Marketing Piano Lessons 102: Moving to a new community
Trying to increase the number of students in your studio by 5 or 10 is one thing, but if you find yourself needing to move to a community, filling 30-40 spots is much more difficult! If you find yourself in this position, first read the Marketing Piano Lessons 101 post and then read these top 7 things I would or have done when moving to a new community.
You might also consider investing in the online marketing workshop that includes information (step by step guide, plus free images) for advertising on Facebook! One student signing up pays for the workshop in one month for most!
1. Meet and Treat Your New Colleagues
The first thing I would do when moving to a new community is find out who the local association of piano teachers consists of, join the association, and then take some of the most influential ones out to lunch! Call the president, introduce yourself, tell them you have joined their organization and want to take them out to lunch to learn more about the community and get their advice in starting a studio. At that lunch, you can find out what the current rates are, what the most important local events are, who’s who, and a host of other things that will be very valuable as you begin your studio. Then, I would take the new referral chairperson out to lunch and do the same. Don’t be shy about telling them you need new students. But, make sure you also volunteer to become active in the organization and ask how you can be helpful to them as an association.
2. Tune Your Piano and Listen
When you have your piano tuned, ask your tuner questions about who has the biggest studios in the area, what kind of organizations are there (sometimes there are 2 and you can find out what kind of conflicts might occur between them). You may also find that your tuner is also a teacher in the area! This is what happened to me in a new city, and my tuner helped me get connected to some other teachers in the area.
3. Call the Music Store
Call the local music store and tell them you are a teacher new to the area and want to come in and see what kind of store you are going to be sending your students to (and make sure you do this). When you go to the store, dress professionally and let them know that you are taking new students. Leave your business cards or pamphlets (make sure these are also professional looking) with them. Ask them how you can help them!
4. Get Flyers to the Schools
As a parent of a school age child, I know that schools put flyers in students’ folders all the time, especially right before summer. Call your local school and tell them that you are a piano teacher who would like to send home information about lessons in student’s folders. Tell them that you will bring the flyers ready-t0-go. Make sure your flyer looks professional (way too many of these flyers look shoddy, so if yours looks stunning, it will really stand out) and includes your website, phone number, information about your specialty (see below). I would advise you to NOT include your lesson prices. Parents always ask about this first, but its usually because they don’t know what to ask. It’s up to us to “sell our services” to them when they call, so I delay answering their question about price until after I’ve told them about what piano lessons will do for their chid.
5. Advertise your Specialty
If you don’t have a niche, find one. Develop an area where you can be the best and then advertise your niche. If you love to teach students to do jazz improv, then advertise that your lessons include this. If you teach composition and creativity, then advertise that. “Piano Lessons” usually conjures up images of the little old lady down the street who charges $5 per lesson. You must communicate that you do much more than this and advertising your niche will help you do this.
Now advertising is where it gets tricky. Remember in the last post where we talked about your warm and your cold market? You’re best advertising is done among people who know who you are, which is why I put ideas for connecting with your colleagues first. But, in a new community where no one knows you, you might have to do some advertising to a cold market. Try these things:
- Brainstorm about what kinds of people have school age kids and disposable income in your area, find where these people congregate, and advertise there.
- Be wise in investing advertising dollars. Taking out an ad in your local symphony’s playbill may target people that are interested in classical music. But your ad dollars may be better invested in advertising in a public or private school’s newsletter.
- C0nsider using a direct marketing service in your area. These people can target the neighborhoods, zip codes, and other areas where you think you might find parents seeking a piano teacher. They can also help you design your ad and will mail it out for you.
6. Maintain Your Website (or get online without one)
As mentioned in the previous post,
The parents who are currently searching for piano lessons for their kids are roughly 20-45 years old. This is Generation X and Y who basically live by their computers….If they look for your studio online and do not find you have a web presence, they may easily dismiss your studio as “outdated” and may think you must be too old to relate to their children who don’t know anything but technology.
So, keep your website updated or get one if you don’t have one. Then, reference it in every thing you give out about your studio: your business card, your advertising, your email signature, etc.
If you don’t have a website and can’t imagine investing the time getting one, then you can still get your studio able to be found with Google Places! Read Stake Your Claim Online by Kevin Kao for details!
7. Offer Special Classes
This is especially useful in the summer when parents are looking for activities for their children anyway. Consider having an introductory Piano Camp, a songwriting camp, a pre-school piano camp, etc. This is a great way to connect and develop trust with your neighbors and people in your community who just may be wanting piano lessons anyway!
8. Get on Facebook and Advertise to Families with Children in Your City
Jon Loomer is fantastic at explaining how to target specific audiences. Check out his great website for the “how-to” on this. The great thing with advertising on Facebook is that you can usually invest only a small amount of money just to see if it’s going to work for you!
Do you have other ideas for marketing that I have not mentioned? Be sure to share them in the comments or on the ComposeCreate FB page.
Next week, I’ve invited Stephen Hughes to write about his move to a new community and some of the very creative things he did to advertise. His studio is now overflowing with students!
- Online workshop on Marketing: Learn about Facebook Marketing, Google Listings, Bring-a-Friend lessons and more! Get 1 student from Facebook and the investment pays for itself in one month!
- Marketing to Homeschool Students
- Why Market When You Don’t Need Students
- Differentiate Your Studio with Innovative Resources like Rhythm Cup Explorations, Rhythm Menagerie, and Rhythm Manipulations