The Must-Have Guide To Booking More Makeup Clients

What would it mean to your business if you were booking more makeup clients?

Whether it’s graduating from side hustle to full-time or adding another artist to your shop. A quick look around the industry reveals the opportunities are there.

We’re not saying it’s easy. If it was, part of the job wouldn’t be whipping out a #217 at the crack of dawn making yet another bridezilla’s dream day a reality.

But, small changes can lead to powerful outcomes. Let’s take a look at 21 ways you can begin booking more makeup clients today.

1. Bring your makeup brand into alignment
2. Stake claim in your confidence
3. You’re only as talented as your latest update
4. Build a consistent online presence
5. Let’s talk about Instagram
6. It’s time to take a chance on YouTube…
7. Book more makeup clients with a beauty salon appointment app
8. Create a showstopping website
9. Find a cause you love and donate your time
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals
11. Form local partnerships to book more makeup clients
12. Build Industry Referrals
13. The secret to booking more makeup clients? Talk to everyone. (seriously. EVERYONE)
14. Networking in the time of Corona
15. Start collecting email addresses ASAP
16. Automate your follow-ups
17. Go above & beyond without hesitation
Bonus—Makeup in the time of COVID (pre & post-shutdown)

1. Bring your makeup brand into alignment

In 2020, the likelihood of you already having a presence on social media is pretty high. So, if you want to start booking more makeup clients, a makeover of your *digital brand* is the perfect place to start. If it’s been a hot minute since you’ve audited your online self… there’s no time like the present. Dig into how you come across on Instagram, Facebook… and Twitter {dare I ask}.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this a good representation of my brand?
  • What do I want my clients to see?
  • Are my brand values coming through?
  • What message am I sending?

One of the greatest things about being a makeup artist is—you’re an artist. Your style is always evolving. You have the opportunity to experiment daily, play with new looks, and push boundaries. This is one of a few industries where you’re embraced for being a little *weird* or *eccentric* by societal norms. Embrace the real you.

The quickest way to build a following (that could turn into booking more makeup clients) is by letting your freak flag fly. Authenticity builds real connections… and stands out on feeds fraught with fakeness. As long as your brand is sending the message, vibe & representation you’re proud of to potential clients… go with it.

Play. Experiment. Be you.

Related The 10 Commandments of Creating a Business You Love

2. Stake claim in your confidence

Vanessa Williams on Broad City

There’s nothing more magnetic than an artist who’s confident. It’s terrifying to sit in the chair of a MUA with shaking hands as they attempt a cat-eye with fluidline.*

Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses —then work daily to improve them. Spend time reflecting on what makes you special. Where do your talents lie? Can you put lashes on in your sleep? Are you the king of a matte red lip? Use these standout abilities to build a solid base of self-confidence. Trust me—you’re gonna need it. Effective self-promotion starts with a gold star perception of yourself. Start making deposits into your *brag jar* now.

*full disclosure, this was totally me. Cat-eye and fluid line with a #210 was my nemesis.

3. You’re only as talented as your latest update

Let’s suppose you’ve been a makeup artist for ten years. A lot has changed over the last decade. When was the last time you updated your online portfolio? Makeup is very visual, and whether you’re applying for a spot in a beauty salon or updating your site, you’ll need high-quality—*of-this-decade* photos.

If you’re panicking at the thought of putting together a portfolio {hi newbie!}, there are many ways to figure it out. Your first step is finding a team of collaborators you can work alongside to create art:

  1. Ask other makeup artists, teachers, or creators (photographers, stylists, hair stylists) in your area if they can recommend you or if they have any recommendations.
  2. Get online. There are many sites where you can register as a makeup artist to connect with other creatives and models for shoots. {One of the most well-known platforms to register your work on is ‘Model Mayhem’}
  3. Social media is also an incredible way to find creative collaborators—seriously, it’s NEVER been easier to connect and build your portfolio.

