Do you see your clients once and then never again? If you do a lot of weddings this might be the case… ok, maybe you see her twice if you do a trial. This was the standard way I ran my business for the first few years, until I learned better. The industry has changed a lot over the 18 years I’ve been a makeup artist, and now people are getting their makeup done a lot more frequently. So while its true there is more competition there are also more opportunities – are you making the most of all these opportunities?
I’ve been fortunate over the last few years that I get a LOT of my work from referrals, and I do have quite a few repeat clients. This Saturday I am doing makeup for two sisters-in-law (they actually married twin brothers). I did makeup for both their weddings; I’ve done their cousin’s wedding, Aunt’s 60th birthday, pregnancy and newborn shoots, and a makeup several times for them when they have had occasions on. Of course, not every client will become a “regular”, but isn’t it worth it for those who do?
Marketing experts will tell you how it’s a lot easier to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one. I agree with this 100%. Do you consider all your clients to be potential repeat, regular clients? If not, you could be missing out!
This week’s article is all about some simple steps you can take to keep your clients coming back, to keep them loyal, (and even how to get them advertising your business for you!)
What does it take? It’s all about follow-up.
Follow up is the vital final (and ongoing) stage of the customer journey, which for many small businesses is forgotten. Too many business owners (and freelance makeup artists) are so focussed on finding customers, converting customers and serving their customers, and then they move on to the next customer. If your brides or personal clients never hear from you again, you’re leaving potential bookings on the table.
If you’re NOT following up with your clients after their booking, why is that? Does it feel awkward? Are you worried that they are going to say something negative? Remember that feedback is such an important part of growing as an artist and as a business owner. If your client wasn’t 100% happy with your services, would you rather she tells you or 20 other people? If you don’t know there’s something wrong, you can’t fix it. Wouldn’t you rather a client tell you if there was a problem; her false lash lifted, her curls didn’t last or her skin went shiny? You might not be able to do anything about her experience after the fact, but you can improve the way you do things in the future to make the next client’s experience better, and your business more successful.
If you haven’t followed up with all your clients from this year, do you think it’s been too long now, and worry that they will think you’re weird? Or worse, being pushy and trying to sell them something? What’s the worst that could happen? She could ignore you or delete your email. You’ll be no worse off than you are now, so don’t let that stop you. Most clients will actually appreciate you getting back in touch, especially if you do it the right way, make it about her – not you, and make her feel important and appreciated. People LOVE to feel appreciated.
Another important thing to remember when following up, is to always have a REASON for contacting your clients. This time of year is a really great time to re-connect. There are so many events coming up where your client could need a makeup artist, Graduations, Christmas parties, and of course, New Years Eve. Its not called the silly season for nothing!
Send out a short email to reconnect, thank your client for booking with you earlier in the year, and offering your services to her (as a valued past client), and you just might be saving HER the hassle of looking up your details (or, heaven forbid, searching for another makeup artist because she can’t actually remember your name).
Tips for successful follow-up:
- ALWAYS get your client’s email address! This way you don’t have to go searching back through your Facebook messages or Instagram DMs to find her. Store these email addresses in a program like MailChimp, or Active Campaign
- Send out a thank you email within one month of her appointment – make these emails personal, ask for feedback AND a referral – either on your Facebook page or Google my Business page
- Systemetise and automate – send out automated emails several times a year, for example at the beginning of the year to say Happy New Year and remind her to book in for Valentines Day.
- Remember important dates – if you can find out your client’s birthday (hint: look at her Facebook page) you can send her a birthday special email, or even a birthday card (if you want to go super old-school and really make an impact).
The jury is still out on whether sending anniversary cards or emails to your brides is a good idea or not, with the high divorce rate…I’m of the mind that sending a message on the first anniversary is fine and a great way to reconnect.
As the year is winding down, things will become a lot quieter (especially in January!). This can be a great time to get your follow-up systems set up for 2020, because remember, the fortune is in the follow up!