EBeauty and Compaq Try to Help Spas and Salons Go Hi-Tech

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EBeauty and Compaq will target more than 50,000 salons and spas nationwide in a direct mail campaign getting under way today to support an agreement announced last week between the two companies.

Through its Web site, EBeauty will market Compaq's iPAQ Desktop computers, software and other solutions -- such as BeautyWorks and Harms Software -- that are conducive to the health and beauty industry.

The 50,000 pieces were designed inhouse by Compaq, Houston, and the health and beauty industry portal. The companies expect more than a 30 percent response rate. Following an initial 25,000-piece drop, an additional 25,000 will be mailed next month. The mailing will go to recipients whose names were gathered from three areas: EBeauty compiled some names with the help of trade magazines; it researched other names; and it targeted a portion of its 3,000 registered members who require the technology.

"The people we are contacting are prospects that we have spoken to throughout the year and have a relationship with," said Julie Khalifeh, co-CEO of EBeauty, New York. "The reason we are expecting such a big return is because this is an industry that is primed for this technology, and we have spoken to them on the phone and at trade shows and they want this."

Khalifeh said the companies anticipate more than $25 million in revenue in the next year as a result of the agreement. EBeauty expects site registration to jump 200 percent during that time.

Joe Batista, director and chief creatologist at Compaq, Dallas, said the $150 billion international health and beauty salon industry has a low technology penetration overall. In the $42 billion domestic spa and salon industry, only 17 percent of 250,000 salons and spas use computers for business or to access the Internet for business purposes.

The campaign is expected to expand to the international market before the end of the year.

The effort represents a total investment of $70,000 by the firms. Batista said a total expenditure of $150,000 on direct mail is planned by the end of the year. The results of the first two drops will be analyzed before determining the specifics for any future drops.

According to Batista, generating a profit would require that at least 1,000 people purchase or lease a computer.

The piece is a three-page foldout containing images of the iPAQ, a description of its applications and capabilities, and an explanation of how it can benefit spa and salon owners. The remaining text discusses the reasoning behind the partnership and what spa and salon owners can receive as a result of signing up for EBeauty. A Web address and a toll-free number are provided for registration.

Khalifeh described the look and feel of the piece as sleek but not too overwhelming. The idea was to show how going hi-tech could be beneficial without intimidating the recipients.

"This audience is made up of a lot of hard-working people, most of which started out with nothing," she said. "They are not a high-risk-taking bunch, so we wanted to try and build security through the piece."

The names used in the campaign will be put into a new database for EBeauty but will not be sold. Khalifeh said EBeauty would run future marketing campaigns targeting the new names.

"We don't want to overburden them or inundate them with other providers and their services," Khalifeh said.

Spas and salons will be able to purchase or lease the computer from the EBeauty site, along with special software and solutions that are relevant to the industry, at what the company described as a special price.

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