handle non-surgical, cosmetic treatments with care. Any materials used to market cosmetic procedures must be factual, clear, and not misleading, according to the law and guidelines. This includes non-surgical options such as anti-wrinkle injections and fillers.

The guidelines established by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) are understandably stringent. Marketing must not target children or young people, and it must not put clients under pressure to make decisions quickly (for example, by using limited-time deals and salon special offers).

The CAP guidance states ‘websites may include a price list with a range of treatments available but the price list should not include product claims or encourage viewers to choose a product based on the price.’

It’s important to note that cosmetic procedures must not be offered as prizes.


12. Reviews for discounts

When researching hair salon promotions and beauty salon specials, many people make the mistake of overlooking their existing customers. In reality, selling to your existing customers is one of the most cost-effective ways of making a salon sale!

Try offering an incentive like $10 off on their next visit if they leave a review for your salon. This keeps clients interested in your hair salon and makes them more likely to return or refer their friends. These could be Google reviews, Yelp reviews, or social media posts. Check what review sites are most trusted in your area, and encourage customers to post there.


13. Offer flash sales on Twitter

A flash sale is one of my favorite salon marketing ideas! Twitter is the perfect place to advertise this. Send out a tweet, “$10 haircut for anyone willing to let our best new addition show off her skills!” and give it away to the first respondent.

Psst! You can read about more such creative salon marketing ideas here!


The bottom line

Creativity never goes amiss! You can build a number of salon packages based on the above ideas and have a great promotional scheme all ready for the next season.

However, remember that your goal is to build stronger client relationships. So, always make sure to add value rather than giving flat discounts. 

Coming to the end, did you find these salon discount ideas helpful? Do let us know in the comment section if any other ideas have worked well for you.

All the best!  


About Appointy

We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day. 

If you have any thoughts on this blog, or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below. 

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