I am constantly fascinated with how our industry has changed even in the last 5 years. I earned my license in 2007 and I feel like the journey of a hairstylist is now completely different than even what I experienced a few short years ago. When I built my clientele Facebook wasn't typically used for business, Instagram didn't exist and handing out a business card was still the way to build a clientele. While I still advocate handing out business cards, the best stylists build their clientele using technology.
We are now living in the land of Insta-famous stylists and Youtube video superstars. I absolutely love the fact that with the touch of a button we can be connected with other stylists around the world and with just a few quick clicks we can find whatever it is we are looking for. The blessing of course comes with a built in curse. Your word-of-mouth reputation isn't good enough anymore. You now have to have a strong online reputation to back it up or you don't stand a chance to build and grow to the point of financial freedom.
Did you know that it is estimated that 87% of consumers will research a business online before booking a service or purchasing a product? Think about it. You want to treat yourself to a facial and are thinking about trying some place new. Or maybe you even had a referral from a friend. Either way, what is the first thing you do? You pull out your phone, open an internet browser window, type in the name and see what comes up. If your Google search comes up with two options for you; one for an esthetician who just has a Facebook and an Instagram and one who also has a gorgeous website, who are you more likely to call? The service provider with a website will win every single time.
There is something psychological that happens every time we see that a business has a well put together website. Instantly our mind is put at ease and we start to think about booking an appointment or making a reservation. Have you ever heard of a new local business in town only to look at the website and be totally disappointed by what you see? I have absolutely changed my plans when I stumble upon a terrible website and I lose faith in the business. This happens every day.
There is a huge difference between just having a website and having a great website that actually generates business for you. Click here if you want to know the website "dos". learn what a website should include to create new business for you, increase your income and clientele. Here is a list for the major website "don'ts":
Don't make your website pretty, make it branded- There is nothing worse than a website full of generic photos with information, but no true brand. Your website is like an online brochure for your business. Who is your ideal client? What appeals to that person? Your website needs to ooze branding or it will never help you to grow your business. A potential new client should be able to look at your site and tell instantly if this is the place for them or not.
Don't use the free "website" that is included with your online booking system-I think that it's awesome that a lot of the online booking platforms are offering free websites included with your package. I have yet to see one of these sites look decent enough to be considered a website that would increase your business or improve your image. At best, they look amature and basic. Having a website doesn't have to be expensive and just getting one new client from your professional site would make the site pay for itself.
Don't write a novel- Your website can be jam packed full of information and that is nice, but a new client is going to skim the words, be 100% drawn to the images and will decide within the first 10 seconds if this could be a potential match or not. Clients do want to learn a little about you from your site, however their main concern right now is seeing your work and getting a sense of your brand. Click here to learn what you can include to help clients get to know you, but let the majority of your site be about pictures and emotional connection through colors and themes.
Don't use generic images-It is very important to use unique and well branded images. The vast majority of hairstylist or salon websites I come across are incredibly generic. In fact, I see some of the same pictures used over and over and over. Don't Google search things like "hairstylist pictures" or "beautiful hair" and expect to find good pictures for your site. Instead
Don't let your website become static-Your website should be updated quarterly (Every 3 months) at the very least. Monthly would be better and a weekly blog would earn you tons of extra credit. You want your website to be a resource that clients use to access information about you regularly. Post special offers, keep a blog and provide other features to keep your clients coming back for more and sharing your site with their friends.
Having your own website doesn't have to be complicated. You don't need to hire a professional web designer or pay thousands of dollars to have a great website. Some of the best websites I've seen in my salon travels are gorgeous, simple, well branded and created by stylists and salon owners (sometimes with the help of a techy hubby if they are lucky!).
If you want to learn more about building a gorgeous website yourself, linking to Style Seat or another online booking system, selling retail online or starting your own blog, I have good news! I’ve developed a completely online course dedicated to this very topic. Check it out over at The Website Academy.