Marketing your studio - What works

Talk with other teachers, exchange tips, participate in polls regarding a teaching studio business

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Oct 21, 2005 7:25 am

Although we have discussed, at least in passing, advertising a teaching studio in the past on the Board and have at least one article on the main part of the site which discusses the topic (Establishing a New Teaching Studio), I thought it might be worthwhile to talk about what works and what doesn't in "marketing" a studio. While many teachers' studios are full and they don't need to advertise or otherwise market their studios, most teachers will face this issue at least once in their careers - when they start the studio or when they move to a new city. So, let's hear your ideas on how to bring students in to the studio. :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:42 am

My wife used to put a small ad in the local paper each week listing the current Honor Roll of students in her studio who had made the grade that week. Not only did the students work harder at practicing to get their names in the paper, but it helped bring in more students as well.

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Postby Stretto » Mon Oct 24, 2005 9:23 am

Well, I have never really advertised so I would be interested in ideas as well. I hadn't really been on a quest to increase the number of students I have as I have been adding by word of mouth mainly but just this year would like to increase the number of students I have so have been thinking of "advertising".
I just happened by chance to talk to a music teacher at a public elementary school that is right down at the end of my street (is that convenient or what ?). She found out in the conversation that I lived close by and taught private lessons and said she would be happy to hand out my information to parents of students at the school. She said she is getting asked all the time by parents for recommendations. It's just a matter of me getting the information made up and getting it to her.
Also, there are a couple parenting newspapers that circulate at businesses around town and are sent home with the kids in public schools so I thought about putting an ad in one of those as they target specifically parents with children. There are also bulletin boards at coffee shops like Barnes and Nobles, Panera Bread, music stores, the library, churches. I have never tried putting an ad on a bulletin board. If anyone tries that, they most likely have to get permission from the business before hanging the ad.
Our phone book and town newspaper never have ads from local piano teachers in them so it makes me wonder. I don't want to be the only private teacher with an ad in the paper or phone book. - Probably would either get no calls, or get overwhelmed with calls. Dr. Leland's idea was good though.
Also, I need to join the piano or music teachers association as then perhaps teachers that get to know each other refer their 'overflow' or those who want a time that's not available to each other. Well, I'll post back when I get to doing any of these things and let you know how they worked.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Mon Oct 24, 2005 3:04 pm

Stretto, there's absolutely nothing unusual or weird about having an attractive ad in the local paper, or even in the Yellow Pages (that's expensive, though). Why don't you want to be the only one? I would think that would be an advantage.

It's well, though, to include enough information to inform people of your specialties, such as preferred age brackets, whether you take adults, whether you take beginners or advanced, or both, acoustic or digital, etc. It helps to have a website, too--do you have this?

Most teachers I've worked with, even in the MTNA national, state and local groups, don't understand how an ad can work for them. Usually they get discouraged if they don't get 20 calls the first week. You have to be patient, keep your name in front of people over time, and have a classy, dignified display ad, NOT a line or two in the Want Ads along with the week's garage sales and the broken down "make offer" car that "runs good." Get a pro or at least a knowledgable person to design it for you.

Over time you will be known in the community as the teacher who is organized and professional, and you will attract not only enough students, but the better ones as well.

B. L.
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Postby Stretto » Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:16 pm

Actually, due to time constraints at this juncture in my life I was talking in terms of only having about a total of 10 students at a time. The idea of not just putting a little ad in the classified, but a nice ad elsewhere in the paper is a good idea. Besides giving the music teacher at the school my info., I might put such an ad in the parenting newspaper I mentioned that circulates around town and also put an ad in the regular paper or a paper that targets seniors and or homeschoolers as I could add more than 10 students if I found some that could come during the daytime, which is the time I would prefer to teach anyway. That's one of my least favorite things about teaching, having to wait until the afternoon until kids are out of school to do most of my teaching as that is not my most preferred time of day. I probably would even drop the afternoon times if I had enough daytime students. I don't have a website as I haven't been interested in increasing my numbers of students until just this year and don't think there would be enough interest amongt my current students and parents to justify having one. Maybe something I would do a few years down the road yet.
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Postby Beckywy » Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:02 pm

I had a graphic designer put together a brochure for me and had it professionally printed in full colour. It got me a job at a music school in the city.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby pianoannie » Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:03 pm

Beckywy wrote:I had a graphic designer put together a brochure for me and had it professionally printed in full colour. It got me a job at a music school in the city.

Congratulations! What does your job include? Strictly piano lessons, or groups, or entire music classes? I'd also love to hear more about what you put in your brochure and (if you don't mind) a ballpark idea of $$ to have a custom designed brochure made. (feel free to ignore that last question if you prefer)
Thanks!
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Postby Beckywy » Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:26 pm

I actually start next week. Private lessons and ensembles.

