Word of Mouth


Word of mouth can be one of the best ways to grow your studio…and also the most frustrating. You can’t force people to pass on your name to others; it has to happen organically, right?

Well, almost.

We can’t force anyone to spread the word about our fabulous teaching superpowers. What we can do is provide opportunities for them to do so. We can make it easy for our best customers to pass it on to other people like them, and fill our studio with our ideal students over time. 

First, ask.

Sometimes the simplest and most obvious option is the best one, and the one we forget to do. Before you do anything else, make sure you are asking the students and parents in your studio regularly for reviews and testimonials and letting them know when you have an opening so they can pass on your name.

People forget and get distracted, so regularity is key. It doesn’t have to be a nuisance, either. Try adding these simple asks to your system:

  • A link to review you on Google or Facebook or leave a testimonial on your site in your email signature. Swap out which one you include about once a month.
  • A PS to ask people for reviews or let people know about you have some open spots. Not every email, but around 20% won’t look needy or spammy.
  • A specific email to ask for testimonials and reviews once a year. Pick a time when everyone will be buzzing from a great studio event or project!

Don’t fret if you don’t get huge results from these. Over time, it will start to make a difference and the people who are saying to themselves “Oh, gosh, I should really do that one of these days!” will eventually get to it. But only if you keep asking.

Referral Incentives

If it’s still not moving fast enough, one method of encouraging word of mouth is to offer incentives like:

  • A free month of lessons to the referring family once the new family has been in lessons for a certain length of time.
  • Waiving the registration fee for the next year as a referral credit.
  • Some kind of gift card such as a local ice-cream shop or an Amazon voucher.

I don’t recommend running these programs over the long-term, but they can be good for a temporary boost when you need it. Just make sure you’ve tried simply asking first. People don’t always need to get something to do something.

Be Seen

As well as reminders, people also need opportunities to pass your name on. They’re not going to just throw random sales pitches at their friends, you need to give them something interesting to talk about!

  • Create student videos and audio recordings for parents to share with friends and family.
  • Give them studio swag that they will wear out and about to spark a conversation or two.
  • Do something remarkable (in the truest sense of the word) that people want to tell others because it’s a great story.

You can’t guarantee word-of-mouth marketing. But you can be noteworthy, let your superpower shine through, and let true fans do the rest.

More to Explore

‘Talk Triggers’ is a fantastic book if you need to do this on a bigger scale or would just like more examples and inspiration for generating word of mouth.