How to set up a successful salon referral program and get more customers into your beauty salon or spa?
Oct 10, 2019 · 7 min read
When you look for a good hairdresser, nail artist, spa salon or a yoga studio, who do you turn? Yes, to your friends, family or colleagues.
People’s opinions and recommendations play a great role in decision making. It is even more important for the beauty industry, particularly for salons and spa, as no one wants to trust her hair or nails to a total stranger unless that stranger has done an amazing haircut or a perfect gel for her sister.
Referrals are important for any business, big or small, but for beauty salons, they work exceptionally well and deliver amazing results.
One of the main advantages of the referral program is that they are free. No extra marketing expenses, efforts or human resources are needed for asking a client to refer to their friends and acquaintances. Referral programs can provide substantial income when implemented and used correctly.
Let’s have a look at how you can improve your salon’s referral marketing strategies.
Ideally, the people refer to others because they believe that they’ve got exceptional, high-quality service and want the others to get that service too. They do so, as they want to help their friend or relative to avoid the headache of finding a good specialist who will not ruin their hair, nails or use low-quality products during the treatments.
Anyhow, if you are grateful and show your gratitude to your client who has already become your brand evangelist, they will be even happier and motivated.
The reward should not always be financial in the form of a cashback. Paying your clients for referrals is not the best idea. The reward can be a free service, discount coupon, a small gift or loyalty points.
Rewarding both sides of the referral program will increase the effectiveness of the program and ensure its success.
In most cases, the advocate (one who refers) receives the incentive when referee performs an action, i. e. visits the salon and gets any service.
In this case, the salon referral program works correctly, otherwise, you will not have the expected results.
Rewarding both parties in the salon referral program increases engagement and motivates both parts to perform the desired action.
Think of good headlines for your existing clients, like:
“Send 10% off and get a free haircut.”
“Send a 20% discount for the first visit and get 500 points!”
When implementing a rewards program for the referrals, try to be personal. Rewarding your already happy customer is the point when you shift her to another level, where she becomes a brand advocate, and here you have to be careful to choose the right reward.
A one-size-fits-all approach is not the perfect solution. If your client has never been interested in hair treatment, don’t reward her with a free treatment course. Or if she has long hair, a hair extension discount will not make her happy.
If you’ve framed a reward specifically for the referrer’s needs, it will raise the value of the reward. The clients will definitely appreciate your efforts, and it will entice them to refer more.
Acquiring a new customer can be really tough: you need to run a marketing campaign with paid ads, print banners or other promotional materials. All of these are costly, take time and much effort.
Implementing a referral program in your salon marketing strategy will cost you almost nothing. The price for a new customer can be a haircut, treatment or any other service at your salon. Referrals strengthen client loyalty, bring you more clients and increase salon reputation.
Don’t reward the advocate with a 10 or 20% discount, unless it is a discount for an expensive procedure. Give a lot of points, a free service, a really BIG discount, a significant credit.
Asking for referrals and then reminding can be uncomfortable and sometimes awkward.
Anyway, you have to ask for referrals if you want more clients. If you want to be more confident, first ask for feedback. Thus you will know for sure which clients love your services and are willing to refer to friends.
People recommend when they are happy. Happy and satisfied clients spread the word of mouth themselves.
Anyhow, there can be multiple reasons for them just to forget to tell about the cool experience at your salon, and if you just ask them to refer the salon and the services to a friend, they will do it with great pleasure, simply because they are happy. They will also give useful information, help with the booking, explain/describe the salon location and even help to choose a stylist.
Remind them after some time that she has an open referral, and the friend has not answered yet. Maybe they will try and invite the friend once more?
One more small tip: never ask for a referral while presenting the bill to the client.
Many businesses limit referrals to 2 or 3 times. Generally, it’s a bad idea. You’d rather do that if you can’t track who your existing clients are and who are the new ones.
Our experience shows that limiting referrals is meaningless, especially for the beauty salon business. For avoiding fraud and unfair cases, just reward the advocate when the referee uses the service. In this case, you are the winner: you get more and more new customers and at the same time retain your existing clients. But you need to provide a high-quality service, otherwise, the clients will not stay with you for a long time.
Asking for the referrals face to face is always nice. Nice, but tough. Who will be in charge of asking the referrals? The specialist? The manager? The cashier? The salon owner?
If your salon is already using a loyalty program, implement a referral program in it. If you browse the web, you will find lots of referral automation solutions where you can track the referrals.
At RetentionForce we have created a full solution for salons, where asking for feedback and the referrals is an inter-related and engaging process, with interactive messages, GIFS, and rewards. The program asks for referrals exclusively to happy clients, tracks the referrals and rewards both the advocate and the friend. Salons that work with RetentionForce get on average 40+ referrals monthly.
Automation makes the whole process of referral asking a breeze, meanwhile collecting data about client satisfaction, staff performance, and customer behaviour.
Well, all of us have already agreed that referrals are the most cost-effective and successful form of customer acquisition.
The clients who have been acquired through a referral program, tend to be more loyal. When clients refer to their friends, they themselves become more loyal, as a sort of network is framed in that salon.
Friends, friends of friends start using the same salon, the same services. They can visit the salon in groups, discuss the services together, ask and give advice thus forming a specific community inside the salon.
Such clients are less inclined to switch to another salon, as in this case, they will leave here a lot more than just salon service.
Digital Marketing Specialist, Strategist, Content Writer at RetentionForce.