Building a Clientele: Part Two
As a follow up to last week's post (which you can find HERE), we're going to continue with the topic of clientele and how to gain, retain, and, maintain them! We last left off on the 4 steps you need to get started:
- A way for clients to contact you (phone or email).
- A way for clients to view your work.
- A way to collect money.
- A system for booking clients.
What does gaining clientele really mean?Having these steps set up once you are ready for clients is great but there is something else you must understand. Gaining really means “marketing” and marketing really means “educate”. How are you going to educate the audience so they know you are open for business?
To get a jump start, answer these short questions:
- Who is your demographic?
- What is the best tool to connect with this demographic?
- What is your niche?
- What is your message?
My demographic is women ages 25-45 of all shades that are looking for special occasion makeup. The best way to connect with them is through relationships, referrals and social media. What makes me different is my formal education from Multimedia Makeup Academy and my unique skill in airbrush application. My message is: Anyone looking for special occasion makeup by an artist that specializes in flawless skin finishes and longevity in the application needs to hire me for their services. I am timely, professional and highly skilled in proper sanitation. My prices are competitive and for a small fee I will travel to you.
Now, let's create some marketing “campaigns” that will ensure you reach your target market. Below are just a few ideas, click here for a more extensive list.
- Offer an unofficial referral program (sending a thank you card or gift card to the person who referred a client).
- Have a launch party with mini-makeovers.
- Join networking groups with vendors that are seeking the same clientele.
Once you have your customer, how do you retain them?
You need to “retain” your customer so they become part of your “clientele”. Just because they see you one time does not mean they are a part of your clientele (they keep coming back for services). When your customer schedules multiple appointments with you and goes to you for all their special occasion makeup, then you can say they are your client. So how do we make sure you “retain” the customer that scheduled an appointment with you?
Here is how:
- Encourage pre-booking- trials, bridal showers, engagement photos, etc- Open up the conversation and let the customer know that they can pre-book with you for multiple events through out the year that require special occasion makeup.
- Provide packages to encourage multiple appointments- Packages can include specialty pricing, extra gifts or services.
- Make sure you educate your customer on why you are the best- Providing testimonials from other clients or strong before and after images that will offer proof!
- Make sure you make the entire experience with you easy, fun and professional- It's all about energy! Professional does not mean boring. Projecting confidence, making light-hearted chatter, and being open minded to the customer's needs will ensure that you are the only artist they book with.
- Make your customer feel like a VIP- This is all about the experience. If your customer feels like they were treated like royalty, they will be more likely to return!
- Send them something special for referrals, birthdays, anniversaries, etc- It's a personal touch that shows you care and want to build a relationship with your customer.
- Welcome feedback and constructive criticism- Listening to your customer and making adjustments to the application is crucial to the experience. If the customer feels heard, they are more likely to book again.
- Keep your pricing competitive- This does not mean undercutting other artists. Instead offer pricing that is similar to rates within your area, but also includes all of the special touches that make booking with you worth while.
So if the customer books a second application with you, they are closer to becoming part of your clientele. It's time to complete all of the steps to ensure that the second visit wasn't just a fluke.
It's all about maintenance.
“Maintaining” your clientele to ensure you have repeat business. It is essential to water a plant to keep it alive just as it is essential you maintain your clientele if you want them to keep returning to you for services. The most important element of maintenance is keeping in contact and connected to your client. Here are a few ways to stay connected:
- Social media- make sure they are following you and are able to see when you are offering special incentives.
- Email marketing- send out an email once a month to notify them of new skills you have learned, special offers or congratulating them on a milestone they may have reached.
- Text messaging- same as email marketing if this is a preferred method of contact.
- Sending a birthday card or anniversary card in the mail.
- Customer appreciation day- get creative and offer your clientele something that no other artist is offering.
- Holiday gift- makeup product of some sort.
It is important that you follow all three parts and repeat time and time again. You will lose clients to moving out of state and unfortunatel life circumstances, but you should never lose clients simply because they forgot about your services. Protecting your clientele is ongoing and should be considered work. Put the work in and your clientele will grow!
Best of luck!
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