First Blush

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, tweens and teens will account for 15 percent of the U.S. population (40.9 million) in 2007. What can you do to capitalize on this young, lucrative market that's ready, willing and able to pay top dollar to look cool? According to Mary Gail Hall, artistic director for the Regis Corporation, "Turning teens on to professional salon haircolor will not only pay off with bigger salon profits now, but it will translate into brand loyalty that endures from youth to maturity in the long run." Here, she offers these creative marketing tips that are sure to keep your chairs filled with young clients who are clamoring for color.

PUT YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD. The place to start promoting haircolor is in the front. Keep swatch books in the reception area where they're visible, and strategically place little tent cards that can do the talking for you. "These should contain catchy phrases such as, 'Not ready to commit to haircolor? Then ask your stylist about hues that add excitement without the fear factor,'" suggests Hall. "The idea is to grab their attention while you've got a captive audience."

 Tapping the teen color market can spell big results for salons.
Tapping the teen color market can spell big results for salons.

BE BOOK SMART. Create a coffee table-style book that's filled with pictures of Ashlee Simpson, Hilary Duff and other Hollywood starlets. Alongside each picture, place a tab that contains information about the colors and techniques used to create each design. This shows that your salon is up on the latest looks for this market and knows how to create them.

SELL SUBLIMINALLY. Utilize colorful mirror clings at each station to trigger conversation about haircolor. "This is a nifty way to pique clients' interest in haircolor without having the stylist feel pressured into selling the service," Hall points out.

HANG OUT WITH THE IN CROWD. Get involved with organizations that work with teens and tweens and offer to conduct a makeover night where stylists share the latest trends, give style tips and offer advice on how they can take optimum care of their hair. Another effective approach: Offer to do home makeovers for teens/tweens who are having a birthday slumber party and bring along colored extensions to place in their hair. "This comfortable setting is a great place to get them thinking about how much fun having their hair colored can be," says Hall.

TAKE IT NICE AND SLOW. When these younger clients finally book their first color services with you, be sure to take it nice and slow, and save the aggressive color techniques for another day. Once they've tried it and liked it, chances are likely they'll want more.