Your online work is going to be your first impression, whether you’re brand new, or an industry veteran { ← well, unless you’re Pat McGrath or Sir John… then you get a pass}. Show off your skills with a portfolio that accurately reflects your brand. Get ready to start booking more makeup clients.

4. Build a consistent online presence

There’s never been an easier, more affordable time to promote yourself to a mass audience than 2020. The catch? You’ve gotta be consistent. It’s not a *set it & forget it* kinda vibe. Step one in booking more makeup clients on social media is engagement.

You’d be shocked at the amount of MUA’s that skip this step. Yet with the overcrowding in the market, you must set yourself apart from your competition. Sticking to a schedule of posting once a day is ideal—but if that’s too much, aim to post every other day.

Why the schedule?

  1. Visibility: You stay front of mind. When your followers need their makeup done for their next event or if they have a friend in need—you’re who they turn to.
  2. Growth: Algorithm baby. This is how you get new followers! {and eventually, start booking more makeup clients}

The beauty of social media is you’re able to connect with potential clients in a non-salesy format. When you’re posting three to four times a week, it’s easy to drop a “book your online makeup appointment now” post in… without feeling icky. You have the power to steer your brand in whatever direction feels good to you.

Now that you have a clear picture of what an ideal social plan looks like, how does your current account measure up? Ask yourself these three questions from your clients’ point of view while you review your social platforms/website:

  1. What does she do?
  2. How can she help me?
  3. And why should I care?

If the answers to these questions are clear, and you have images (or videos) that back up the theme of your page— there’s a good chance your potential client will “follow” you, stick around, and hear what you have to say. If not, POOF! — you’ve missed an opportunity for a future makeup booking.

5. Let’s talk about Instagram

zak and slater from saved by the bell

Your potential clients are spending the majority of their free time on their phones, doom-scrolling through Insta. When you have posts showing off your makeup skills & client transformations, they’ll wanna see what you’re putting out next. If by chance that prospective client is on the hunt for a makeup artist pronto, those videos and images might land you a message asking for more details about your work and rates.

When using Instagram as a way to book more makeup clients don’t forget to:

  • Have a link in your bio sending them to you online booking page
  • Use personality-driven language in each post to engage
  • Have a mix of clear images & entertaining videos
  • Include local tags to increase the odds of local clients finding you
  • Optimize your IG bio to attract your target client (150 characters max)
  • Point potential clients to your booking link in every post!

Related → How to Book Appointments Through Instagram

Instagram is the perfect place to play up the personality of your brand

The key to winning the internet? Be human. Sounds simple, but many *brands* switch off their humanity when they get online. Instagram is the perfect place for makeup artists to show off their creative skills and their personality.

If you want to book more makeup clients you need to build up that know, like and trust factor first—Instagram lets you speed up that process in many ways:

  1. Instagram Stories → the ideal spot to show off your personality, speak to your target audience and engage on a deeper level. With the different tools IG offers you can ask questions, take polls, go live, offer a quiz… you’re only bound by your creativity.
  2. IGTV → Use this medium for longer video content like tutorials, lessons, behind-the-scenes, even a demonstration of your consultations. Treat IGTV as your own public broadcast channel!

For example, video content of you working, lets potential clients envision themselves in your makeup chair. Plus, they get to see you in action. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the products you love, how you apply makeup, and your personality when interacting with clients. It takes some of the uncertainty out of hiring you for a makeup job if they’ve never met you before.

Beauty clients can book online appointments via your Instagram profile

makeup artist surrey_bridal and lash artists
^^^ Instagram: @georgiam.makeup                                   ^^^ Instagram: @the_lash_line

As an artist whose main goal is to book more makeup clients, the last thing you want is for a potential client to hit your Insta page, fall madly in love, and not know how to book with you. #epic fail.

