Referrals really are the lifeblood of our studios, and to me, they’re the best types of students we can get.
When you think about the fact that, really, 50% of students coming through the door of most studios are coming via word of mouth, that’s a huge chunk of our business is reliant upon people talking about our studios and the referrals we generate.
For me, we spend so much time thinking about online marketing and marketing of our studios which represents this 50%, what are we doing to build more of that business on the referral arm of our studio? It really is worth thinking about, 50%.
What if we could increase the word of mouth?
If we could take, instead of getting 30 word of mouth referrals a year, what if we hit 60? What would it take for us to do that?
On that note, let’s talk about what it does take to generate referrals.
Generally, it has to come from someone being really impressed with the quality of service you are offering. That’s the start. Getting your team really creating this beautiful experience.
The second step is encouraging them to talk about you.
How could I generate buzz? How could I generate something that’s going to get people talking about our studio in the local community?
If you think about every quarter, that every 3 months, what is some sort of activity or event or some sort of buzz-generating activity that’s going to get people chatting about your studio?
This could be anything from a concert, an open day. You could do some sort of big online competition using Facebook, using photos, using videos, something like that, even having a big flash mob in the community for maybe a community event.
We want to have some way of getting out there in the local community, engaging your current students, and encouraging them to connect with more people. That’s what we want.
I want to dive into this with you deeper. I want to ask you an incredibly powerful question, and this is one of my favorite things to ask studio owners, how long does it take from when a student first joins your studio to when you would say they’re hooked, their eyes, they’re sparkling and they’re really impressed with what you’re doing?
Some studios when I ask this question, they say, “About 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, they’re like, really wow, they’re loving it.” Others, it might take a little longer. It might be 4 to 6 to 8 to 10 weeks before they can really see they are hooked.
Now, let’s think about this strategically, shall we? That moment when they’re hooked is when they’re prime targets for referrals. That is when their conviction, their exuberance, they’re your biggest ambassadors out there in the community.
That’s when they’re really out there to spread the word.
I want you to think carefully about this. Know when they are most likely to have the highest energy about your studio, and that is when we ask them.
Now we do this in a very automated way. How we process this is that we have a new student autoresponder sequence, really super simple.
An autoresponder is pretty much a series of emails that we set up once, and when a new student joins, they get put into this sequence, and they’re going to send out emails when we say we want them to go out.
Literally, all we have to do is we write an email which we put into this sequence and we set it to be sent to that student at X date.
If you know that for you it’s after 2 weeks they’re primed, we set it to be sent to them at the 2-week mark, it might be the sixth week, or eight week. This is all done on autopilot, so it’s so easy.
In the email, what we do is say, “We are loving having you in our studio and we’re so thrilled to welcome you as a part of the family. As a way of thanking you, we’d love to please feel free to bring along one of your friends to an introductory class.”
You might like to choose another thing that you’d like to give them. If you do, let’s say, parties, or you’ve got a sleepover coming up, or you’ve got some sort of event where you can connect with a new student.
The point of this email is to literally give them a direct invitation to bring someone onboard, but we’ve done in a very clever way because we’re getting it at that moment where they’re most primed for it.
Even within this email, I would go so far as to have, “Forward this email on to your friend. Attached, you’re going to find a PDF invitation or a link where they can go and redeem their ticket to come to a party.” Something like that. Make it very clear. Make it very tangible to give it to them.
It can be tricky manually trying to remember when each student has started and then trying to give them an invitation in class and keep track of where students are, so what I love about this system is it eliminates all of that manual, trying to encourage referrals.
Literally, student signs up, week 6 comes, the email goes out on autopilot and you’re good to go. We’ve got a systemized approach to ensuring every student is encouraged to bring a referral into the student.
Now, there are lots of email autoresponder softwares out there, some are free, some are paid, and I’ve given you my favorite list in this Studio Owner’s Toolkit.
It’s a free resource I’ve created with all of the favorite tools that I love and use and recommend to my clients to help run your studio easier.
You can access it straightaway. It’s completely free at the link below, and in it you’ll find the 3 different companies I recommend that will make it easy for you to set up your system within your studio.
How long does it take for one of your new students to completely fall in love with your studio, for you to really see that little light glowing in their eyes and for them to be completely hooked with what you do?
In the comment section below, share with us how long it takes for one of your students to fall in love with your studio.