Marketing Piano Lessons to Homeschool Students
Here are some things I have learned that affect how your marketing piano lessons to homeschool families when you are marketing piano lessons to homeschool students:
Ah yes, we all want to have a first shift instead of a 2nd shift job, huh?! So, filling those morning and afternoon hours would be handy. But oftentimes it’s difficult to break into the homeschool and the recreational music making market.
My studio is filled with half homeschool and half private/public school students. I consider myself very blessed to have a group of students who can come to lessons in the early part of the afternoon and have learned a bit about marketing to this demographic. In this article, I’ve included some things you need to know about the homeschool community as well as some practical tips on marketing to them.
Homeschoolers are a tight knit community.
Because they are doing what is outside the status quo, homeschoolers stick together for support. They have classes together, attend support groups together, go to conference together, etc. If you do not have an “in” to their community, then it is difficult to market to them initially. I would suggest that you do an internet search for homeschool support groups in your area, call the leaders, introduce yourself and ask to come do a short presentation to them about your offerings. Homeschool families love bargains, so you might also offer to give a introductory free class (at their convenient location) for some of their groups that already regularly meet.
Homeschoolers are often religious.
Sometimes this means that they want their children to learn to learn music to play in church, sometimes this means that they do not encourage their kids to listen to pop music, sometimes this means that they might have special requests of you that you may not expect. If you are flexible, this should be no problem, but you should be aware that sometimes they have special requests and that you will have to discuss the pros and cons of their requests in order to teach their children.
While this is not the reason anyone should or shouldn’t join a church, be aware that some churches are very friendly to home schoolers and as a result, there are large communities of homeschoolers that attend certain churches. If you do not belong to a church rich in a home schooling community, I would stick to trying to personally connect with the leaders of support groups and such things. Keep in mind that the principles taught in Marketing Piano Lessons 101 and Marketing Piano Lessons 102 apply to this community as well. A personal connection is usually well worth the time and energy. Offer to take a homeschool leader to lunch to tell them about your offerings and to see if there is something you can give to their community.
Homeschoolers are your best marketing piano to other homeschoolers.
If you get one good family and they are happy with your teaching, homeschoolers are great at spreading the word for you. So, don’t hesitate to ask them to spread the word that you have openings. Perhaps you can give a referral fee for every new student that begins in your studio. Make sure you have great, professional looking business cards or advertising materials for your families to distribute. See Kristin Yost’s post on A Better Image Can Translate into Better Money.
Homeschoolers are unique, just like everyone else.
While most of my experience with homeschoolers has been that they are extremely diligent students who make time in their school day to regularly practice, not all homeschoolers are this way. It’s important to interview every family and student who asks about lessons, and not to assume that they’ll be perfect for your studio just because they fit nicely into your schedule.
Homeschoolers are usually on a tight budget.
Many homeschoolers are single income families since one of the parents is the one homeschooling the children. They often have multiple children taking lessons, so they definitely appreciate discounts on music, or caps on things like registration fees ($25 registration fee, not to exceed $50 per family, see How Do I Implement a Registration Fee?), etc. Some teachers even offer a discount for the 2nd or 3rd child enrolled in lessons, though I caution you to make sure that this is reasonable for your budget…each child is still going to take the same amount of teaching time for you.
Homeschoolers are Always Looking for Learning Opportunities.
So, create something of value for these homeschoolers and get out there and offer it to them! In most cities, there are homeschool co-ops and group classes where parents and kids come together on a regular basis to learn. Take a minute to find out what homeschool groups are in your are and who is in charge. Then, call the director and offer to put together a short introductory class or a music appreciation class for a semester. If it’s a one day exposure, you could even offer to do it for free. But if it’s for a semester, charge a reasonable fee and then get to know the families while they are in your class. Chances are, there will be some that (if they like you) will be asking about private lessons by the end of the term.
Here are other tips on marketing piano lessons to homeschool students from various teachers:
- Place a well designed ad in the homeschool newsletter in your community.
Now, I have heard many teachers say that this has not helped them at all, but there are always other factors to consider. For example: Does your ad look professional? Do you have a website that you reference and does it look professional? Do you emphasize the things you offer that will appeal to homeschool families? Jeff Wille has some experience in this as he’s contacted several local homsechool organizations in Texas. He’s suggested (and I agree) that it’s important to know that an idea or product has to be “in front” of people a number of times before they bite. So, while one ad might not do it, placing your ad in the same homeschool newsletter over and over may be just what someone needs to be motivated to call you.
- Purchase a booth at your local homeschool conference (if you live in a community that has one of these).
Dwayne Huff suggested that when you do this, you showcase pictures from recitals, festival, your credentials, media clips from newspapers, etc. Again, Jeff Wille is a great person to contact about this as he’s done this in his Texas community.
- Contact your library to volunteer for a story book time.
This idea came from Patti Kolk on the ComposeCreate FB page. Here’s what she wrote:
“I contacted the library’s children dept & suggested a possible musical storybook time. I volunteered my time for the 1st one, but the success of that 1st time spread to the other branches of the library & got paid $75 for the others – 45 minute program appropriate for ages 3-5 so siblings could be together. Lots of homeschoolers there & the library let me keep flyers for multiple months. I did a chapter from the classroom version of Music for Little Mozarts with the huge spiral bound book, movement songs from the series, etc. I had mini stations at the end & gave parents a chance to ask questions etc.”
- Make sure you choose key words for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
This tip is from Stephen Hughes: The more times your keywords are matched up with your studio name, the better chances you are to be found above other studios in your area:
1) On your website home page, make sure you have the words ‘homeschool’, ‘piano lessons’ & ‘music lessons’ in the same paragraph, preferably in the first paragraph.
2) If you have access to optimization features on your website, make sure to include the word ‘homeschool’, ‘piano lessons’ & ‘music lessons’ under Meta Keywords & Meta Description.
3) Create as many local business listings online (yahoo, bing, etc) and include the same keywords listed above.
4) Have your students/parents create reviews with these same keywords.
For those of you who have homeschoolers in your studio, what other things have you done in marketing piano lessons to homeschool students?
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- Marketing Piano Lessons 101
- Marketing Piano Lessons 102: Moving to a new community
- How Word of Mouth Marketing Has Changed for Piano Lessons