I’m still amazed at how many people still pay a bunch of money on business cards. I’m even more amazed at how many people solely rely on them. Without trying to be too snarky, I’m going to say it, “That’s so 2002.” Seriously folks, in the age of digital media and smart phones, do we really need to carry those 3.5″ by 2″ cards everywhere we go? Maybe. Alright, in all fairness, I suppose the only reason one would have to carry business cards is if they don’t have a smart phone, and/or the person to whom they are talking doesn’t have a smart phone either, but I’ll save that topic for a different post. The biggest problem is that so many people in our industry don’t look past the traditional business card when trying to refer new guests to their businesses.
Let’s talk about hairstylists and business cards. In my own experience over the years, there’s this funny thing that happens when a stylist becomes skill certified and is ready to accept appointments for services. Call it a mental block or a security blanket, but it never fails. The conversation goes something like this, “Well, when I get my business cards, then I can hand them out. That’s when I’ll get booked.” or “I’m not booked because I don’t have my business cards yet.” Seriously?
Let’s talk about a more efficient and effective way to market yourself, where your efforts will pay off exponentially:
1) How about focusing on the few clients that you do have in your chair? Let them know that you’ve enjoyed having them as a client and would love to have more clients just like them. Let them know that you’re working hard at building the business and if they happen to know of anyone looking for a change to keep you in mind. There’s no question word of mouth is the best form of marketing. Your regular clients know where you work, and probably already know the phone number and company website address. If your salon is innovative and forward-focused, they might even have a referral system built into their website which will help them keep track of new clients and who referred them to the salon. The problem I see in this scenario is that stylists just plain fail to have the referral conversation with the client. This is huge! This is a crucial step in the business-building process. Remember, people generally want to help others succeed, especially when you show effort.
2) Here’s and even better idea. One that will surely pay off, over and over again. I always tell my team members that they should always be looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. Which would you rather do, go to the mall and ambush 200 strangers and hand them your business card or write an informative blog post about ways to preserve their professional hair color that 200 people read with your name attached to it? Which method delivers more value and builds trust at the same time? You got it. Something else to consider, blog posts on your website have an infinite shelf life. Do the work once, post it, and it continues to work for you over and over again. It never expires. You could pay $1,000 for an advertisement in a local beauty magazine, but that will only have a shelf life of thirty to sixty days. Not good.
So there you have it. The next time you think having that box of business cards sitting in the backseat of your car is the answer to all of your productivity problems, think again. There are more efficient and modern ways to promote yourself.
Your turn: What are some other ways that you’ve promoted yourself? Which one worked the best for you?