[FREE DOWNLOAD] How to Write An Ad That Will Work for All of Your Salon Marketing

Last week, I talked about what you need to know before you write any form of marketing material for your salon.

Now, I did promise I’d show you exactly how you can write an ad that turns your silent phone into a never-ending ringing-machine. This includes the 7 CRUCIAL elements to any successful salon marketing campaign.

Let’s dive in.

There are two types of popular marketing: branding, and direct response. This type of marketing I’ll be talking about is will be direct response.


Branding marketing works wonders for Apple and your local bank – but it’s a money guzzler for salons and spas.

As a salon owner, marketing can be VERY overwhelming, and it’s very easily a huge waste of money. That is, if you don’t do your marketing right. Time and time again, salon owners (and specifically, our members before they join any of our programs) will run branding ads, or ads promoting HUGEEEE discounts.

The thing is, “50% off an eyebrow wax,” or “50% a cut and color!” just doesn’t work. I’ve never been compelled to book in for a “discounted” service – have you?

Direct response marketing, put simply, creating adverts and offers that benefit the customer, NOT the salon or spa. Discounts work on the salon’s behalf – they get you in customers.

Direct response, however, ALWAYS will solve a client’s problem: whether it may be frizzy hair, long hair, hairy legs, cellulite, acne – whatever your service is, you solve a problem.

You already know the 3 elements you must figure out before you write any ad – and if you don’t, read them now, otherwise the following won’t make much sense.

Those 3 elements (you’ve gotta know what you’re selling, to whom, and why they should buy from you) are crucial for you to figure out these 7 must-have elements in ANY marketing campaign, especially for your salon.

They are –

  1. A headline: your salon name is a SHITTY HEADLINE.
  2. An offer: no, this isn’t discounting. DISCOUNTING IS EVIL!
  3. List benefits: what specific problems do you solve? Bumpy legs from shaving, frizzy hair?
  4. A guarantee: This is the most powerful, yet rarely, and so poorly used.
  5. Some proof: How can you prove what you say is true? How can you make your potential clients TRUST you?
  6. Scarcity: why should they call now to book?
  7. Call to action (CTA): what do they do next?

Phew. That’s a lot to take in.

See, 99% of salon marketing falls into the fatal, profit-grabbing trap of talking about their own business:

“Our clients have come to trust OUR experts… for OUR expertise…. our cutting-edge machines…..”

STOP. Just, stop. I was bored writing that sentence, and I’M A MARKETER!

Marketing that fails is bragging about your business. Marketing that makes money, always puts the client first. Always.

See, advertising is SALESMANSHIP IN PRINT.

Here’s an INCREDIBLE direct response ad – written from a manufacturer. It’s clearly been written by a copywriter – someone who’s job is to write marketing for a living – someone like me.


It has a headline that’s direct, and to the point. It’s job is to appeal one to those are interested, and to compel the intrigued readers into reading the ad.

Let’s dive in:

1. Headline

The headline here is straightforward, and bluntly put: it’s about making more money. They’re clearly targeting people who use Seal-It, either in their current business or as part of their hobby. By giving them this elusive idea that they can MAKE money from the products they use instantly intrigues them.

Read on.

2. Offer

They’re not selling a product itself through this ad, instead they’re creating a relationship with the interested reader. This is called lead generation advertising.

The offer here is to become a distributor of Seal-It, and to make money: they’ve made it clear: “Become a Seal-It Distributor and make money now!”

3. Benefits

Seal-It did it beautifully: a simple list, clearly stating the benefits… “unlimited earning potential,” “no franchise fees…” – they’ve already stated the solutions to a reader’s potential questions.

4. A guarantee: This is the most powerful, yet rarely, and so poorly used.

Although they don’t state a specific guarantee, the little yellow box stating who they can potentially sell Seal-It too, and the testimonial below the box replaces the guarantee.

5. Proof

They’ve added a clear testimonial – AND an image of the couple. Any form of testimonial will increase trust, and increase sales, but photos of the person whom the testimonial is from will increase sales even MORE.

After all, humans connect better with other humans.

6. Scarcity

Usually, in direct response marketing, you’ll have a limit on what you’re selling. That limit is in either time the offer is available, amount of appointments/quantity available, or anything that makes people **act now**.

After all, that’s what scarcity is designed to do: scarcity triggers the fear button that every human has.

7. Call to action (CTA)

They’ve made it clear: “Call now for your free information packet!”
Can’t get any clearer than that.

I’ll bet your first reaction of this ad was “there’s too much text in it! Nobody will read it!”

