Make it easy for your clients to refer you.
Remind them to refer you.
Teach them how to refer you.
Deliver enough value that they want to refer you.
Make them look good when they do refer you.
Reward them for referring you.
Make it fun for them to refer you.
To expand your base for referrals...
Do more networking.
Do more direct outreach.
Refer others more.
Develop more relationships.
This is my area of specialty...I help companies do this every day. The reason I mention this is because I would tell you it is not as easy today as it was 50 years ago. However, the trade-off is that you can get a lot more of it when you do the right things because of social media. Before I give you some quick thoughts here, I would encourage you to read my blog(s) at WOM10.com.
The nugget I would offer to you today is to "think small to get big." This means, find the 10 customers that LOVE the experience you offer...and I mean LOVE it. They rave about it and are so passionate about what you do that they can't wait to tell others. Of these 10 find the number that are your "ideal customers"...the ones you want more of, not just more customers. Having more of the wrong customers will eventually erode your business.
Let's say you have 5 customers in the ideal segments that LOVE you. That's all you need. Now the goal (a bigger topic than this post) is to empower and engage these 5 customers to tell others about you...one-on-one and one-to-many (social media). Remember, the average person has approximately 1000 followers, friends, and connections today. That means those 5 customers that love you can tell 5000 potential customers. The difference is they have "credibility and trust" with their audiences so people will listen. Their voice is worth gold.
So think small and you can get big. I apologize I am making this sound simple...it's not...which is why businesses hire me to help them make this happen for their business. But hopefully this will give you a start...best of luck to you! Hope this helps...
Bridget: In addition to Mike Sutton's excellent answer, I would suggest you look into Facebook advertising. It provides a high level of targeting that will allow you to isolate and promote your services to your target client set on a pay per click basis.
Do you ask for referrals? Do you have a marketing plan and a marketing budget?
Word of mouth and referrals can only take you so far. To really ramp and grow, you need to market your services and generate more leads. In my experience, most business owners like you, are really good at what they do, but when it comes to some of the other tasks of running a business, they don't have a clue. Many will try to do it all themselves and fail miserably.
I don't cut my own hair, I go to some one trained to do it. You should do the same when it comes to marketing your business. Find a firm that specializes in working with small businesses such as yours, one that understands what it takes and has the knowledge and skill to make it happen.
My standard question: Do you have a Marketing Plan or are you just thinking TACTICALLY, when you should be STRATEGIC.
Understand that there is a difference between "referral" marketing and "Word of mouth" marketing.
"Word of mouth" marketing is based on wish, hope and luck, "referral" marketing is a PRO-ACTIVE step, by step plan or process to acquire referrals. Which one are you doing?
You need to develop and implement a SPECIFIC referral program or system.
Here are four tactical things you can include in your Marketing Plan that will help you get more referrals.
1. Start a monthly email newsletter offering beauty tips
2. Implement a Thank You or Reward Program for people that give you referrals
3. Set-up a Text Message VIP club
4. Facebook business page focusing on beauty, makeup and style tips
If you need more help contact me for a free coaching session.
To your success,
the Marketing Coach
Along with all these great answers, consider promotional offers that entice your happy clients to bring friends and family to your shop. Referral offers such as, bring a friend and get 1/2 price on second person. Or bring in a new customer and get a 3 services (cut/shampoo/color/etc) for the price of 2.
Collaborate with other business owners that cater to the same clientele. Post their flyers in your business and ask them to post your's in theirs. Collaborate on an event that will interest your shared target market, etc.
I was always taught "Don't ask for a referral... ask for help!" People don't like giving referrals but they do like to help other people. So to whomever you are talking to, say that you are interested in their help to grow your business... rather than do you know someone who...
Ask for them. Secondarily be creative like give a free something to someone who passes on a referral card with an intro offer...but ASK, ASK, ASK
There was a frozen burger innovator here in Malaysia : Ramly Burger. He increased sales through paying college students to ask "where can I find Ramly burgers" at supermarkets and mini marts around the city. When my teacher told us that, it gave me all kinds of ideas. I think it should give you ideas too :-)
I can think of three options:
i. When you are finished with their hair appointment ask them about your service and base on their response ask them to refer a friend or two.
2. Have a promotion where they refer 3 to 5 friends and get a discount from their next appointment.
3. Use a Mobile Marketing system that allows you to stay in contact with your clients and allow them to share your information with their relatives and friends. Free marketing.
Hope this helps - msg me if you need additional information.
Lots of great answers. I think the biggest thing to do is to Ask. Don't expect people to think about helping your business grow. If a customer is happy, ask them to refer people they know. Also, incentivizing with discounts and referral programs can be really helpful. Good luck.
Ask your clients to refer you and offer some freebies to regular customers.