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Micropigmentation Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

Micro Scalp Clinic

First, please allow me to apologise to all those reading this who do not have business interests in the scalp micropigmentation industry. While most of the posts on ScalpGuru.com are intended for you, the avid researcher, this one is not.

This post is aimed at clinics and technicians who want to win more customers. By all means feel free to read this post, however you might find that other posts in our index are more relevant to your needs.

You may notice that I titled this article for ‘technicians’, not specifically for ‘scalp technicians’ as you may have expected. This is because I believe the guiding principles in this article can be applied to multiple facets of micropigmentation. So if you’re working mostly on eyebrows, lips or paramedical applications right now, that’s fine. The advice in this article should still be useful.

I have no interest in bragging or trying to impress anyone. However, if the advice in this article is to be taken seriously, you need to know it is coming from an authoritative source. For this reason, I feel it is necessary to provide a brief explanation of my background. I won’t repeat my story here, but you can find out more about me on this page.

The ULTIMATE guide to winning customers

Although I aimed to make this guide as exhaustive as possible, I will be adding to this as often as I can, as and when the need arises. That said, I wanted to give you some actionable advice that you can take back to the office and implement right away, so I hope you find this guide immediately useful.

Each topic represents a key requirement of being successful in this business. Some topics are brief, whilst others are substantial. Some cross over a little into your initial business setup. What you get right here is a blueprint for your actions from now, based on my experience working with more than 20 scalp micropigmentation providers, both large and small:

  • About this guide
  • Killing misconceptions
  • Decide your place in the market
  • Determine your value-adds
  • Specify roles
  • Get skilled
  • Establish a suitable base
  • Satisfy legal requirements
  • Partner up, or go it alone
  • Build a back-office infrastructure
  • Create your portfolio
  • A website is not optional
  • Understand search engine optimization
  • Do social media, within reason
  • Get visible offline
  • A quick note on hard copy advertising
  • KILLER METHOD: Lead generation
  • Maximize referral business
  • Manage your reputation
  • Plan for growth. Or not.

Easy, right? Let’s take these one at a time.

About this guide

So many people want to start a new business in scalp micropigmentation, and it’s easy to understand why. Low start-up costs, high profit margins, and a growing market with a ‘feel-good’ factor because you’re making people happy. Combine this with limited regulatory barriers and improving availability of training, and you have just some of the reasons why so many people are starting out in scalp micropigmentation.

Beyond mastering the art of scalp micropigmentation, the hardest part of running a clinic, and by far the biggest challenge facing anyone wanting to enter this industry, is the acquisition of customers. Every clinic, from the very largest to those starting from the humblest of beginnings, must unlock the formula to winning customers, not only today, but for the lifetime of their business. The success and failure of your fledgling company will depend on your ability to win customers, and in a marketplace that is getting increasingly crowded and competitive, that’s no easy task.

I lose count of how many people start out in the industry with big ambitions, the best of intentions and a ton of enthusiasm, yet ultimately fail because they can’t win enough customers. These people come from all walks of life. Some are entrepreneurs who had the procedure themselves and realized how life-changing it can be. Others are hair transplant companies expanding their service offering. Many are permanent makeup or tattoo artists who want to add another string to their bow.

Many of them started out as technicians working for other companies, and thought they could make more money by working for themselves. Often it does work out, and I have a number of friends who are running successful scalp micropigmentation companies on their own terms, however most of the time the technician has little exposure to (and therefore little appreciation of) the challenges associated with feeding a technician, or even a chain of clinics, with a consistent flow of customers.

This is nothing new of course, the need for sales is common to every business. Rarely however, does the prospective customer conduct the volume of research, and find themselves so emotionally tied to their decision, as is the case in this industry. This presents some fairly unique challenges.

Killing misconceptions

I have watched a number of clinics in this industry, old and new, go about the business of trying to acquire customers. Some do a great job, and others do not.

Let’s start by getting the following truths out of the way. If you want to win customers, do not rely on the following strategies, as they simply do not work:

  • Setting up accounts on every social media platform, and filling them with photos of your work.
  • Focusing all your efforts on gaining ‘likes’ or ‘followers’.
  • Setting up a website without a marketing budget to promote it.
  • Advertising in (most) magazines and newspapers.
  • Pushing Google or Facebook pay-per-click ads at your website home page.
  • Email marketing without a clearly defined call to action.
  • Making your company all about you (there are exceptions).
  • Trying to make out like you ‘invented’ SMP.
  • Telling everyone you’re the best technician or clinic in the world.
  • Stealing photos.
  • Bashing your competitors.

