Even if you haven’t seen the 1989 Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams, you’re going to know its famous quote: “If you build it, he will come.”
This was spoken by a ghostly voice telling Kevin to build a baseball field on his corn farm. And then the spirits of famous, long-dead ball players showed up because obviously, this is what would happen.
But hey, Field of Dreams, you’re a liar! Just because you’re a cosmetologist working in a salon, either as an employee or someone who has rented a booth, it doesn’t mean that clients are going to magically appear. So, you’re going to ask: how can you build your clientele as quickly as possible?
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A Number of Different Angles
It’s important to be aware that there is no single way that’s going to boost your clientele. So, approach the issue from a number of different angles.
You’ll find that the majority of your marketing efforts will be front-loaded. When you’re new, you have to spend more time on marketing.
This doesn’t mean that you can give up your marketing strategy further down the track. But, by converting new clients to repeat clients, you will have less of a need to hook total newbies (because there are only so many hours in your working day).
In a perfect world, there would be enough curious walk-ins at the salon, who can then be converted into clients. However, this isn’t going to be enough, even in areas with heavy foot traffic. This is why you’ll need to do some online and offline marketing.
Give each walk-in your business card with your contact details at the salon, along with a discount offer (20% or so) for their first appointment.
Google My Business
Many young people don’t even know how to use the phone book, not that they will ever have to anymore. So, you have to list your salon on Google My Business, otherwise, it might as well be invisible!
If you’re working in an existing salon, yes, they would have already done all of this. You should still enable Google My Business if you’re renting a booth so that you have a specific listing.
Follow the verification steps to authenticate your name, telephone number, physical location (to enable a Google Maps listing), and website (or Facebook page).
Create a Facebook page that is just for your services. Build an immediate number of followers by sending a notification to everyone on your friend list, asking them to like your page.
Encourage clients to follow you on Facebook. You can make a Facebook contest and each new follower could enter to get a chance for a free appointment. Tell walk-ins about this offer (and if you experience a number of walk-ins at your salon, you could make it a monthly promotion).
Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012, so it’s possible to integrate your marketing efforts across both platforms. It offers free marketing courses for businesses. So, it’s worthwhile to spend some time learning the basics, and learning how to leverage these platforms to directly target clients to utilize your specific services.
Many of Facebook’s marketing tips will include the suggestion that you purchase advertising on their platform. It’s not as expensive as you might think. These advertisements are targeted, based on a user’s browsing history and location.
So basically, your ad would be directed towards someone in your general area, who has already been looking for salons and beauty services.
Since Instagram is heavily based on visuals, you’ll need some good photos. Work with a friend or a family member to create great shots for starters. You don’t need a professional photographer – snap pictures yourself.
Post the photo using hashtags that are most likely to attract authentic followers, and that potential clients will be looking for. Maximize these results by adding hashtags in the comments, instead of in the photo caption.
After the initial photos, ask clients to take pictures of them and post them on your Instagram page.
You’ll probably go to need permission from the salon owner, but you can actually establish a selfie station in the salon. Encourage your customers to use it when they’re looking their prettiest (or most handsome) after you’ve finished working your magic.
Keep it simple, with an appealing background that features the salon logo and maybe even your name.
The internet hasn’t quite killed the newspaper business, although it’s not as strong as it used to be. But not everyone is online. Most Instagram users are under 35, and it’s similar to Facebook. Don’t forget how effective print media can be when targeting older clientele.
- Spring for a regular advertisement in your local newspaper.
- Many churches have a newsletter, so ask local churches if their publication accepts advertising.
- Go old school with a coupon offering a discount for a new customer’s first session that needs to be cut out and presented to you. Not everyone searches for bargains online!
While you’re working on your paper efforts, think about distributing flyers to businesses close to your new salon. Introduce yourself and offer a small discount for their first session with you.
This could be a valuable revenue stream, and you could even think about altering your working hours at the salon so you can offer after-work appointments to these nearby workers.
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Online reviews posted to Yelp or similar sites can be a double-edged sword. Yes, they can increase your visibility and create an effective endorsement, but this is only when the review is a favorable one.
But can’t you get around this by writing a harmless fake review, or by getting a friend or family member to give you a biased write-up, maybe in exchange for a freebie?
It’s a bad idea to write a glowing review for a beauty service that wasn’t actually performed. It’s more obvious than you might think, especially since you would need to create a new account specifically to write the thing.
Since this would be your only activity on that account, it would stick out.
Friends and Family
Don’t be tempted to ask a friend or family member to write you a positive review in exchange for a free beauty service. This is actually a violation of the Federal Trade Commission’s endorsement guide. It prohibits non-disclosure of an existing material relationship or payment in the form of a free product or service.
Sure, it’s unlikely that anyone will find out, and these guidelines are more for social media influencers, but it’s best to steer clear.
Ask Your Clients
People who contribute to Yelp do so of their own choice, so you might end up getting a number of reviews for your work without even trying. You can also ask clients who come back more than once if they would be able to write a few lines about you.
These are more likely to be positive because they’ve already liked you enough to come back.
Making a New Client a Regular Client
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It goes without saying that the quality of your work will encourage clients to return, but this always isn’t going to be enough.
It’s a basic method, but it can be incredibly effective if you’re consistent: just conclude each session with a client by booking their next session.
Remind your client of their upcoming appointment on time, so they remember to come or cancel.
Does the salon already have the necessary software to send an automated reminder to clients?
If not, install a desktop or mobile reminder app and input the information yourself. The app will send a text to the client a day or two (or whatever you feel is best) before their appointment.
Once a new client becomes a regular client, you can set them to work finding other regular customers for you. Offer a small discount of 20% or so for each customer, they refer to you. The new customer should also get the same discount, just in case their friend’s recommendation isn’t enough.
Review your marketing efforts after your first month. Identifying which avenues are generating the newest clients allows you to focus on the methods that are yielding the best results.
But by following these marketing tips, chances are that your appointment book is going to become full quickly with all those people who want you to make them look beautiful.