So, you want to be an image professional. You’ve already learned what there is to learn through image consultant training classes. You know what type of client you want. But how do you actually get started? How do you market yourself as a professional?
A lot of this depends on your client base. Are you going after high-powered executives? Stay-at-home moms, who want more style? Salespeople? Professionals?
But your general marketing advice will be the same: You need to network.
Start With Your Own Style Makeover
You are helping others develop their image. They aren’t going to trust you unless you have a great image of your own. Think about the clients you want to attract. Who would they be interested in working with? Cultivating your own image, both in-person and online, is going to be the first step toward building your business.
Build Up Your Social Media Accounts
Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter; as an image professional, you need them all. But you’ll probably have one place you call “home.” A lot of people use their Instagram foremost, as it’s a great way to get interaction and engagement from people beyond your current reach. Start building up your social media accounts with as much content as possible. You want people to find you.
If you’re operating in person, try to build out your local content as much as you can. If you’re operating online, you can try to build out in avenues that relate to being an image professional; style, fashion, success, business, entrepreneurship, and more. It all depends on your core audience and what you do that’s special.
Print Cards — And Use Them
Your business cards are your calling card. Get a lot of them printed out and start handing them out as frequently as you can. You want people to know what you do. When people talk to you, make sure they get your card; even if they can’t use it, they might as well pass it on. And make unique cards that stand out, not just standard ones. You’ll find that people often appreciate a good or creative business card and they talk about it and show it to other people.
Go to Networking Events
Networking events can connect you with other professionals in your area. You’ll find that there are a lot of small business owners who need a “makeover” in terms of image. There are also a lot of people who are interested in local politics or otherwise need someone to look over their image and make sure it’s polished. You can also go to networking events specifically targeted toward other image professionals; they can give you advice and information about their own marketing tactics.
Be Visible Within Your Community
Go to charity events. Fundraise. Do things to remain visible within your local community. The more people you interact with, the more likely it is that they’re going to want to interact with you. You want to engage people on their level; you want to meet them where they live. Research has shown that people trust people more when they’re engaged with the community and when they’re giving back. And, of course, it’s good for you too!
Write Articles and Guest Blogs
A great way to extend your reach is to start writing articles and guest blogs about being an image professional. When people look you up, they’ll see you as an authority within your space; this is very important for building credibility and trust, especially when you’re just starting out! Write guest blogs, into the local newspaper, or even try to get a column in a local magazine.
Start an Email List
While you’re marketing, don’t forget to collect emails. Email marketing is still one of the most effective forms of marketing today. The more you connect with your audience, the more you enhance their perceptions of you. They will know that you know your stuff and they’ll be inclined to connect with you in the future. Populate your email list with articles about current trends, styles, and concerns. It will show them that you stay on top of current news and it will provide valuable information for prospective clients.
Forge alliances with other businesses. Leave business cards in salons and local shops. Connect with other stylists and create a “group.” Look for businesses that your clients might go to. For instance, a lawyer might be able to deliver you referrals to clients who want to clean up their image. It may not seem intuitive to be working in the legal field immediately, but when you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense.
Take Your Time
It does take time to build a following. Most image professionals will start out with one or two clients. From there, word-of-mouth and their own marketing efforts will grow their book. A lot of your clients are going to be recurring. So, you will develop over time — but you need to be patient. Often, the best marketing is doing a great job for your existing clients.
Because the image profession is blasting off right now, there’s still a lot of work being done in the industry. There have been professional stylists and fashion consultants for many hundreds of years, but the industry is growing rapidly and changing. You will find many opportunities just about anywhere; you just need to know which ones to take.