How to create an impactful referral program for your salon or spa

8 Apr 2015 by Brenda Perham

Client referral programs have been a part of the salon/spa marketing landscape for a long time. Quite often when I discuss referral marketing strategies with salon owners I get a luke warm response. “We tried that but it didn’t work” or “I had all the cards printed but no one gave them away.” I believe referral marketing does work but it needs to be delivered and driven in a particular way to have an ongoing impact on your business growth.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind if you would like to include a referral program in your marketing mix:

  • It needs to be a win/win for both the existing and the new client, ideally the same reward for both works well i.e. $20 off a service for the new and existing client
  • Don’t expect an instant response! It takes time to kick in. It’s worth the wait though as the new clients it brings are in the same “tribe” as your existing clients so they will be more inclined to fit your salon/spa culture and become regulars.
  • You need to be committed to driving the cards, they don’t work when they are sitting on a shelf out the back! Get your team behind the promo and explain the benefits for them. These cards will bring new clients that will be specifically requesting them, you can’t get much better than that if you want to grow your clientele. Have them on hand at the front desk/beauty room and work stations.
  • Make sure your card looks enticing and reflects your brand. First impressions count.
  • Make sure you promote the offer on a regular basis directly to your clients via email marketing and social media. If you have a website you can create a downloadable version via a link that clients can print off and give away.
  • Don’t forget the fine print, make sure your offer excludes children, men (if you want to) and is not valid with any other offer. Generally you wouldn’t worry about an expiry date for this type of offer.

Now you have all that sorted you need to set up the back end! Ensure you have a process to acknowledge and thank the client that has referred. You can set this up in Everyday Marketing so it’s automatic, this happens when you choose “Another Customer” in the “Referred by” section of your newly referred clients customer card. Make sure all your team are aware of the importance of completing this area of the customer card to activate the thank you message.

Referral programs can also be “cranked up” by running promotions to activate the referring. Queen of Referrals is a promo that rewards the client that refers the most clients over a certain time frame or you could run a promo with a big prize draw, every time a client refers they go in the draw.

Historically we’re heading to the quieter months of the year but it doesn’t need to be that way. A well driven referral program will help you get more bums on seats or bodies on beds!

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