Tell me if this sounds familiar? You finally take the plunge and invest in eyelash extension training. You're certified, pumped and ready to take the lashing world by storm! And then you realize….. you don't have any clients. Building a clientele can be a daunting task that’s seems completely overwhelming. It’s important to remember that the process of marketing yourself to build a clientele will take time, patience and a little financial investment.
First things first, practice, practice, practice on friends and family members (or really, any willing participant) until you feel comfortable taking on clients you may not know. You don't want your client to sense that you're nervous or that you don't know what you're doing. Not a great way to build a lasting client relationship! Once you're feeling confident and ready it’s time to start marketing yourself and building clientele!
This is where the financial investment comes into play. You need to be willing to set your prices lower than your competition - but not too low because that could do more harm than good - and be willing to give out free fills or discounts in exchange for new clients. Try telling your existing clients that for every 2 new clients they refer, they will receive a free fill or ½ off a new set. Another idea is to offer bundle deals. Pay $___for a full set and your first fill. It’s a good idea to have business cards made up for your clients to pass out to friends or even strangers that stop to admire their lashes. It happens, trust me! Once your clientele starts growing, you can raise your prices and do away with the referral program.
Social media is an amazing marketing platform to show off your work. Create an Instagram account and Facebook page specifically for your lash business. Not only should you post pictures of your work, but give your followers some quality content. What products are you using? What lengths? What curl? Use your Instagram or Facebook page as your own personal lookbook! Clients and potential clients can refer to it when deciding what they want their lashes to look like. Use social media as a way to show you're well-educated and knowledgeable. Post tips and tricks on how to achieve better retention, your clients will love it! Nowadays, before calling to make an appointment with a lash artist clients are looking up their Instagram and Facebook pages to check out their work, so be sure to spend time researching what hashtags lash artists in your area are using and use them as well. Social media is also an awesome platform to do giveaways, announce discounts or specials and announce any upcoming news or events in your business. Always be genuine and true to yourself, letting your personality show in your posts and pictures!
RUNNING ADS, DEALS OR COUPONS
Companies like Groupon, City Deals, and Valpak make it easy to reach a wide audience in your area. Facebook lets you run ads and target a very specific market. While these can be good options for building clientele, be careful as most companies will take a substantial cut or the price of running the ad can add up quickly. While some lash artists have had much success with these methods, keep in mind that you’re looking to build a long lasting clientele and reaching out to people looking for deals and cheap services isn’t always the way to do it.
BECOME AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE LASH ARTIST COMMUNITY
Get to know other lash artists in your community and around the world! There are several Facebook pages dedicated to eyelash extensions where lash artists ask questions, post pictures, ask for advice and everything in between. These pages can be an invaluable source of information! See what other lash artists in your area are charging or how others dealt with the difficult task of raising your prices. Try reaching out to lash artists or lash companies you admire and pick their brains! And then when the time comes that someone is asking you for advice, return the favor. Be a source of light and knowledge in the industry and you will go far.
WORD OF MOUTH
This is HUGE, and probably the biggest force behind driving in new clients. If people like something, they talk about it. If they love something, they shout it from the rooftops! When it comes to winning over a new client, giving them an amazing set of eyelash extensions is only half the battle. Use the minute they walk in the door to the minute they walk out the door to impress them and give them an amazing overall experience. I don't know about you, but when I have my eyes closed for over an hour, in a place I've never been, and having someone I've never met hover two inches above my face, I want to be as relaxed as possible. Provide a comfortable place for your clients to lay or sit, play calming music, make sure your breath is fresh and your work station is clean and sanitary. Remember to always be professional and kind. Those all sound like no-brainers, but when you’re doing back to back clients it’s easy to let some of those things slip through the cracks. It’s important to learn how to read your client. Are they the chatty tell you their life story type? Or do they really just want to zone out and take a nap? It’s important to be able to read their cues so that you're not talking the ear off of someone who really just wants to sleep.
Soon you'll have more clients then you know what to do with! At that point the name of the game is client retention, but that’s another post for another day. We want to hear from you established lash artists, how did you get your business off the ground? What were the biggest challenges you faced as a new lash artist and how did you overcome them? Tell us about your journey with building clientele in the comments below!