How to create an effective referral programme for your salon, spa or clinic

How to create an impactful referral programme for your salon, spa or clinic

5 May 2021 by Kitomba

Client referral programmes have been a part of the hair and beauty marketing landscape for a long time, but it can be discouraging if you’ve tried running a referral scheme and you’re not getting many referrals. 

While we can’t expect to get referrals immediately after launching a referral programme, there are things we can do to ensure they’re as effective as possible, which we cover in this blog. 

But first; why is referral marketing important for the hair and beauty industry? 

People tend to trust the recommendations of other people more than they trust businesses. When a potential client is in need of a product or service, where are they most likely to turn? Friends, family or reviews on the internet. 

Our friends and family are a trusted source of recommendations, so your loyal clients’ referrals are a great asset to your business, and an affordable way to get new clients through the door. 

Ready to get started? Here’s how to create a referral programme for your salon, spa or clinic that actually gets results!

1. Make sure everyone wins 

While some of your loyal clients will recommend your business naturally, others will need incentive to do so. Ensure your referral programme offers an incentive and reward for referrals. For example, you could provide a discount or a benefit to both the referrer and the referee.

The incentive you offer needs to make sense for your business and ensure you’re still profitable, so choose what works best for you and your clients. 

If you’re apprehensive about dishing out discounts, keep in mind that referred clients are more likely to be loyal and to spend more, and acquiring new loyal clients is the aim of the programme. 

Friends enjoying hanging out and chatting about salon preferences

2. Lay down some rules 

Your referral programme needs terms and conditions and a process around it to ensure everyone knows what’s involved, both the clients and the staff, and that it runs smoothly. 

The main things to consider are: 

  • How long the deal is valid for. 
  • How many people one person is allowed to refer – is there a limit? 
  • The terms and conditions of the incentive redemption.
  • How referrals will be tracked.   

You may not want a limit on the number of people they can refer so that they bring in as many new clients as possible, but if you’re finding that a client is bringing in lots of friends who only come in once, you may want to limit their referral amount. 

It’s also important that your salon or spa software is able to accommodate your referral programme and incentives and make the process easy. Find out how you can use Kitomba for referrals

3. Get your team on board 

Your team has a big impact on the effectiveness of your referral programme. For one, they are in charge of providing an exceptional client experience that turns your clients into raving fans that want to refer you business. 

Secondly, your team spends the most face to face time with your clients, so they’ve got a fantastic opportunity to inform clients about the programme. 

It’s important that your team knows the referral programme inside and out so they can pass the information onto their clients. Remind your team that referred clients spend more and are more loyal, and if their clients are bringing in their friends, they’ll likely ask the same team member to look after them. That way your team members’ appointment books are getting filled with loyal clients! You could even offer an incentive or reward to the team member that gets the most referrals for the month. Man getting a cut at a barber he had been referred too

4. Ask your most loyal clients for referrals 

It makes sense to tell your most supportive clients about your referral programme first, as they’ll naturally speak positively about your business. If some of your clients are super vocal about their love of your business, you could remind them in person that you have a referral programme and outline the benefits. 

For your clients who aren’t particularly vocal but are always returning, you could send them a survey asking for feedback, and if it’s positive, you could follow up with an email informing them about your referral programme. 

5. Promote your referral programme

Once you’ve created your referral programme you’ll need to promote it so everyone knows about it. Think catchy marketing messages like “Give $20, Get $20”, and attractive designs that stand out. Be sure to provide a succinct summary of what the deal is and how it works. 

The attractive design should be eye-catching, so when it’s sitting on your front desk, it’s easy for clients to notice it, pick it up, and put it in their wallet. Then on the flip side, simple instructions and rules. You want them to be able to pull out the card from their wallet later and easily remember what the deal is.

The same applies to digital marketing. Make your emails, social posts and advertising about the deal stand out and make it easy for your clients to see the value of the programme. Owner of salon, spa or clinic promotes his referral programme

6. Be patient 

Referral programmes won’t work instantly. Instead, think long-term. As long as you have reminders around your business like referral cards on your desk or signs next to your mirrors, plus your staff is on board and continuing to tell your clients about the programme, your clients will remember the deal next time their friend is in need of a new salon, spa or clinic to visit, resulting in a referral for your business. 

7. Thank them for their referral 

When you get referrals be sure to thank the referee! They’ve helped your business, so it’s worth letting them know that you’re grateful. If the referred client’s lifetime value ends up being long, it’s well worth the $20 discount you provided them. Send out an automated email letting them know how grateful you are for their referral. You can do this easily in Kitomba by setting up an Everyday Marketing campaign

Use these tips to kick-start your referral programme 

A referral programme is a relatively cost-effective method of acquiring new clients compared to other marketing efforts. Your clients end up doing the selling for you, and because they’re recommending your business to their family and friends, they’re far more likely to become clients! 

Follow the steps in this article to implement a referral programme that works, and for more tips on how to make your referral programme a success, read 8 ways to get more referrals

Grow your hair and beauty business 

If you want to learn more ways to attract more clients and increase your salon, spa or clinic’s revenue, download our free ebook 100 ways to grow. It contains 100 actionable ways to grow your hair and beauty business to help you reach your goals! 

Kitomba Salon and Spa Software has an extensive range of features available to assist you with managing and growing your business. If you’d like to find out how Kitomba can help you, book your free demo or contact us

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