To the contrary, actually. The people who WILL read this ad are PRECISELY the only people the advertiser wants. That’s true for you, that’s true for ANY form or direct response advertising:


This is a real advert written by Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest marketing firms in the world. Click the ad to read the entire thing.

This is a real advert written by Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest marketing firms in the world. It’s long, about ten-times longer than the Seal-It ad above, yet, it’s one of their best converting ads of all time. Click the ad to read the entire thing.

This ad is not only written for their perfect client, but it covers ALL 7 elements. They’ve written the ad so well, that even I want to call Ogilvy – and I’m not even in the financial industry!

Here’s the thing: if people aren’t interested in what you have to sell, they won’t read a THING.

But if people ARE interested – they’ll read everything. They’ll soak EVERYTHING UP with a sponge.

And that’s the difference between brand advertising, and direct response advertising. You want to tap into your perfect client’s mind, and push their pain points. This is why you must figure out your perfect client before you write anything for your salon marketing.

Because if you don’t know what your perfect client wants, how can you sell anything to them?

Here’s an example of a direct response ad for the salon industry:


If you have wrinkles, dark-eyes or anything else that dermatitis cream solves – you bet you’d be reading that ad. Chances are, you’d be picking up that phone, too. And that’s what direct response marketing is designed to do:

Get people to pick up the phone and call you.

And to do that, you need to have an irresistible offer. Figure out what you’re going to sell, to whom, and why they should buy from you, and start writing your ad following the 7 elements above.

When your salon marketing is done right, the ad will be ringing: off the hook.

“The Sex Food so Potent, Priests Were Forbidden to Eat It.”

Did the headline suck you in – force you to keep reading? If you have a pulse, it’s the reason you’re reading this sentence now.

Master copywriter Eugene Schwartz - his advertising skills sold billions dollars worth of products

Master copywriter Eugene Schwartz – his advertising skills sold billions dollars worth of products

The headline – the ‘ad for the ad’ – was written by one of the greatest direct response copywriters of the past 50 years, Eugene Schwartz. His ads, for everything from beauty and diet products to investment services and gardening, have resulted in sales of billions of dollars.

Schwartz’s ads are so powerful, so magnetic, they’ve been copied in some form for decades. They’re classic direct response.

And yet…and yet, despite overwhelming evidence that direct response-style display ads, hard copy direct mail and yes, online marketing is the only effective, measurable, accountable form of marketing that any small business owner should invest in, I still hear

“but it’s so unprofessional, my clients are far too sophisticated/educated/up-market for that kind of thing…”

Well, I’m more than happy for the ignorant and the arrogant to continue wasting their hard-earned money on pretty, ‘imagey’ kind of creative advertising while the rest of us get one with what works, instead of re-inventing the wheel.

As the master of direct response, David Ogilvy once declared, ‘creative is what sells‘. He might well have continued, ‘who cares about winning creative advertising awards, if the ads don’t get customers to pick up the phone and buy?’

For the education and interest of those readers wise enough to at least acknowledge they don’t know much about marketing and would like to inform themselves – being armed with knowledge gives you a pretty good buffer against making dumb, expensive mistakes – here’s a small sample of some of the greatest direct response advertising ever printed.

(And for Inner Circle members, the complete Eugene Schwartz ‘swipe file’ of classic, powerful headlines, available for download now from here in the Member’s Only ‘sealed section’ of the website.)

For those salon owners who are NOT part of the Inner Circle program, well I guess you’ll look at these examples, wrinkle your nose in distaste and sniffily declare them far too unworthy of your further study.

For those salon & spa owners smart enough to have joined the Inner Circle program including the Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit®, the following examples will hopefully encourage and inspire you to go back to your Toolkit and begin to better understand the thinking behind the hundreds of advertising templates contained within it.

You can right click on these thumbnail images and ‘save as…’ to download the ads in full screen, so you can study them in detail. My advice: analyze these from the point of view of ‘HOW can I use this information to develop better marketing for my salon?’ rather than “this isn’t for a beauty or hair business so it doesn’t apply to me!’


What does a gorgeous, “over-the-hill” international model do when sales of her new book are flat as a pancake and she’s got no idea how to turn it around?

Simple. If she’s Oleda Baker, she calls Eugene Schwartz.

This is the 1973 ad for “The Models Way to Beauty, Slenderness and Glowing Health” which eventually sold over 60,000 copies with the help of Gene Schwartz’s pen.

The caption beneath her photo is very effective. “This is an unretouched photo of 39 year old Oleda Baker, author of this eye opening new guide.”


