There is stiff competition in the beauty world, and to become a force to be reckoned with, you must have some tricks up your sleeve. One way is by providing quality services that will keep your clients returning. Another way is through a referral program, which leverages those happy existing clients to gain new business.

Word of mouth from your customers is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers to your spa and build brand awareness. Unfortunately, traditional word of mouth is unpredictable and nearly impossible to track. But referral programs are a way to make word of mouth measurable – and drive this sharing reliably.

Let’s discuss spa referral programs to help you stay ahead of the competition and build a strong brand.

What are spa referral programs?

A spa referral program encourages your clients to organically promote your spa to their network, and rewards them whenever a successful conversion occurs.

The best type of spa referral program is not manual, but an automated program that tracks the referrals your customers make. This setup is easier than a manual setup where referred friends mention the spa member who referred them to your business, and you have to track them manually.

spa referral program blue water

How does a spa referral program work?

Like any other referral program, a spa referral program promises rewards in return for referrals, such as discounted products, cash, gift cards, or credit for future spa visits.

Here is an example of how a spa referral program may work.

You can offer an existing customer, and a new customer they bring in, 10% off future spa services. This way, everyone wins. You get free marketing for your spa business, while your existing customer is rewarded for the successful conversion.

Remember that a referral program differs from affiliate marketing, where affiliates are paid a commission from successful sales.

Benefits of spa referral programs

Introducing spa referral programs to your business has several great benefits. Here are some of the most notable ones:

1. New customers will trust your spa

Your existing clients are your best advertisers because they know and trust the quality of your services. When an opportunity to talk about your services presents itself, they will always speak from experience.

Studies show that most customers trust referrals and read reviews before purchasing services or products, and they are four times more likely to purchase services when referred by a friend. In fact, before new customers buy a product or spend money on services, the first thing they do is look for your online presence and read reviews about your business.

This is because they trust the opinions of people who have first-hand experience with the business far more than they trust ads. So, when you invest in a spa referral program, you can be sure to win new clients from your existing clients.

Strive to provide exceptional spa services to your customers if you want them to proudly be your “brand ambassadors.”

2. You will know how referrals are promoting your spa business

Spa referral marketing software will help you track the advocacy of your clients, down to every last referral, so you know exactly how well referrals promote your spa business.

In a referral program run with software, an existing customer gets their own personal referral link from your company’s website, and shares the link with people they know. Interested friends purchase your services through the link, and those purchases are automatically tied back to the referrer. As a result, you’ll know at a glance where referrals are coming from.

3. Referred individuals have a higher customer lifetime value

New referred clients have a higher lifetime value compared to walk-in clients. They are 37% more likely to keep coming to your spa because they trust their peers. They’re also highly likely to continue the cycle, and refer their own friends to your spa.

4. It is a cost-effective way to acquire new customers

Referral programs are cost-effective ways to acquire clients because you only spend on actual conversions. This is unlike other forms of advertising like sponsoring your posts on social media platforms, radio, tv, or newspaper ads, where you pay whether there are conversions or not.

5. Build loyalty

Referral programs also help you build stronger relationships with existing clients by rewarding them for their advocacy. In addition, referred clients will be far more likely to return because they feel more comfortable getting spa services where their friends go.

Referral software for spas [Free Tools]

These referral tools for spas are a free and easy way to help you start your referral program.

Free Tools + Services:

Want a fully automated referral program for your spa business? Run your referral program with us at Referral Rock. Find out how we can build your program with you (and tailor it to your unique needs)

Will a spa referral program work for you?

Even with all these benefits, not all spas are ready for a referral program.

For a spa referral program to work for your business, you’ll need:

  • A digital element (like a website, or an online client management system)
    • Referral programs work well for some spas, but only those that can manage referrals digitally (via their website).
  • A reputation for a high-quality spa experience, which sets you apart from other spas
    • Referral programs won’t be successful if your spa services don’t stand out. 
    • Make sure that massage therapists, nail technicians, those at the front desk, and everyone else in your spa offer exceptional services to everyone coming to your spa.
  • A solid, engaged base of happy clients, who love their experiences with you
    • Clients of your spa need to be happy with their experience before they’ll recommend you to their friends
    • Reviews are a great way to check client satisfaction

Spa referral program best practices

Here are the best referral program practices you should consider for your spa to obtain new clients.

Choose the right rewards

In your referral program, be sure to reward both the referring and new customers: Rewarding both means the advocate (referring member) is more likely to make more referrals, and the new member is more likely to start using your services and stick with you. For this program to be more effective, you should offer referral rewards that truly motivate customers.

The spa referral program should be generous, but financially sustainable to maintain. 

If you are starting out in the spa referral program, figure out incentives that will be most motivating to current and new clients. Then, consider what you are willing to pay to acquire each new spa client.

spa referral program rewards

The best spa referral program rewards tie right back to your spa, and include the following:

  • Discounts on spa services
  • A free treatment
  • Free skincare treatment extras, such as serums or upgrades
  • Gift baskets with “relaxing” items like robes and candles or skin care products
  • Free travel sets or samples of some of the products you use at the spa

You could also offer cash back, or gift cards to another business that doesn’t compete with yours.

