Let’s say you discovered a brand-new product or service you can’t get enough of. If the experience is consistently positive, you may start recommending it to your friends and family through social media or word of mouth. But what if there was added incentive to recommend your new favorite product? Chances are you would be much more likely to share the information with others. That’s where a referral program comes in!
A referral program is a fantastic way to spread the word about positive experiences at your music school while simultaneously gaining new students!! By incentivizing the recommendation of your school by the parents of current students to potential ones, you can expand your customer base, and business scales faster than ever. All you have to do is keep providing the same great experience for your students and their parents and set up a referral program that fits your business and budget.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of creating a referral program, some of the types to choose from and how you can let current clients know about it.
First, What is a Referral Program?
At its core, a referral program is a strategy that harnesses the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Think of it as motivating existing customers to recommend your music school, services and classes to their friends, colleagues, or family. Once the person they refer submits their registration or makes a purchase, the existing customer gets a reward.
These rewards can include free products, gift cards, or discounts. What makes referral marketing so effective is its potential to gain customers that are a great fit. Customers only refer a business they think their friends will benefit from and referral marketing leads fully trust the recommendations of their peers. So, when you implement a referral program at your music school, you can expect referral leads to align with your overall customer profile.
What Benefits Does a Referral Program Offer?
Marketing efforts through avenues like social media and email are fantastic, but word of mouth plays a huge part for parents when it comes to choosing the right music school for their child. Let’s take a look at some of the ways a referral program can benefit your music school:
Attract New Customers
Compared to most other forms of marketing, referral marketing can help you attract more customers at lower costs since the incentives are usually only paid once a new customer signs up for your course.
Bring In Loyal Customers
Leads generated through referral marketing have a higher retention rate than other customers. These customers trust their friends’ recommendations and are more likely to sign up for your music school!
Experience Growth Over Time
Your referral marketing journey doesn’t stop once a new customer signs up for your course. Referred customers are often three times more likely to refer other customers. This, in turn, creates a constant referral cycle, increasing the number of high-quality customers every step of the way. The bigger your customer base becomes, the faster your business grows.
Types of Referral Programs
When it comes to the types of reward systems for referral programs, you have a couple of options to choose from:
- One-sided rewards, where businesses incentivize either a referred customer or an existing customer but not both.
- Two-sided incentives, where a business rewards both the existing customer (for bringing new customers) and the referred customer (for making their first enrollment or purchase).
It’s important to keep in mind that referral programs can also be directed towards a specific goal such as downloading an app, joining a loyalty program or signing up for a newsletter. Remember that the ideas in this blog are to help get you started, you can customize and tweak every facet to help you create the perfect, custom referral program for your music school.
Creating the Perfect Referral Program for Your Music School
Here’s how you can create a referral program in seven simple steps:
1. Create a Budget
Rewards for a referral program can range from free to expensive rewards. The goal here is to find out what works best for your music school. Consider your referral marketing as a form of customer acquisition. If you already have a budget in place for customer acquisition costs – such as newspaper ads, SEO, or flyers – you can set the same budget for your referral rewards. For instance, if it costs you $100 for marketing for your music school, then the same budget can be perfect for referral bonuses. This is because both help accomplish the same goal – bringing in new customers.
2. Choose the Right Reward
With your budget now in place, it’s time to settle on the type of rewards you want to offer. Some examples of referral rewards that are great for a music school include:
- Discount on your courses
- Money or Gift Cards
- Free tickets to your school’s performances and recitals
- Donation to a charity
Have your team brainstorm ideas and find a reward that would both fit the budget and something that parents would love.
3. Create Compelling Referral Messaging
Though the main referral will likely come from word of mouth, you’ll want to put together some referral messaging as well for the potential customer to reference. Referral messaging is any text that your existing customer would share with their network. This could be in the form of a pamphlet, SMS template, email, WhatsApp message, or more.
This message will be the first point of contact with your referred customers. So, make sure it is clear, succinct, and engaging. Here are a few things to include in your referral message:
- Start by explaining the referral benefits
- Provide a clear CTA (call to action) that explains what the next step is
- Keep everything short and easy to understand
4. Ensure Authentic Referrals
The goal of your referral system is to bring in long-term customers, not throw darts in the dark. The results of your referral marketing will depend on how you deploy your rewards. For instance, if your existing customer gets $100 for every person they bring in for a tour of your school, then you’ll simply have more visits than customers. This could lead your existing customers to collect bonuses instead of generating referral leads. To ensure only serious customers enroll at your music school, make sure you hand out the reward only after the referral is officially signed up.
5. Let People Know
For your existing customers to refer your courses to their friends, they must first be aware of your referral program. Here’s how you can promote your referral program:
- Include a section in your student handbook
- Offer handouts for new customers
- Post a sign at your music school
- Include it in your promotional email
- Post it on your social media handles
- Include it in your weekly newsletter
6. Make the Process Effortless
To ensure your referral program is a success, make sure it is effortless to share with others. If your existing customer has to go out of their way just to send a referral, they will most likely not make the effort. Be as concise as possible when demonstrating how the process works and help your customers share referrals with just a few taps. If possible, provide multiple sharing options including email, social media, and text messages to ensure customers share referrals via a medium they’re comfortable with.
7. Track, Analyze, Improve!
To ensure your program is a successful one, it’s critical to set a tracking system in place. It’s a good practice to track your referrals to see what works and what needs more improvement, and to send out rewards on time. Hold them up against your registrations that you’ve been tracking over time to see how successful your new program is.
A great referral program can create exponential growth in the number of students enrolled in your music school. When your referral leads come from serious customers who value your business, you naturally end up building a loyal customer base. With countless benefits to glean from a well-designed referral program, the only question remains: When are you kickstarting a referral program for your music school?
We’ve got a referral of our own to make too! If you’re ready to make the management of your classes, students and staff easier than ever, try a free trial of Jackrabbit Class now. We’re confident you’ll love it enough to sign-up permanently and when you do, check out OUR referral program for a way to save on our already low prices.