Most recording studio owners I talk to need more paying clients. Some need more. But when the subject of finding more clients comes up, studio owners mostly jump directly to finding ways to attract new clients, totally ignoring their past clients. But if you take any particular group of prospects, the people most likely to hire you are… (drum roll, please…) people whoever have already hired you! So it really makes sense to pay a lot of attention to the clients “right under your nose” – your past clients.
How to pay attention to past clients
It’s actually pretty easy. During times when I think a one-size-fits-all newsletter sent to your entire client list will help your business a lot, your time is also well spent contacting clients personally. It takes just 15 or 20 minutes a couple days a week to send out a few personal emails or make a few phone calls. Contact clients personally about mostly all 60 days and alternate between phone calls and email. Since you’re contacting your clients in a few different ways, you almost guarantee your chances of getting a slice of their valuable time.
Why cannot I just stick to the newsletter?
Several people resist picking up the phone to talk to clients. They’d rather just send out a newsletter and not talk to anyone. But many clients won’t read your newsletter. Not that they don’t need to, but with so many communications vying for our attention these days, many people just don’t have the time. When clients know you care enough to keep in touch with their music and their lives, they are more likely to do business with you again, and even less likely to go price shopping when it comes time for their next project.
How to find out what makes your clients tick
When you communicate 1 on 1 with your clients, you not only get them to come back and record more music with you (and of course spend more money with you), but you also get to learn what makes your clients tick, what sort of results they are looking for, and sometimes more importantly, why they might not have been 100% satisfied with their last studio experience (be it with you or any other studio).
Now that you have this new x-ray vision…
Having this sort of “market research” keeps your fingers on the pulse of your client base and lets you in on the conversation inside your clients’ heads. Kinda like x-ray vision into their brain. This info is worth its weight in gold because now you will know how to present your studio and your services to likely new clients. If a bunch of your metal clients are raving about the huge guitars on the new Tool record, and you can deliver that sound, then make sure you work that in to your conversation with the next heavy metal band that checks out your studio. Show off your backline and any of your strategy on how to get that sound. Cranking a sample of your latest work through your mains won’t hurt either.
Sure, you could guess what your clients want, but the more you learn what your clients really want, the more you’re able to hone your message. Just a thing you say or offer could be the difference between gaining a new client and losing one to the studio down the street.
There’s good news…
The good thing about marketing to your past clients is that you don’t have to spend any additional money trying to find out where they are. You’ve already identified them. You already know they record their music or other audio material. You know they are able to pay for your services. They already know you and (hopefully) like yourself and the results you deliver. Identifying your clients with pinpoint accuracy is 95% of the battle when it comes to marketing and advertising. It is expensive to find new clients, so why ignore such low hanging fruit?
The danger of assuming…
Several studio owners assume that since a musician or band recorded with them in the past, they’ll of course record with them in the future. They think they can spend all their marketing time and budget on finding new clients, while past clients will automatically continue to roll in. This may be true to any degree, but this is very dangerous thinking. You need to ensure that your clients come back again and again and again. So get out that client database and connect with a few clients mostly all couple days and get any conversations rolling!
You do have a client database, don’t you?
If you don’t, you should assemble a database of all your past clients as soon as you can, or at least keep a database going forward, starting now. Keep track of as much info on your clients as you comfortably can. Things like mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, spouse’s names, kids’ names and ages. Keep track of contact dates, and any important details of your conversation, like progress on their latest masterpiece, gigs and the luck of the last project you did for them. All this info will help you keep in tune with your clients without taxing yourself to remember so many nitty gritty details. If you briefly review your notes before connecting with your client, your conversation will be smooth, as if you had spoken yesterday, even if it was two months ago.
If all this is starting sounds like sales, well… that’s because it is! Somebody’s gotta sell your wares. Who else is going to?
Start building your database
Having a solid client list and making regular contact makes it possible to drum up business on demand whenever you need it. It doesn’t cost much and might be the most valuable part of your business, sitting right under your nose.