Shirley Polykoff wrote this ad for Clairol in the 50s, “Does she …or doesn’t she? Hair color so natural only her hair dresser knows for sure.”

It was so successful in selling product that today Clairol is able to spend over $30 million a year in the USA alone on advertising – yet it won not a single ‘creative’ award.

The ‘Does she or doesn’t she?” headline was at first turned down by Life magazine as being ‘too suggestive’. The Life editors would turn pale at what advertisers get away with these days.

Economist_Page_01webThe myth that ‘they won’t read it if it’s too long…”

Advertising sales reps ought to be hung, drawn and quartered for insisting on spreading this toxic myth about marketing.

Most of  ’em deride ‘direct response’ marketing as ‘okay for weight loss and hair replacement advertising, but you wouldn’t use it for professional services and products….’

Mmmm, really? Click on the picture here, the front cover of one of the world’s most respected business publications, and you’ll find a 15-page sales letter that’s pure direct response, sent out by the publishers to drive subscriptions.

Strange to say, it worked.

Again_She_Orders_A_Chicken_Salad_PleaseIn 1919, Lillian Eichler was an 18-year-old working for a New York advertising agency when she was asked to figure out an ad that would sell a bunch of old copies of Ealnor Holt’s pre-1900 The Encyclopedia of Etiquette.

But most of the 1,000 copies sold came back within the 5-day guarantee period, the readers turned off by the antiquated text. But the publishers (Doubleday) were smart enough to realize that if Lillian’s ad could at least move the books, maybe she could re-write the original and turn it into something more appealing to the modern’ reader.

It did. Lillian’s version, the Book of Etiquette, sold 2 million copies at $2 each over the following two years, nearly $30 million in today’s money. Amazing to think that such powerful marketing copy could come from the pen of an 18-year-old.

Now, take a good look at all the examples above. If you note nothing else, note this: ALL of them feature columns of tightly-written copy, not mere pretty pictures and a phone number.

Go apply that thinking to YOUR advertising, and what your sales soar.

Salon Business Marketing 101: The Mistake of Linear or ‘Consecutive’ Marketing

rockclimbingYesterday we took a call from a distressed Member, a salon who’s been with us for several months.

“I ran two ads in a local magazine, and got zero response.”

Among the dozens of calls and emails we get every week, from salon owners expressing delight and wonder at the results they’re achieving as a result of doing ‘my’ kind of marketing, there’s always one or two who complain they’re not getting the same results. And when I analyse it, it almost always comes down the same thing.

Expecting sensational results from only one piece of activity.

The Inner Circle members who do incredibly well – and there is ample evidence of them throughout this website – are without exception those who live by the creed of Massive Action. Those who fail to emulate those results are, without exception, those who regard marketing their business as something of an ‘experiment’ – as if it’s something that a scientist would do in a lab, they test the water one toe at a time. They do one ‘thing’ – one ad, or one small mailbox flyer, or a single one-page letter to their clients, or a sample run of text messages to a tiny proportion of their database, and somehow expect a stampede of customers.

Such expectation is always a mystery to me. You want BIG results? Do BIG things – and not consecutively, all at once.

This salon business owner is hardly alone. Most salon businesses make the mistake of linear (or consecutive) marketing; doing one ad, flyer or letter, waiting a month to see what happens, and then doing another thing, waiting another month, and seeing what happens with that.

Worse, the mindset of the ‘linear’ marketers is such that not only do they do things one at a time, they also do ’em too small – typical of the timid.

Inner Circle member Cherie Hardman (middle) and staff at Femme Fatale in Jannali, NSW with their Ultraceuticals A-List salon award for 2009

Evidence this, just emailed today, from Inner Circle member Cherie Hardman of Femme Fatale Beauty & Skincare, in Jannali, NSW:

“We have now had the pleasure of being a member over 2 Christmas periods and although our increased profits were more spectacular in Christmas 2008, they were more spread out over the months leading up to Christmas this year (due to the special offers you told us to do in Nov). The big one for me is I have cut back to 3 days a week in the salon, and will take up to 6 months PAID maternity leave this year which would never have been possible before joining WSM. We have definitely noticed that when we  ‘market big’ we receive big. We also mix things up a bit such as we not only have our normal packages with the add on’s but we also created an additional festive overhaul similar to one of the templates in your Toolkit.”

Marketing your salon business cannot be timid. Recently another member complained that she’d ‘tried our kind of marketing and IT doesn’t work’…. she claimed that a particular campaign that had been incontrovertibly proven to generate thousands of extra dollars for a huge number of our Members had completely failed for her. When pressed, she admitted she’d sent it out to ‘about 25 of her clients’.

