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You get your first customers in the door and you're ecstatic. But then, after a while you realize that getting new clients takes a lot more work than you thought.
It turns out that the beauty business is a tough, competitive market.
(And you shouldn't have to spend a bunch of money to get these done.)
If you don't know what makes you stand out from the crowd, how would anybody else know? If you haven't already, take some time to think, and write it down.
It could be anything, really. It could be a difference in the products you use - maybe you use only organic products. Maybe you have a specialty that other people don’t.
It doesn't have to be something tangible either. It could be that you just provide a different experience.
Whatever it is, you need to make sure that your customers understand what makes you special.
Everything we do these days is online, so you should be too. If your customers can't find you online, chances are they won't find you on the street either.
At the very least, you need to have a website and a Facebook page.
Believe me, I know how overwhelming the idea of creating a website can be. But these days, creating a beautiful website is a piece of cake, and any amateur can do it using free/cheap tools like WordPress, SquareSpace, or Weebly.
People have already created customizable themes for you - all you have to do is choose one, add some photos and your information. That’s it, now you have a stunning, professional looking website.
It's that easy, so there's no need to be anxious about it.
People don't do anything now without checking Facebook first, so you really need to be there. Set up a page, put all your information there and post whole bunch of pictures. Add new pictures regularly and talk about the cool things you're doing in your salon.
But don't just stop there. Talk with people and engage in conversation. Post fun things. It doesn't have to be all about your salon.
Now it's time to get the word out. Just because your salon is open doesn't mean people know about it, or have any interest in what you're doing.
You need to tell people to come visit.
Team up with other businesses nearby. Promote yourself at clothing stores, join hands with the local gym. After all, no new look is complete without a new haircut.
Make sure everybody who works nearby knows about you too. People like the convenience of getting their haircut after work or during lunch. They’ll be excited to know they have that option.
Here's an idea. In the springtime start a promotion at a local shoe store, giving free pedicures to anybody who buys a pair of open toe shoes.
Who wants to show off their cute new shoes with nasty toenails?
If you don't like giving totally free services, think of a bonus you could give out instead. See below for more information on adding value.
By doing fun things like this, your salon will end up being the talk of the town.
While you're waiting for new business to enter those doors, be sure to never look idle. This is a sign of business going badly - and to the customers, bad business means terrible services.
So make sure that your employees look busy - give them a broom even if you could eat off that floor!
Don't make your services too cheap, but make sure they aren't too expensive either. That sounds obvious right? But it’s important.
Super cheap prices makes customers doubt the quality, and too expensive, you know, makes them feel ripped off.
Remember that ambiance is a big part of the customer experience. Having chic interior decor will allow you to charge higher prices, so keep that in mind.
Also, people will often feel like they’re getting a better product or service if it costs more, even if it’s the same as a competitor’s. It’s a tricky art, and you may need to experiment a little before you find your footing.
Giving away discounts and freebies can hurt your books, so these aren't always the best kinds of promotions.
Instead, add extra value to the services they're already getting.
Give give them an incentive to try out your premium services.
For example, try giving free head and shoulder massages with every pre-booked appointment. Or give a free hair treatment, maybe a conditioning, to all first time customers.
There's no end to the number of cool bonuses you can offer, and they'll make a big difference when someone is considering booking with you or the salon down the street.
Most people are a bit uncomfortable asking for referrals - it just feels so sales-y.
But this is the simplest and cheapest way to get more clients in your chair.
Simply ask your client to tell a friend, or even ask them to bring a friend with them next time, and you can give them both complementary bonus treatments.
Keep in mind that your client will be much more likely to referred someone to you if they genuinely like you. So…. see the next point.
Make your clients’ experience enjoyable.
If they've had a great experience with you, they will want to tell their friends. They’re not just helping you out - they're helping their friends out by giving them the chance to have a wonderful time.
Give your customers a steaming cup of tea and free wifi while they wait. Make your salon the place they can’t wait to come back to.
You don't have to feel bad about asking for referrals. You're doing them a favor.
I hope these ideas will help you grow your business and get more clients in your chair.
Let us know in the comments below.