Do you find that you are struggling to get your personal brand’s name out there to grow your client base?
Wondering why word-of-mouth referrals are simply not enough in today’s day and age?
Whether you are a salon owner, spa owner, hair stylist, or anything in between, you have one goal in your profession: grow your clientele base. But have you ever stopped to think about how to do that?
According to Retailing Today, as of 2014, 81% of U.S. adults research online before committing to a service. That means that if you’re not online, you’re losing a lot of potential customers. Before you panic, consider the flip side. By establishing yourself, your brand, or your business (or all of the above) on the internet, you can increase your client base by up to a whopping 81%.
Despite this, I know of countless beauticians just like you who may be struggling to make ends meet. What they (and you) may fail to realize is that the experience doesn’t start when a customer steps foot into the store; it starts weeks and months earlier on a laptop or mobile phone. Developing your online presence is the first step to building the foundation for long-term relationships with your customers.
In this blog, I’ll explain three ways you’re failing to leverage the internet to grow your client base.
1. You Don’t Have an Online Reputation
Did you know having no reviews on Yelp or other sites is just as bad as having a 1-star review average?
With information at their fingertips, consumers no longer have to guess or settle with the products and services they purchase.
They can easily evaluate and compare businesses by reading online reviews to save time and money. Especially when it comes to high cost services like getting their hair styled, salon you can bet customers will engage in a much longer and more complicated decision making process that involves tons of research.
After all, you would too, right?
Google, Facebook, and Yelp are just a few of the online review sites available to the public. Considering 92% of people now read online reviews according to a BrightLocal study, your digital reputation is something you need to pay attention to.
If a customer is looking for a new salon online and you’re not active on review sites, then they’ve got no reason or proof to believe you’re worth their business. Harsh, I know, but that’s just the way it is.
One business owner that maximized the power of her online reputation is Mrs. Gonzalez, a professional beautician and salon owner. When she launched her website, Yelp, and Facebook page, she made sure to reward customers for checking in and leaving positive reviews with discounts, and she consistently promoted her review sites.
Over the course of six months, new customers started pouring in. The combination of timely and high quality reviews from a diverse pool of women truly validated the authenticity of her business. Many of her new clients cited the online review sites as a stepping stone for their beauty research – they trusted her more because they saw both qualitative and quantitative evidence of her work through Yelp and Facebook.
After scrolling through photos of people’s hairstyles and reading about positive experiences, they decided to give her a try. Furthermore, it required little investment or maintenance which gave her plenty of time to focus on managing operations.
Think of review sites as the internet’s take on word-of-mouth referrals. As you know, people will trust a business that has a 4-star rating on Yelp much more than one that has a 2.5-star rating.
Adopt a proactive – not reactive – strategy when it comes to building your online reputation.
Instead of hoping your customers will go on Yelp to write a review, ask them. Or better yet, use an automated tool to keep a steady flow of positive reviews like RepuGen.
2. You’re not utilizing social media effectively.
The social media revolution has taken off and if you’re not already a part of it, you’re falling behind. In the recent Deloitte Digital Democracy survey, it was determined that 61% of personal recommendations on social media platforms play a major role in purchase decisions.
Consequently, it’s in your best interest to get connected on all relevant channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest. If you’re dedicated, you may even want to consider Snapchat.
Social media a great way to get on your prospects’ radars. People can see what their friends like and follow which can serve as a great segue to your business. Like I said earlier, this is how you can get your customers to be your brand ambassadors and work for you.
In a way, this goes hand-in-hand with your online reputation.
Not only is social media excellent for exposure, it’s one of the best ways to self-brand your company. It can define your influence in the industry, allowing you to become a highly respected trendsetter. In fact, millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts, who happen to be strangers, than advertisements and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites!
Take bloggers Michelle Phan or Chiara Ferragni for example. These self-made millionaires generate massive amounts of revenue by raking in high profile endorsements and successfully launching their own product lines. Using various social media, they established a powerful online media presence that gained the attention of millions of followers.
Not only were they able to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise within the beauty industry, they built unique and personable brands online.
This made it easy for people to identify and connect with them on another level and their efforts reaped incredible results. Fans were quick to try any products or services that Michele and Chiara recommended. Why? Because they knew they could trust the bloggers.
3. No Website = Lost Prospects
If after all the hard work you’ve done cultivating your social media presence and online reputation, you don’t have a website? You’d be losing 48% of potential consumers – that’s how many will visit a business’s website after reading reviews.
Think of a website as your online business card. It’s a place your prospects can go to see the services you offer, a gallery of work you’ve done, maybe some testimonials from your past clients, and a way they can either get in touch with you and/or book an appointment directly.
You don’t have to be a big brand to have a website. Whether you are a hobbyist make up artist, own a beauty salon as a full time career, or something in between, you’re giving yourself an edge on your competition with a beautiful, informative website that will increase your clientele by 48%.. . .
That’s all there is to it.
People don’t want to be bombarded with empty promises and flashy advertisements. Ultimately, they depend on those they can trust, namely professionals or close friends. In order to gain this trust, you have to prove that you know what you’re doing and you can do it best. That’s why you need to develop your online presence by:
- Optimizing your online presence
- Creating a social media persona
- Putting it all together with an effective website
By seamlessly blending your brand with a credible online reputation, you could be unlocking the door to many new clients.
Pique their interest through your social media presence, satisfy their curiosity with your online reputation, and finally get them to book appointments on your website. After successfully implementing these three elements, customers will naturally gravitate towards your business.
If you’re unsure where to start with your online presence, it’s time to change your approach. I can help. My “Get Found Online” program specifically designed for cosmetologists, hair stylists, and everything in between, will guide you in setting up all three pieces in the online puzzle, unlocking the door to personal and business growth.
Ready to take your career to the next level?