Customer Experience is a Part of Your Music School Marketing
In last week’s episode, I talked about marketing as a wheel with different spokes on it. One of those spokes would be customer experience. Customer experience is obviously important when it comes to student retention, but I encourage you to think of customer experience as an actual marketing play.
Using The Marketing Funnel For Your Music School Customer Experience
You might be familiar with the idea of a marketing funnel. The problem with the marketing funnel is it only addresses the process of attracting new customers and making sales. The top of the funnel, which is the widest part, emphasizes brand awareness. It’s trying to simply make people aware of your music school, attract them, and maybe draw them towards your website. Once they are on your website, now they’re a little further down the funnel. There are less people at that point in your funnel; so the funnel gets a little bit more narrow.
A lot of people might see your social media and your other marketing efforts, but a smaller percentage will actually act on it and click the button and go to your website, and an even smaller amount of people will click your call-to-action button. So the funnel is getting smaller. The bottom of the funnel where it’s the most narrow is where you’re actually making sales. You might have a thousand people at the top of the funnel, but out of those thousand people discovering your brand, maybe only 20 actually convert into customers.
“A lot of people might see your social media and your other marketing efforts, but a smaller percentage will actually act on it and click the button and go to your website, and an even smaller amount of people will click your call-to-action button. So the funnel is getting smaller. The bottom of the funnel where it’s the most narrow is where you’re actually making sales.”
Using the Marketing Hourglass for Your Music School Customer Experience
John Jantsch springs up with this idea of the marketing hourglass. He says that the marketing funnel is maximizing the potential of a business because it is all about attracting and getting sales, but the hourglass adds another component to the funnel. An hourglass is wide at the top. It gets narrower in the middle and then broadens out again. In the bottom half of the marketing hourglass is the customer experience. Once you make a sale, your new customer lives in a state of uncertainty. They have no idea how well you’re going to be able to deliver all these beautiful brand promises you made in your marketing.
You talked about how fun your lessons are and how confident their kids’ going to be, but they’re a little uncertain about that. You haven’t proven it to them yet. Their children haven’t experienced your fun and amazing lessons and haven’t experienced the personal growth yet that they’re hoping to obtain. So they’re living in a culture of uncertainty, and there are certain things that you can do to help eliminate some of those uncertainties.
Once you make a sale, your new customer lives in a state of uncertainty. They have no idea how well you’re going to be able to deliver all these beautiful brand promises you made in your marketing.
How Good Customer Experience Makes a Brand Evangelist
The child enjoys his instructor. The instructor makes an effort to reach out and get to know the parent. The parents are really impressed with your facilities. They are impressed with the professionalism of your business and how timely and efficient your office operates—as this new customer starts to have some positive experiences, he moves out of a culture of uncertainty and slowly starts moving towards becoming a brand evangelist.
A brand evangelist is someone who is so impressed with your music school that they feel compelled to tell other people about it. Brand evangelists often become this way because your music school represents something that they align with. Perhaps your music school’s so focused on children and childhood development and that music lesson seems to be more secondary. Yes, your music lessons are great and amazing, but your staff is so caring and you are focused on their child’s well-being.
Just because people drop out of your music school, it doesn’t mean that they’re no longer a source of referrals
How Generosity Marketing can Impact Customer Experience
One of the best ways to help customers become brand evangelists is to create a marketing strategy built on generosity. That generosity in of itself can become a marketing play. The whole idea of being generous in general comes from the conscious thought. It comes from a desire to have an impact on people. By creating a marketing strategy based on generosity, you will be perceived as being a very generous person. So the seven-point marketing strategy that I’m going to lay out for you right now is all based on generosity.
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The real secret to word-of-mouth marketing is to have a music school full of brand evangelists.
The 7-Point Marketing Strategy Based on Generosity
1. Adding Additional Touchpoints to the Onboarding Process
Something I’ve talked about on this podcast before is the onboarding process. There are certain expectations that the customer probably has during the onboarding process and certain things like data and information that you need during the onboarding process. It is during the onboarding process when both the parent and the child are at their most uncertain. The child’s probably a little nervous and the parents maybe a little nervous too as to how their child’s going to perceive these music lessons. So adding additional touchpoints can really enhance the onboarding experience.
Sending out a text the day before the first lesson
You check in to see how Susie’s first lesson went by sending out a text the day before the first lesson and talking about how excited you are to meet her in her first lesson tomorrow. You make a follow-up after the first lesson.
Sending a postcard prior to or after the first lesson
Have an instructor send a postcard prior to the lesson saying how excited they are to meet Susie or send a postcard afterwards. Just look at what you can do to build excitement before the first lesson or after the first lesson and enhance the parent’s and the child’s emotions before and after that first lesson.
A brand evangelist is someone who is so impressed with your music school that they feel compelled to tell other people about it. Brand evangelists often become this way because your music school represents something that they align with.
2. Sending Postcards and Emails
We’re over the course of a year. There are going to be certain emails and postcards sent out to the parent or to the child that is going to be perceived as a generous act. Let’s say a child gets a postcard from the instructor four months into his lessons saying how proud they are for this child being able to finally play the Day Tripper by the Beatles and being able to play along with the recording. That’s a huge accomplishment for the child. The parents who see the postcard first in the mail are going to be impacted by it, and the kid’s going to be thrilled.
