If you have your own music studio or school, you’re probably one of the lucky few who get to make a living doing something they’re passionate about – sharing your love of music with others.
And as a business owner:
You know how difficult it can be to bring new students in semester after semester and continue to grow your music lessons program.
But there is good news…
An effective marketing plan makes all of this infinitely easier.
Case in point:
One New York music school enrolls 100 students every time they promote themselves with a targeted postcard campaign.
Are you on board for 100 new students??
Who wouldn’t be!
Postcards are just part of the overall marketing and promotional pie. A pretty good part that will get the phone ringing and your website lighting up, but still just one part.
There are all sorts of things you can do to promote your music studio, and you might be surprised at how affordable they are.
If you implement the following 10 tips and strategies into your music school marketing mix, you’ll be enrolling new students at a record pace in a very short amount of time.
Let’s dive in:
1. Make Sure Your School or Lesson Program’s Google Listing is Complete
When people search for music schools or studios in your area, chances are they will conduct that search using Google.
Case in point:
Google’s share of the search market DOUBLES that of their next closest competitor, Bing.
Virginia research company comScore analyzed 17 billion internet searches in February 2015, and here’s what they found:
It’s worth noting that Microsoft’s search engine (branded as Bing) also runs Yahoo’s search engine. So Bing’s share is at 32.7% total — roughly half of Google’s lion share of 64.4%.
Google is also where you’ll find your competition, so you’ll want to make sure your listing is complete and stands out.
Start by signing up at Google Business.
Then optimize your local listing by making sure all your information is there:
- Your Address (so you show up on Google Maps!)
- Your Hours
- Your Phone Number
- Anything else you can think of that’s relevant
Once your music school or lesson program is officially listed, you’re ready to…
2. Get Your Current Students and Parents to Write Reviews on Google
Once you have your Google listing completed, make a targeted effort to have your current music students and/or their parents write reviews for your business and post them to Google.
This is why:
Which lesson program are you going to look at first?
It’s also worth noting that, according to the 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey:
- 92% of consumers read online reviews (up from 88% the year before)
- 40% of consumers form an opinion after reading 1-3 reviews.
Many music studios and schools overlook this simple but highly effective strategy, so you’ll automatically have an edge over any competitors if you take the time to do this.
The great thing about this strategy is that the more reviews you get on Google, the higher your website will appear in search rankings.
And it doesn’t even take very many reviews to start seeing results.
Yes, bad reviews will happen. But it doesn’t have to affect your business negatively! Here’s a good guide for handling bad reviews online.
So how can you get more reviews?
3. Email the Parents of Your Current Students Asking Them to Review You
If you don’t have a database of your current clients that includes the bare minimum of name, email address, phone number and physical address, start compiling that list right now.
If you already have a database, this is the easiest place to start for positive reviews!
Usually all you have to do is ask.
Here’s a bare-bones example of what you can send:
There are more in-depth and personalized things you can do, like linking directly to your maps listing, that might improve the likelihood parents will review you.
You can download this free Google reviews report to really delve into this, but an email like the one above will definitely get you started.
4. Go Straight to Your Target Market by Tapping into Local Schools
If your music school caters to children and teens, you can get direct access to those audiences through your local schools.
Each school will have its own rules and regulations about how this works, so start by getting in touch with the school office and asking how you can get information about the after-school extra-curricular activities your music studio or school offers.
You’ll typically be allowed to supply a business flyer with information about your classes and activities that will be sent home with each and every student – and you know parents are always looking for things to keep their kids busy.
The beginning of a new school year is a great time to use this strategy, along with right after the holiday break.
5. Send a Postcard Marketing Campaign to Bring in 42 Music Students per Month
Although everything seems to have gone digital, you might be surprised to find out that direct mail postcard campaigns are still incredibly effective.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Really? Postcard mailings? That seems so old school.”
If that were truly the case, then PostcardMania wouldn’t have more than 73,000 clients!
And check out these stats:
- 60% of consumers have been influenced to visit a promoted website because of direct mail
- 39% have tried a new business because of direct mail they received
- Direct mail outperforms all digital marketing channels combined by nearly 600%
- 92% of Millennials have made purchasing decisions based on direct mail they received
Speaking of which, that leads me to the next point…
6. Study REAL Music School Marketing Campaigns that Are Successful
With 73,000+ clients, you can pretty much bet we’ve got experience with just about any industry you can think of, and it’s definitely true for music schools and studios.
Take iSchool of Music & Art as an example. They get about 100 new students when they do a postcard campaign consisting of 6,000 cards. Here’s what they have to say about it in their own words:
“We find we achieve significantly greater results with postcards versus other forms of marketing. We will typically enroll about 100 new students at each location from each mailing…each student will spend about $5,000 in their duration here over 5 years. When you multiply that by 200 students every year, our ROI turns out to be a truly significantly number.”
