Most of us private music teachers love as well as dread the summer months. We look forward to having more free time to ourselves, but worry somewhat about our reduced income. Some teachers avoid the income problem by charging the same monthly fees throughout the year. I have not tried this approach and do allow my students to take summer vacation if they choose to (without payment), but actively market my studio during the summer months to ensure that come Fall, I will have enough newcomers to fill any empty slots. Remember, it is the nature of our business that students come and go, and summer is a great time to recruit potential new students.
The first thing I do is to plan a Summer Studio Recital. I invite all potential new students and their parents to this recital. I post flyers in the community and give current students invitations to pass onto their friends who may be interested in taking lessons. I also email invitations to any previous inquiries who did not follow through. The Studio Recital is a great way to showcase what your studio has to offer; potential students and their parents can meet you in a ‘neutral’ place, without the pressure of committing themselves.
The next step is to determine how much money I have to spend on advertising. This varies from year to year, depending on my current student numbers. Paul Wolf in his very enlightening article “5 Reasons You are in the Marketing – Not Music – Business” said “MARKETING IS LIKE A SHARK THAT STOPS MOVING – STOP MARKETING AND WE DIE”. I have never forgotten that blunt statement, and I am always marketing! Nowadays I focus most of my time and money advertising online, using search engine optimization, Google Adwords, and lots and lots of online classified listing (including free and paid services). Many teachers in the Music Teachers Helper community have also shared their ideas on marketing; here are some of my favorite tips:
If you are reading this, you probably already have a website through Music Teachers Helper, but what many teachers forget is that having a website alone is not enough to attract students. Think of a great (but relatively unheard of) book in a library with thousands of books – how will people know about it? On what page is your website listed on Google or other search engine results? What key words must people enter before your website will appear? If they must type your full name (or even worse your actual full website address) before they can find you, then you need to do better if you are looking for more students! As John Dittert said in his article: you have got to “Be More Findable“!
Have a great summer, everyone, and don’t forget to do some marketing for Fall!