Marketing your studio - What works

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

Postby Stretto » Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:14 pm

Dr. Bill Leland wrote:Guys, I don't like to disagree, but I have to say that it makes absolutely no sense to me for any teacher, at any level, to try and look unprofessional in order not to scare people away. It's perfectly possible to "look professional" without looking scary or forbidding. Any parent with any sense is going to investigate the teacher and the studio situation before investing time and money in it, and the more professional we are, the better. It's all part of building respect and confidence on the part of prospective students and parents.

B. L.

I agree and I should have been more clear. What I meant was professionalism but in such a way as to not appear intimidating.

I knew my previous statement would raise some eyebrows. :)




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Postby socksrock » Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:27 pm

I should have been more clear too. Yes you do want to look professional. you want people to know you are serious about what you do. it's a hard thing. you can't please every one.
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Postby pianoannie » Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:32 pm

Stretto wrote:All, I can say is I am very suprised at how much advertising costs are. Even to make one's own flyers or brochures of some kind adds up in paper and ink. Kinkos wanted 89 cents a copy for a color copy. I had contacted a homeschooling organization about putting my information in their newcomers packets that they give out at once a month meetings. They get up to 25 people at each meeting. That adds up at 89 cents a copy so for bulk copies, I will have to make a black and white flyer or brochure because of the cost.

Stretto, you might want to read my post on page 2 of this thread (from Feb '06). I get VERY nice looking brochures printed at vistaprint.com
In fact, I just re-ordered today, and got 25 2-sided full-color tri-fold brochures for free, just had to pay 5.25 for shipping.
Google something like "vistaprint free brochures" and you'll find a special somewhere. Without a special, they are 39.99 for 25 brochures (price comes down with larger quantities) but I've never paid that price. They always have free or half-off if you search online and go through some other site that is offering the special. If you go straight to vistaprint.com it will usually be full-price.
I can look up the site I used today if you want.
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Postby Stretto » Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:11 pm

Thanks for the tip. I didn't think about re-reading the old posts. :D I might check on it.
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Postby Stretto » Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:41 pm

New question in marketing your studio:

Do others of you have a name or title for your studio?

For a home studio, should a teacher still have a name or title?

In my past "homemade" flyers for advertising, I have always just entitled them "PIANO LESSONS". Whether it be a brochure, ad in the phonebook, newspaper, etc., would it be more professional to have a name for one's studio rather than just entitling the ad "Piano Lessons"?

Does anyone have any creative ideas for naming a teaching studio? My last name wouldn't work very well to use as it's hard for others to pronounce and spell.




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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:56 am

Stretto wrote:Do others of you have a name or title for your studio?

For a home studio, should a teacher still have a name or title?

These are good questions. First, let me say that, if you ever incorporate your studio (to reduce personal liability), you will need a corporate name for it. Incorporation is a good idea, since it doesn't cost much in time or money, though most teachers don't bother. There are some tax advantages, too, if you incorporate as a "Chapter S" corporation, but, again these may not be of prime interest to you. This is a BIG topic, so I'll only expand on it if somebody wants to hear more. Also, if you have a separate business name, you will often get discount deals on everything from FedEx service to office supplies.

Getting to the heart of your questions, I would say it's a matter of preference. My personal preference would be to have a separate name for the studio. I think it's more professional looking and sounding and carries no special costs. I have seen literally thousands of different studio names, some good, some not so good. My personal preference in naming is to go for professional sounding, rather than "cutesy," as this may help attract a better quality clientele.

Generally the advice one gets in naming companies is to choose a name that has no specific links to any product or group. For example, if you name your studio "Kiddie Piano" and you then decide you would rather teach mostly adults, you have to rename the studio and you lose all the money put into advertising and name recognition you've built for the studio.

As to whether the teacher needs a name or title, it's really up to you. The only thing I'd say is that any title you choose should avoid over-glorification, since people see your work environment the moment they step into the studio. "Pianist and Teacher" might be fine for a home studio. It will be interesting to hear what teachers say about your questions.




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Postby Stretto » Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:25 am

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:. . . our experience here is that the first place people go when looking for a teacher is the Yellow Pages. I guess this is because it's fast and everybody has one. . . .

Here's something else I haven't thought of before: Isn't there more than one "yellow pages", for example, SBC, ATT&T, then other "obsure" companies that print directories? Is one preferrable over the other, mainly choosing between ATT&T or SBC Yellow pages if one only has the finances initially to start out with one? Which one would most people be more likely to use? I usually just throw the phone books that come to the house in one place and grab the first one handy without looking to see which company it's from.

