Referral Based Marketing
Marketing experts can overwhelm us with all of the tricks, tactics, and hacks for business growth. Social media, content marketing, SEO, pay-per-click, email marketing….on and on we go.
Marketing your music studio can feel like a full-time job. All of these tools are important weapons in our marketing arsenal but at the end of the day nothing brings in business like good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing.
The Problem with Word of Mouth Incentives
You would think music studios would have multiple referral programs considering how important word-of-mouth for music lessons is? We all do the “refer a friend and receive $50 off”, or some variation of that.
What is your customer supposed to do with this offer? Should they start compiling a spreadsheet of all their friends, calling and emailing them about your music studio? That could be awkward.
They certainly aren’t going to casually say in a conversation “I don’t know if you’ve ever considered music lessons for Sally but if you sign up at Geno’s Guitar Shack I’ll get a $50 kickback”
Here’s The Secret to Getting More Referrals
So how do you get this whole word-of-mouth marketing for music lessons thing moving?
The secret is stories.
Stories create social currency for people. People rely on stories as a way of connecting and relating to each other. People with interesting stories are perceived as interesting people. “Did I tell you about that time I shared a cab ride with Mick Jagger”? Now that would be an interesting story. The person telling the story becomes a little more intriguing a little more interesting.
The Craziest Thing Happened to Me…
If you can create interesting stories for your customers you will provide them with social currency. They will be inclined to tell people all about you since you gave them something interesting to talk about. They will be perceived as an intriguing person and your music studio will also be of greater interest. “Did I tell you what my son’s music studio did for his birthday? You’ll never believe this….” Boom. Social currency. Word-of-mouth marketing for music lessons in real-time.
“Refer a friend and get ___” is important. But that’s not getting to get anyone talking. Stories are the real secret to effective word-of-mouth marketing.
The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing for Music Lessons
We all know that word of mouth marketing is really the most powerful form of marketing that’s available to us. I mean, look within your own studio. How many of your current customers came through a referral? You would think with word of mouth marketing, being so strong that music studios would have lots of referral marketing systems and most don’t.
Creating Referral Strategies
I certainly didn’t in my studio. My referral marketing strategy was one thing. “refer a friend and receive $40 off. Okay. You know, that’s pretty good. I’ve seen studios say, refer a friend and receive a month of lessons for free. Well, that’s great. That’s a really strong offer. And I do encourage you to have some sort of reward for people who refer. Let’s just think for a moment what that thought process is for the customer.
When they see that you are offering $40 or $50 off of lessons, are they going to think, okay, who do I know that might be interested in lessons because if I share this with them, I’ll get $50. And if I do this maybe once a month, I can make an extra $50 a month. People really aren’t thinking about it, or they’re not thinking about it like that. Sure. It perks their interest for a moment. They’re certainly not going to go to their friend and say, Hey, if you sign up for music lessons at this school, I’m going to get $50. They’re not going to do that. You have to give them something to talk about. So how do you do that? How do you get people to talk about your music studio?
I’ve marketed that reward and then someone refers a friend. We say, Hey, you’re going to get $40 off the next month’s lessons and they have no idea that we’re offering it. Even though we wrote it around the school, it’s not an incentive to get people talking. So you’ve got to get people talking about your studio.
How to Get Your Customers Talking
I don’t want to say that these financial incentives are a bad idea. I love them. I encourage you to keep those, to have one, but I also encourage you to focus on how you can get your customers talking about you. And the only way to do that is to create a story for them. A story that is so interesting, maybe over the top, that they want to share with their friends.
Think about your own social interactions with friends. Everyone’s bringing stories to the conversation. Have you ever had something happen to you that you just can’t wait to tell a friend about it because you know, what’s going to be an intro because you feel it’s an interesting story and you feel like they’re, your friend is going to find it interesting? And people who share interesting stories are perceived as interesting people. Interesting stories are also a really great way to connect with people.
Birthday’s Make for Great Opportunities
When you’re in a social environment, where you don’t really know people. I had this idea, I was talking about birthdays. How can you go big on your student’s birthday? You know, birthdays are an opportunity to celebrate your student, I came up with this idea where you write a birthday song, just one set song where you can input the student’s name and have three or four of your staff members sing in three, four-part, harmony.
Make a video of your staff singing the song and send it to the kid. So then when mom was talking to a friend and the friend says, Hey, how was little Jimmy’s birthday? You could say, Oh, it was great. And here’s an opportunity for her to, to bring up this story. So really word of mouth marketing for music lessons boils down to creating or looking at all the touchpoints in your studio, all the places where customers interact with you, and looking at how you can create something that’s remarkable in that moment. So remarkable that people can’t help but talk about it.
I encourage you to think about times that you’ve shared a story about a business with a friend. I’ll never forget. One time I went into a Starbucks and they were celebrating their five-year anniversary at this location. They had a DJ in there, with lights people were really into it. It made for a good story to share.
The key thing is to create remarkable and interesting stories that your customers want to share. That is the secret to word of mouth marketing. That financial reward is great, but giving people stories that they can share is a much more powerful tool.