It's Regent park school of music. A non-profit organization for the innercity kids.
Brochure headings for each panal is : Bio and Performer; Why study with (me)?; Recitals; piano practice; Lessons, and the front page.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:04 am

I took a class in "Brochures" several years ago. It was very interesting and informative. I still recall much of the information which I have passed on to others. You can do one by yourself. There is probably information on the computer.
I was working with the Commission on Disability in our town and we not only did a brochure, with help from our members, including an artist (point of view) but a listing of places to help people with disabilities. Both were distributed in local locations including the local hospital.
If you want to e mail me, I will pass on more details. It is not difficult.
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Postby Stretto » Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:20 am

I never thought about a brochure but it sounds like a good way to appear professional. - Something I may try down the road. Maybe that would be a good way to recruit some seniors (we live in a popular area for retirement). - Also, would be a good way to recruit some homeschoolers or offer a group class.

I was just thinking, has anyone had any luck with business cards? I have always thought about having business cards printed up as a person sometimes has someone sound interested when they find out in conversation that you teach piano. Just something I've never got around to finding out the cost, having one designed, and wasn't out to increase my number of students before. Now I just got a computer this Spring and discovered an option for designing business cards on the computer. Again, does anyone else have them and how well have they worked for you?
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Postby Beckywy » Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:05 am

People can sniff a home job a mile away...that's why I went to a professional. If it looks professional, people will treat you more professionally.

Business cards are good especially when people ask you what you do, and you say piano instructor, and then they usually ask for a business card. It's embaressing to say that you don't have any or don't have one.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby pianoannie » Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:34 pm

For business cards, there are numerous internet sites you can go to. You can probably order them online for less than what you would spend to make your own. You can get some basic cards for about $20/250.
Try vistaprint.com, magicprints.com, or just google for business cards.
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Postby Stretto » Wed Jan 25, 2006 8:42 pm

Beckywy wrote:I actually start next week. Private lessons and ensembles.

It's Regent park school of music. A non-profit organization for the innercity kids.
Brochure headings for each panal is : Bio and Performer; Why study with (me)?; Recitals; piano practice; Lessons, and the front page.

Beckwy,

How are things going at the music school you are teaching at? Are you enjoying your teaching position there?

:)




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Postby Beckywy » Wed Jan 25, 2006 8:51 pm

I love it. The atmosphere and the attitude of the kids are great. I don't teach Sight Reading, Ear Training or Theory. They have group classes for that, so most of the kids are in the school 2-3 times a week for music classes. I don't have to put up with attitude or indifference as I do in my private studio. For example, at the school, I had 1 teenager who came in and he gave me attitude the first day. He wouldn't talk to me, or play or show me what he was working on. I told the office manager, she called the boy's mother, and it was all straightened out by the next lesson. The student came in 15 mins early and by himself - he sincerely apologized for his behaviour and we got down to work. It was a complete 180 turn. All the kids practice, and they listen to what I have to say, and they are truly interested in learning.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby Stretto » Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:13 am

Today I finally got around to checking on placing an ad. There is a local little parenting and family "newspaper" targeted for families with children 12 and under. It is pretty popular and I'm fairly sure widely read. It circulates in the schools, local businesses, libraries, and also goes out in the city's Sun. newspaper once a month in neighborhoods that have a larger concentration of families with school-aged children.

To place a small "index-card" size ad (smallest available) would cost $132.00 per month with a 3 month minimum commitment :( . This is the first place I checked because I think busy families probably read that over the newspaper, so I don't know if this is a "reasonable" charge for advertising. I suppose it is. They are trying to line up a new ad not available yet that would be the size of a business card and the person I spoke to said it probably will cost around $40 per month. It hasn't been approved or prices set yet. She is suppose to call me back next week to let me know if that option becomes available. It was all I could do not to "choke" when she said "$132.00 a month".

I will check a few other places, perhaps the city newspaper and phone book, a similar little newspaper targeted for local seniors, and some other "flyers" that circulate around town to get a comparison.

It's funny I have lived here over 15 years, although I don't read the classified all the time, I've only seen one piano teacher advertise in the classified ad of the paper. It said 25+ years of experience with a masters. The ad was only out one or two weeks and never reappeared so I'm wondering if the person got enough students in that amount of time that that's all they had to do. A relative in another part of the country said he had a hard time finding a teacher in his area with openings after calling several. He felt lucky to even find one who had a slot let alone be selective in his choice and that is a fairly large town.

Has anyone ever put a sign in the yard? Seriously, there are several people in town that put signs in their yard advertising various things such as Daycares, repairs, etc. Someone told me that it is against city ordinance but I never see anyone's signs coming down. I guess I'd have to call and check.

Well, I'll do some more checking on the ad placement and post back.
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