Referral programs are one of the most important strategies that school owners can use to attract new students. The strategy is simple. You create an incentive system for students to bring in their friends or family members and sign up at your school. The reward for signing up a friend can be free classes, or prizes.
School owners can’t ignore this strategy because it genuinely works and it shows you have confidence in what your school is offering. It’s also taking advantage of your biggest asset. Your students know what you’re offering and what sets you apart from your competition. They’re your best advocates.
The key is in knowing how to make the most of your referral campaigns so that you don’t create burn out or what we call referral exhaustion. So we asked experienced school owners for tips on how to make the most out of your referral programs.
“I currently use a referral program where for every two new students, the referrer gets a month’s lessons for themselves,” says Master Vincent Wight, Kukkiwon 5th Dan, Bridgewater Taekwondo. “ The biggest problem with this process is someone (sometimes several students) claiming another student as a referral after the fact. I got around this by making all claims necessary at the free introductory lesson stage. Another issue is that parents pay the dues, so kids don’t care for the system. I once gave away a video game system as an incentive for the kids to refer their friends. Whoever got the most friends during the course of their promotion won the system. I received a lot of traffic on that promotion.”
We asked Master Wight if he had done the video game to appeal directly to the kids rather than their parents.
“Kids are definitely not motivated by free lessons, “says Master Wight. “They do love video games. I will use gift cards to different retail locations that kids enjoy as well.”
“$100 has been our best referral program,” says Nicholas Cotellese, Manager at Black Dragon Martial Arts. “But it only works if you drive traffic to the referral page. People aren’t going to just stumble upon it. It works when you post about it in your private FB group, email and text messages, when you have face to face talks at the studio. You need to talk about your referral program on a regular basis. Ours is easy too, the client fills out the form with their referrals info, and we reach out to them and do the work. They’re referral signs up, we give them $100. Not a discount on lessons or pro shop gear but cash or visa gift card.”
Cotellese went on to go in depth on his referral strategies and how he reaches out to his community. “Posting in our members group is one way we reach our community. We have over 400 people in our members FB group so we post things like this to drive traffic.”
“We also have email and text message campaigns to our members with the link to referral page,” points out Cotellese.
“Something people often neglect when they’re thinking of referrals is that you don’t just have to target the best friends of students,” says 20/20 Cofounder Master William Sexton. “We have had a great amount of success getting parents to start taking classes with their kids. And once the parent becomes comfortable they are likely to get the rest of the family involved.”
USE 20/20 ARMOR TO LEVEL UP YOUR REFERRAL STRATEGY
A huge part of what makes these referral pushes successful is the experience your students have at your school. You need to give them something that differentiates your school from the others in your area.
Using 20/20 Armor gives your students something they can easily talk about when they mention their experience to their friends or family. After all their friends are likely to be interested in video games. It’s also really simple for a student to describe how exciting it is to play video games in real life. We are currently working on a new product that will revolutionize how martial arts owners get referrals. Get in touch with us in the chat to find out more.