This fabulous guest blog post is brought to you by music educator and author Doug Hanvey. He’s been a guest writer on many well-known music blogs, and I’m excited to share his wonderful advice with you! Here’s a great post about about marketing strategies for your music studio that will help you reach your full potential… Hope you all enjoy! ~ Sara
3 Indispensable Marketing Strategies for Music Teachers
by Doug Hanvey
As a music teacher with experience in the marketing field, I’m realizing that many of my fellow teachers could profit from learning some basic marketing principles. In this article I’ll discuss three essential strategies for improving the long-term results of your marketing efforts.
Strategy #1: Clarify Your “Unique Value Proposition” (UVP)
Every music teacher has something unique to offer. Your “unique value proposition” (UVP) helps differentiate your studio from others. If you don’t differentiate yourself, prospective students may be left flipping a coin when deciding whom to study with.
One of the best ways to articulate your UVP is by determining your “unfair advantage” – something that can’t easily be copied or bought by another teacher.
Strategy #2: Price. Service. Quality. Pick any Two.
You may have heard the witty business axiom “Cheap. Fast. Good. Pick any two.” Since speed isn’t an important factor in music lessons, this could also be put as: “Price. Service. Quality. Pick any two.”
This axiom acknowledges that these three properties of any business are interdependent, and that in the real world at least, it’s difficult, maybe impossible, to maximize all three of them.
Assuming that the quality of your lessons is important to you, as well as the service you provide (however you define it), you’re left with how to choose your rates. Many music teachers will research the going rates in their area and choose a rate somewhere in the middle. This seems safe, since you won’t be the most expensive teacher nor the cheap Walmart alternative who undersells their own value.
Another alternative is offering the lowest-priced lessons in your area, though the well-established risk is that you’ll draw students who don’t appreciate the quality you offer and who are less committed than those willing to pay a higher fee. And, after all, if you’re providing quality, why would you want to charge low prices?
The best strategy is to choose the highest rate you can make a good case for, based on the quality and service you offer and the uncountable hours of practicing and teaching experience you have. A higher rate sends the message that studying with you is truly worthwhile. You must then communicate this value in your marketing to overcome any objections to your rate (whether it’s a per-lesson rate or flat semester tuition).
Marketing guru Dan Kennedy put it best: “You can’t build long-term customer retention via the cheapest price. There will always be someone willing to offer a cheaper price. Successful businesses based on factors other than low pricing outnumber successful businesses that feature low or lowest-priced promises by 500 to 1.”
Strategy #3: Get Your Website Noticed
It’s no longer enough to have a simple one-page website, like a glorified business card, and be done with it. Details such as your site’s design and the tone of your copy reflect on your artistic standards, expertise, and commitment to your profession.
Fortunately, it’s easy to put together a high-quality website these days using “content management systems” such as WordPress. My own WordPress website uses the “Divi” theme, one of many “theme frameworks” that make it easy to create and manage a great-looking site. While WordPress is free, Divi is not, so be sure to consider any subscription fees for using it or a similar theme framework.
My site, the Portland Piano Lab, is optimized for the keywords “piano lessons Portland,” the most common Google search term in the City of Roses. Substitute your location for “Portland,” and (if you’re a voice teacher) “voice” for “piano,” and you’ll likely have the most common search term that prospective students/parents use to find a website like yours.
But what good is a website if people never see it in the search results? If you’re in a large city with hundreds of other teachers offering lessons on the same instrument, your site might initially appear on the 12th page of the Google results.
I don’t know about you, but I rarely wade through 12 pages to find what I’m looking for. If you don’t yet have a full studio bringing you all the referrals you need – simple referrals being the best and easiest form of marketing – then making sure folks come across your website may be critical to the success of your business.
Broadly speaking, there are two ways to get your site noticed. One is via organic search engine optimization (SEO), which involves employing numerous strategies to gradually get your site ranking higher (hopefully on the first page!). SEO is a vast and constantly-evolving field, but it’s easy to the learn the basics.
The other way is by using pay-per-click (PPC) ads, those little ads that appear at the top of each page of the search results above the “organic results.” They get their name from the fact that the advertiser pays Google only when someone clicks on their ad. The downside, of course, is that unlike organic SEO, they cost money, and if your prospective students/parents are like many people, they may rarely click on PPC ads anyway.
While PPC is always an option, my experience is that for music lessons, they’re probably not worth the cost and learning curve required. The better option is SEO, which costs you nothing but time (though admittedly, you may need to devote a lot of time to achieve the results you want).
Clarify your UVP, be smart about setting your rates, and make sure you not only build a website but do what’s necessary to get it seen. These three strategies will take you a long way towards success!
Doug Hanvey teaches piano in Portland, OR. His Piano Lab Blog offers fresh ideas, tips, and inspiration for music teachers.
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