The moment you decide Instagram is going to be a lead generating machine it’s time to clean up your bio — here’s how:

  • Sprinkle in a couple of emojis
  • Use upper and lower case words
  • Add punctuation (this could include *, !, #, parenthesis)
  • Explain what your business is all about, what you do and who you serve. Your main goal is to convert your ideal client to booked (150 characters max)
  • Add your online booking link into your bio {or as the top option in your linktr.ee}

A major bonus to overhauling your Instagram page is that unlike a website, everyone on Instagram already knows how to navigate the app. They won’t get tripped up on where to go to find your link, or how to get in touch.

Bonus: Get in on Instagram ads

Advertising on Instagram is easy, effective, and budget-friendly. You have the choice of driving traffic to your online booking page, your DM’s, or your profile. Once you’ve decided where you want to direct your potential clients, it’s all about knowing your target market.

The ads are posts you’ve already created, so it’s as simple as hitting “boost post,” and you’re all set. The more eyes you can get on your boudoir photoshoot or latest fashion spread the better! You want to get your name out there to start booking more makeup clients.

6. It’s time to take a chance on YouTube…


Credit: Alissa Ashley

Don’t be intimidated by YouTube because it seems like a Gen Z wasteland, or the place your weird Uncle goes to confirm his conspiracy theories. Makeup artists can build a devoted following on YouTube, and it’s a fantastic platform for potential clients to check out your work.

Make a plan to post videos of the niche you specialize in (translation: the types of jobs you hope to land in the future), and focus on uploading tutorials to highlight those skills.

The more you can help the *every day* person master sought after looks—the more popular your videos will become. Show prospective clients you not only have the skills as an artist but that you genuinely enjoy helping people look & feel their best. { ← it’s that know, like, trust factor again}

7. Book more makeup clients with a beauty salon appointment app

“Love it!!!! I’ve had Bookedin for over a year now and I have to say I absolutely love it. Before Bookedin I was losing clients because I couldn’t always answer the phone in my spa. Now my clients can book anytime they want online and they get confirmations and reminders. I love it and my clients love it. Highly recommend it for any business.” – Ramona Oltean, Owner, Lemoni Beauty Clinic

Has the barrage of Instagram DMs, emails, text messages & Facebook messages you’ve got coming at you from all angles vying for makeup appointment times got you feeling overwhelmed?

The quickest way to booking sanity — a beauty scheduling app. Give your makeup clients the option to book securely through Instagram, Facebook, your website, and a dedicated online booking page.

You can stop stressing about missing opportunities, unintentional double bookings { ← no one likes an angry bride}, and the constant back and forth collecting pertinent details.

Your makeup clients will have the freedom to book appointments online when it’s convenient for them—and you won’t be tied to your phone 24/7.

8. Create a showstopping website

kiss and makeup memphis
^^^ Visit Kiss and Makeup Memphis

Long gone are the days when you could bank on making your first impression in person. In our digital world, your website is the smiling face that represents your work—and personality. Think of it as the beating heart of your online presence. All roads (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Online Appointment Booking) lead back to it.

Look at creating a blog so you can write on different topics, such as new makeup trends, events & product reviews. It’s a *kill-two-birds-with-one-stone* way to drive traffic to your site with SEO & show off your knowledge. Potential clients love authority.

Here’s a breakdown of what you should be aiming for on a website:

  • An updated portfolio page with clear, well-lit images
  • A contact form so potential clients can reach you if they have more questions
  • A link to online scheduling OR an embedded online booking page
  • Testimonials from past clients (with photos) to build your credibility
  • A services page that details what you offer and how you work
  • A URL that doesn’t look like this: www.makeupartistname.squarespace.com (buy the branded URL)

HOT TIP: Using a site builder like Squarespace gives you access to beautiful pre-designed templates that you can customize to fit your brand – and it’s perfect for those of you who are a little technophobic.

9. Find a cause you love and donate your time

Giving back to your community (when you can) has never felt more important than at this moment. There are plenty of causes in need of support, so look for one you connect with.