Most of the points above require no additional explanation. Let me touch on a handful of them, so we can put them to rest and move on.

shavenlook
Winning customers is no easy task. Building a solid reputation like Daz Day (above) takes time, dedication and hard work.

Social media success requires an audience, both substantial and well targeted. There is no point in posting hundreds of before and after photos to a Facebook page with just a couple of hundred likes, or an Instagram account with just a handful of followers. Furthermore, the mindless acquisition of likes and followers without adding value, is equally futile.

A website is a must for any modern business, but a website is worthless without traffic. A basic website with traffic is much more useful than a masterpiece of design that no-one sees.

The buying cycle in the scalp micropigmentation industry is too long, and pay-per-click is too expensive, to simply throw a load of ads at your home page and expect success. If you’re doing this already, you should stop right now.

If you position yourself as the primary technician at your company, you will really struggle to scale your business because people will want to buy YOU, not your BRAND, and you only have a limited amount of personal capacity at your disposal. As for telling everyone you’re the best in the world, there are perhaps 2-3 clinics that have a genuine claim to that accolade. People are wise to it, and you should lay off. You don’t have to claim to be better than everyone else to be successful. You just need to provide great treatments and excellent service.

A word on stealing your competitors photos – just don’t do it. Good Look Ink is probably the most common victim of image theft, as they take great photos and choose not to watermark them. As a result I’ve seen their photos on, perhaps, 20 websites. Most people will know the photos don’t belong to you anyway, and you could wind up getting sued.

A final note on bashing your competitors – it’s ugly, unprofessional and unethical, no matter how justified you believe your viewpoint to be. I know an exceptionally talented technician in the United States who should have a great business, but instead of devoting her time and energy to building her brand, she spends it slagging off her competitors. I have lost count of how many clients she has lost as a result, and they’re just the ones I hear about. Take the moral high ground and resist the urge to do it.

Decide your place in the market

This decision underpins everything you do. It’s a key part of your identity and will help determine how you approach your marketing plan, your pricing strategy, your value-adds and the ‘feel’ of your company.

Do you want to be Ford Motors, or Mercedes-Benz? The knee-jerk reaction to this question is almost certainly – “I want to be Mercedes-Benz, of course!”. But stop and think about it for a moment. One may be more glamorous, but both know their place in the market and both are fantastically profitable companies.

If you want to charge $4000 (approx £2500) for a procedure, you had better add plenty of value in terms of your location, your skill, your service and your guarantee. If you want to charge $2000 (approx £1250), these things become less important, but the new battle is to convince your customers that they’ll still achieve a great result. Both routes can succeed and fail. I guess the key question is this – If you want to charge the same as the better-established companies, how can you offer enough value to convince customers to choose you instead?

There is no shame in occupying the lower end of the market, after all, look at Kia Motors. Decide your place, and be loyal to your vision.

Determine your value-adds

What can you do that is different from everyone else? Offering “the best procedures at the lowest price”, simply doesn’t cut it any more. That’s what a lot of companies have tried to do over the years, and most of them ultimately fail. You can’t be all things to all people, and clients understand that quality comes at a price. If you try to break this convention, they’re likely to treat your company with suspicion.

What are good examples of value-adds? Well, you could offer a guarantee with every procedure, but most companies do that already so how can you make yours different? Unlimited touch-ups during the guarantee period? Lifetime maintenance plan? Extended guarantee for a fee? Free photo assessments every 6 months?

john-rosini
John Rosini (above) recently opened a new scalp micropigmentation business in Buffalo, NY.

What about an airport or train station pick-up service? Can you offer a travel allowance? What about arranging a hotel room for your customer? Free parking? In locations like London or NYC, you’d be surprised how far an incentive like free parking can go. What about a map of local attractions? What about the clients family? If they bring their partner for moral support, how can you entertain their partner for a few hours? A simple TV? Beverages on tap? Lunch? Free Wi-Fi? Spa treatments?

Get creative with it. Your value-adds are important because they turn happy customers into raving fans. Raving fans post reviews about their experience and strengthen your brand, as well as becoming a potentially valuable source of referrals and recommendations.

