Expert Advice

Promotion: Show Strategy

Victoria Wurdinger | February 1, 2012 | 1:54 PM

Promotion: Show Strategy

Plan ahead, and one or two weekends at the industry’s top trade shows can fuel a year’s worth of great business-building ideas and promotions.

Some of the industry’s biggest shows are coming soon. How can you make the most of them and ensure you don’t miss the latest, greatest thing? It all starts with a staff meeting and a visit to the shows’ websites.

A Simple Plan

During your next staff meeting, gather monthly promotional-calendar ideas. Will you hold an evening event to introduce the new spring trends in March? When business slows in July, does promoting UV-protecting products suit your business, or would a waxing focus be better?

Remember, promotions needn’t involve discounts. Think out of the box and gather ideas for in-salon events, contests (for client referrals and staff upselling), new service introductions, VIP client evenings and ways to let clients know your staff just learned a new color technique. Once you’ve got your faves, add social-media tie-ins. When will you post on Facebook, or Tweet about fighting winter “hat hair?”

After the brainstorming, think logistics: what do you need to support your promotions that you can get at your industry trade shows?

Homework You’ll Love

Salon owners should start by visiting the major show’s websites to scope out artistic and business classes and check the exhibitor list. Often, the “press” area has new product announcements. Assign staff members to check specific sites for classes that build strengths or correct weaknesses. Today, many shows offer free webinars—take advantage.

Savvy owners set budgets for hotel, travel and shopping in advance. If you have just $500 for show deals, requisition it for your most profitable service, or a new service you want to add.

Have everyone take notes, then regroup to share and make final assignments for certain stylists to attend color classes and others to look for educational DVDs or follow a favorite educator.

On the Floor

There’s no reason to send three stylists to the same class if you include an assignment that, upon return, stylists present what they learned to the team. While at the show, make it a priority (and someone’s responsibility) to post exciting, breaking news on social networking sites—“We’re learning how to do dip-dye color. Come in next week and try it out!” Then, each day, regroup at lunch, share discoveries and make new assignments as needed.

Salon pros who have worked the shows for years share these additional tips:

• Shop early when the floor is less crowded. Use your floor plan and plan walking breaks around key classes.

• Save your dollars for the professional products, and bring in some of your own snacks (power bars) and water— convention centers are lands of the $15 salad.

• Bring your Tax I.D number, business cards, notebooks and pens and video cameras. Smart phones may make business cards may seem obsolete, but you often still need cards to enter contests for freebies.

• Have literature e-mailed to you when possible—paper weighs a lot.

Finally, don’t forget to regroup at fun dinners that have a purpose, whether networking, team building or sharing the big “finds” of the day. Having stylists go MIA for the evening is an owner’s biggest complaint about beauty show time.


Mark Your Calendars

America’s Beauty Show, Chicago
March 3-5

The International Beauty Show
April 22-24

Premiere Orlando
June 2-4

Cosmoprof North America, Las Vegas
July 22-24

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