If your current referral program is not converting clients as it should, then you should revise your rewards so they’re more motivating to clients. And if you need a more sustainable option, offer rewards that directly tie to your own spa.

Mobilize your best advocates first

To mobilize the best advocates for your spa business, you need to find your most loyal supporters. These are customers who know exactly why they are satisfied with your services and know people in their circle who need your spa services. These are more likely to talk about your spa services.

Your most committed advocates are the spa clients who:

  • Have been clients at your spa the longest
  • Have come in for treatments and services most frequently
  • Already talk about your spa (in person, on social media, in positive reviews) – the more frequently, the better
  • Recently left a positive comment, review, or gave positive in-person feedback

It would help if you approached them first with a personalized note thanking them for always leaving positive reviews and advocating your services. Then, invite them to help recruit new guests through your company’s spa referral program. This will make your most loyal clients feel valued and will proudly advocate your services.

After reaching out to your most loyal customers first, you can then roll out the program to all your clients. 

Make sharing easy and compelling

It is important to keep the referral program simple for your clients because a complicated process will only make them abandon the process midway. Ensure that clients can find your program and share it in as few clicks or taps as possible.

Your website should have a landing page with a CTA that encourages sharing your spa services. The landing page should clearly explain that you want clients to share, and that they’ll get incentives in return.

Concisely explain how clients can refer in 3-4 easy steps and how they’ll earn their reward. Also, ensure you provide multiple sharing options, e.g., email, social media, SMS, and a referral link they can copy and share anywhere. Lastly, link out to a separate referral FAQ page to answer other questions that your clients may have concerning the program.

spa referral program form

Use social media to your advantage

Social media is an essential way to reach your customers and grow your brand – and it’s a way that people naturally share what they love with many peers at once

Leverage social media sharing options in your spa referral program, as this will successfully get your business in front of thousands of social media users at once. .

Focus on the value of helping friends

Why should clients refer your spa services to their circles? Make it easy for them to share your services by reiterating each service you offer on the program page. Remind clients on the referral program page that their recommendation is the best proof of the spa’s value.

Mention the benefits of your med spa and how the member can pass those on to a friend. You can even provide real-life proof of how your spa helped a referred individual – say, how it helped them relax and unwind, or how it improved their skin – and how their friends can enjoy a similar experience thanks to a recommendation. 

beyond beaute spa referral program

Promote your program regularly

There are different channels you should leverage to promote your program at a regular cadence. These are:

  • Your website
  • Dedicated emails about your referral program
  • Newsletters and other “regular” spa update emails
  • Your email signature
  • Social media posts
  • Blog posts, if your spa has a blog
  • Your online spa member portal (if you have one)
  • Physical signage in your spa
  • Flyers (mailed or handed to clients)
  • Direct conversations with clients – don’t be afraid to ask for referrals!

spa referral program promotion

Pro tip: Promote your program on social media with real testimonials of spa clients who made successful referrals (or started coming to your spa because of a referral).

Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals

One of the best ways to get referrals is to simply ask your clients directly! Even though referrals bring in high-value clients for businesses, you may be shying away from directly asking clients for referrals. However, there are easy ways to break the ice and ask for help from your customers.

Here’s how you can do it effortlessly:

  • Ask after a client finishes a spa treatment and indicates that they’re satisfied.
  • Ask when a client comes in for repeat treatments
  • Ask when someone leaves a positive review or social media comment

Do you prefer writing an email instead?

Write a personalized email addressing each individual client, remembering that they are unique, and use a friendly tone while addressing them. Capture their interest in the first line to keep them reading. Lastly, ensure you offer the right incentive and CTA with referral cards.

Did your existing client manage to bring clients to your businesses? Offer a thank you note for the referral, in addition to the rewards offered. This personalized gesture shows your client that you truly value their efforts.

Pro tip: Be sure to get all your staff on board to ask for referrals! It’s important for your staff to know about your referral program and how it works, so they can tell satisfied clients about the program.

Use referral software to automate your program

Don’t track referrals manually with a “punchcard” program. Rather, use referral software that effectively streamlines program creation processes and makes tracking and managing referrals easier.

Referral program software:

  • Lets you create a customized referral experience for your spa
  • Tracks exactly where every referral came from, thanks to unique referral links for each spa member
  • Instantly issues rewards for successful referrals
  • Helps salon owners collect program data, so they can easily measure success and refine their program

Set up your spa referral program in days (not months) with Referral Rock software – no coding needed! Plus, Referral Rock lets you promote your program automatically, for scalable, cost-effective growth.

Track and measure your success

Tracking your program metrics helps you ensure your program succeeds and gives you insights if anything isn’t performing how you expect.

Essential metrics to track for spas are:

  • The number of referrals you get over certain periods
  • The duration referred clients typically stick around vs. how long all clients typically stick around, on average
  • The percentage of clients who make referrals
  • The percentage of referred friends who ultimately receive services at your spa

Tracking this manually can be time-consuming, tiring, and at times inefficient. But referral software will help you effectively gauge your program’s success, with automatic data collection and reporting.


A spa referral program is a great way for spa owners to increase their customer base. Use referral management software to enable you to track your referrals efficiently. Ensure you offer incentives in your marketing campaign, such as credits or free products. And be sure to promote your program once it’s live.