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Whether you’re a brand new stylist or an established salon owner, one of the most important questions you have to answer is how to get more clients as a hairstylist. It’s essential to understand how to attract — and retain — clients, because they are the lifeblood of your business and how you make a living. Fortunately, there are a number of tried and tested techniques you can use starting today to ensure you stay fully booked.
- Salon marketing is an essential component of establishing your business and attracting clients.
- No matter what stage your business is in, you have to work to attract and retain customers.
- Updated information online, making it easy for customers to book with you, and staying on top of the latest styling trends are a few of the most important methods for getting more clients.
15 Ways to Get More Clients as a Hairstylist
Follow these best practices to get more clients through the door and in your chairs.
1. Utilize Local SEO
SEO is short for “search engine optimization” and it’s a powerful marketing tool when used correctly. As a hairstylist or salon owner, you want to be the first business to pop up when someone searches “hairstylist near me”or “best hair salon near me.”
To do this, first you have to create a Contact Page through Google and verify your business. You can also use these tips to optimize the search results:
- Update your critical business information, such as address and hours
- Upload images so potential customers can view your work
- Create an incentive or ask customers to provide reviews through Google
- Respond to customer reviews
- Post blogs to your salon website
- Register with as many online directories as possible
2. Ask for Online Reviews
Not only do online reviews help optimize your SEO so more people can easily find you online, it adds another layer of credibility to your business. You can offer a free product or promote a contest to any customer who submits an honest online review.
Reviews can not only be used through Google, but also included in your social media channels and on your website. And don't forget to respond to the review and thank the customer for taking time to do so.
3. Encourage Referrals
Like online reviews, referrals are another way to add another layer of trust and reach potential clients. Referrals are not only through word of mouth, but also through social media. You can encourage referrals even more by offering incentives. Ideas for referral incentives include:
- Discount on service
- Free product of choice
- Re-posting someone's referral post on Instagram and adding their picture to a wall of referrals
- Monthly contest with a prize pack
4. Construct a Social Media Strategy
Social media is not an option these days, with more people turning to places like Instagram and Pinterest to find inspiration for their style.
A social media strategy can include more than simply setting up accounts with all the major platforms. The first step is to identify the platforms where your clients are most likely to be. Then, set up a regular posting strategy, whether it's once a day, twice a week, or more. Your posts should contain relevant hashtags and quality photos when possible.
5. Advertise in Your Area
Even though it's a digital world, there are still great opportunities to reach local clients through a local marketing campaign. Like digital marketing, you want to carefully select local advertising options based on the ability to reach your potential clients. You could also consider co-marketing with other local businesses, such as fitness centers or plastic surgery centers.
6. Enable Online Bookings
You want to make it easy for someone to book a service with you, whether they're a brand new customer or repeat one, and enabling online bookings is one of most effective ways to do this. Online bookings are not only for your website, but now you can set up instant bookings through social media accounts too.
Not only does this help your client stay on schedule, but it cuts down on last-minute cancellations and gives you a clearer indication of upcoming appointments throughout the month.
7. Accept Walk-In Guests
No matter how easy you set up bookings online or through texts, some people simply don't know their schedule ahead of time or have changes in their schedule. Offering the flexibility of accepting walk-in guests is another way to build your client base and create an amazing guest experience for anyone who walks through the door.
8. Work with Local Influencers
Local influencers may not have the huge online following as other well-known creators, but their influence can be just as powerful. Local influencers typically are less expensive to work with, but they can still build awareness for your salon and establish the social proof of your business, plus create engagement.
A few ideas for running a campaign with a local influencer might include:
- Social media takeover
- Sponsored posts and stories on Instagram and Facebook
- Contests or giveaways
- Sponsored blog posts
- A brand ambassador program
9. Share Expert Advice Online
Chances are you've obtained a great deal of business or styling knowledge that you can share with an audience. Sharing your expert advice online is a fantastic way to establish your authority and credibility as an owner. There are a variety of ways to share this information, including as a guest blogger, offering a quote for use in a publication, as a guest on a podcast, or writing an article for a local magazine.
