For musicians who want more students, welcome to the art of referral requests.
Last week we finished up the Musician Teaching Bio Workshop with a bonus master class to help participants fine-tune their bios.
One of the participating musicians, Ann (THANK YOU!) had a great question. She asked what to do with her shiny new and improved bio once it’s done. Ann wanted tips to leverage her message to attract more students.
Unfortunately, Ann’s question deserves more than can be delivered in a master class or blog post. There’s more involved than tips and outlining next steps.
Why? Because most musicians need a tailored marketing plan for their particular situation. And they often need help implementing the plan. That’s why promoting a teaching studio is often a project I work on with clients in my Power Group program.
That said, I want to at least outline what it takes to fill an online teaching studio.
1. Make it easy for people to find you
If you get people referring students to you they are going to look you up online and they’ll expect to find relevant info. So have a website with at least a specific tab and page devoted to your teaching.
2. Have a Teaching Bio that works
An effective teaching bio is one that works as a ‘call to action’ — that gets prospective students to click the “contact” button on your site. This means your bio should NOT simply list your credentials.
Instead, it should communicate who you really are as a person, what you’re actually like as a teacher, and what’s distinctive about your teaching. This is what we cover in my Musician Teaching Bio Workshop, a three part in-depth go-at-your-own-pace video course.
3. Offer a relevant download
On your site, offer resource material or a free download for prospective students — if they sign up for your newsletter or mailing list. To come up with something “juicy,” you need to have a clear sense of who your ideal student is and what that person wants and needs.
Is it your “7 Secrets for All-state Audition Success” pdf tip sheet? Or maybe it’s your “5 Tips for Memorizing Recital Repertoire”? Or what about a video of you demonstrating your favorite warm-up?
Think what you can devise that your ideal students would find especially helpful. That would build connection and trust — and get them to want to connect with you.
4. Request referrals
Having current or former students telling others how wonderful you are as a teacher — that’s of course your best marketing strategy. But let’s be real, those kinds of referrals don’t grow on trees. You need to do more than hope that students will spread the word for you.
You need a referral system.
My fabulous business coach Dallas Travers has a whole referral request methodology and program for coaches. It’s helped me enormously.
And though it’s not designed for recruiting music students, Dallas’ referral approach can be adapted and applied. I’ve helped a number of my clients use these essential principles to getting referrals — and they’ve found success in the process.
Most recently, my client Bill recruited 52 (!) students for his online Body Mapping course — far exceeding his anticipated goal. What’s more, this was the first time he’d offered an online workshop. The response was so great that Bill had to add several extra Q&A sessions to accommodate students.
Here’s what I coached Bill through . . .
1. Creating a compelling “sales” page on his website for his course: one that connected with his ideal students, spoke to their needs and detailed the course benefits, along with Bill’s own story. He modeled his sales page on a few examples I sent him. And we went back and forth with drafts and edits so Bill could hone his message.
2. Making a list of relevant colleagues who could each refer 2-3 students who might be interested in Bill’s course.
3. Writing individualized personal requests to each of these people engaging them in the project — using the urgency of a deadline and handy “cut and paste” strategic referral text to make it easy for people to refer students to him.
4. Clarifying the course deadlines, content organization, sales page layout, confirmation pages, etc. so that all the ducks were lined up for the launch.
As for sticking points, many musicians struggle with asking for referrals — whether it’s for a course or ongoing private students. I get it: no one wants to come across as needy and or to “owe” a colleague anything. No one wants to feel judged or rejected.
But the reality is, there’s a perfectly diplomatic and graceful way to ask for referrals — thank you, Dallas! That’s why getting help tailoring your referral requests and re-orienting your mindset can not only help you fill your studio. It can also help you cultivate a healthier mindset and approach to your network.
Bottom line: for musicians who want more students . . .
Focus on your online presentation, your teaching bio, and then build awareness and interest by making strategic referral requests.
If the tips above are enough for you, that’s great. But if you need help implementing any of this and want to explore coaching with me, let’s talk.
And for more help to get your career in forward motion, join us for the weekly FB Live discussions in our free Facebook group.
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