10 Ways to Build Clientele as an Esthetician

Are you an esthetician looking to build your clientele and stand out in an increasingly competitive market? Well, you're in luck! The beauty industry is booming, and there are plenty of proven strategies that can help you attract and retain clients.

In fact, according to Statista:

  • Over $91 billion of the global $571 billion USD revenue in the beauty and self-care market comes from the US.
  • The CAGR of the industry is anticipated to be 3.8% from 2023-2027, even during an economic slump.
  • Personal care was worth a remarkable $253 billion USD in 2023.
  • Per head of global population, revenue in this sector was worth $74.23 a head in 2023.

Grabbing a piece of this rising market is highly desirable. But how do you stand-out in an increasingly competitive landscape and draw in clientele?

In this article, we're going to share 10 awesome techniques that you can start using today to build your esthetic practice and increase your clientele. From creating a killer brand to loyalty programs, social media, walk-ins, advertising, cross-promotion, email and SMS campaigns, and more, we'll cover everything you need to know to succeed and thrive in this exciting industry. So, get ready to take some notes and let's dive right in!

How Do I Brand Myself as an Esthetician?

Two things are vital here – your online presence, and your salon’s feel. They should work in sync with one another to deliver your brand messaging. There are five major components to your brand you might consider, in both online and in-person branding.

  • Logo, typeface, and graphics: Choose elements which stand out and differentiate your salon from competitors while suggesting relaxation, self-improvement, and pampering. Think of the Body Shop’s laurels logo, or the chic and relaxing logos of most successful spas. They inspire confidence in their clients. Other graphic elements should be simple and work well with the logo. Choose a limited and consistent color palette that works on a range of backgrounds.
  • Website: Ensure this is intuitive and easy to navigate, with a clear system for making bookings or appointments, incorporating your logo and typeface, as described above.
  • In-Salon Branding: Carry these visual elements through to your signage, advertising, printed materials, business cards, etc. Consistency is the key thing – so that new clients begin to associate your design elements with memories of enjoyable salon visits. Don’t forget merchandising either, such as tote bags or scented candles.
  • Atmosphere: The type of decor you choose, the music you play, whether you use scented products, all of these contribute to a uniquely relaxing mood that keeps clients coming back.
  • You: Don’t forget that you, as technician, beautician, or therapist, are the essential part of the branding. People come to your salon because they want to see you (or your team). Make sure there are well-written, enticing biographies and head shots on your website and that each employee has business cards, if they can be requested by name.

Let’s turn to ten more ideas for boosting your clientele and building your brand.

10 Ways to Build Clientele as an Esthetician

Here are 10 ways you can get more clients as an Esthetician:

1. Have a Booking Website

Esthetician booking website

The first place to start is with your website, as mentioned above. This is where many (if not most) of your bookings will be made so it should be:

  • Easily navigated (don’t make users hunt for your contact form or opening hours)
  • Attractive and well-branded.
  • Informative without being overlong.
  • Perhaps most importantly you need a fully integrated, online booking system which tells you in real-time, when an appointment has been made. This should be prominently positioned and very simple to use, for both clients and employees.

Create a simple, navigable, informative, and enticing site that’s optimized for SEO (so search engines will find you) and you’re halfway there.

Make sure the site has a consistent look, including your proprietorial logo, typefaces, color schemes and photographic elements. The latter should be as glossy and professional as possible. If there’s one area not to skimp on, it’s your photography. 

Consider having video elements too, so long as these are well-integrated and don’t slow down how your site displays on a range of devices, from desktop systems to mobile phones. Once you’ve grown to a suitable size, you could even consider developing a bookings app, to speed up the whole process of appointments.

There’s a lot to think about with your website. Fortunately, we’ve got your back! GlossGenius can help you create a high-performing site that lifts your business to the next level.

