Becoming A Commercial Makeup Artist – Part Four

If you have followed along with Part One, Two, and Three, you now have your "Hit Lists" and have already sent your first of many emails to your Hit Lists. 

So what now? It’s time to delve into marketing yourself as a Commercial Makeup Artist.

Search Engine Optimization - Google

Now that you have a website you need to market it. You can have an expert optimize your site to rank higher in Google searches, but let’s be real - it’s unlikely you will pop up on the first page with a term as widely used as "makeup artist." I suggest investing in Google Adwords. This can be costly, but not if you do it right. You can pay a company to do this for you, but it’s really not that hard if you know how to follow directions.

 

Go to http://adwords.google.com/ and set up an account. You will need a credit card to link to your account.

You will start by making a "campaign." Follow the instructions and make your first ad. These are the important things you want to remember to keep costs low:

  • Under settings make sure you target just the city you work in. You don’t want people in Hong Kong clicking on your ad and costing you money. If you live close to Los Angeles and this is where you will be working, you will target JUST Los Angeles and a radius around Los Angeles (about 100 miles). Your ad should look something like this:
    Makeup/Hair Artist Jane Doe
    Film/Print/TV/Video
    Specializing in Natural Makeup
    I would highly suggest if you do bridal and special occasion makeup that this is done on a separate ad and not mentioned as part of this ad.
  • Under settings, make sure you do NOT chose Display Ads, you want to choose just Google and its ad partners.
  • You will then be asked to enter key words, and this is where you must be careful. All of your key words and phrases need to have "quote marks" on each side to avoid having your ad pop up under unintended searches (where you will pay for clicks you don’t need). Following are examples of good key words and phrases:
  1. "makeup artist San Diego" (using your own city of course)
  2. "print makeup"
  3. "makeup artist for photography"
  4. "makeup artist for video"
  5. "makeup artist for ads"
  6. "best makeup artist in San Diego"
  7. "makeup and hair artist"
  8. "makeup artist agency"
  9. "modeling agency" I use this because if they are looking for a model at an agency they need makeup as well.
  10. "best makeup artist in San Diego"

You will also want to use NEGATIVE key words. You don’t want brides and others to find this ad. You can do another ad for those clients.

  1. bridal
  2. special occasion
  3. brides
  4. salon
  5. MAC
  6. cheap
  • Make sure you set your daily budget at what you can afford, and make sure you watch it daily. This will cut the ad off at whatever dollar amount you set.
  • Set your budget for each keyword. Some keywords are better than others. You will know which ones are best for you after you watch your campaigns. You will need to watch them closely.

This is something you will need to play with and work on regularly but it’s the best form of advertising right now for this kind of work. Once you have your client base built and word of mouth has spread, you can then cut back on the Google Adwords advertising.

To recap: Email your Hit List regularly, utilize Google Adwords, and if you can afford it have your website optimized for searching. Of course, it must be optimized for mobile phones and devices.

Networking

Networking events are usually cheap if not free, so it’s worth it to take advantage of these opportunities. You will meet people in the industry that may be good connections for you. Keep in mind that you are there to help the people you meet, not the other way around.

Dress appropriately to make a great first impressions. I believe it’s best to dress as you would for the job for which you are looking. Black clothing, nothing too short, nothing too low cut, nothing that screams you want to be the center of attention. I suggest covering all your tattoos. Commercial clients tend to be more conservative than most, and you want to give the impression that you will fit in on this kind of job.

I suggest you keep your nails short and clean. I would avoid high heels, flashy jewelry, keep your hair and makeup professional and conservative. Again, you don’t want to give the impression that you want to be the star of the show.

You are there to learn about the people you meet, and you need to be remembered for the right reasons. Exchange cards and always follow up with potential allies and clients with an email letting people know how nice it was to meet them.

Business Cards 

You will need business cards before you go to networking events. As a Commercial Makeup Artist your card should be simple and clean. Against opinions of many, I would put a very clean makeup photo on the card because it’s more interesting and shows your work. If you don’t have an awesome image with a real model, leave the photo off.

Avoid using catchy names like Makeup Goddess Jane, etc. Just your name is best. Successful artists normally use their real name, or if your name is hard to pronounce, shorten it - but your real name is best. Let’s say your real name is something like "Chiwetel Ejiofor." Personally I would shorten that to something like "Chi." I might use makeupbychi.com as my web address, or better yet chi.com - however that would probably be taken.

Let’s say you have a common first name like Sarah, and a last name like Wasidowska. I might use the business name Sarah Wasi. This is advice aimed at newcomers to the business. If you are already known in your market you would be best to keep the name people know you by, but please drop the cute additions to your name. To commercial clients it may come across as amateurish. Remember, you want people to know who you are, know your name, remember your name. It’s all about branding.

Monthly postcards

Snail mail is a thing of the past and this makes it one of the best ways to get attention! I suggest getting a post card made with a few great shots of your work, your name and your phone number.

You can send this card with a different set of photos every month to your "hit list". Showing your best natural work is the best way to get the attention of people looking for a commercial artist. 

Linkedin

LinkedIn is a great way to promote yourself. Make sure you are connected to people you want to work with in the industry; photographers, producers, makeup artists, hair stylists, wardrobe stylists, Marketing Directors of local companies, owners of local businesses etc.

Stay active and write articles occasionally about set etiquette, natural makeup, etc. Your goal is to stay on the radar of the people that can hire you or be influential in the hiring decisions.

Facebook

People that are considering hiring you may search you on Facebook and social media to see how professional you are, so make sure you have a business page or a personal page that’s very professional.

If you say things or have photos that you don’t want potential clients to see, keep them private among just your close friends. Never say anything about a client or industry colleague anywhere on social media. It can be saved and used against you. Mentioning a client is never good, even if you mention how great they are.

Potential clients generally prefer their business relationships to remain private. Having a client list is different; I would of course put my good clients on my client list.

Resume 

Makeup artists really don’t need a traditional resume. I suggest that you have your client list on your website and all social media business pages. You do want potential clients to know that you have worked with real clients and have some experience.

You can also list the years in the industry, but be careful here. If you have been doing makeup for 35 years and you mention that, the potential client may consider you too old to keep up. It’s not right, but it is a good possibility. So I would say 10+ years instead, or even 20+, but you don’t want to give more info than necessary if you’re older. Age discrimination is real in the industry. Discrimination in the commercial industry isn’t as bad as it is in the fashion industry, but it does still exist.

If you have worked in the industry for only 6 months I probably wouldn’t mention time in the industry. Until you have had a few years’ experience in the industry it’s best to leave the time off your information pages.

I personally would leave off makeup schools attended, but opinions differ and it probably won’t help or hurt you. I would leave the word "certificate" off unless there is one required in your state.

If you have an Estheticians license or a Cosmetology license I would certainly mention that. This is a plus, and is important in many states. Please check your own state's cosmetology web site to make sure you are performing services in your state legally.


I hope you enjoyed this 4-part series on Becoming a Commercial Makeup Artist. If you have any questions feel free to post them here in the blog comments.  

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