Specify roles

This will depend largely on whether you’re setting up as a one-person show, or if you have business partners and/or employees. Let me tell you, being a full time technician whilst answering the phone and emails, handling marketing, dealing with lease agreements, utilities and keeping accurate accounts, is absolutely out of the question.

When you’re in the middle of a procedure, breaking away to answer the phone is a definite no-no. Aside from creating a poor service experience, there are hygiene considerations to take into account. The bottom line is that when you’re doing a procedure, you cannot be distracted. Furthermore, letting valuable calls go to voicemail is not a solution either. This strategy on its own could put you out of business.

Evoke team
You can’t always do it all on your own. Sometimes, you need a great team around you to make the big things happen.

Let’s say for example you’re setting up a company with a team of three people. A brand new scalp micropigmentation company does not need three technicians. I understand the logic of annual leave and sickness cover, as well as increasing capacity, but at this early stage, this strategy is severely over-rated. What you really need is one technician, one person to take responsibility for marketing, and an office manager to handle everything else.

If you’re setting up on your own, consider a virtual assistant. For a relatively low fee, your phones (and perhaps emails) are answered even when you’re busy with a client. You can set this up so your VA only picks up calls when you don’t, and some services even enable 24 hour answering and occasionally in multiple languages. Services like JH Virtual Assistant (UK), Zirtual (US) or even cut-price services like Brickwork in India can add massive value to your business and make it easier to focus on the client at hand.

Get skilled

You need a competent scalp micropigmentation technician. Ultimately you have three choices:

  • Hire an established technician
  • Hire a permanent makeup artist or similar, and add to their skill set
  • Get trained in scalp micropigmentation

Keep in mind that the level of skill your organization can offer is paramount to your success. There are no shortcuts here. Hiring an established technician is a great option, but they are likely to know their value and you won’t acquire them cheaply. It may cost you a large salary, and/or a chunk of equity in your company. Even then, you might have a hard time finding someone suitable. Technicians are small in number and high in demand.

Hiring a permanent makeup artist, perhaps a trainee who is midway through training, is also a great option. The learning curve will be less steep than training from scratch, although remember that old habits will need to change. For example permanent makeup pigments should never be used for scalp micropigmentation, and the penetration depth required is completely different. Just be careful of employing a permanent makeup artist who ‘knows it all’, because that approach will land you in trouble.

Getting trained depends on the roles within your company. Do you want to train personally, or do you have someone else in your team to take that role?

Your training options are varied. Be sure to check out the credentials of your preferred training school before you commit, to ensure they have enough experience to deliver credible training. Many do not. Avoid any training option that claims to train you in anything less than 5 days, as this is simply unrealistic. A good place to start is our recommended training providers.

Establish a suitable base

Think about your location. Customers often travel substantial distances to get the technician they want, so being in close proximity to airports and other public transport hubs is a definite advantage, as is a location with available parking.

Also consider the impression you want to portray to your prospective customers. Do you want to create a salon environment? A clinical environment? High-end? Budget? Make sure your location and the style of your premises matches your position in the market and the prices you want to charge.

Satisfy legal requirements

Exactly what these requirements are depends on where you’re based. Usually you’ll need permission to trade from your local authority or council. This usually takes the form of a license, either a one-time purchase or for an annual fee. Often your premises will need to pass a health and safety inspection, and you may need to provide details of where you were trained, and how you source your pigments.

liverpool
Terry Jones recently moved his company, Skalptec, from the small island of Jersey to the city of Liverpool. With newly refurbished offices, his business has grown beyond all recognition.

Partner up, or go it alone

Opportunities are available to those who want a helping hand with their business, in particular with their marketing. I wrote about the benefits of franchising recently, and for many people some sort of franchise or licensing agreement offers exactly the support they need to get their venture off the ground.

As an independent business you keep what you earn, and you have fewer restrictions on how you run your business, however franchisors have experience in the market and (hopefully) a proven model that makes your success more likely.

Build a back-office infrastructure

This rule applies whether you’re a one-person show, or part of a larger team. Customer service is absolutely key, as is effective follow-up of communication with prospective clients, not to mention accurate accounts and administration procedures. All of this requires you to get your house in order.

I know, I know. This is the boring stuff, right? Frankly I hate this part of running a business. Marketing is much more fun, and many would argue, more important. Actually, effective back-office management IS marketing, because it determines how well you communicate with your customers, how efficiently you convert prospects into sales, and enables you to sleep at night knowing that the essentials are taken care of. Get this wrong, and your customers will soon know about it.

