My Grandma always told me that it was vain and conceited to talk about yourself. What I learned at my first MTNA conference is that it’s perfectly normal for any business person to promote their business. Today when you ask me what I do, I’m apt to say “I’m such a fantastic Piano and Violin teacher that I consult other teachers! I also play in the Symphony and manage a String Quartet and represent other Wedding Music Groups!”
If you are like me and struggle to let people know how super great you are (introvert alert!), you need to hire yourself to do some marketing. This is a great excuse to take yourself out to lunch and do some brainstorming. There are 3 levels of marketing in my experience:
- Thinking about doing it, maybe getting some business cards.
- Cheap-as-free, but with effort (buying or making promotional materials)
- Putting your money where your mouth is. Doesn’t this look like FUN!
When I first started teaching in my church basement, business cards were impressive for a 14 year old! My Dad was so proud, he would hand them out to everyone he met! When I moved to a larger city, putting those cards around on community bulletin boards at local businesses and libraries really worked well because I had upgraded from my plain business cards to super glossy fancy ones that looked great!
Now when I want to advertise, I still use flyers and brochures posted around town (look for another post about what to put in these.) However, I’m using more technology based options like web site optimization and facebook ads. Maybe you are lucky and have a few longtime students who are happy to refer their friends and relatives to you (good luck remembering how everyone is related!) Hopefully you have a printer and know how to use a computer well, so making flyers and brochures is easy for you. Here is another one of my blog posts that you may want to read about catering to your Niche.
One of my favorites:
Think about what level you are at right now and make the commitment to go to the next level and you will see results.
Things I don’t reccomend:
- Making your own business cards. Online websites like www.vistaprint.com make it so easy and affordable to get great looking cards. (If you have already purchased the kind you can print yourself, save those for flashcards!)
- Telling ALL your students you are looking for more students. Tell the ones you wish you could have duplicates of that you would like to expand your studio.
- Accepting personal invitations to EVERYTHING that you are invited to by students. “It sounds great, but I’ll have to check my calendar” is always appropriate, or “Have your Mom get me the date and time, and I’ll see if I can make it!” One one hand, these events can be great to make new contacts, but if you have 40 students, and to be fair you attend one event for each of them, you will find your social calendar full. Pick the ones you feel may be lucrative or that you really wish to attend!
- Buying a website from a company. It is SO easy to make your own website or blog and there is no need to pay 100’s of dollars for this service. If you are really technically challenged, start asking friends if they know anyone who makes websites for a hobby. Usually a friend will be willing to give you extra time and help you figure out how to update the site yourself.
If you are in a large market, think niche. My niche is that I give lessons to preschoolers, where many in my town don’t, and I offer both Violin and Piano, so a brother and sister can be dropped together off for a hour. And because I don’t care if well behaved siblings stay during another’s lesson, mom or dad can go shopping at the wonderful shopping center across the street from my house. I advertise my part of town in all my ads, because this does heavily influence decision making. Do you include composition activities in your lessons, travel to homes or offer group lessons? Do you use technology or offer traditional lessons? Make what you do best your selling points.
Add Technology with ipad apps!
Three Apps to try now (and throw out your flashcards!) <a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/note-rush-learn-music-notes-sight-reading/id1083801827?mt=8&at=1000luse”>Note Rush: Learn Music Notes Sight Reading – Thomas Grayston</a>,
<a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/staffwars/id810405576?mt=8&at=1000luse”>StaffWars – TMI Media, LLC</a> and
<a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ningenius-music-student-edition/id984835954?mt=8&at=1000luse”>NinGenius Music – Student Edition – Anthony Winters</a>
If you’d like more ideas to grow your studio and get your students in their happy practice place, please check out my book available to read on any device like PC/Laptop/Kindle or iPad from Amazon!
Please note that amazon referral links generate a teeny tiny bit of revenue that goes directly into keeping this website up and running. I also offer one-on-one consulting you can learn more about here. Thanks for reading my blog!