Twenty five??? That’s ALL? Yep, 25. No wonder it didn’t work, she didn’t give it a chance. The science of marketing is about numbers. And any statistician will tell you that 25 is far too tiny a sample to provide results of any reliability at all.

But the biggest mistake is doing ONE thing, waiting for a result, and then doing the next thing, and so on. The trouble with this strategy should be obvious – by the time you figure out whether the first shot has worked or not, you’ve lost another week, a month, three months, during which time you’ve avoided doing ten other things that could have been tested alongside each other.

Thirty years ago, when Lee Iacocca took over an ailing Chrysler and set about giving the moribund company a kick in the butt, he had at one stage no fewer than 37 different strategies, plans, campaigns and re-organizations underway. It upset a lot of people (inevitably, those resistant to change) but it saved the company.

To those who complain “I can’t handle too many things at once, it’s too chaotic/my staff won’t like it/it’s messy/it’s too much going on”, I say this:

Success is not neat. It IS chaotic. If at the end of your day you’ve done everything you needed to do, your desk is tidy, not a pen or stray bit of paper to offend the eye, and nothing ‘left over’ for tomorrow…. that‘s when you need to worry. That’s when the business is in trouble.

The Space Shuttle goes straight up because it has to. But your salon business needs to zig-zig upwards...

The Space Shuttle goes straight up because it has to. But your salon business needs to zig-zig upwards…

Neither is success linear, a straight line from zero to hero. ALL businesses zig-zag to success, like a mountaineer criss-crossing the face of the mountain, attaining a foot-hold here, a hand-hold over there, then another foothold a little to the right and up a bit.

It’s why the Space Shuttle needs the energy required to power a small South American country for an entire year just to escape gravity – if NASA could climb a mountain to get into space, it would, but there aren’t any convenient hand-holds on the way. It has to do it all at once, straight up.

But your salon business ain’t a rocket ship. You need a LOT of hands and feet, all working together – at the same time – to climb the mountain. If you’re only using one foot, or one hand, at a time, you’re never going to climb over the creek at the bottom, let alone zig-zag up the hill.

Hair Salon Template Superstar of the Week – Ann Marie Ryan of Hair Fx, Tipperary, Ireland

Ann Marie Ryan of Hair Fx in Tipperary, Ireland - 20% increase in sales within weeks of signing up as an Inner Circle member

Ann Marie Ryan of Hair Fx in Tipperary, Ireland – 20% increase in sales within weeks of signing up as an Inner Circle member

Hair Salon Template Superstar of the Week – Ann Marie Ryan of Hair Fx, Tipperary, Ireland


Superstar of the Week – Ann Marie Ryan of Hair Fx, Tipperary, Ireland

It’s amusing when we get questions from salon owners like ‘will this work in Boisie, Idaho/Dorset, UK/Invercargill, NZ?’

Huh? Well, I guess if people in those places don’t buy things/eat/wash their hair/live in houses/drive cars….maybe marketing a salon business ‘my’ way’ wouldn’t work.  I know nothing about Tipperary, Ireland, but presumably it is populated by people who respond to my kind of salon & spa marketing. At least, that’s what Ann Marie Ryan has discovered:

“Hi Greg,
This is Ann Marie Ryan in Tipperary Town,I joined the Inner Circle program and got the kit from you in July, prior to getting the kit I had been sending a new client letter, but only one, I never followed it up with any more.
And, like hundreds of other IC members around the world, Ann Marie’s response from her direct mail has improved dramatically. Here’s what’s instructive: never, ever waste your money on one-shot mail. It doesn’t even nick ’em on the way by. If you want impact and response, you must have repetition. And if you ‘can’t be bothered’ with multi-step mailing, you deserve your lack of success.
Sporadically I had sent letters to clients that had not been in the salon for some months, but I was never very confident about doing this. Since September I have got a bit braver in my marketing through your constant contact via email & the website.
I started a newsletter, November was my 3rd issue. I am getting a great response to this.
(Note for Members: there are several templates for simple single-sheet, double-sided newsletters in the Members Only ‘sealed section’ – just navigate to “Marketing to Existing Clients” and you’ll find them in there.)
For Christmas I am running with (a campaign I found in the Members Only ‘sealed section’) I did in May for Mothers Day, but didn’t know then how to promote it properly at that time.
My sales for September & October have seen an increase of 20% on the same months last year. November so far is 11% up on last year but we have also had different people on holidays totaling 3 weeks plus 2 members of staff out sick over the course of the last 4 weeks. One girl is on crutches & the other hurt her back, ‘I used to think hairdressing was a safe profession’.
I now have the guts to go ahead with the ideas and templates you guys are constantly sending my way. Here’s to a great Christmas for all:-)
‘Go n’eiri an bothar leat’ (may the road rise with you)
Ann Marie
Hearty congratulations to Ann Marie. Until the Global Financial Crisis, Ireland was one of the ‘tiger’ economies of Europe, and then sank into one of the worst recessions anywhere in the world. But, like other Members, Ann Marie discovered that with the right marketing tools, salons and spas can create their own economies, virtually independent of the wider economy. Best wishes to all our Members in the UK and Ireland.