Anytime you are published, be sure to post it to as many social media sites and your website as soon as possible to capitalize on the momentum.
10. Partner with a Nearby Business
There are a range of businesses a salon can partner with that go hand-in-hand with salon services. Co-promoting or partnering with a complimentary business can not only expose you to new potential clientele, but it can help stretch a marketing budget even further.
Complimentary businesses can be anything from clothing stores and boutiques, to weight loss centers, fitness centers, or day spas — or as long as the business has a similar target demographic. There may be opportunities to partner with businesses located in the same shopping center or nearby location too.
11. Offer Various Promotions
Salon services can be an expensive proposition for some people and the price may keep someone from booking or purchasing products more often. Offering a promotion is a smart way to entice the potential clients who are influenced by price.
Promotions come in numerous forms, such as a discount or free product, or an add-on service. Whatever promotion you do offer, using your social media channels, website, in-store signage, and even paid ad campaigns are an effective way to promote the promotion.
12. Host Special Events
Special events, such as hosting a fashion show or sponsoring a charity function, can provide a unique way to get your name out to people who might not be aware of your service, or it can further solidify your standing within the community. Although special events may take more effort with planning and a larger budget, it’s worth adding them into your marketing efforts on a regular basis so you can increase your exposure in the community.
13. Launch an Email Marketing Campaign
One of the most effective forms of engaging with clients is to capture their email address and use email marketing campaigns to achieve specific marketing goals. Email campaigns can be used to:
- Announce a new stylist
- Show how easy it is to book an appointment
- Advertising an upcoming special event
- Offer discounts and coupons
- Announce "sneak peaks" with products
- Send out client testimonials and ask for referrals
- Run a contest or giveaway
In other words, your email campaigns can mirror your other marketing efforts. You can even offer an incentive for clients to sign up for your email marketing.
14. Capitalize on Facebook and Instagram Advertising
Advertising on Facebook and Instagram may be the most efficient way to target your potential clients who are likely to buy your products and services.
Running paid ads is especially useful as you're building your clientele or whenever you need to promote a special. One of the key elements of a successful ad campaign is to make your goal as clear as possible, such as signing up for a newsletter or “liking” the business page. If you're unsure how to run ads effectively, then hiring an experienced Ads Manager can turn into a wise investment for marketing.
15. Use Google Paid Search Advertising
Google paid search advertising is another method of increasing your rank so your business is displayed prominently within search results. Your business can either rank higher on the search page based organically on SEO, or you can improve your chances of a higher ranking by running paid search campaigns. Like Facebook and Instagram advertising, if this takes too much of your own time, it could be worth the extra investment to bring on an expert to launch the campaign.
Additional Tips for Getting More Clients as a Hairstylist
Here are other valuable tips for learning how to get more customers through your salon doors.
Know Who Your Ideal Client Is
It’s important to know the type of clients you want to work with, whether it’s men, women, kids, or all of the above. Or, your background, location, and training may be better suited for certain age groups. Once you decide who your ideal client is, you can channel your marketing efforts and customer experience towards them and quickly build a base of loyal customers.
Create an Unforgettable Customer Experience
A salon owner or hair stylist may have the best marketing tactics imaginable, but if the customer is disappointed by the time they leave the salon, the salon may lose the customer for good. From the moment your client books to the time they walk out the door, you can make them feel welcome with fantastic customer service.
Your client may not remember how much they pay every time or what service they receive, but they’ll always remember how they were made to feel while sitting in the salon.
Focus Outreach on Your Target Market
Your best advertising campaign may not be enough unless you know who your ideal client is. Once you identify your ideal client, it sets the stage for your marketing efforts and provides you with focus as you’re developing your clientele.
Be Easy to Locate and Reach
Through search, social media, a website, texting, and signage, you always want your clients (or potential clients) to easily be able to find you. The more difficult you make it for your clients to get in touch with you, the easier it will be for them to reach out to another hair stylist.
Maintain an Independent Website
Not only is a website a must-have, it’s critical to maintain one independent of your salon. Create a website based on your name and portfolio only, so you can take the site with you wherever you go — even if it means you’re going to a new salon.
