If you’ve ever made a purchase online, you know how much a product review can influence your buying decision. A few months ago, I was looking for a drum to get my nephew as a gift. I knew I wanted a wooden drum and I saw one that had a design I really liked, but before I clicked “Add to Cart,” I took a peek at the reviews.

It only had 3.5 stars. Reviewers said the drum sounded harsh. A few complained that it was too fragile and a piece broke off after just a few weeks of use.

Suddenly this cool-looking drum was out of the question and the hunt for the “best” drum was on.

Several more drums were dismissed quickly because of low ratings. Some drums didn’t even get considered because they didn’t have any reviews to evaluate!

Have you been through this routine when making a purchase?

Customers Depend on Reviews

Apparently, I’m not the only one doing this relentless research for my everyday purchases. This report from Fan and Fuel reveals that 97% of customers say reviews factor into their buying decisions and 92% of customers hesitate to make a purchase if there are no customer reviews.

I don’t have data to back it up, but I think it’s safe to assume prospective students are using a similar process to choose their music teachers.

What Reviews can do for Music Teachers

Testimonials and reviews give potential students a glimpse into our studios through the eyes of current and former students. We can say all kinds of nice things about ourselves on our own websites, but a student’s review on Google Maps will carry much more weight.

Review-Gathering Strategies

So how do we get these reviews without pestering our students? I’ve got three strategies that will make this process (nearly!) effortless.

Strategy #1: Use words they’ve already shared

This is by far the easiest way to get a great testimonial. Did a student write you a sweet thank you note after the last concert? Send them an email with their message copied into it and ask if they would be willing to share their testimonial on your Facebook page or Google Maps.

Strategy #2: Give prompts

Sometimes people just need a little help getting started. If you ask for reviews by email, try including a few of these prompts to get the creative juices flowing:

  • What hesitations did you have before beginning lessons and how have those been alleviated?
  • What about my teaching style resonates with you?
  • What have you accomplished in lessons?
  • What has surprised you about lessons with me?
  • Would you recommend my studio to a friend?

Strategy #3: Write samples

Do you have a parent who would gladly write you a glowing testimonial but you know she’s just too busy to get it done? Try this: send an email with the testimonial she might write herself if she had the time. Offer it as a sample testimonial and tell her she can start from scratch, edit the sample as much as she wants, or just approve the sample as you wrote it. Nine times out of ten they just approve the sample testimonial.

Testimonials are a powerful way of communicating to potential students and shouldn’t be overlooked. With a little bit of creativity and preparation on your part, getting these reviews doesn’t have to require a lot of effort from you or your students.

What other tips do you have for collecting great testimonials?

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