How to Run a Successful Salon Referral Program?

If you’re wondering how to get new clients in your salon, you should probably start thinking about how to run a salon referral program.

Referrals are one of the essential salon marketing tools. Verbal referrals alone can result in an average 32% of them turning into sales or new customers for a small business.

Just imagine what you can get that number to be with an organized referral program and some salon promotion ideas to keep things exciting. The possibilities are endless.

A referral can take many forms: some salon business owners just ask their clients to refer their friends and colleagues, while others have a program with incentives that they explain. Many also create business cards for people to give out as well as using social media to promote the business.

These are all great ideas. Now, let’s talk about how you can get the most out of them and start growing your client base.

What You Will Learn

We’re going to take a look at the benefits of using client referrals, how to create a referral program that works for you, and go through some salon referral ideas and examples to help you get started.

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  1. Benefits of Having a Referral Program in Your Salon
  2. How to Run a Successful Referral Program in Your Salon?
  3. Salon Referral Program Examples
  4. Salon Referral Cards Ideas
  5. Conclusion

Benefits of Having a Referral Program in Your Salon


There are a lot of reasons to begin using referrals. Along with word of mouth, it’s another way to easily and effectively advertise your business and what you offer.

As a hair salon owner, you probably already understand how valuable your clients are when it comes to getting their friends in the door for that all-important first appointment.

So, why not make the most of their ability to help you with this?

What is a Salon Referral Program?

This is an industry strategy that uses growth marketing by encouraging your existing, loyal clients to recommend you to their friends and coworkers.

It’s also called word-of-mouth marketing sometimes, although customers nowadays are also likely to refer a friend through Facebook or by sending them a link to your business website.

You can use an incentive program, such as gift cards or discounts for example, to convince clients to sign up and support your business by giving referrals.

The most effective referral program ideas make it easy for people to share your salon brand with their friends and family.

First, you’ll have to make sure that your customers are actually happy with your services.

Consider having a premade message that they can share easily on social media, as well as a business card printed and ready to go.

Finally, determine what rewards will get you the results you want, and create a plan for asking your clients.

Why Does Your Salon Need a Referral Program?

Why does your salon need a referral program
Why does your salon need a referral program?

Referrals will attract new customers, but they’ll also increase the number of loyal clients that you have. When customers give referrals, they make a statement that they value the service and team at your salons. This makes each client more likely to visit again soon.

Any incentive or reward programs that you set up will also increase existing bookings, since guests will want to cash in on their exclusive discount or free service soon.

Let’s look at some of the top reasons why these incentive programs are so popular:

  • It’s effective. Salon owners will attest that it’s one of the best ways to encourage new client business.

  • Relatively cheap. A hair stylist referral program can be set up without a lot of complicated advertising or tools. It’s not free, but it is inexpensive.

  • Fairly easy. You can set up and implement the program, and then it will work on its own (your team just needs to remember to ask clients to sign up and recommend them during each visit)

  • Improves retention rates. You’ll keep your staff happy if you manage to get more clients in the door- recommendations from clients show that they’re appreciated as much as tips do.

  • Increase loyalty. When you recommend something, you like it more yourself and feel compelled to stand by it. A customer who referred a new client, for example, is telling themselves subconsciously that they also prefer the service.

  • Referred customers are more likely to become relugars. Clients who were referred to your business already have existing ties to it and, presumably, a friend who is also a guest there. This makes them likely to return in the future.

  • Increase brand awareness. Being referred by a client helps boost your brand publicity, especially when it’s done via a post on Facebook or Instagram. This increases your digital presence and makes it easier for people to search for you.

  • Additional data. When used with salon software, referrals can help salons to gather client data such as number of referrals, how they tend to refer you (digital, word-of-mouth, etc.) and the categories of services they generally refer to your business.

Do not miss our blog post about Key Performance Indicators to better track achievements of your business goals.