As a makeup artist, you have the opportunity to inspire change with your skills and to create the type of interactions and discussions you want to have in your community. Donating your time is a great opportunity to share your gift with others on an inspirational level.

Whether it’s:

  • Working a charity fashion show
  • Providing makeovers for domestic abuse survivors
  • Heading to *Dress for Success* to help with interview looks

The people you connect with will always remember your generosity. If that leads to recommending your work to their network (ex. booking more makeup clients) and establishing your brand image in a positive light… amazing. But do it for your community and the goodness of humanity—not for more money.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals

A lot of us were raised not to toot our own horns. It feels weird asking people to recommend us for a job—well that stops now. You’re running a business, and everyone needs to know how great you are and how you can serve them.

The next time you’re at the coffee shop, and you overhear the person behind you in line needs a boudoir MUA, get out your card, make your introduction, and ask for that referral. All it takes is one step to get the ball rolling.

For those of you who work within the beauty salon setting, or have a shop with artists that span several industries (ex. hairstylist, nail tech, lash specialist, brows); you understand referrals are the lifeblood of business.

And a little incentive never hurts.

There are numerous ways to incentivize your clients, it’s finding what works for your shop that’s key. As an example, if you serve bridal parties regularly, offer the bride 30% off their next salon visit when they refer a friend who books. Or how about a free manicure to the bride if the party is over 5 people? Whatever works best for your business combined with your target market will equal more booked makeup clients.

11. Form local partnerships to book more makeup clients

makeup brushes in containers

Forming partnerships with local businesses is an excellent cross-promotion. Take a bit of time and search out companies relevant to your niche (the most straightforward example would be: Bridal MUA – bridal shops, bakeries, wedding photographer, wedding planner). Once you have a list, visit each of them to see if they can pass out your business cards to brides that haven’t booked a makeup artist yet.

In exchange, you can offer a few different things:

  1. Commission for each bride who books an appointment
  2. Promotion to your brides for each of their businesses
  3. Determine an equal cross-promotion

I know this might feel a little awkward in the beginning (whether you’ve been a makeup artist for years, or you’re fresh outta school)… but making connections within your community is not something everyone does. And you know how much competition is out there.

12. Build Industry Referrals

kim kardashian makeup fail
^^^ You’ve all been asked to re-create *THE KIM*

It’s all about who you know. If you’re not down to meet people and build relationships—this might not be the industry for you. Whether it’s a paying client or the hairstylist you meet on location—you need to nurture those connections so they grow into relationships.

Other makeup artists not only offer you unparalleled support {who else will understand what it’s like to explain to someone that makeup cannot turn them into Kim K… not even Kim looks like that 😳} but as they get to know your personality, work ethic, and skill-level may also become your best lead generation.

Don’t take the myriad of people you meet *out in the world* for granted. Gather emails, phone numbers, IG handles, and stay in touch. Follow-up a meeting with a personal thank you for their connection, hold a virtual event where you invite those who’ve helped you along the way {include past clients}, and offer free mini-training as a thank you.

Use that creative brain of yours to think up ways to show appreciation while also demonstrating your skills!

13. The secret to booking more makeup clients? Talk to everyone. (seriously. EVERYONE)

Simple advice? Sure… but it works. Talk to everyone and anyone you can about what you’re doing to grow your makeup business. It’s shocking how common it is to run into someone who knows someone looking to hire a makeup artist.

There’s also a big ol’ world of events out there filled with photographers, hairstylists, salon owners, estheticians, brow specialists, other MUA’s, creative directors…the list is endless.

The catch? You need to put yourself out there if you want to meet them.

You see, the more people you meet and have meaningful conversations with—the more likely it is your name comes up as a referral.

So get out there. Sign yourself up for a spot at the next wedding expo or special event happening in your city {related to your ideal makeup client.} Take advantage of your chance to sparkle, network, and show off your talents. Expos can be a great spot to book more makeup clients as most guests attending are ready to commit. Seeing you in action can be enough to seal the deal. But, even if go as a guest, you can get a good feel for how other makeup artists in your area are using the exposure to their advantage.

