A Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy For Your Music School | Ep 146

A Word of Mouth Marketing 

In today’s show, I talk about a referral strategy that I think would work wonders for a music school. When I say referral strategy, really, I’m talking about word-of-mouth marketing. Word of mouth marketing, as we all know, is the number one source for obtaining new students for your music school. We all rely on word of mouth to help us choose what products or services that would best suit us. Commercials are great, ads are great, but there’s nothing like a friend, a trustworthy friend, who’s got good taste telling you what music school you should go to for your kids or music lessons.



–  – Show Transcript – – 



It’s important to have, multiple referral systems in place for your music school. Some of these referral systems can be very direct where you ask specifically for the sale or for the referral. A couple of weeks ago on the podcast, I talked about when someone gives you a compliment, that’s the perfect time to say to them, “Thank you so much for your feedback. If you know of anyone else that might benefit from music lessons, we’d greatly appreciate a referral.” Mentioning in your auto signature in your email, “We love referrals,” is another great referral system. Sending out a letter to some of your top clients saying how much you appreciate their business and telling them that one of the ways that you can keep your costs down is by relying more on referrals and less on advertising, and you’d greatly appreciate it if they could refer a friend your way.


I’m not a big fan of offering a financial incentive to refer. I am a big fan of giving someone a gift when they refer. Giving someone a financial incentive to refer makes for an awkward conversation. How are they going to make that referral? “Hey, just wanted to let you know, I can make a little bit of money if you sign up for music lessons at the school.” Yeah, we’re really happy there, but I’m going to get a $50 gift card. Of course, no one’s going to say that, but you’ve got to give people a reason to refer, and creating systems to give people a reason to refer can be really effective.


The Gift of a Video

The systems on the surface, don’t look like a referral system. Your recitals are a referral system. On the surface, your recitals are an opportunity for you to create a goal for your students to work towards a performance opportunity, and that’s true. That’s what they are, but they’re also a referral system because when you put on when you host a recital, parents take pictures. They put their pictures up on social media. They put the videos up on social media. Other people who see it say, “Wow, this is great. I want to get music lessons for my kid. I wonder where this music school is.” The purpose of the event is to benefit the child, but there’s also a referral component baked into it. The more of these referral systems, the more referrals you’re going to get.


Today on the show, I want to share with you a referral system that I think would work wonders. I think it’d be very easy to implement, and it goes a little something like this. I’ll work my way backward. I’ll talk about the end result, and then the steps it would take to create this end result. Let’s say every three to four months, what if each one of your students precedes a 30-second video? In the video, the audio is a performance of the student, a performance recorded in their lesson, recorded on their iPhone. These iPhone microphones sound pretty good these days. Perhaps the teachers accompanying them to make it musically a little bit more dynamic, a little bit more musically rich.


Music school word of mouth


In this 30 to 60-second video, you’re seeing short, quick clips of the students playing music, playing music, and their lessons. There are some shots of the camera that may be panning over the student’s head and you see their hands on the piano, or you see a guitar student. The camera’s panning up the fretboard and then tilts back and you see the kid’s face, just a little 5, 10 seconds, little video clips, which make up this one-minute-long video. At the very end of the video, freeze-frame of the kids smiling, and one of your core values is projected up on the screen or is typed up or appears on the image. Perhaps it says something like, “This is what success sounds like.”


Include Your Logo in The Video

Meanwhile, the whole time your logo is in the upper left-hand corner. Maybe after the frame that says, “This is what success sounds like,” there’s a cutaway to your school’s logo. So again, it’s a short video, 30 to 60 seconds long; music playing with short, quick edits of a student playing their instrument. The video ends with the smiling image of the kids saying, “This is what success looks like.” Cutaway to your logo.


How is this a referral system? First of all, it’s going to make the kid feel great. You’re going to be creating a piece of video content that most likely the child is unable to do on their own or hasn’t done on their own. The ability to add a video, anyone can do it nowadays, but most nine-year-old kids haven’t gotten that involved with it. You’re giving the child an experience that’s unique to them. You give mom the video, you give dad the video, guess where that video is going? Social media. You could upload these videos to your own Facebook page and tag the parents. You could use it as Instagram content.


