Whether you’re new in town or not, one of the biggest challenges independent stylists face is,”how do I get clients?” We’re gonna be straight with you: building a loyal clientele takes time AND money. In the world of stylists and barbers, there is no such thing as “get rich quick” — you are building a lifetime career here.
Traditionally, stylists start out as a salon employee, and the salon does the marketing. Becoming independent from the salon can be intimidating, but the freedom that comes with running your own business is worth it. (Click here to get the tools you need to run your business.)
- You must be online bookable – this is not an option.
- Clients want to search and book new stylists on their own from their phone.
- You need an online business page with photos of your work, a short, bio, and a list of your services.
- You can use apps like StyleSeat to manage all of this.
REVIEWS BUILD TRUST
Clients trust reviews. They read them for restaurants, hotels, gyms, and even beauty products. As a new stylist in the area, you’ll need reviews to build trust, if you only have one or two reviews it’s very challenging.
- In the beginning, ask every client to leave a review.
- Send an email with StyleSeat’s marketing tool and include instructions on how to leave a review.
- Offer $15 off their next service if they leave a review. This should be part of your marketing budget.
- Ask them in person. Next time you’re checking out an appointment, remind them they will receive an email with a link to leave a review after their appointment.
- Cut your mom’s hair if you have to! Do what you have to do to get those reviews.
- ALWAYS have business cards handy. They should include a link to your booking page and an offer like, “20% off your first service” so they don’t just toss the card immediately.
- Hand out 100 business cards a month.
- Figure out who your “ideal clients” are and hand out business cards where they hang out.
- Many local businesses offer a space by their front door to leave flyers and business cards. Go door to door and leave some business cards if they let you.
- You gotta spend money to make money – new clients are going to cost you. The goal is to invest in new clients the right way so you make your money back when they become loyal clients.
- Offer “value-added services.” Pick a service (like brow waxing) that takes little time and resources and offer it for free if a new client books a main service.
- Promote your special on social media, include it on your business card, and make a sign to hang in your salon.
- Use the clients who already love you to help you build your loyal clientele.
- Print referral cards and invite your best clients to join the program.
- All they have to do is share the cards with their friends and they get a small reward for each client they send your way.
- For more information about how to start a referral program, check out this article.
- Building a clientele is all about the “hustle.” Get outside of your comfort zone, work an hour later, spend less money on Starbucks and more money on marketing, and get your name out there.
- Go to farmers markets, craft shows, and other community events and hand out your card. It might sound intimidating, but this is what it takes.
- Business cards are cheap and new clients are worth it.
MAKE THE RIGHT FRIENDS
- Make friends with other professionals. Make friends with photographers, wedding planners, stylists, makeup artists, and fashion designers. Their clients will need beauty services and you should be the first person they recommend. Offer them discounted services or a finder’s fee for every client the send your way.
These are just a few ideas to help you get started. Remember, we’re thinking big picture here. All of this extra work adds up and it will pay off. You are building your dream career — one with creative freedom, one with hours you control, and one where you are the boss.
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