Ratings and reviews still matter in 2021. While your Instagram portfolio is going to speak to technical results, reviews are going to speak about results and the experience, helping potential clients visualize themselves having that same positive encounter with you.
Marketing is distinguishing what makes your business unique as well as solving a problem for a client. So, when a potential client sees the combination of your beautiful technical work and reads testimonials from happy clients, you’re building trust from the beginning, setting them up to have an even better experience in your chair because they will already have a certain amount of confidence in you.
Why is it still important to get reviews when it’s so easy to snap a few pictures? Because of everything above, and these next reasons I’m about to mention which will have you hooked on the idea forever, if you’re not already!
You need more than just a beautiful Instagram.
Because everyone understands the importance of social media and great images, the bar has been raised. Well posed photos with good lighting help stylists stand out, and now they’re the minimum requirement to have a bingeable feed that will have potential clients feeling like they’ve found their dream stylist. What is going to set you apart and help you stand out from the other accounts they looked at with that lived-in color or perfect silk press? Hearing from a client that you were approachable, made them feel comfortable, and that they loved the whole experience as much as they loved your work.
Google reviews make your more discoverable.
SEO, baby! Getting Google reviews makes it easier to find you. When a potential client searches for a stylist, you’re more likely to pop up on the first page if you have multiple positive reviews. Facebook can help if you have a clientele that uses Facebook – a few years ago it was a major contender, but going forward, Google is where I’d guide them. Don’t forget to set up a free Google business page, too!
Don’t let the fear of a bad write up stop you from making reviews a priority.
The time will come when you get a negative review because it’s simply part of being a business owner. You will most likely know who left the review, if their claims are true, and what type of person they are. Handle them on a case-by-case basis. If someone is genuinely unhappy, reply that you’re going to reach out to them personally to help solve the problem. Or, if a client says something that stings, don’t let your ego get in the way of deciding if that feedback is an area you may need to work on.
You should ask friends and family for reviews – if you’re keeping it real.
If you’ve provided them a service – even if they didn’t pay – then they can speak to their experience with you. The more (honest) reviews, the merrier. And think about this: a friend or family member who is getting a service for free should write a review for you, because it’s the least they could do! Free hair? I’d ask for a video testimonial as well as a Google review.
Create an experience, not just a service.
It’s not about being super fancy or cutting deep into your profit margin to serve champagne and expensive snacks.
Something as simple as dimming the lights when you’re at the sink can create a VIP feeling. Have cell phone chargers at the ready. Show guests where to put their bag as soon as they walk in. Have a place for them to set their drink that they can reach while you’re working on them. A gel neck rest in the sink and extra towel rolled over it can make a shampoo heavenly.
Rock the consultation.
One of the most important actions that will help you get all the five-star reviews is to have a super in-depth consultation. Ask for inspiration pictures, get a full hair history, find out what their daily routine is and how they’re really going to wear their hair most of the time, what they love and don’t love about their hair, and use all your tools to work with them to manage their expectations. Educate them fully on care and maintenance to create a look that will work for them, and have them loving their hair long after you snap the after pics.
Invest in yourself.
Continue your education, often. Attend in person classes when you can, but in 2021 there is endless online education that you can access on a schedule that works for you, even if it’s at 11 p.m. on a Wednesday in pajamas once the kids are fast asleep. Quality, amazing education is accessible to our industry on such an incredible level right now, so take advantage of it consistently and always be expanding your skillset and mindset.
About Jennifer Kenny
Hi! I’m Jennifer Kenny, a veteran stylist and salon suite pioneer. I built a six-figure business within three years of getting my license and two years after going independent, and I believe that the opportunities in our industry are truly limitless for the people that are willing to invest and believe in themselves. Before I went to hair school, I majored in marketing and have always loved the business and brand building side of our industry. After a car accident and a difficult pregnancy, I’ve focused my energy on serving beyond the chair and helping other independent stylists and industry professionals. I started my podcast in 2019 to empower independent stylists.
Download my free guide to help you unlock the mystery of hashtags and use the ones that will help you get clients in your chair. I would LOVE to connect with you on Instagram @TheIndependentStylistPodcast. Come say hi, drop me a DM and let me know how I can support you in your journey. I offer 1:1 coaching packages and also one hour single strategy sessions. I recently launched The Shampoo Society membership, which is stocked with marketing and brand building tools to help take away the stress with running a business while keeping up with social media.
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