Case Study: Boston Salon Uses Privy For Targeted Deals

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At Pure Hair Design in Boston, co-owner Jenny Kisiel says twentysomethings, her target market, have come to expect huge bargains, thanks to daily deals. In an effort to attract this market while retaining strong sales margins, she has turned to Privy, a hyperlocal deal platform that businesses can use to create customized promotions that run on their websites and Facebook pages.

How do you advertise or market Pure Hair Design?
We’ve just recently grown our spa. We were in a really small location for seven years, and over those seven years we ended up having five stylists. Mostly all of our stylists are booth renters, so they rent a space from us and they run their [businesses] under our name. We never pay for advertising because we don’t have the cash flow to do that. What we’ve really done is just use social media — Facebook, Twitter, our website, and word of mouth. We’ve run a couple ads in local newspapers, but I don’t ever really feel that gets us much business. It’s more just name recognition.

So how did you first get connected with Privy?

They just called me up and told me about what they were doing and I thought it sounded great. I really can’t deal with all those Groupon and BuyWithMe deals [because] they take too much of your profit. But, I liked the idea of attaching a promotion to our website [and attracting] people who were already looking at us. When people go to our website and see a promotion, they’re more likely to buy it.

Can you tell me more about the specific promotion you ran with Privy?
We’ve run a few. The most successful one we had was our December one; that was actually our first one. We did a $50 gift certificate for $40, and it was for new clients. [To promote it], we blasted all of our clients. We always hear people say, “Oh I want my sister to come to you,” or, “My co-worker has curly hair. I wish she could come in.” So, this was a great way to get that business from our other clients and give them a new deal; give them a little bit of a break to come in and they could put [the coupon] toward whatever they wanted.

Read also: 6 Self-Service Deals Platforms

How many deals did you end up selling?
Maybe 20. I thought that was good because it wasn’t overwhelming. You don’t want to flood [your business]. I don’t want to flood my stylists with all these deals because then they feel like they’re working for nothing.

How do customers find your Privy deals?
When you post a deal [on your website] it shares it with your Facebook account. And our Facebook is connected to our Twitter, so everything we do on Facebook goes to Twitter. And then what I usually do is I post it on my personal [Facebook account], too. I usually put it in the status update for Pure. I’ll put, “Check out our website for our deal this month.” [Customers] just go to our website and they click on “Promotions,” and they’ll see it. Then it says, “Buy,” and they buy [the deal] right there from their mobile phone or PC. And then they can print it out. It’s super easy.

Does Privy take a cut from the profit of each deal you sell?
Yes, only 15%. And they are just awesome to work with. They are just full of ideas, and they are really helpful. They put together emails for us to send to our clients with the links [to the deals]. They wanted to meet with us and get feedback on how they can they make it better. I liked working with them a lot. They made it super easy, too, by linking everything to Facebook and Twitter.

How important is it to you to be able to keep the contact information from people who purchase your Privy deals?
It’s good because then you have them in your database. So if you’re trying to capture a certain clientele, you’ll have it. Our software allows us to send emails to certain types of people. [For example], we had a stylist who moved to New York, and I wanted to target some of her clients since she left. So we [emailed] those clients and offered them a special rate if they came back. We also do a special cut called the Deva cut that’s awesome for curly hair. Our software allows us to capture the people who get Deva cuts and target them. Or, everybody who bought a certain deal, you can blast again. Things like that.

What type of software do you use for email marketing?
We use Spa/Salon. We do all of our online booking through them, and we can do all of our advertising through them, as well.

Were there any downsides to managing your own promotion with Privy? Anything you missed out on by not going with a larger deal company?
No, I don’t think I missed out. I don’t like all those companies because I don’t think they [generate] repeat customers. That’s what we’re in the business for. We’re not a restaurant. In our business, you build relationships. That’s how you get quality work. I’ve been doing hair for 17 years and I’ve been in Boston for 14, and every person who sits in my chair, I want to see them grow. Those deals, honestly, are ruining our industry. We’re missing out on this huge market of twenty-something people because they think we’re an expensive salon and they’re going to buy a deal from Groupon. We’re trying to figure out a way to capture that twenty-something market, but it’s definitely a challenge. That’s why Privy stands out. Someone Google searches us and they go to our website, they look at our bios, and they see this great promotion. They try it because they’re getting a little bit of the deal, and because they like what we have to say.

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This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.