All of these can be systematized. You can create a spreadsheet with each student’s name on it. You can even do this in your CRM and say “Okay. Over the course of a year, the students can receive two to three emails from the owner to the parent with a positive statement about the child. Then, once or twice a year, the instructor is going to send a postcard.” You don’t want to overdo it, where it begins to feel forced, but by keeping it documented in a spreadsheet or a CRM, you can certainly make this feel spontaneous. It’s okay if it’s not spontaneous, but it’s good if it’s systematized. The emotional impact that the parent and the child is going to feel is totally worth it. The perception of generosity that they’re going to experience is totally worth it.
You can create a more personal connection and you can better humanize your brand by referring to your customers by name and helping your instructors learn the names of their student’s parents. This can have a huge impact on how people perceive your business.
I signed up for a coaching call with the coach and he sent me a book. I was so touched by it. Clearly, this was systematized. I assume he did this for all of his coaching clients. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. This coach still thought to himself, “How can I express my gratitude? How can I be generous to my clients?”
3. Learning Names
The bigger your school gets, the harder it is to remember and keep track of everyone’s names. Learning customer names can be tough, but you can have a system in place to do that—that is, keeping your customers’ names in a spreadsheet, making a mental note of what they look like, and making an effort to really address them by name.
If I saw a parent come in and I didn’t know their name, I ask my office manager “Hey, who was that? What’s her name, and who’s her kid?”, and I kind of kept a spreadsheet. “Okay, at four o’clock. It’s his kid Brian. I see him on the schedule.” Then I put next to his name his mom’s name, and I’d make a mental note. “Okay. Brian. His mom is Marsha. Brian and Marsha.” I try to make a mental note of what the customers look like and really address them by name.
There’s nothing more impersonal than when a customer walks in and you just say hi or your office staff just says hello to them. As Dale Carnegie says “Nothing is sweeter than the sound of your own name.” You can create a more personal connection and you can better humanize your brand by referring to your customers by name and helping your instructors learn the names of their student’s parents. This can have a huge impact on how people perceive your business.
4. Capturing the Customer’s Interest
A customer mentioned to you that she’s really into yoga. She often comes into your studio wearing her workout clothes. You make a note of it. A few months later, you hop on to Google and see if you can find a good blog about yoga and forward it to this person. Your customer will be blown away that you remember her interest in yoga, and she’ll be touched by your generosity in sharing this article with her.
One of your students mentions that she’s going on a vacation with her parents to New York City in a few months. Send the parents an article about the top 10 family-friendly sites in New York City. It’s an act of generosity. It will make an impact on your customers, but you want to keep track of how often you’re doing this because you don’t want it to be overkill. It needs to feel natural and organic. Capture the interest of your customers. One little generous act like this goes a long way, so this doesn’t have to be that time-consuming of an effort.
5. Life Events and Gifts
One of my customers recently mentioned that she had just given birth, and I asked her what her child’s name was. I asked because I had a plan. She told me the child’s name. So then, I went online, and I found a company that will personalize pajamas for a newborn baby or, you know, a onesie. My customer was blown away by it. It’s an act of kindness and generosity, even if it’s something as simple as sending a card. If you have Jewish students, they’re going to be having Bar and Bat Mitzvahs when they turned 12 and 13. Send them a little Mazel Tov card. You’re gonna have your office admin do it.
6. Recitals with Additional Touchpoints
Creating additional touchpoints to recitals is just like onboarding a student. Everyone has certain expectations. Perhaps after the recital, you write a short email to each parent who had a child in the recital. It’s got to be personal, not a mass email. Make a comment about the song the child played and how well they did—maybe seemed a little nervous at first and then they got comfortable and overcame their fear, which means that you need to be keeping notes of what’s going on at the recital itself.
You see a parent there, and they have their parents with them in tow. So the grandparents of the child are there. When you email the parents after the recital, you can make a comment like “Wow! I noticed that Jimmy’s grandparents were also at the recital. I can only imagine how proud they must have felt.”
7. Staying Connected to Inactive Students
Remaining connected to inactive students probably seems a little unusual. Why would you remain connected to them? You don’t have the time. They’re not even customers anymore, but sending them a personal email maybe once a year keeps you top of mind.
I hope you and your family are well. Is it true that Jeremy is actually a freshman in high school now? It’s crazy how time flies. I hope he’s doing well. Tell him we said hello.
That’s it. Perhaps Jeremy’s never going to return to music lessons at your music school, but you just gave that parent a good and a positive feeling about you and your music school. Julie probably has friends with kids that might be interested in music lessons. Just because people drop out of your music school, it doesn’t mean that they’re no longer a source of referrals, but you have to stay top of mind.
Perhaps these inactive students are getting your promotional emails, but those don’t mean anything to them. Perhaps they have even opted out of your list because they know that they’re not going to be signing up for music lessons anymore at your school. So, no hard feelings. They opt out but you still have their email address in your inactive list, so you send them a little personal note. They might think to themselves “Well, I really wish Jeremy would have enjoyed his music lessons. They’re just such kind, generous people. It was such a great music school.” If Julie has those thoughts, she’s that much more likely to refer.
These are the seven marketing strategies for the bottom half of the marketing hourglass. This is where customers who are initially uncertain as to what type of experience they’re going to have in your music school slowly turn into customers who feel confident in your ability to deliver and make good on your brand promise, and this is how you can turn customers into brand evangelists. The real secret to word-of-mouth marketing is to have a music school full of brand evangelists.