Optimize Profiles on Common Review Sites
Take time to optimize your profiles on the most popular review sites, such as Google, Apple Maps, Facebook, Yelp, and YellowPages. This means ensuring your information is up to date on all these pages and the correct information is reported. You can also add links to your social media channels and how to get in touch with you for appointments.
Showcase Your Professional Expertise
There are numerous ways to connect with writers and reporters online, so you can offer advice and establish your credibility. Help a Reporter Out, or HARO, is one of the most popular ways to connect to others and become known as an expert hairstylist by offering quotes in publications. It's free to join and easy to respond. Once you do have a feature, be sure to post it throughout your social media and website, so you continue to add credibility to your name.
Rebook Current Clients in Advance
Keep your calendar up to date and ready at all times and ask your client before they leave if they’d like to schedule a return. It’s an easy, convenient way for both you and your customer to book a service and increase the chance of them returning.
Become Active in Your Community
Staying active within the community, through volunteering, networking, or sponsoring events, can get your name in front of new people and build your personal brand.
Keep Up with Trends and Developments
Hair styles come and go and clients rely on stylists to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. It’s essential to stay up to date on the latest trends, since your clients will likely ask for this at some point. You can do this by taking additional classes or working with a mentor who has experience with the latest trends.
Building Your Brand: How to Stand Out as a Hairstylist
There are a large number of hairstylists to choose from, so it becomes even more important to make sure you standout as much as possible. You can build your brand with the following strategies:
- Develop a unique brand identity through all marketing channels
- Develop a signature style
- Provide personalized recommendations
- Offer unique hairstyling services
Pricing Strategies for Hairstylists: How to Attract and Retain Clients
Pricing is one of the most critical aspects of establishing yourself as a brand and go-to hairstylist. You have to balance charging the right price to maintain a profit, but not pricing your services so high that you limit your potential clientele.
There’s no one strategy for pricing your services. Instead, you have to incorporate what works best for you and your clients. To find the sweet spot for your prices, consider the following:
- The salon location. Not only does this include the demographics of the local clientele, but also how many other hairstylists are in the same area.
- The local economy. The pricing strategy that works best in a big city may be too pricey for a smaller town. Consider what is appropriate for your local community.
- What the competition is charging. Find out what your competitors are charging and consider how you can differentiate yourself from them, either higher or lower or on par with their prices.
There are other factors to consider for pricing strategy too, including:
- Your monthly expenses
- How many hours per month you work
- Your cost per minute and hour
- The cost per service to cover expenses and maintain a profit
The pricing strategy should be carefully considered and it’s worth investing time and effort into developing the right price list.
The Best Way to Get Clients If You’re a New Hairstylist
It takes additional effort when you’re first starting out, but with these smart moves, you can build your list in no time.
Make Valuable Connections Through Apprenticeship
Working as an apprentice once you’re out of school is an invaluable way to gain hands-on experience and network with others. Not only will you learn about the day-to-day operations of a salon, but you’ll quickly see how to create a better customer experience for your future clients. Plus, you can network with other hairstylists or potential clients so you can be top of mind for referrals.
Spread the Word to Your Inner Circle
You're building your business, which means you need to tell everyone you know what you’re doing. Ask your friends and family to book a service with you (perhaps at a discount) and be bold enough to ask for referrals.
Volunteer Your Services
When you’re first starting out, you may need to work at a discounted rate or even for free. You can offer a limited number of free services, such as an updo or blowout, and use it to build your portfolio too.
Create a Compelling Portfolio
Pictures are a must these days and a strong portfolio is no exception. Potential clients want to see your work for themselves, plus it helps you build your own brand identity (if you work with a specific age group, technique, trend, or hair color, for example). You can easily take snapshots of your portfolio and use them for your social media channels, website, advertising, and more.
Attend Networking Events
In-person networking events are a smart way to spread the word about your new offerings, plus show off your portfolio. It’s also a great way to build your own contacts, from potential clients to potential vendors.