How to Run a Successful Referral Program in Your Salon?


First of all, they’re a great way to reward loyal client bases and give salons a boost. They’re low cost but deliver high value.

So, how do you structure a referral program?

Let’s take a look at some of the things that a salon owner can do to support a client referral program and ensure it’s a success.

Create a Referral Program for Your Salon

When you start out trying to boost your sales or appointment rates with guest referrals, you’ll need to have a plan that you and your staff can easily manage. Try to keep it simple and search for incentive, discount, or gift ideas that make sense for your business.

  1. Understand your objectives for such a programme. Do you want to increase service bookings? Which hair services in particular? What about the amount guests spend on product sales? Have clear goals for the future and set measurable targets.

  2. Think of Incentives. The reward that you offer should be good, but not cost so much that you lose money on the service. Be willing to offer a related incentive or gift to both the referring and referred guests (on their first visit).

  3. Choose a Delivery Method. This is the fun part. You’re free to choose any referral program ideas for hairstylists to encourage guests to pass referrals on to their friends and colleagues, but here are the three most popular salon marketing ideas for referrals.

  • Create Referral Cards. Hair stylist referral cards will have your name and contact info on the card, as well as the referring client’s data. The guest being referred just brings the card the visit with them and gets the reward.

  • Salon Referral Software. Part of management software, this will include a feature for tracking guest referrals and new incentives.

  • Use a Referral App. Some salons invest in an app just for new and existing guests' referrals.

How To Generate More Referrals?

The best way to get each person who comes through your door to refer a friend is to provide a great salon customer experience. They’ll value your services and want to bring people to you.

To ensure success and continuity, train each stylist and front desk staff to promote the program, too.

Finally, make use of your business website, email list, and social media presence to promote your new incentive discounts. Instagram and Facebook are your friends here.

Measure Results of Your Referral Program

Now that you’ve got a referral program hairstylist strategy, you’ll need to spend some time making the most of it. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Make sure it’s simple and easy for everyone to understand.

  • Engage your staff. Get everyone on board and excited about it.

  • Keep track of it. Identify your top referring clients, observe the trends, and adjust if needed; every new activity should be measured and result/data-driven.

  • Gather data and keep good records. You’ll want to stay in contact with loyal customers, and avoid the same people using referrals again and again.

  • Use salon software to boost your results and make staying organized easy.

  • Thank your referring clients every time. This has a lot of value and is an important step you can’t skip.

  • Keep clients up to date using marketing tools like emails and online newsletter.

  • Don’t limit referrals. You want to encourage this as much as possible.

Salon Referral Program Examples


Salon referral program examples
Salon referral program examples

Still stuck on what to do next? Here are some proven referral ideas to add value to your business:

  1. Discounts for both the referring client and the new one. This can be either a percentage or a dollar amount.

  2. A discount on a service for a new client, and on a product for the referring client.

  3. Loyalty points or loyalty program levels for referring clients. They can save these up and cash them in for specific rewards later on.

  4. Free additional services. You can offer a “free trim with color referrals,” for example.

  5. Prizes for top referrers. This could be a fun way to promote your brand online, too.

  6. Combining any of these strategies your own way for a customized program or special promotional events.

Salon Referral Cards Ideas


Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to include on these cards when you start. Make sure that it has:

  • Your Logo

  • The Business Contact Information (phone, website, email, etc.)

  • Your Business Location

  • The Promotional Offer/ Discount

  • Terms and Conditions


Salon Ideas

5 Ways How to Improve Salon Profitability



Now that you have some ideas to get you started, it’s up to you how you use them.

Getting new clients to your business doesn’t have to be a struggle or cost a lot of money in advertising. With the right tools and a plan to roll it out, a referral program can be set up to nearly run itself.

Setting it up does require a little bit of planning, but you can rely on your staff and clients for advice and help along the way.

Many people wonder how to run a salon referral program, but often the best answer is: just start.


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