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Events To Create Lifelong Customers

Leaving the January cold of Chicago for the sunny and pleasantly warm climate of California was reason enough to head out to NAMM SHOW 2019 but having the honor to give back to an organization that has helped music retailers maintain and grow their business was important to me. I certainly learned much from veteran Namm Presenters like Bob Popyk and Alan Friedman in the past and if I was able to give just a spark or small idea for those attending "Events To Create Lifelong Customers" then it was worth all the time and effort spent preparing for the show. I wanted to inspire retailers to think outside the box. The days of Big weekend sales events where everything is 50% off is in the rearview mirror. Customers today want an experience and a reason to come back to your store. If you are not providing fun experiences on a regular basis then you are sending shoppers online. Be different. If you as a retailer go for the one off sale you might or might not get that customer. They might show once for the price and probably not be back since there was no reason to do so. I want to set the stage, so to speak for long term growth and with that, build customer trust and loyalty so that you can count on repeat sales and customers who come to you for the service and experience of having fun with music. Let's keep in mind that we are in the music business. If we can't have fun in the music business then we need to think of other business ventures. Let's look at a sample of an event that can be a rinse and repeat event and one where your customer can have fun, interact with you and your staff and get to know you as friends and as people they can trust when it comes time for little Johnny or little Suzie to start playing an instrument. You want to be a part of helping those new music makers from the beginning and beyond. Watch them grow musically through your store is community growth that is good for business. First, when planning this type of event plan do it for the right reason. If you are thinking dollar signs, it will not work. Think community, experience and fun. Loyal repeat business will follow. Watch for opportunity and turn it into an event. Invite local music groups, community, school choirs and bands to perform in your showroom but step it up and provide refreshments and show it to the world with a facebook live post. Yes, your events should be promoted on social media and be part of social media before , during and after the event has past. Get the most out of an event by keeping it alive on social media. Creat that buzz for your store. Remember keep thinking long term. Too many of our customers are and will be coming from Facebook and all other social media sites, so Include this aspect of planning an event and keep in mind its importance. As an example....We discovered that our local school district had decided not to do a summer band camp as they had always done. We saw this as the perfect opportunity to create an event that would benefit children and music in our community. What we did to make it an event atmosphere was to utilize our older band students from our teaching studio to mentor the kids in our camp. We hired one of the local school band directors to run the camp. We threw a Band Camp party at the end complete with performances for parents. This was also shared on facebook and parents loved having an online rememberance to show grandparents. These parents saw us as stepping up in the community for their kids which is exactly what we did. (Remember when I said to do it for the right reasons?) We seized the moment to bring kids and parents from the community into our business with a fun event where friends were made. We benefited from new instrument rentals and private lesson registrations for our efforts. The point is that we created customers that will visit our store often as their children progess through school band into high school and beyond. They trust us and they are loyal to us because we did the right thing by putting the kids first.

That is but one example of dozens of events we have created that we repeat throughout the year. Look at Make Music Day as another example where you can be creative and provide fun exciting experiences for your customers. You can spend very little expensing an event but it is worthwhile hiring professional musicians to entertain and interact with your customers. After all musicians, music lovers and aspiring musicians all want to interact together. Providing that forum makes your business the center of musical activity in your community. It is impossible to cover in greater detail in this space but if you remember to make sure you brand your business with each event, promote it on social media by sharing your events live if possible, I can almost guarantee that you will notice improvement in your bottom line over time as a result. Tim Paul, owner Piano Trends Music & Band Company / Raue Center for the Arts Board President

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