Follow-up is extremely important to growing your home-based studio. Like anything worthwhile, consistent follow-up requires a lot of effort, but over time you’ll reap the benefits of a solid group of students and referrals. After all, it takes far less time and money to keep an existing student than market to prospective students. Here are 9 follow-up tools sure to motivate your students to stay loyal to your studio:
Thank-you notes: This is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many business owners neglect to write thank-you notes–especially when they get really busy. Take the time to show your students that you genuinely appreciate their business. After an initial lesson with a new student, or after semester recitals, send a note thanking them for their time and hard work. They’ll remember your thoughtfulness!
Postcard mailings: Send out monthly mailings that make good refrigerator fodder, such as “Quote of the Month,” “Music Game of the Month” or useful advice on such topics as time-management, practicing tips or anything else that interests your students and parents. Avoid being too promotional here. Just provide the kind of information that customers will want to hang on their frig. The added benefit to you is that whenever guests visit your customers’ homes, they’ll see your name, potentially leading to conversations about your business.
E-mail Newsletters: Think of your e-mail newsletter as a press release that you send to your students and parents. Providing them with updates via e-mail at least once a month will convey a sense of positive momentum. This keeps students in the loop and, over time, gets them excited to be involved with you and motivates them to pass on referrals.
Getting together over coffee or lunch: Try to spend face time outside of the studio with your customers. Ask about their family, hobbies, personal goals and so forth. When you show customers that you really care about them on a personal level, they’re yours for life.
Birthdays, Holidays and other special occasions: These occasions are very important to your customers and their families and friends. Be among the few who actually remember a student’s special days, and that customer will never forget you! Update your student’s birthdays through MTH’s student account. You can also choose to view this month’s birthdays on your MTH home page. Send an e-card through Hallmark.com or give them a small musical gift to show your thoughtfulness.
Follow up on well-being: For example, if you find that a student or family member has been sick, call periodically just to find out how they’re recovering.
Pass referrals: One of the most powerful ways to encourage loyalty in customers is to pass them referrals. When you get a chance, scroll through your student database and think through people you know who might add value to your students and their families.
Entertaining at your home: Throw a party for your students. You’ll be amazed at how much rapport and goodwill you can build with people when you get them in your home environment. Your guests will also find value in your party as a networking opportunity for them.
Feedback/ Surveys: Demonstrate that you care about the quality of your studio. Call customers or send an online survey to ask them questions like:
- Are you pleased with the service you received?
- What did you like most about working with us?
- What would you like to see improved?
Without this invaluable information, you’ll have a hard time improving your services. Besides, when you ask students for feedback and implement their comments, they feel a sense of ownership in what you’re doing and thus become more loyal to your studio and teaching.
What are some ways you build student loyalty? Please share your ideas!