Create your portfolio

The scalp micropigmentation business is all about results. More than any other part of your sales story, customers want to see photographs and videos showing your work. This is more important than your location, your prices, and even the quality of your customer service. Customers care little about your personal history, and even less about your mission statement. A flashy office, a great guarantee and all the promises in the world mean nothing if you cannot demonstrate your ability to produce great work. Results speak volumes so you’re going to need a portfolio, and fast.

Developing a portfolio takes time, and many new clinics find themselves in a chicken and egg scenario – they can’t acquire customers without a portfolio, but they cannot build a portfolio without winning customers.

pigmentalia
The tricopigmentation industry, most notably Pigmentalia and Beauty Medical, has always taken superb photographs to showcase their work.

It’s easy to understand why so many clinics resort to stealing photos from other, more established clinics. Despite this, please don’t even think about stealing photographs from your competitors. Take a look at this gallery page on the HeadPower website. I see photographs that belong to Skalp Clinic, HIS Hair Clinic, Vancouver Paramedical and Good Look Ink. It’s a low-down dirty thing to do, so just don’t do it.

Do whatever you have to do to prove your results. Many new companies offer heavily discounted (or even free) procedures in return for a set of photos, or possibly a video testimonial. It’s not ideal, but with no portfolio, you won’t win many customers. The bottom line is that you simply have to do whatever you have to do to acquire your own genuine portfolio of before and after photos. If you’re thinking about setting up a new clinic, you should budget for at least 5 free of charge procedures, to enable you to grow your portfolio. You don’t need to pillage your friends and family for case studies either. A simple but well-targeted advert on Facebook asking for models should be sufficient.

Quality is key. Your photos should look professional, should be displayed on your website at a large enough size to be useful, and need to show detail. If you’re not much good with a camera, then find someone who is. It never ceases to amaze me how many clinics will spend thousands of dollars, euros or pounds on a flashy website, but fail to invest a relatively small sum of money on a decent camera, or a quality photographer.

Your portfolio may also include video, which is a great way to make your company feel more ‘human’ and approachable. The video by Vinci Hair Clinic above, is a great example of how video can really bring your company to life online.

Diversity is also important. Your portfolio should demonstrate that you can handle a range of scenarios. You need to show your work on white guys, Asian guys and black guys. You should include some scar work as procedures on scars are becoming more and more common. Most importantly, showcase a range of hairline styles. If all your hairlines are straight and defined, you WILL lose customers. Remember, your portfolio is your greatest asset. Don’t skimp on it.

You don’t need hundreds of before and after photos. Contrary to popular belief, you only need 10-15 sets of photos to properly showcase your results.

HOT TIP: If all your ‘after’ photos are taken immediately after a session and show a lot of redness, consider using an epinephrine-based product like Inkeeze Black Label to rapidly remove redness in less than 15 minutes.

Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for photos. You’d be surprised how many of them really don’t mind. Sometimes they may ask for their faces to be distorted in the photo, or perhaps they let you use them during consultations but not to be used online.

A website is not optional

Customers won’t seek you out, you have to take your offering to them. Even technicians with established reputations will quickly be forgotten unless their message is perpetuated consistently through marketing. For new technicians, the task is even harder and contrary to popular belief, setting up a website and a Facebook page is nowhere near enough for even the smallest scalp micropigmentation business.

If you’re entering the industry, you’ll need a marketing budget. If you can’t afford to promote your business, wait until you can before giving up your day job.

I believe that almost every client is acquired, directly or indirectly, through online channels. Your website is an essential component. I’ve seen a suprising number of clinics relying on nothing more than a Facebook page, which is just madness. The bottom line – you need a decent website.

For examples of some of the best looking websites, see the following links:

The content of your website is far more important than its appearance. Customers want solid, reliable information without the hype, and they want to see examples of your work. Don’t keep them guessing, or make them jump through a ton of hoops to get the information they want. Sites like Wikipedia and Amazon are among the most successful on the planet, but neither would win any design awards.

I have built a ton of websites in the SMP industry, so ask me if you need advice. If you’re on a budget, you could even build one yourself using a range of different softwares. I would start with WordPress as it is by far the most flexible and accessible platform in existence. ScalpGuru.com is built in WordPress, and a great range of quality design themes is available online at low cost.

