“Keeping a business alive can sometimes be more challenging than establishing it.”
It’s not enough to rely on word of mouth, though that’s still a very useful way to get more business. It’s not enough to take a “set it and forget it” approach with your advertising. That said, you don’t need to invest all your energy into marketing—and you most definitely don’t need to invest big money to see a good return. Instead, try the ideas below to promote your music school or teaching studio, and you’ll soon have a steady stream of students.
Decide on a promotional plan—and change what doesn’t work
Social media and even the Internet itself has created many opportunities for small businesses. When before you’d have to rely on third parties to create expensive print promotional materials, you can now easily cut costs through online advertising, which includes but definitely isn’t limited to:
- A modern, mobile-responsive website design
- Twitter, Facebook and YouTube ads
- Google display and search ads
It’s worth setting aside a bit of your budget for business cards and possibly brochures and the like. If you’re in a less urban neighbourhood, you may find a good payoff from using flyers. Alternatively, you may want to dedicate your budget exclusively to online tactics.
No matter which advertising venues you choose to use when promoting your music teaching business, remember that it’s very important to track your results. Not tracking is one of the easiest—and biggest—mistakes you can make. If you don’t know which tactics actually work, you may end up throwing good money after bad. It’s worth learning how to generate and use tracking links and phone numbers, or at the very least, asking new students how they found out about you.
Decide what your time is worth to you
You’re a business owner, so it’s understandable that you want to do everything (or as much) as possible. But have you really considered what your time is worth?
Consider this: You spend hours writing emails, marking attendance, generating lesson invoices and following up on unpaid fees. How much should you pay yourself for all this? If instead you were focusing on doing what you love to do best, would that give you a higher return? The answer is probably yes. So the next time you’re tempted to do a task that might be better to outsource, think about what the real cost is to you, not just in dollars and cents.
You also want to consider if you can do these tasks at the same level as a professional. Is it worth designing a flyer that looks DIY? Or should you ask your colleagues for a trusted reference to a graphic designer with rates within your budget?
Ultimately, how you spend your marketing budget is entirely up to you, but make sure you don’t end up short-changing yourself.
Decide on the best ways to network
As a music teacher, you owe it to yourself to invest some of your earnings into your professional development. More credentials help build your credibility with your clients and also make for great advertising sound bites.
Then there are professional communities, both online on LinkedIn and offline in your local neighbourhood. And you don’t have to limit yourself to only other music teachers or professional singers, etc. Look to building relationships with other local small business owners. You never know who might recommend your music school to a friend or relative.
It’s also a good idea to network with local primary or secondary schools who may be willing to rent or loan you music studio space. Why should this matter when you might already have a music studio in your own home? Easy. Everyone loves having options, and giving students the choice of having lessons either online, at-school, at-home or at your studio can also give you a competitive edge. And in the end, it’s all about generating more awareness and interest in your music school or teaching studio.