I got a call from ATT&T Yellow pages asking if I would be interested in advertising in the upcoming phone book this year. I'm not sure how they got my name unless I had called and checked before. I had been meaning to call and check as another teacher told me that if you run a home base business, there is a special rate for advertising in the yellow pages. The price that was quoted me from ATT&T for this area is $23/mo. for one line with name and phone number and $33/mo. for 1/2" box of 3 line text. Also one does not have to pay the lump sum for the entire year up front but can be billed monthly. After talking to the representative from ATT&T, I started wondering what the difference was since I checked last year where I was told the entire amount had to be paid up front for the whole year and could not be paid monthly. I'm thinking it was because I believe I had checked with SBC rather than ATT&T but maybe it was also because of being a home based business? Then I got to thinking, "what company was the guy from anyway?" I checked the initial message on my answering machine and it said he was from ATT&T. Is their a book, "Advertising for Dummies"? That's how I felt after I got to realizing there is more than one company that has yellow page ads. So would ATT&T be just as good to advertise in compared to SBC?

Since I found out I can pay monthly instead of a lump sum up front, I will most likely go ahead. I've discovered in trying to get my name out here and there, it is very time consuming and just the cost of paper and ink (even if using black ink only) to make up advertising even on a home computer isn't all that cheap when you ad up the cost (with the exception that business cards made at the copy store was not expensive). With the phone book, your name is sitting there in someone's home all year, and anyone can look it up anytime they decide their interested in piano lessons. I also think I would have an advantage as very few teachers are listed outside of music stores that offer music instruction.

My next question is for a 3 line text, what information would you suggest including? What are some suggestions for wording and what is most important to include and what is non-essential to include? The representative I talked to at ATT&T said to look at some other ads in the phone book for examples. I told the representative I would call back next week once I formulated the text I would want to include.




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Postby Stretto » Thu Apr 26, 2007 8:40 am

Just an update. I'm up and running with an ad that will come out in the yellow pages of the new phone book this May or June!

I asked and as I understand it from the representative, the ATT & T phone book and the former SBC phone book are one in the same as far as company :O ? Regardless, there is a special yellow page rate for a home base business using a home phone number. When I initially checked last year and was quoted a higher price, I wasn't made aware of this. It was another teacher that told me about it.

Just a reminder about advertising also, there can be deadlines well in advance of when you would actually want an ad to come out. One place that puts out a family magazine here told me those new to advertising are caught off guard by the deadlines. You might place an ad but it actually be two months before it comes out. I had planned on placing an ad in a local publication to come out around Christmas last year but did not get on it soon enough. Getting your request in on time would be especially crucial with the phone book as if you don't get an ad in by the deadline, you have to wait a whole year to have your ad show up. In short, if you want an ad to appear by a certain time, don't procrastinate!




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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:32 pm

What did you decide to put in your ad?

I should think a local newspaper would be a good place to run an ad. I would be more likely to look there.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:09 pm

It's true that you're more likely to see Yellow Pages entries for piano tuning and service (especially from Piano Technicians Guild members who are authorized to use the eye-catching PTG logo), and of course for sales, but an ad there for teaching is not a bad idea. It will catch the eye of many people who are looking to buy a piano or find a tuner, because it's right next to those ads. Then, too, sometimes a local teachers organization will be enterprising enough to pool resources and run a display ad which lists the members and their phone numbers.

It might be worth a try. These ads lend a kind of authority to your studio in the minds of many people.

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Postby Stretto » Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:45 pm

An ad in the newspapers merely for the classified's here was quoted to me as $45 or $67 for a 7 day ad! - That sounds very expensive to me and most certainly since that is only one week unless you could do it short-term at a strategic time like Christmas.

I had not thought about putting an ad in the yellow pages for teaching under piano tuning and services. Mine was placed under "Music Instruction". There are not very many listings most of which are lessons at music stores or schools that have piano, dance, voice, etc. It's too late to change now or place an additional ad in the piano tuning section for this year. I barely squeaked under the deadline. I'll keep it in mind for next year.

loveapiano, I'll pm you sometime about what I put in my ad.




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Postby Stretto » Sat Apr 28, 2007 12:18 pm

p.s. I looked in the yellow pages under "Piano Tuning, etc.", to see if any piano teachers had ads there. None did, but it said, "Piano Teachers" and below that said, "See Music Instruction". So anyone looking under the words "piano" to buy a piano or have one serviced would be directed as to where to look in the phone book for piano teachers.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Sat Apr 28, 2007 4:16 pm

If you ran an ad over say a 6 month period, would it be less $$? We have one teacher who runs one in our local paper every week.

Let us know what success you have with your ad. Hope it is positive.
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