HOT TIP: The easiest way to build your own website is as follows – get hosting that includes cPanel with a company like Siteground. Use cPanel to easily install WordPress at the touch of a button, and find a great WordPress design theme on Themeforest. You can be up and running in about 30 minutes. Oh, and register your domain name with the same company you buy your hosting from. Trust me, it’s a lot easier in the long run.

Understand search engine optimization

A website is no good without visibility, and to create visibility you need a marketing budget. You can choose to pursue placement in organic Google results, a process known as search engine optimisation, or you can buy your way to the top using pay-per-click. Either way, doing neither is not an option. Again, I have a lot of experience in this area. Ask if you need advice.

I believe that everyone who runs a business in the 21st century, should have an understanding of SEO fundamentals. Countless ‘consultants’ prey on those with a lack of understanding in this area, taking advantage of their obvious need for search engine rankings and shrouding the process in mystery and buzz words.

March these types out of your office right now. You don’t need them.

To understand how SEO works, you need to get your head around one basic principle – Google’s insatiable desire to deliver the most laser-targeted, relevant results for a given search query.

Bradford client
Most prospective customers can be found online, like this client from Bradford who used Google to find his nearest clinic, and eventually located Studio Aesthetics in nearby Wakefield.

Think about it. People only use Google because when they search for something, Google understands what the searcher is looking for and returns what it believes are the websites that will best satisfy the searchers need. This is important for Google, because if people don’t get the right results and stop using Google, the company makes less money selling ads.

So if the searcher is looking for information on “puppy training”, Google is likely to direct the searcher to web pages that discuss “puppy training”, “puppy training classes”, “puppy training ideas”, “puppy training books”…… Make sense?

So let’s put this into context. Let’s say you operate a scalp micropigmentation clinic in the city of Chicago, and you want to rank high on Google when someone searches for “scalp micropigmentation clinics in Chicago”, or any variation of that search term. All you have to do is show Google that your web page is highly relevant to people searching for an SMP clinic in Chicago.

How do you do that? Here are some basics. If you don’t understand some of the terminologies, then first read The Beginners Guide To SEO on Moz.com:

  • A website is not a single entity, but rather a collection of individual web pages. Each web page can (and should) rank for a different set of search terms.
  • Every web page has a title tag, and it is the most important ranking factor of them all. Make sure the page you’re trying to rank for the term has a title tag that includes both “scalp micropigmentation” and “chicago”, or even better, “scalp micropigmentation clinic in Chicago”.
  • Write a compelling META descripton. It won’t help you rank, but it affects the way your website is displayed in search results, and has a huge impact on how many people actually click your website from the list of results.
  • Your web page should contain no less than 400 words, and should be structured with headlines and sub-headlines, just like a newspaper. Read The Beginners Guide To SEO to learn about H1, H2 and H3 tags. They’re important.
  • Make sure your content is useful and relevant. Google knows if you’re just padding out your pages with fluff, so don’t try it. If you operate an SMP clinic in Chicago and you want to rank, talk about your Chicago location. Describe the interior of your clinic, how to get there, where to park and suggest some local hotels. Invest some proper time, write from the heart and add value that your customers can really benefit from. Not a great writer? Find someone who is.
  • Include images, make sure the file names are targeted (i.e scalp-micropigmentation-chicago.jpg), and the ALT tags, and include captions under each image when possible to explain the content of the image.
  • Use synonyms (variations) of your primary keyword. For example don’t just mindlessly repeat the word “Chicago”. Throw in the occasional “Illinois”, “Wicker Park” or even a cheeky “Chi-town”. Instead of just “scalp micropigmentation”, use “scalp pigmentation”, “hair tattoo” and “hair replication”. Google understands the relationships between these terms, and your page will rank better for a wider variety of keywords.

SEO is a lifetime of learning and cannot be taught here, and there are some much more advanced methods that are needed to achieve the very best rankings. However, invest a little time in learning the basics and you’ll be well on your way.

Want a real life example? Check out our scalp micropigmentation introduction page. This page ranks 1st, 2nd or 3rd of Google.com for a wide range of important search terms like “scalp micropigmentation” and “scalp micropigmentation cost”, and has done so pretty much forever. Why? Because the page provides genuinely useful information that is highly accessible to all. Think the photographs, the video, the extra-long content and extensive use of headlines and synonyms were just after-thoughts?

Of course, you can always buy your way to the top using the Google Adwords program. It’s not my area of expertise, but there is a link below to an excellent article that provides more information on the subject.

