This question is being asked a lot during our eyelash extension training as well as by our former students. As we all know, those of us who have experienced life without the internet or social media (yes, that life did exist and flourished believe it or now) back in the late 1990s and early 2000s do know its advantages. Back then you could take a day off work or take a vacation and ACTUALLY get some rest as you would quickly disappear into your home and family life and not a soul was able to bother you from the outside world. Your home phone was the only culprit of your piece’s demise.
While the disconnect was good if you were a business owner or an independent contractor in the beauty industry it meant you were taking a hit in your pocketbook. Those moments when your clients are unable to reach you meaning a steady stream of cash flowing straight out of your grasp and possibly never returning.
Back then, marketing yourself was a bland exercise in a handful of fundamentals; print a bunch of fancy business cards, put out a small ad in the paper (or magazine if your budget allowed to splurge), make sure you are listed in the yellow pages, create some attractive signs at your workplace. However, none of that would have worked unless you could achieve 3 key elements; Be great at what you do, which would lead to the second key, client retention (if you are great, they will come back) which leads into key number 3, client referrals.
Those 3 key elements are still as prominent today as they were 50 years ago. Before you begin investing your time and money in marketing, please make sure your skills and knowledge of the craft match the current trends and demand. If you have doubts, you are better off investing that initial capital in additional training and/or certification and believe me when I say it, the return on this investment is priceless.
Once you are confident in your trade, you are ready for key number 2, client retention. When your client climbs onto your bed, they put all their trust in your hands. That trust is easy to establish by putting all your knowledge and skills out to play. Watch your client’s eyes light up when they see the results, you just accomplished key number 2. Remember, they will not shop around for another eyelash extension professional unless they must, make your work speak for itself, get that thought out of their head.
By accomplishing key number 2, you have automatically secured the last very important key, referrals. Historically, referrals rank as the top marketing aspect for the beauty industry where so much depends on a human touch. A happy client is your walking billboard. They will tell everyone who wants to know (and even who does not) exactly who is the master behind their masterpiece. For the math and science enthusiasts out there, this type of marketing grows exponentially, like the cellular growth under the microscope.
OK, so we have established the key principles of beauty industry marketing. However, where do the internet and social media come in the picture, you ask? That is a great question that also needs to be broken down into 2 main categories; free advertising and paid advertising.
As many of you know, major social media and internet platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc. have both free and paid advertising. Depending on if your social following on the above mentioned social networks is already established or not, you might want to consider whether you would like to invest in paid marketing or stay close to the vest. Having a large following on a social network does not necessarily give you a great marketing tool to market your business. What’s good about having 1000 followers on an Eyelash Extension Salon Facebook when 950 of them are not from your local market? What’s good about having 1000 followers on an Eyelash Extension Supply Instagram account when 950 of them followed you because they are trying to sell you workman’s comp insurance?
Do not get me wrong, having several well run social media accounts and constantly showing off your latest photos and client reviews will get you relative followers and small steady interest. However, if your goal is to grow your business and reach specific groups of audiences relative to your business you might want to consider paid advertisement.
The paid advertisement works very similarly across various platforms of social media and web browsing. All platforms allow you to pick a specific geographical area, so you can advertise our business ONLY in your hometown or any specific place you choose. This will eliminate that person from Seattle who loves your work and would pay any money to be your client, however, you are in Miami, so there goes that relationship. You are also able to target your audience by age and interests which also helps you zero onto your specific market segment.
You can expect to devote a daily budget of anywhere between $10 and $50 dollars depending on your audience size and number of campaigns you are running. Google charges you per click (also called CPC) while Facebook and Instagram give you a choice of either charging by customer engagement, page visit or a link clicked.
In addition to paid advertising, nothing is as valuable to your business like your #1 key employee, you guessed it, it’s your website. This is the only employee that will relentlessly and loyally work for you day and night, answer all client’s questions, help them get in touch with you, and will never take a sick day. It is of utmost importance to invest in your website. Large corporations can spend 10’s if not 100’s of thousands of dollars on their website, however, most of us, small business owners, do not have nearly the capital to invest in our website. Luckily, you don’t have to be a conglomerate to have a great looking website. Many online companies like Wix or Weebly make it very easy for even the most novice to create a great looking website that your clients will appreciate. Remember, if you can hire a full-time employee who will be your workhorse and help you promote your business while paying him an average salary of $10-$20/month, there is no debate, it is a resounding YES.
In my many years of marketing experience, I can confidently say that there is no one clear marketing tool that would be your golden goose and solve all the problems. It is more of a trial and error with each individual business, eventually finding its own niche after testing all options. However, first and foremost, remember, all digital marketing in the world is just a complete waste of your valuable resources unless you focus on the 3 key elements discussed earlier in the article. Be smart, invest in yourself, it’s the best return on investment you will ever have.
Your Friends at Pearl Lash Extensions.