Your network is like your new cheer squad. They help you develop word-of-mouth marketing for your business. And as you all know, word-of-mouth marketing is the best *bring-me-more-makeup-clients* tool you have.

SIDE NOTE: In the time of COVID-19 most expos and conventions are on hold, so this ^^^ is gonna be off the table for now. However, there are so many events that have gone virtual. You need to do a little digging to find them, but don’t give up. Your potential clients are out there, and they’re looking for you.

Related COVID-19: How Bookedin Can Help Manage Your Business

14. Networking in the time of Corona

networking in the time of rona

Since March we’ve been living in a state of uncertainty. When are things going back to *normal?* Is it safe to go back to work?

For makeup artists, the past few months have dealt a massive blow. You have to get all up in your clients’ faces to make them look gorgeous and when ‘Rona swept in, that became impossible. On top of that, most events and weddings were put on hold or canceled.

As society tentatively re-opens, it looks like some artists are once again back out there, albeit in a completely different world. With PPE, hyper-sanitation, and generalized anxiety—a clinical air hangs over most bookings.

And what about networking?

If you’re an established artist with a client base who consistently refers new business to you—not a huge deal. However, as a newbie or even a seasoned artist in a new location—what’s the approach to networking during Corona?

Well, it looks like you’re about to get more practice with your social distancing. It’s time to start networking… social media style.

Whether you start with LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook—it’s all about getting to know new people, local businesses, other professionals—and building a better network.

Here are three things to consider when you get started:

  1. Social media is about being *social*—that goes beyond simply *liking* a post. Start making pals on each platform by consistently leaving thoughtful comments. No more: “nice post!” or “great look!” Put a little thought into what you’re going to say. It’s about building legitimate connections.
  2. Shout out your peers, people you admire & clients. If you’ve begun to make solid relationships with other MUA’s in your area, start there. Be genuine and share what you love about their work.
  3. Don’t send random connection requests (Linkedin), DM’s (Instagram/Twitter), or messages (FB). Sliding into someone’s space without first creating a relationship can backfire. We’re all busy with lots on our plate—don’t add extra work—add value.

15. Start collecting email addresses ASAP

If you’re not collecting email addresses on your website… What’s holding you back? Building an email list makes it easier for you to stay in touch with past clients and increases the likelihood they’ll reach out to you with more work. It’s also a communication channel that can’t be snatched away from you.

Each time a new email address is added to your list, you’re able to hold onto that indefinitely (unless they unsubscribe). Whereas, social media platforms are controlled by the internet overlords {mostly Zucks} with the *right* to cancel your account, ban you for life, or change the algorithm—all without warning.

There’s no time like the present to create a simple email opt-in that gives your potential clients a quick win (i.e., 10 Things You Need to Have in Your Makeup Bag After 35, A 5-min Smoky-Eye Tutorial). You can follow that up with a series of 3-5 emails introducing your business, your background, and how to book a makeup appointment with you.

Make sure the emails are written the same way you speak—this helps your prospective clients connect with your personality and hook them deeper into your business. These first touchpoints will set the stage for your business going forward.

Looking to have clients hire your makeup services for round two?

Start sending out emails that link to your online booking page for upcoming sessions (ex. Holiday-themed events) or explore client loyalty programs (ex. refer-a-friend, discounts). These emails work especially well during the holiday season. Past clients are more likely to need makeup for special events or photoshoots.

16. Automate your follow-ups

“Been using Bookedin for about 3 years or so and my clients love the texts messages letting them know their appt is confirmed or if I’m on my way. I love the app because it makes my life so much easier and professional any time of the day!”- Crystal Benaim, Mobile Makeup Artist

There’s no worse feeling than getting an email ten minutes before you’re about to head out the door to a Saturday morning makeup appointment. “I’m so sorry, I forgot… I need to cancel.

