PMU artists are always looking for ways to attract new customers and keep their returning clients, and in the time of the pandemic especially, building brand loyalty is a crucial part of growing and maintaining your business.
So PMUHub decided to look into all the ways PMU artists can encourage their clients to spread their name. In one of our recent articles, we explored the power of the aftercare kit. Today, we’re looking into referral programs as the ultimate strategy for growing your PMU business.
What is a referral program?
Let’s start with the basics.
In an ideal world, each of your satisfied clients is so thrilled with their PMU results they tell all their friends about you and recommend your services. All their friends will flock to your salon and bring in more profit, without any extra investment into customer reach.
In reality, although your clients love their new brows or eyeliner, they probably won’t put much effort into talking their friends into getting PMU. Sure, they’ll mention your name when asked, but that’s about it. On top of that, some people are reluctant to admit they’ve had any work done.
Obviously, they need a little push. That’s where a referral program steps in!
Find a way to reward each client whose recommendation leads to a new booking and give them a reason to mention you! Through this word-of-mouth marketing technique, you’ll create an army of brand advocates at the price of a goody bag or a discount voucher.
Do referral programs work?
To answer this question, let’s take a look at some numbers.
According to a Nielsen survey, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. The reason for this is quite simple. People don’t trust traditional marketing as much as they used to, while they do trust the people in their environment to give an honest review based on personal experience.
With permanent makeup, the recommendation is even more trustworthy, as anyone interested can see the results themselves, in real life.
It’s also worth mentioning that online reviews on sites like PMUHub can be a strong incentive for new bookings, as up to 93% of consumers check for online reviews before committing to a product or a service, but peer recommendations remain the most powerful tool.
What can I achieve with such a program?
A PMU business can have manifold benefits from a referral program. Not only will peer recommendations bring in new clients, they will also encourage your existing clients to return to your salon to redeem their coupon or voucher.
If you give out discount vouchers for touch ups, you’ll ensure the client returns to you, rather than go to another artist. If you give out discount vouchers for a different service, you’ll encourage your client to try that, too. Then, they can recommend multiple services to their friends.
In any case, whenever an old client is listed as a referral name on a new client’s consent form, it’s a win-win-win situation: you get a new client, someone gets an extra perk, and someone gets fabulous PMU.
How can I set up a referral program for a PMU business?
There are several referral program ideas that can be easily applied to PMU businesses.
If you’re just setting up a referral program, you have some decisions to make. Consider how much you’re willing to invest into the program, as well as what the most practical way to implement it.
In terms of investment, giving discounts in exchange for peer recommendation booking is the most affordable option, but some artists decide to prepare special gifts for loyal clients who bring in new customers.
Here are 3 most common PMU and most effective referral program rewards.
1. Touch up appointment discounts
Permanent makeup is a treatment that entails periodical touch ups, which are the perfect basis for a referral program. A client whose recommendation leads to a new booking gets a discount voucher for their next touch up. The value of the discount voucher is up to you, of course, but most artists go with $25.
Consider the price of your touch up appointment, and come up with a figure what your client will appreciate, while you still achieve at least minimal profit from the touch up once the cost of the supplies is covered.
2. Discount vouchers for other services
Alternatively, you can offer discount vouchers for other appointments at your salon, if there are any. This is a great strategy for salons that offer a variety of PMU treatments, as it encourages clients to consider trying more than one service. For example, a client who’s had microblading might be encouraged to try lip blushing, or permanent eyeliner. The value of the voucher should be high enough to give the client a nudge in the right direction, but don’t undercharge your work.
In terms of profit, this strategy will potentially make you more money, since initial treatments cost more than touch ups, but in the long run, there are many clients who may not be interested in getting any other PMU treatment, so they won’t be too inspired to bring in new clients.
At the end of the day, it comes down to knowing your clients and making an educated guess on what will incite them more. Perhaps the best idea is to give out a universal voucher that will be redeemable for either a touch up or a different treatment.
3. Punch card styled referral program
Some salons encourage their clients to continually recommend their services by setting up a system of gradually more valuable rewards. For example, one new booking is rewarded with a discount on the next touch up; 5 new bookings mean 50% off on a different PMU treatment.
Some salons, for example those who include touch ups in the initial price, don’t give out vouchers at all, but rather gifts of various kinds, the value of which increases with the number of new bookings they secure.
The goodie bag is a particularly effective gift, as it entails an element of surprise customers react well to. At the same time, it’s a relatively small investment that won’t make a dent in the profits from the actual treatment.
So, should I start a referral program?
The referral program is an affordable, effective form of word-of-mouth marketing that attracts new clients, it’s also one of the most efficient ways of ensuring customer loyalty.