2. Create a Loyalty/Referral Program

Referral program with GlossGenius

Why not reward regular clients with discounts for loyalty? This keeps people coming back and leaves clients feeling that they’re getting real value for their money. You can also use it to offer free trials to new services, so that you can demonstrate how good they are.

Some loyalty programs require a membership card, while others use digital passes which record the number of bookings and offer free sessions or discounts. Multi-passes which offer several treatments for a combined price are a great way of ensuring repeat business, while offering real value.

Alternatively (or in addition) you can offer a referral system, so that existing clients can bring new clients along. These can work in several ways, including discount codes, dedicated email addresses or forms which the new client can complete before they attend. This is another great idea for your website.

3. Get on Social Media

Social media for Estheticians

Building a social media presence is essential to any small to medium-sized business. It allows you to show your human face, demonstrate what’s on offer, inject a bit of humor or wow viewers with how luxurious your interior redesign is.

Don’t go over the top by signing up to everything unless you can afford to dedicate one staff member to making updates. Perhaps LinkedIn (business opportunities), Facebook (events and general information) and Instagram (exquisite photos and videos of treatments) are enough. Twitter can be good for short updates and offers, while TikTok skews much younger, so use it to attract younger clients.

Avoid getting involved in controversies and instead concentrate on demonstrating the value your brand offers. Use trending industry hashtags where possible, and make sure you update each profile at regular intervals. Many social media platforms allow for a “Shop Now” or “Book Now” button on posts, so clients can click straight through to your bookings page.

Social media can be a fantastic way to build a brand. But, it’s vital to make sure that you have time and capacity to concentrate on creating new content.

4. Allow Walk-Ins

You may have the best online booking system in the world, but you need to allow for walk-ins too. This lets you use your shopfront to advertise your services and make a splash on Main Street. It also allows new clients to discover and by chance, or by doing a map search on their phone.

Dedicate one member of staff per shift, to respond to walk-ins, offering a friendly welcome. You could decide to keep some slots off your online booking system, perhaps at lunchtime or towards the end of the day, to allow for walk-ins.

Combining pre-bookings and walk-ins makes your brand approachable and available. Even if walk-ins must wait several days for their appointment, the fact that they can turn up and book a session makes all the difference.

5. Purchase Ads Online

There are a range of ad networks which will place an advertisement in search results, or in the social media feeds of potential clients. Amazon ads, Facebook ads, and Instagram post boosts allow for targeting to highly specific groups of people.

You could, for instance, target women aged 18-55 within a 50-mile range of your location, and attract your target demographic. Online ads can be great for advertising special offers, sales, and new product lines. You can set the level of expenditure you’re happy with each day for the duration of your campaign.

Since so much of advertising is hit and miss, most ad platforms allow for A/B testing, which is where you run two variations of your campaign to begin with, then compare analytics, to see which works best. You then cancel the poorly performing one, and concentrate your ad spend on the successful version.

Don’t be frustrated if your ad campaigns don’t take off immediately. Much of advertising is trial and error, so it can take a little while to develop the best approach.

6. Brand Yourself

As we mentioned above, as owner-practitioner, you are very much a part of your brand. If it’s something you’re comfortable with, you could create YouTube demonstrations, write a blog, or create a podcast around the skills you have and the treatments you offer. Such appearances should be concise, fun, and full of honest personality. 

Self-branding also applies to what you choose to wear and how you style yourself. After all, you’re an esthetician! It’s important to look good.

If your business is large enough to have a significant public profile, you could make yourself available for events such as conferences and industry marketplaces. Not only will this allow you to bring awareness to your brand, but you’ll meet lots of fellow beauty professionals with whom you might collaborate. You’ll also find out about new developments, treatments, and services.

Once you have developed your social media presence, make sure you, as owner or practitioner, appear on those feeds now and again. Esthetics is all about comfort and style, so ensure you’ve practiced your to-camera pieces and get an honest friend or colleague to tell you how you come across.

At the very least, make sure there’s a concise, appealing biography for your lead estheticians on your website, with an attractive headshot. 