Recommended articles:

Do social media, within reason

Almost everyone in the world spends time on social media, as do your potential customers. The bottom line is that you should be active on social media, but you need laser-targeted focus to avoid burning valuable time.

There are people in this world who are far better placed to advise the best way to promote your business on social media. I recommend the following articles:

Jonathan Gerow scalp micropigmentation technician in NYC
Jonathan Gerow has mastered the art of social media, and leveraged this skill to build the most successful clinic in NYC. Social media has a part to play in any modern marketing strategy.

Based on my experience, here are my personal recommendations:

  • Choose no more than 3 social media channels and stick to them. Three well-managed channels are far better than six neglected channels, so spend your time wisely and focus on the most important channels only. My go-to channels are Facebook and Instagram, however YouTube is also very worthwhile if you have the capacity to create your own videos. Pinterest also offers a ton of potential. Personally, I have found Google+ and Twitter to be a complete waste of time.
  • Leverage multi-posting. As well as semi-automated systems like Hootsuite, many apps enable you to post on more than one channel at once. For example, the Instagram app allows you to update not only Instagram, but Facebook, Twitter and Flickr too, at the same time. Facebook enables you to link your account to Twitter, so your Twitter feed is updated whenever you post to Facebook. There are literally hundreds of timesaving combinations like these available, if you know where to look.
  • Add value. Posting your latest before and after photos is fine, but constant self-promo is counter-productive. People hang out on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ for enjoyment, not to read your ads. By all means promote yourself, but make sure at least 75% of your posts are non-promotional in nature. Yes, I said 75%. Give something of value, and readers will become more receptive to your commercial posts.
  • Remember the ultimate aim is to win customers. Buying fake Twitter fans, getting your friends to follow you on Instagram and obsessing over your social media metrics is a poor use of time, your most valuable asset. By all means get more likes, fans and followers, but make sure they’re from people who might actually buy your service, or refer you to others who might.
  • Shouting in an empty room is futile. Build a base of quality posts in each channel, but don’t go crazy writing content for each until you’ve acquired a decent following.

Get visible offline

The internet revolution has bred a generation of entrepreneurs that are experts in online marketing, but have some kind of mental block when it comes to doing business in the real, offline world. Although most technicians are generally great with people (as the job obviously demands they should be), it is still very easy to slip into the mindset of an internet entrepreneur, and assume that you should do all your marketing online.

Whilst it is true that almost all scalp micropigmentation customers originate online, great results can be achieved by marketing your business in a more traditional way. Given the personal nature of this service, it should come as no surprise that customers respond well to a more human form of contact.

Here are some general tips. A few of these may seem obvious to most of you, but trust me, each tip is included purely because I know a clinic owner somewhere who struggles to do it:

  • Don’t be scared of the phone. If the opportunity is available to do so, speaking with your customers by phone is ALWAYS preferable to email. Your customers will appreciate your time, you’ll handle their questions a lot faster, and you’ll book more treatments.
  • Hand out business cards. I’m not suggesting you give them to random bald guys in the street, in fact this approach is likely to get you into trouble pretty quickly! There is nothing stopping you from ‘dropping’ them in places where guys meet, like in a bar, a restroom or a coffee shop. A high-impact before and after photo on one side, and a simple website address on the other tends to work best.
  • What footfall do you have access to? If you’re situated on a busy street, can you use your windows to advertise your service? Can you put an A-board outside? If you’re in a shared building, what about flyers and perhaps a roller-banner in the reception area?
  • Approach local barbers and hair salons, and ask if you can put a small flyer on their wall. You could even give them a referral commission. You’d be surprised how many will be happy to oblige.
  • Have you tried outdoor advertising? Billboards? Washroom posters above the urinals?
  • What can you do to attract the attention of local or regional press? Do you have a compelling story? Give local journalists some kind of story they can use.
  • Network. Work out which functions and events enable you to mingle with people in related industries, and don’t fall into the trap of going to these parties without a clear purpose.

Manage your reputation

The scalp micropigmentation industry is growing, but is made a small place by the internet. Good news travels fast. Bad news travels even faster. If you want to maintain a great reputation, make sure you’re responsive to the needs of your customers to ensure any reviews written about your company are favorable.

Most importantly, if you make a mistake or the customer is unhappy, deal with the situation. Don’t stop answering the phone or ignore emails, even if you feel the customer is in the wrong. No-one wins customer service battles, not you, and not your customer. The end result is often a lasting legacy of bad reviews.

