As humans, we find inspiration all around us naturally. We watched Guy Tang use Youtube to skyrocket to super-stardom, so we build a Youtube channel. We see Larissa Love find Insta-fame so we all dive head first into Instagram. You watch Periscope take off so you start scoping. A stylist across town runs a cool promotion so we run one just like it. I tell a story about how important referral programs are so you create one.
These are all great ideas and there are a million more that are working for stylists in our industry. We just can’t do them all and we certainly can’t do them all at once. Building a clientele is hard and maintaining that clientele longterm is sometimes even harder. Rather than have you keep slipping down the rabbit hole of endless marketing, I'd love to show you the journey that most prospective new clients take so you can focus your efforts.
Picture this...A client sees you on Instagram because you tagged her friend in a photo, used a hashtag well or maybe you even paid for advertising. She likes your work and clicks the link in your bio to check out your website. She likes what she sees and books an appointment.
Maybe a client is referred to you by her friend (sweet!). Very rarely will that client just pick up the phone and call. She's going to Google you, check out your social media, browse your website and then decide if she's going to call or not.
I've shared this system through Thrivers Society for years and I hear the same thing over and over when I first try to explain it. Students always say "well maybe some clients do that, but for my clientele it's different". Generally, it's really not. When is the last time you saw a cool picture on Instagram, picked up the phone and booked an appointment immediately? Probably never. You did a little research first and your clients are doing the same thing.
For a long time I couldn't find the words to explain the system that existed in my brain until low and behold it happened last month. I launched the Hairstylists Marketing Funnel which perfectly describes how to build up your clientele or target market based on your needs and goals. The full Marketing Funnel and the expanded version called The Hourglass exists in Thrivers Society which will remain open for the season until July 12, 2016, but I wanted to offer a little taste to help you on your journey.
If you're a stylist who needs more clients, more money and more stability in your business, what you really need is more Awareness:
Awareness- For when you need more clients (quantity over quality). If your clientele isn’t as big as you’d like it to be, you have to build your awareness. Awareness tells the world that you exist and drives traffic to your social media accounts, websites and ultimately your business. This level of the funnel requires the most work and generally isn't any stylists favorite focus, but it is critical in building your business.
When is this your focus?: Generally, at least the first 2 years of your career and anytime you are needing to have a steady stream of new clients, you need to be focused here.
What raises awareness in your business?: Handing out cards, networking, hash-tagging, tagging, Groupon, Yelp ads, Facebook ads, etc
If you're a stylist who has stability and good income, but you want to attract more clients in your target market or work less and maintain your income what you really need is more Interest:
Interest- For when you have a fairly full clientele base but want to build your target market (quality over quantity). Clients don’t ever stumble upon you in the interest level so you need to have a steady stream of referrals to create awareness around these platforms. When you have the bottom half of your Hourglass in place, referrals will be driving traffic to the Interest platforms for you.
When is this your focus: You want to do the kind of hair you enjoy doing and are financially stable enough that you aren’t hurting for business.
What makes up the interest level in your business?: Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Youtube, etc.
If you're a stylist who wants to have a longterm career and maximize their marketing efforts, you need to build the desire level of your funnel.
Desire- Clients won’t land here by mistake. They landed here because they are already interested. They are an existing client, they were given your card as a referral and are now interested or they found you on social media as a result of your awareness efforts. When a client is in the desire stage, they are ready to make a decision, it’s your job to convince them that they should come in to see you.
When is this your focus: All stylists at all levels must have a desirable website. All traffic at the awareness and interest levels will be pointing here.
Listen, I know that building a website seems overwhelming and sometimes even boring. It's easy to put it on the back burner as you build your social media and create referral programs instead. When you are trying to build clientele, it's always most successful when you build Desire first, then Interest, then Awareness. It's pointless to hashtag if your Instagram isn't optimized. Don't bother making your Facebook great if you don't have a website to point traffic too. All pieces need to be in play for your marketing efforts to really pay off.
Looking at the huge list I just make for you, how are you ever supposed to make all of that happen. Honestly, you probably won’t ever have every single piece fully up and running to grow your business and that is okay!
As you slowly work to build your Marketing Funnel you’ll notice the framework becomes stronger and stronger and you won’t need all of the pieces in place to maintain the structure over time. Basic marketing generally starts off with a lot of moving pieces, but as your business grows your Marketing Funnel will become very simple and ultimately effortless.
Marketing can be overwhelming. Always remember to tackle one project at a time, master each level of the funnel piece by piece and you will see results. If you need more clarification in building a marketing strategy that builds your clientele, optimizing your social media profiles to get real results or boosting your referrals, you have less than 48 hours left to learn more about the Thrivers Society. Happy business building loves!