7. Cross Promotion

Since there are so many different specialisms in esthetics (hair and nail salons, tanning centers, spas, clinics, and more) there may well be a local business with which you could pair for mutual benefit.

Let’s say you’re a nail salon and there’s a hair salon two doors down. Assuming you believe they provide a quality service (send in a spy!) you could refer clients to one another or arrange discounts that apply when clients visit both businesses.

You could share the cost of marketing campaigns, or place advertisements in one another’s windows or even online. You might even collaborate on a loyalty scheme which rewards repeat custom with discounts applicable in either venue.

It’s great for walk-ins too, since often beauty businesses cluster in the same streets in a city, making it convenient for clients to, for instance, get a facial and their nails done in the same afternoon.

Of course, this is a great way to secure referrals too!

8. Email and SMS Campaigns

SMS and email campaign infographic

Another way to secure clients is to set up a mailing list and then compose SMS or email campaigns to pique the interest of your subscribers. You can create a sign-up form on your website or ask for email addresses at time of booking. Make sure you allow people to opt out of receiving communications if they don’t want to.

Drip campaigns are sequences of emails designed to encourage potential clients to attend. They are often tied to specific offers and designed to encourage subscriptions or package deals (such as five treatments for the price of four). 

Text messages can be used for short reminders of upcoming events or seasonal offers. They can also be used for appointment reminders, of course. Text messages have the benefit of going straight to your clients’ phones, with notifications so they are harder to miss.

Alternatively create a regular newsletter to inform clients about new treatments, packages or offers, and you can also use your email list to send seasonal offers or let them know about time-limited deals. Many estheticians use a platform that streamlines and enables these marketing efforts, to minimize the complexity and optimize the outcome.

9. Provide a Great Client Experience

A major part of building your clientele and ensuring repeat custom is creating a complete client experience. From your chic and intuitive website to your storefront, reception area, employees and treatment rooms, everything should be aligned for the best possible client experience.

Attention to detail can contribute significantly. Plants in the reception, soft lighting, mood-setting music, or light fragrance – all these details can add to the atmosphere and create positive expectations. Pay attention to how your employees dress, and perhaps offer a hot or cold drink if treatments require a lot of waiting. Some salons even offer a glass of bubbly!

Never be afraid to ask clients if there’s anything you can do to make their visit more enjoyable. It’s worth setting up a customer satisfaction survey that you can ask your clients to complete. You can do this on your website, or via a link you send out to clients following their visit.

10. Word of Mouth

One of the most common ways by which estheticians receive new clients is from referrals. Word of mouth is a phenomenon you won’t have much direct control over, but you can encourage satisfied clients to refer their friends, and incentivize this process.

Offer discounts for treatments for both new clients referred to your business, and to the existing client who was responsible for the referral. This will encourage word-of-mouth and build your customer base.

You’ll receive feedback through review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor, including star ratings. It’s worth replying to both good and bad reviews. With good reviews, all you need to do is thank the individual who’s reviewed your salon. For negative reviews, never attempt to argue with the client. Instead, apologize for the poor experience they have had and consider offering a discount or offer to encourage them to return.

Ask satisfied clients to provide positive testimonials which you can use on your website. These are a tried and tested way of building new customer confidence.

Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals – they can make all the difference. Have cards or leaflets that clients can share with their friends, and branded takeaways like paper or tote bags, to pique curiosity.

Conclusion

If you’ve read through all the above, you may be feeling overwhelmed. There are so many ways to encourage new business and build your salon as an esthetician. If you’re starting out, or attempting to grow, it can be hard to know where to start.

Fortunately, GlossGenius exists to make the process simpler. From bookings to scheduling and brand building, GlossGenius is here to help support you as you grow. Aesthetics are everything in the beauty business; we’ll ensure your site wows new clients and keeps regulars coming back for more.

Why not check out our product pages, and let us help you thrive as an esthetician.

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