Treat your customers with respect at all times. Be honest. Never over-sell the benefits of scalp micropigmentation and only carry out a procedure if you truly believe it is in their best interest. Manage their expectations and deliver your promises.

A quick note on hard copy advertising

As you’re no doubt aware, printed advertising has been in terminal decline for years now. Of course there remains some exceptionally strong newspapers and magazines that could still be useful (I don’t doubt for a moment that a full page ad in the NY Times would produce great results), however most clinics tend to experiment with magazines aimed at men. Logic says that any publication aimed at a male market would make the phone ring off its hook with bookings, but experience tells me otherwise. Honestly, I’ve seen it tried numerous times. The results are always disappointing.

If you want to try print advertising, remember that the vast majority of people still have no idea what scalp micropigmentation actually is, in fact, most won’t have heard of it. For this reason, make the proposition crystal clear. A large before and after photo. Minimal text content. A strong call to action. Keep it simple and obvious.

KILLER METHOD: Lead generation

The art of lead generation, at least in a scalp micropigmentation context, is about getting the prospective customer to hand over their information in return for a quotation. Lead generation is not about pushing people to your website, or your contact page. It is a specific technique of capturing customer data through targeted advertising and landing pages, i.e web pages that are designed specifically for the purpose.

I have used this technique for many years to generate tens of thousands of leads. Millions of dollars have been added to the bottom lines of companies I have worked with, as a direct consequence of effective lead generation.

To go into detail here would be giving away the crown jewels! If you want to get involved, and have a member of staff available who is confident on the phone and can follow up generated leads, then contact me.

Maximize referral business

Word of mouth and personal recommendations are the most powerful forms of advertising in existence. Unfortunately, it’s simply not scalable enough to sustain even the smallest SMP business. However, you should take advantage of every opportunity to earn referrals because people in your network are basically advertising your service for you.

HOT TIP: Let me save you a whole chunk of time. The marketeers approach of “hey, let’s give our customers $200 for every referral they send our way. If they give us 10 referrals, they earn $2000″…, does NOT work. It’s been tried to death, and it’s never shown even the slightest spark of success.

Why is that? For two reasons. Firstly, no customer is going to tell 10 (or even 5) of his friends to book with you. Second, and most importantly, customers do not respond well to financial incentives for referrals. They’ll recommend you to their friends, with or without a referral ‘commission’, only if they had a great experience and therefore feel comfortable doing so.

These methods DO work. One is for personal referrals, the other is for corporate referrals:

  • If your client is 100% satisfied with his own procedure, give him 2-3 business cards. Ask him to give them to friends or colleagues who he believes would truly benefit from and enjoy the scalp micropigmentation experience. Ask him to hand them out discreetly, in his own time, only if he feels comfortable to do so, and only to 2 or 3 people who he thinks would make great candidates.
  • Contact related organizations and offer a corporate referral commission. Ideal candidates include hair transplant doctors, hair system specialists and barber shops. Be mindful of the laws that govern your country or state, because this practice isn’t always allowed. If it is forbidden where you live, still pursue this but find another way other than a cash commission, to compensate the referring party.

Plan for growth. Or not.

What is your endgame? Do you want to grow your business into a corporate monster then cash out? Or is scalp micropigmentation a simple expansion of the services offered by your existing business? Perhaps you just want to treat 4-5 clients per week and operate as a sole trader? Nice earnings if you can get it.

Simon Lane
Going for global domination isn’t the only way to build a successful business. Brandwood Clinic is growing slowly and strategically, and has become one of the world’s most respected, emulated and in-demand SMP providers.

Larger companies are not always more profitable, not proportionally anyway. Don’t just assume that a big corporate with multiple offices makes millions of dollars, because it’s not as simple as that. True, if you want to make your millions, you need to build your team and possibly open more than one center, but you can also achieve a great income just working on your own from a single office.

The average procedure costs around £2250 (GBP), or $3200 (USD). Working on your own, doing just 3 new clients per week, can deliver a very nice lifestyle thank you very much, even after overheads and taxes.

Summary

The bottom line is this. Getting into scalp micropigmentation is easy. Staying in the game, building a reputation and growing a profitable business is not so easy, in fact in some hyper-competitive locations like New York City, Chicago or London, it’s very hard to carve out a niche for yourself and win customers.

But it is possible, and with discipline, hard work and a strong moral compass, the opportunities are endless.

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