June 7, 2021

How To Create A Referral Marketing Machine For Your Tutoring Business

Written by:
Richard Kitchenmaster

In this blog post you’ll learn how to create a referral marketing machine for your tutoring business.

This is something that I have noticed many tutors do not have in their business and it’s something that’s essential for free organic growth. (You should have marketing strategies that are both paid and free...This is one of the best free marketing strategies that I know of)

The thing about tutors is tutors are usually really amazing at tutoring but often forget about the sales and marketing side of things.

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to actually grow your business is through referral marketing.

What makes referral marketing so great?

Because it's free! Which means the margins are nearly 100%.

So, if you don’t have a referral marketing strategy in your tutoring business...You will be well equipped to start one by the end of this post.

This strategy is going to work best if you already have a cew clients you’re working with...But it can still work leveraging the people you know and the people who are willing to talk about you.

What’s your first step?

The very first step to creating a referral marketing strategy for your tutoring business is ACTUALLY having one! (ha!) I know this may sound silly to you...But most tutors don’t have one!

There are so many businesses out there that don’t give out any incentive or reason to actually have people brag about your tutoring business.

Why would anyone want to send their family, friends, coworkers or neighbors to your business without some sort of incentive? 99% of people wouldn’t.

If you only take one thing away from this blog post today, let it be this:

You need to have a strategy to bring in referrals because most people won’t just refer their friends to you without one.

It is a mistake for you to assume that people will refer you business without you asking for it. I have had people ask me on numerous occasions if it was okay to give out my number.

You’d think that would be an obvious YES PLEASE! But unfortunately, it’s not.

What should a referral system look like?

1. $50-OFF your next package.

2. $50-OFF your and their package.

3. 4 sessions of free tutoring.

4. 25%-OFF your next package.

5. $30 gift card to a local coffee shop.

6. $100 cash.

These are all different ideas and offers that I have personally tried in the past and you can implement into your business. If none of these offers feel right for you, hopefully they will get the juices flowing and you can come up with something that feels right for your tutoring business.

My favorite referral offer above is #2. It’s my favorite because not only is your current customer saving...So is the person being referred. Makes it a very attractive referral offer.

Understanding your audience will help you decide on a referral offer that’s right for you. For example, if you cater to college kids…$100 cash might be a big deal for them! But...If you are catering to parents who have a lot of money, cash may not excite them as much.

I recommend picking ONE that you like...And rolling with it!

How do you promote your referral program?

Now, how do you actually promote this program so people know that they can benefit from it? Here are a few ideas that I use in my tutoring business below...

1. In your onboarding emails. (You should have a series of emails that go out once you get a new customer)

2. Put it in your contract. 

3. Put it in your session summaries.(You should be using a tutoring management system that allows you to send out weekly session summaries of the lessons)

4. Put it in the footer of your emails.

5. Send out an automated email every 30-days to your current customers. (You can do that with SmartTutor)
6. Literally tell people about it (haha!)

You can use either all of these ideas above or just pick some of your favorites...But I highly recommend using as many avenues as possible when trying to promote your referral program.

Here is an email that we automatically send out each month using the SmartTutor system…

This is an email that we automatically send out to our customers every 30-days to make sure we are always letting people know that...Hey, we are looking for business!

One of my favorite ways to ask for business in person without making it awkward is using this one sentence…

“Oh by the way, who do you know that could benefit from the tutoring that we offer?”

A lot of people get really nervous about asking for new business and their confidence falls through the floor. The ‘Oh by the way” method is a really nice and easy, organic way to bring it up in conversation that isn’t pushy and doesn’t feel salesy.

If a customer refers a bunch of people to you...What do you do?

You want to do something extra special for these rockstars! They are going to drive your business growth massively and you want to show your appreciation.

Here are a few ideas…

1. Get them a nice bottle of wine.
2. Send them a fruit basket.
3. Send them a handwritten card.
4. Show them your appreciation!

My personal favorite is #2. When someone has referred 3-5 new paying students to me...I will call up a local store here and deliver them a customized fruit basket. This costs me typically around $100 but it’s absolutely worth it.

They love it and typically take a picture of it and brag a little bit on their social profiles about how they just received this super awesome gift from my company, how cool is that?

As an added bonus, I’ll usually send a handwritten note card with the gift that includes a few referral cards that they can pass out to their friends.

If you are still a new business and aren’t comfortable spending $100 on something like this...That’s okay! Send a really nice handwritten card. The important thing here is to just let them know that they are appreciated.

Thank you card example:

I send these cards out anytime someone sends me a referral in my tutoring business. My message is super simple (I’m sure you guys are a lot more creative than I am) but it works and people love the gesture.

Now, if you don’t have a referral program...Your homework is to use some of these tips to put a referral program together for your business and watch the referral marketing work!

Would you like help turning your customers into referral generating raving fans? Check out SmartTutor and claim a 14-day free trial and see how automation can help grow your business today!