Salon Web Template: Do You Insist The World is Flat?

Funny title, serious message for business owners

Funny title, serious message for business owners

Salon Web Template: Do You Insist The World is Flat?

If you own your own business, this is for you.

Every so often, we get a complaint from a Member, like this one: “We have purchased all of your marketing material about one month and a half ago. We are NOT HAPPY….(I just wanted to) let you know of my disappointment with the marketing so far…”

These do become tiring, particularly in light of overwhelming evidence from literally hundreds of salons & spas all over the world who are using the very same marketing system, and achieving documented – and in many cases, truly spectacular – results.

To verify this, you need only browse around this website. Go look under Salon Superstars. These are real owners of real salons & spas, all over the world, all of them using the Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit® containing exactly the same Direct Response marketing and advertising templates for flyers, letters and ads, and the ‘sales thinking’ that goes behind them.

Dan Kennedy - brutal, but accurate

Dan Kennedy – brutal, but accurate

So what is the difference? Idly, I was reading through a little booklet by Dan Kennedy. It’s called

“Why Do I Always Have to Sit Next to the Farting Cat”

but the whimsical title is just an eye-catching headline for a very serious, hard-nosed and instructive essay on why a few people achieve success when the vast majority don’t.

So I quote Kennedy here, as answer at least in part to the complainers:

“If you own your own business, there’s a pretty good chance you also own some of my marketing courses, and/or own a marketing system put out by someone I’ve influenced.

If you own a Marketing System specific to an inudstry, odds are it’s been put into your hands by somebody who I work with. I’m familiar withi the system you have. And I have something important to tell you about it.

The first thing you should know – “it” works. Each of these industry advisors have thousands of business owners who can testify to that. Questioning the efficacy of these Systems is like insisting the world is flat. The time for such an argument has long since passed. These leaders and their Systems are proven.

So the second thing to know is – it’s about you, not ‘it’.

I remember being at one of Joe Polish’s boot camps for carpet cleaners, and listening as a carpet cleaner went on and on about how nothing of Joe’s he tried worked because all his customers were cheapskates and everybody in his town bought only based on the cheapest price. Finally, I stopped him. I asked if there was a shopping mall in town. When he said yes, I wondered out loud how that could be.

If everybody there only bought by cheapest price, the only store there would be a Wal-Mart. You see, insisting that everybody buys by the cheapest price is stupid. (And, incidentally, fewer than 10% of customers buy that way, unless offered no other basis for making a decision.) Then I pointed out to him: he chose his customers. He did certain things to attract them. If they were all cheapskates, his fault.

I find a lot of people fail to get the results they should, that others get, for one or more of these reasons. One, they don’t actually use the Systems as instructed. They fool around with it, use pieces of it, change it.

Two, other aspects of their businesses are so screwed up, marketing that brings more customers in the door is futile.

Three, they are self-defeating whiners and complainers. There is an intangible to business, and that is attitude.

Fourth, they never do much of anything. If they start, they don’t follow through.

So I want to tell you again, questioning the efficacy of these Systems is like insisting the world is flat. The time for such argument has long since passed.”

There’s a saying. A poor carpenter blames his tools. I’m here to tell you, you own extraordinary tools.”

Amen. And by the way, I’ve just ordered a whole truckload of those little books from Dan’s printer in the States. Our Inner Circle members will each get a copy, free.

If you are NOT yet an Inner Circle member, you do NOT yet have the Essential Salon Owner’s Marketing Toolkit®,  you are fighting a lonely battle devoid of the right knowledge, useful tools, with both arms tied behind your back, re-inventing the wheel every day, probably doing it the same way you’ve always done it, probably getting the same lackluster results you’ve always got.

You CAN change this, by applying for a 30-day Test Drive of the toolkit and the entire Inner Circle marketing & mentoring system.