You may have the technical skills and creative know-how needed to give your clients a fabulous experience but in today’s difficult economic climate you will also need to understand how to both retain and expand your client base to keep them coming back for more!
Agreed? Then why not take a look at some of our top tips for building your clientele.
Identify your ideal client
It goes without saying that a good client list is essential in this industry. Not only will it help you to build your reputation but it will also allow you to enjoy a regular income to boot. Successful beauticians and stylists know exactly who their target market is and will spend considerable time and effort to identify just who their ideal client is within that target market. Are they clients looking for a no-frills budget service or do they want a more high end luxurious experience? What age group does the ideal client belong to? Location? Are they professionals and what are their spending habits? Answer these questions correctly and you should quickly be able to establish a profile for your ‘ideal client’. Next, formulate a targeted marketing initiative to actively find those clients taking care to ensure that the services that you provide meet with all of their requirements.
Test the market
Once you have successfully identified your target market you need to test it before you take the plunge and dive straight in. Sure it sounds a bit scary but the best way is actually to gauge interest levels within your existing social network first. Draft an email to friends, family and/or colleagues whom you consider representative of your potential clients outlining your business plans and ideas and invite their input. This way you will receive honest feedback with no hidden agendas. Be prepared to accept any criticism on the chin and use it constructively to perfect existing plans and proposals.
Build your brand
Now that you have successfully identified your ideal clients and tested the target market it is time to build and promote your own personal brand. Having a strong personal brand is essential not only to attract the right clientele in the first place but also to keep them for the long haul!
In today’s digital marketplace social media can play a huge part in the process of brand development and promotion. Take for example business networking forum LinkedIn which is reputed to be the second most popular professional social networking platform with more than 450 million members subscribed. LinkedIn allows entrepreneurs like yourself to establish and promote their professional brands whilst moving within its impressive network of like-minded individuals.
Getting your brand images out there has also never been easier thanks to an abundance of visual platforms. Posting examples of your work on Pinterest or Instagram will not only keep existing clients interested but will also serve to attract new ones. Post regularly and before long you should have an impressive online following of fashionistas ready to buy into your brand.
Business cards still remain one of the most powerful ways to promote and boost your business so make sure you always have some to hand. Think about the design and branding on your cards. What does your chosen logo and colour scheme say about you? Does the name of your business give the right impression?
A well designed business card not only advertises your business to new clients but can also serve to increase client retention rates. Why not feature a special offer or discount incentive to encourage clients, existing and potential, to keep hold of your card until their next visit. Referral schemes can also work well, you know the sort of thing, refer a friend and receive £5 off your next treatment. Try it, you will be surprised at how many people will keep hold of your card just to save some money!
Being in business can be exhausting especially when you are just starting out but it is vital that you never pass up a networking opportunity or event however tired you are feeling at the end of the working day. If you want to succeed in this industry it is essential that you meet and make yourself known to as many people as possible. Fashion shows, chamber of commerce events, industry awards are all ideal opportunities to move amongst like minded individuals and by presenting your professional self together with visual examples of your work you can quickly establish some important industry contacts.
We have already seen how social media can be utilised to build your brand and boost your client base but you should always remember that it is vital to make a clear distinction between your personal and professional self when using networking platforms.
Facebook is without doubt the world’s most successful social networking sites to date with over 1.7 billion active users on its books and is widely used as an effective marketing tool. Used sensibly, Facebook can help promote your business forging links with clients past and present. Used carelessly however and the lines between your business and personal life can quickly become blurred at the ultimate expense of your professional image.
To avoid this remember to familiarise yourself with the privacy setting options and make sure you use them! You could consider setting up a designated Facebook group which allows you to keep clients separate and limits their exposure to your personal life away from the salon. I mean, your regular clients really don’t need (or probably want) to see all the gruesome details from that hen weekend to Ibiza! So by all means get social, it’s a great tool, but stay professional at all times and there is no reason why you can’t have yourself a great clientele!
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