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All good things must come to an end! With summer winding down, it’s time to capitalize on the busy back-to-school season. From catchy Pinterest boards to sales that are too hot to resist, here are our top tactics for engaging your scholastic clientele, and their parents too!

Understand your audience.

Unlike Trix, a back-to-school marketing campaign isn’t just for kids. By targeting students, you’ll capture the elementary school crowd, of course, along with adolescents, tweens, teens — even college kids returning to campus this fall. And, you might discover that a few of your more mature clients – moms with older children; retirees – are pursuing degrees this year, too. As you formulate your school-themed marketing campaign, include students of every age.

Markdown products, or offer retail incentives.

If you have seasonal items to clear from your shelf, now’s the time to put those products on sale. While you’re at it, consider offering a small discount on anything that can be marketed as a school year essential: a great shampoo for student athletes, perhaps, or gel that simplifies morning primping. Go a step further: When a client books a service with you this month, reward them with a special 10 percent discount on one of your back-to-school products.

Start a benefit program for frequent customers.

Punch cards are a proven way to attract repeat business. Why not create one specifically for the students patronizing your salon? Punch cards work best when you can offer a discount or freebie after a set number of visits. At a hair salon, for example, print off a stack of cards, then ask students to present theirs at every visit; after a set number of cuts, follow through with a free kids cut or 10 percent discount on a service — or offer a free product picked out specifically for the cardholder.

Collaborate with other small business owners.

Cross-promotion benefits everyone involved. If there’s an ice cream shop around the corner, partner up to deliver a certificate for a free cone for every kid cut rendered. Or, track down a coffee shop proprietor, and entice college students and adults with a free cup of Joe. If you’re feeling really motivated, you might even join forces with several local entrepreneurs, and toss a back-to-school block party with food, music, mini-spa treatments and deals galore.

Have a back-to-school open house.

Invite guests into your studio by hosting an evening centered around the upcoming school year. Stock up on fall essentials – quick-and-easy hair and makeup products; essential oils that boost concentration – and invite clients to drop by and peruse your latest products and offerings. Give a tutorial on easy hair and makeup techniques students can employ on hurried mornings. Host a raffle, and auction off a free spa treatment. And, don’t forget to offer up free gift bags for clients who bring a friend. To enhance the ambiance, play a school-themed movie or music, and serve snacks to reflect the season: organic juice boxes alongside homemade Lunchables.

Get involved with an area school.

Small, local businesses are an essential part of the community at large. Make the most of your home team advantage by reaching out to a nearby school, and asking to volunteer or co-host a charity event. The school’s administration will likely be able to help you brainstorm ideas, but we have a few to get you started: Host a cut-a-thon where proceeds benefit the school, or offer to donate a gift certificate for a service at the next school auction.

Target students via social media.

It’s no secret that kids influence household purchasing decisions. Use social media to your advantage, then, and engage wee spenders by advertising your back-to-school marketing efforts on Instagram or Facebook. Encourage young guests to share your promotion through their social media feeds for a chance to win a free treatment with their next service. And, consider hosting an Instagram contest, asking scholarly followers to post pictures after they’ve visited your salon — for the chance to win a prize, of course. Don’t forget to create a hashtag for your back-to-school campaign, and watch as your customers engage with your brand online and in your suite, too.

Don’t forget about the moms and dads!

While sending kids back to school is often bitter sweet, some may say it’s more sweet than bitter. The moms and dads who have had their hands full all summer are finally able to put themselves first again! Provide them with a complimentary cocktail or 5 minute back massage to help them wind down from all the hullaballoo. Remind them that their time in your studio is their time to relax and unwind!

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