Tag the parents, they can share it. Not only can the parents share it, but you’re giving them something that they can talk about. “My kid’s music school did the neatest thing for Junior. They made this cool video of him playing music and it looked really professional. We were so thrilled to see it. I’ll have to send it to you. It’s the cutest thing.” Gives parents something to talk about. That is the greatest form of referral marketing. Referral marketing works best when you give parents stories that are shareable.


Create a Unique Experience

A well-produced edited video that’s creating an experience for a child that they’ve never had before, an experience quite like that, is going to get parents and kids talking. Let me back it up now. How do you create a video like this without it becoming a major production without it becoming a huge time suck? Look, if you’ve got 300 or 400 kids in your studio, this could really turn into a big project and time suck. Very easy to do. I’ll give you the simple version first and then the advanced version. It’s simply you have a Google Drive or Dropbox. You have your admin create a folder for each student. You then tell your instructors, “This week is video week. I need everyone this week to just make some short 5, 10-second videos of your kids in the lessons.”


Make bullet points of different types of camera angles, angles of close-ups of the kid’s hand on the keyboard. Maybe giving the kid a high five in their lesson. Shots of the kid playing their instrument. Maybe you make a three-second video of the kid with this parent giving a thumbs up to some short little clips. You then have the teacher from their phone upload these different clips into the student’s folder.


Week one is all about capturing video. Week two, you say to your teachers, “I need everyone to get a good 30- to 60-second performance from your students.” Now, maybe you’re telling your staff that, look, this is going to happen in November. It’s September right now … Well, when I’m recording this, it’s really October. Let’s say it’s October now and in December, we’re going to make these videos for everybody. Set this as a goal for your students. They have to have one piece that’s 30 to 60 seconds long that they’re really going to work towards. Recitals are great. Recitals really give the kids focus, gives them a goal. It really gives a lot of purpose to the lessons. Well, creating this video can give purpose and focus or help the kids have focus and add purpose to the lessons as well.


A few months in, finally it’s audio week, and the teachers, all they have to do is get their phone, hit the audio recorder, and get a decent 30 to 60-second performance out of the student. Upload that audio into the student’s folder. You then have your graphic designer edit each video and audio into a 30- to 60-second video, put that little tagline at the end and your logo and website at the end, and maybe your logo in one of the corners the whole time during the video. You don’t have a graphic designer, not a problem. Go on to Upwork. Go onto … what’s the other on? Fiverr.com. Don’t have a lot of money to spend. Look for someone in India or in the Philippines.


You might be able to knock out a video, $2 to $5 a video. Your students are worth $2 to $5. They’re worth even $10 if that’s what it costs. Write out a process for the video editor. Give them access to the folder. It’s a pretty quick, easy project to do. You could do this every few months, but every few months, the message could be different. For example, in this video, I’m talking about the messages, “This is what success sounds like.” The next one could be, “This is what hard work and determination sound like. This is what accomplishment sounds like.”


These are all attributes, all character traits, and experiences the parents want for their children. Success, hard work, persistence, accomplishment. That’s what parents want. The only reason they sign up for music lessons is that they think that there’s a chance that music lessons might be able to provide their child with that experience and with these character traits, and if they can’t get it from music lessons, they’re going to go elsewhere. Even if they can get it from music lessons, they’re going to have their kid enrolled in multiple enrichment activities to help their child discover and achieve their potential. “This is what potential sounds like,” there’s another one that you could use.


The Secret to Word of Mouth Marketing

The secret to word of mouth marketing is having good referral systems is creating experiences for your students, then on the front end is an act of generosity, an act of kindness; a unique experience, but on the backend from a marketing standpoint is designed to be a referral system. Unique experiences will get your parents, not your own parents, but the parents in your music school, to talk, to share the story with their friends. That is the secret to word-of-mouth marketing is creating talkable and shareable moments.


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