If you check out iSchool of Music & Art’s marketing case study, you can get the lowdown on the design they used, the demographics they mailed to and more.
The Avalon School of Music case study will also give you great inside into a winning music school marketing campaign.
This postcard design nets them about 42 new students per month!
All of the campaign details are here, plus a video interview with music school owner John Kolbrich.
7. Pay Particular Attention to Two Must-Have Music School Marketing Elements
Paying attention to the design of your marketing materials is very important. The design elements that work best for a music school or lesson program won’t necessarily be the same as what works for a dental office.
Based on our work helping hundreds of music schools with their marketing, we can highly recommend two essential design tips:
- Specify which age groups you serve.
If you’re targeting particular age groups, mention those. People want to know what ages you’re working with.
- Include photos of real students in their lessons.
Always include images of actual students playing music. Seeing is believing!
But this is just the beginning.
8. Create Deals and Offers that Work and Promote Them with Postcards
Our music school and studio clients have seen great success when they come up with particular deals and offers to advertise on their postcards.
Here are the 4 most effective offers according to our exclusive data:
- Free trial class: This is especially effective if your studio or school teaches more than one instrument. In many cases, younger children don’t know what they want to play, in which case the child can try multiple instruments to figure out which one will be a good fit.
- Package discount: All you have to do is figure out what makes sense for your particular business that makes it an attractive offer, perhaps something such as four 30-minute private lessons for only $99.
- Free registration: Obviously this only makes sense if your studio or school charges a registration fee. Most seem to do so.
- Time-sensitive tuition discount: 25% off tuition if they register before a certain date.
Which of the above make sense for your business? And yes, your answer can be all of them!
9. Incorporate Online Retargeting Ads to Potentially Boost Response 400%
Remember the idea of combining “old school” and “new school” techniques? That’s exactly what we do at PostcardMania with our DirectMail2.0 strategy. Here’s how it works:
You figure out what you want to do for your postcard mailing. What the mailing does is generate leads – most of which will probably visit your website, and that’s where the “new school” comes in.
Some prospects will visit your website and take the next step towards becoming a customer. Others, for whatever reason, will leave your website without taking the desired action.
However, with our retargeting ad campaign, even after the visitor leaves, ads that match your postcard mailing will keep appearing as they continue browsing the web, keeping your studio or school front and center.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, maybe these numbers will be:
- Google follow-up ads can boost ad response up to 400 percent
- Web visitors who are retargeted are 70% more likely to convert
One of our clients mails 12,000 postcards every single month. He was averaging 93 new customers per month, and by adding DirectMail2.0 (and NOTHING else), his new client numbers jumped to 147 on average.
I’ll take that all day!
10. Target New Movers with Kids Who are Prime Music Lesson Age
One of the great things about postcard mailings is that you can target them to very specific audiences if that’s what you need.
Let’s say your studio or school focuses on teaching music lessons to children from ages 5-17, and you’re happy with enrollments in all age groups except your five and six year olds, which are chronically under-enrolled.
One great way to address this is by targeting postcard mailings to new residents moving into the area who have children in the age group you’re looking to enroll.
The stats show that new residents spend lots of money up-front ($9000 on average!) in their new area to get everything set up for their family as quickly as possible, and that might include music lessons for their children.
Targeting new movers is incredibly effective and affordable, which is always a winning combination.
And with our New in Town Program, it’s easier than ever!
Just tell one our expert marketing consultants who you want to target, which design to use, and we’ll pull the list and send the cards for you every single month.
It’s a no brainer!
11. Map Out Your Essential Marketing Strategies
We haven’t attempted to outline an entire marketing plan here. We’re just trying to share some must-do marketing actions that we know have worked very well for our clients. To summarize, we mentioned the following:
- Direct-mail postcards. Sounds old school, but they work – especially when you’re sure to include all the right information.
- Online retargeting ads. Boost the effectiveness of your postcards with online advertising that follows up on leads that visit your website but don’t take action.
- Targeting new movers. New movers are a great source of potential new students, and you can even target specific age groups if that’s what you need.
- Google listing. It’s a no-brainer to make sure your Google listing is robust. After all, everyone uses Google to search the Internet.
12. Get More Music Students NOW — Just Start Marketing!
The whole point of promoting your music studio or school is to get more students, because each student represents a significant amount of income for your business. If you take advantage of the different tactics, tips, and strategies outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to getting lots more music students.
If you have questions or want to discuss the above ideas (or any you might have had while reading this that we didn’t mention), call one our marketing experts at 800-628-1804 today.
Our advice is ALWAYS 100% free and there are no obligations if you just want to talk to us about growing your business school.
Also feel free to drop me a note below in the comments or send me an email at Joy.Gendusa@PostcardMania.com.