Last spring, I was contacted by a local family photographer who was interested in setting up a little marketing trade with my studio. I had never done such a thing with another small business, so I jumped on the opportunity. The photographer's proposal was that she would include my brochures and business cards in her clients' packages, and in turn, she would provide me with canvases...

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I have been blogging for a couple years, and I really feel like this is a valuable part of your marketing plan. Blogging does a few great things for your business. It lets current students and potential students who you are. You have a chance to post updates when your studio does something great like a performance or a festival. You can also provide “free” bits of instruction. For example, during black history month, I will post an article about Blues music or if I see a really cool Youtube video on music theory, I will post that. The blog is an extension of my studio. My hope is that current students will go on and read my posts and learn more than I have time to teach them in the studio. For readers who are not yet students, it hopefully gets them thinking that I am the kind of person they would love to study with. 

quitterYou can pick out the family within a few minutes of conversation — the kind who tells you they’re looking to “give piano/violin/dance/etc. a try”. They don’t give the impression of being overly-committed, and within a few months — when repertoire starts to become more challenging or when the exciting “newness” wears off, the student lose interests and asks to quit, which his parents are all to ready to let him do. You cringe when this happens, thinking of the spot he has taken up while students on your wait list have likely found other teachers in the meantime.

marketingWith families returning home from summer vacations and gearing up-for-back-to-school, it’s important that your studio’s name and information is out in the community so that you have new students enrolling this fall. Even if you don’t have a huge advertising budget, there are creative ways to become a community presence that will cost you little to nothing.

Here’s a few affordable — and even free — ideas from my experience and observations of other successful studios in my community:

  • Sample Classes – I teach group piano classes, so during the first week of August, I set up shop at the community room of my local library and offer sample classes. I have my studio policy and registration forms to send home with families and provide a special discount offer for families who enroll within a week of attending a sample class. A friend of mine who teaches Music Together classes does her sample classes at the local Children’s Museum, who advertise them for her free of charge, since they enjoy having a musical activity to offer museum visitors.

TransferInterviewing the Transfer Student

The interview process for the transfer student provides a window of opportunity. First, to see if your studio is the right fit. Second, to assess skills and knowledge, and third, a great way to start planning curriculum if it turns out to be a good fit! I have developed a form I use with a list of activities as well as questions that include the obvious (name, age, date of birth, grade in school, and school that they attend). I take notes on this form so that I can refer back to it later. After the initial questions have been asked, I launch into the following assessment activities.