two men speaking, building online client base,

Six Marketing Tips for Hairdressers

Marketing is Storytelling

Tell your own story, or others will do it for you. Brand yourself or be branded.

Try this: Describe yourself and your approach in less than one minute. “I’m Wes. I’m a hairdresser and a cutting specialist. I like to create cuts that do the work for you and don’t require a lot of work or products to look great every day.” Mention something about your training: “I trained at Bumble and bumble and assisted some of the greatest session stylists.”

When you feel you’ve got the language to describe your unique qualities, take it on the road and see how people respond. Try variations to see which little nuggets light up people’s eyes and make them eager to know more. Always have business cards handy or a self-entry in your phone contacts with all your information (including social media handles) ready to text.


Social Media Matters

How do you want people to feel when they leave your Instagram page? Inspired, of course, but what else? Entertained? Thoughtful? Soulful? Whatever it is, it should reflect you. Yes, you’re a businessperson, but you’re also someone who offers a very personal and intimate experience, and we want to get to know you.

Who follows you matters more than your number of followers. Attract people within your community, because followers don’t pay the bills. Clients do.

So, show your work and the environment you’ve created, and show a photo of you in the first nine images in your grid. At the same time, keep in mind who you want to attract. Know your audience, existing and future – and consider what matters to them.

Who follows you matters more than your number of followers. Attract people within your community, because followers don’t pay the bills. Clients do.

Selfies Sell: Free advertising combined with word-of-mouth? Priceless. Create an area where clients will want to take pictures of themselves. It could be an amazing mural, a sculptural installation – something with a strong presence and sense of place, great lighting (very important), and an extension of the experience you create. Then, make sure your hashtags are visible to clients so that you also benefit when they post pictures of your work.

Go deeper into Instagram for hairdressers here.

Under the Influence

Who is your local Queen of the Feed? Yes, marketing gurus say the age of influencers is on the wane, but you don’t have to pay to play. Well, no more than a complimentary service in exchange for a live Instagram story or stylish selfie (see above). Take it a step further and plan a service/product giveaway on their channel to increase your customer base.

UK-based hairdresser Rob Czlapka, owner of RCNQ Salon and Barber Below in Manchester, England shares this story: “Thankfully, one of the biggest bloggers in the UK lives in Manchester and she comes to see us now. The proof is in the pudding; she comes in, I do a post of her and she’ll do a story of us, and we’ll get 100 new followers in a day who go through the feed, find our stylists and message them directly saying, ‘I want you to do my hair.’

I learned the hard way at the very beginning: This PR company I hired said, ‘Let’s get some Manchester celebrities in to have their hair done.’ So they tried getting some of the soap and TV stars and we did their hair, but our clients and our target audience don’t follow that kind of thing. It just didn’t work. I spent a ridiculous amount of money that I didn’t have.”

The Mighty Inbox

Email addresses are marketing gold – they are the basis for appointment reminders, newsletters referral programs, surveys, and more. It works. Why?

  • More people use email than social media.
  • It can be highly targeted.
  • It can be personalized.
  • It is inexpensive.
  • It drives traffic to your other online properties.
  • It’s highly measurable.
Email addresses are marketing gold – they are the basis for appointment reminders, newsletters referral programs, surveys, and more.

But... gathering email addresses is the challenge! It’s a delicate dance between privacy and trust, and the key is offering value in exchange.

  • Earn Trust first: Rather than thrusting questionnaire into new clients’ hands the minute they arrive, give them a great customer experience first. Wow them and they’ll give you whatever you ask. Approach them towards the end of the service but before they go to pay.
  • Choose the best method: Handwriting is unreliable (more so every day as keyboards take over), so read it back to them to ensure you’ve read it accurately. Some email marketing providers (Mailchimp) offer apps to help you gather addresses. Hand the client a tablet to tap in their details. Or use your management software: Square, Phorest, Shortcuts, Millennium will all work.
  • Run a competition: Make email address required to enter and be notified if they win. You can run it on social media, your website, or in person.
  • Ask for feedback: (more on this later) with a form that includes a request on the form for their address (you might combine this with a contest as an extra incentive).
  • Offer discounts: Persuade reluctant clients – but protect your bottom line.

However you do it, be aware of your legal responsibility for privacy. Clients must be assured that you will never abuse or share their contact details.

Email Campaigns

When you’ve got your list, get started. Strike a balance between providing convenience and attracting business:
 Reward Referrals: Give clients a bonus for referring friends with a thank you email and details about their reward.
 Timed reminders: Remind clients that 5 weeks have passed since their last color service. “Poke” those you haven’t seen for a while and say you miss them.
 Personal Gestures: Send out special wishes for birthdays, anniversaries, and accomplishments: Let them know you’re thinking of them.
 Surveys: How are you doing – really? Give clients the opportunity to provide honest feedback. Many services allow respondents to do so anonymously. Comments, even critical ones can be constructive.

Go Old-School

Contrary to popular belief, printed media is not dead, though local publications may also appear online. Before you consider advertising, find ways to get featured in an article. Invite an editor for a service. Host a charity event. Provide services for a good cause and get the press to promote it.

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It’s a myth that creative people aren’t great at business. The truth is that successful creative people get creative about doing business! And if you’re an independent artist, more power to you, especially when harnessing the power of personal marketing.