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Capturing Prom Business

It is almost prom season again, and if you supply anything related to proms, here are some tips for capturing more prom business this year.

From car washes to caterers to spas to photographers, many businesses can add prom season to their marketing calendar and increase their revenues. Millions of dollars will be spent on everything from limo rental to new shoes. How can you get your fair share?

First, analyze the market and how your business can fill a need. Just like any other market segment, you want to gather data. Call the schools in your area and ask to speak to the sponsor or committee chair for their prom. Don’t forget private schools and home schooling associations. Viral marketing to this group can be a windfall. If you know prom-age teens, ask them to help you create a myspace page and forward it to all their friends. Here are some more mundane marketing examples to help you capture this fun and profitable market:

--Car wash companies can offer discounts on prom days, and also do a 10-point driving safety checklist to give away to teens. (Other transportation-related companies can do similar promotions.) The discount will bring the customers to you, and the checklist will give them something to hang on to with your contact information: name, phone, location, etc.

--Hair salons might be swamped already with up-dos on prom day, but to add more revenues, why not publish a “Hot Hair Colors for Prom” brochure or flyer during the weeks prior to prom day? Or, offer a color/up-do special? Or, increase the price of your up-do and include a free trim a month later? How about his & her prom specials?

--Clothing: In addition to the formals and tuxes, many will need some alterations to their outfits. Any dry cleaner can offer a before/after special, or even promote that you do “prom alterations”, such as formal hemming or strap shortening. Toss in a miniature sewing kit with your name and phone number on it. Or, deliver some of them to the schools before prom and offer an after-prom cleaning promotion.

--Food: Restaurants and caterers can offer before prom and after prom meals. Extend your breakfast hours the day following prom. Bakers and candy-makers can make school-related goodies like cupcakes in school colors. Promote to moms who are hosting the after-parties.

--Florists: In the weeks before prom, deliver sample corsages to the schools and take advance orders for them and boutonnieres.

--Other grooming: Makeup artists can offer group rates. Any grooming business can capture prom business: leg and brow and bikini waxing, tanning, massages, facials, hair extensions, pedicures, manicures—any and everything grooming-related will be busy during the prom season. Think about how you can maximize and increase your business even more by offering packages, specials and information to this group.

Partnership marketing: Get together with other prom-related businesses in your area and create a goodie package to give away on prom night. A sample of signature cologne or shampoo, car air fresheners, restaurant coupons, photographer coupons, nail polish, calendars, cell phone and mp3 player skins, car dealer give-aways, insurance companies, colleges and so on. This is a lucrative market segment, and a great opportunity for various vendors to get their name in front of them.

For more prom-business research, I recommend:

Postcards are a great way to spread the word about your offer. Drop them off at schools and teen hangouts. Mail them to your customer list. Both inexpensive and effective! Ready to announce your Prom Special? Get 50% Off All Postcards

Seventeen's Guide to Your Perfect Prom: A Planner & Scrapbook. This is published yearly and it is a “memory book” for prom-goers, but it can give you tons of info on what’s hot this year.

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