> Figure out how you want your card to look. Do you want it to work as a mini-brochure or be minimalistic in its message? Take your target clientele into account and cater to them.
> Focus on what you do best. If you have a specialty be sure to list it on your card. If there isn’t one particular service that makes your offerings different from others, you can emphasize things like “expertise,” “personal service,” or “full service.” Or you may want to emphasize your commitment to sanitation.
> Include vital information. All business cards should include your name, salon name, complete address with zip code, phone number (with area code!), website, and e-mail address.
> Don’t list every service you offer. If you do, your card will become crowded and hard to read. Leave space around information so it stands out and organize it neatly so it’s easy to understand.
> Use the back of your card as an appointment reminder. It’s also a good spot to mention your cancellation policy. Consider including a mini-map if your location is hard to find.
> Get your cards professionally designed and printed. Two good printing options are Vistaprint.com and Gotprint.com, both of which have budget-friendly prices.
Next page: A Few Good Referrals
[PAGEBREAK]A Few Good Referrals
> Client referrals: There’s no greater feeling than new clients coming to you because a current client referred them. Return the favor by developing a client referral program. It can be as detailed as setting up a punch-card system or as simple as telling clients about it. If a client refers a certain amount of new clients to you, give her a discount off her next service.
> Physician referrals: Nail techs should never diagnose a nail problem on a client. If you notice a problem bring it up and stress the importance of medical care. Your clients are more apt to follow your advice if you recommend a local physician who specializes in nail care. Ask friends, family, and clients for doctor recommendations, then set up interviews with them.
> Business referrals: Establish relationships with local businesses, especially if you have something in common with them. For example, if you tend to cater to young, city girls, establish a referral system with a boutique they frequent. Place business cards in their boutique and return the favor by placing their cards in your salon.
Next page: Get on the Net
[PAGEBREAK]Get on the Net
> Create a business website. If you can’t pay someone to design your website, enlist the help of tech-savvy friends. They can either give you a discount, or you can trade out your services for theirs.
> Get all Googled. Type in “nails” and your city name in Google or another search engine. What is the first thing that comes up as a hit? What comes up on the right-hand “sponsored” side? Is it your salon’s name? If not, get your name at the top of the heap. Make sure your website is “Google-search” friendly and consider sponsoring the search for your area. (For more on search engine optimization, go to www.nailsmag.com/seo.)
> Make some face time. Twitter.com and Facebook.com allow for professional networking. Create a page and use it for all you can, including posting monthly discounts as bulletins. (For more on this topic, go to www.nailsmag.com/socialnetworkingfortechs.)
> Speak up. Many regional news outlets have “discussion” options for their stories. Visit these discussion boards often, especially ones related to beauty; not only can you see how the latest trends are being received, but you can also stay active in discussions and sign every message with your name and salon contact info.
Next page: Get the Word Out on Your Business
[PAGEBREAK]Get the Word Out on Your Business
1. Sign up your salon. Place signs on your salon’s window advertising your services. Or, set up creative window displays to help draw clients into the salon.
2. Pound the pavement. Make fliers talking about your services and place them under windshield wipers at busy malls or high school functions (like football games). You should check the lot owner’s solicitation policies first.
3. Get schooled. Many campuses have community bulletin boards that allow free posting. Place fliers about your salon on every board possible. This is great especially during formals and prom season.
4. Be a chambermaid. Find out what benefits your local chamber of commerce offers its members. Chambers will often list businesses in a member directory and/or provide networking opportunities.
5. Join the welcome wagon. Welcome new community residents to the area with a gift certificate for your services. You can likely purchase the names from the chamber of commerce or go through a third-party service that sends out its own welcome packets, like Moving Targets (www.movingtargets.com) and Our Town America (www.ourtownamerica.com).
6. Be high profile. Offer free or discounted nail services to clients who work in jobs where their hands are high profile and often at the center of attention, like store cashiers, flight attendants, and bank tellers. Others are bound to notice if they have a beautiful set of pink-and-whites.
7. Give back. If people see you care about the community, they’ll not only notice your awesome set of glitter nails as you pick up trash with the highway beautification project, but they’ll also be more willing to spend their money at your salon.
8. Find wedded bliss. Most cities have a few wedding expos each year. If it’s in your budget, consider renting a booth to show off your wedding-day designs. If you normally work with a hairdresser and makeup artist and rent the booth together, you’ll save on rental fees.
9. Sleep on it. If you’re near a hotel or motel, make extra copies of your price list and brochure and ask the front desk to keep them on hand for guests who are looking for a nail tech.
10. Wear it. Of course you’re already wearing a beautiful set of your own nails. But what about the rest of you? Instead of being a walking billboard for your favorite sports team, be your own walking billboard. Have T-shirts made with your logo and website on them. Wear them to casual community events (like PTA meetings or watching a parade).
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