Or sitting in an empty shop waiting for the bachelorette party that never shows.

No-shows are an issue for almost every service-based business, makeup artists are no exception. Your clients may forget, find an artist they’d prefer to work with or realize they don’t have the money to get glammed up for a Saturday night out.

As a business owner, you’ve got bills to pay and a calendar to keep full — so follow-up is key. You need to keep your clients informed of your policies (late, no-show) and give them the option of rescheduling if needed.

It’s time to automate your email & text reminders.

When you transition to beauty salon appointment software you give yourself the gift of automatic email/text reminders for your clients. Your clients can reschedule (with parameters set by you) and confirm automatically.

Stop chasing your clients and start focusing on how to get more makeup clients into your chair.

17. Go above & beyond without hesitation

It’s time to sweat all the small stuff. If you want your reputation to precede you {in the best of ways}, every client needs to get the personal treatment. We all want to feel special. When you’re trying to book more makeup clients, going above and beyond isn’t optional—it’s a requirement. If you can create an unmatched client experience you have a shot at building repeat business as well as a reputation that’s built on word-of-mouth.

Here are a few ideas to start with:

  • Create a face chart for your client so they can recreate the look afterward
  • Follow up to see if they liked their makeup and how things lasted
  • Record what colors look best on your clients & their preferences in your client notes
  • Offer a glass of champagne during consultations.
  • Send a handwritten thank-you note, birthday card, wedding congratulations

Related How to Wow Your Clients: 25 Ways to Stand out from Your Competition

Bonus—Makeup in the time of COVID (pre & post-shutdown)

We can’t pretend there’s not a pandemic happening right now. But… and this is a big but… it’s not going to last forever. So, rather than a guide focused on how to book more makeup clients during the shutdown, we wanted to focus on the long-term.

Now. Back to COVID-19.

The reality of someone touching your face for an extended period of time, even someone you trust {mask or no mask} can be intimidating at best & unthinkable at worst. So, how are makeup artists pivoting their businesses to serve clients & stay afloat? If an in-person makeup appointment isn’t an option, artists are moving their services online:

  • Online classes (individual or group)
  • Tutorials (zoom or IG/Facetime)
  • Consultations
  • Lessons
  • Free virtual beauty sessions
  • Decluttering makeup bags, makeup shopping

The adjustment to translating certain skills into a virtual medium comes with a new set of challenges, but MUA’s are making it work. One issue artists are running into is that makeup is a visual experience—which like it or not, often requires more guidance. So, to keep online tutorials or lessons as helpful as possible it may require a break down of each step alongside your client. *Man-in-the-mirror* style.

Whether it’s how to get a daytime look for your client’s inaugural zoom interview or the bridal look your client never expected to be doing from their horribly lit bathroom—planning is everything.

You’ll want to offer a consultation before your virtual appointment making sure your clients have the tools & products they need. Nothing is worse than getting a flawless face, impeccable shadow, and then realizing your client doesn’t have mascara to complete the look.

If you’re booking online group classes, tutorials or lessons, try to keep the looks basic. *Punch-ups*  can be kept to the parts of the face that are difficult to mess up. Now’s not the time for a three-step smoky eye or perfectly lined red lip.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Use your target market and creativity to guide you. Maybe three levels of tutorials as a package would be attractive to your clients. Or classes on different looks (daytime vs. special event). Put it out there and see who bites.

COVID-19 isn’t a situation anyone wanted, but it’s what we’ve got. If you want to continue booking makeup clients, you’ll need to think outside the box and stretch your skills more than you thought possible. But you can do it… you’re a badass.

Are you ready to start booking more makeup clients?

Whether your makeup business is ready to go from side hustle to full-time. Or, you’re rocking makeup as your day job and looking to expand, implementing any of these tips could land more makeup clients in your chair.

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you. Drop your advice in the comments below ⬇️.