Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for posts about how I’m building my studio since I moved to a new area. I have been reading a lot of books and articles about marketing lately, and I’ve been learning a lot! I’m happy to share what I’m learning, so I’m going to be posting a whole series of posts on studio marketing. The most important lesson I’ve learned is going to be addressed in the first post of the series: today’s post about creating value. Enjoy!
Marketing, at a most basic definition, means promoting your business. While advertising and branding are indeed part of it, marketing is much more than that. Marketing is the combination of all your efforts to get people to remember your business, including having a creative website and make it easier to find. Marketing builds your brand, and your brand is what gets people to remember your business. And when people remember your business, they are more likely to buy from you.
First: What Can we Learn From Apple?
In these rough economic times, folks may say they don’t have money for piano lessons. Baloney, I say.
Let’s look at the company Apple. They’ve been doing amazingly well through these economic times. And with products like the MacBook, iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad (which many piano teaching blogs have been raving about lately!), it’s no wonder. Apple is creating products that people value. Despite the fact that their products are by no means the most affordable on the market, their sales continue to increase.
So what can we learn from Apple? Here’s what: People always have money for what they value.
In this economy, there are many teachers who are at an all-time low number of students. For others, business is booming. How about you?
How does Apple do it? How do they successfully market themselves despite the fact that they are obviously not the most affordable option for consumers? They don’t market themselves based on price, that’s how!
What kind of piano teacher do you want to be? One who competes with competitive prices, or one with competes with the quality of services you offer? The former will attract customers who only care about price. The latter will attract customers who care about the quality of the service. This is not to say that we should not be affordably priced — this is simply to suggest an alternative to marketing ourselves based on affordability.
Apple does not advertise itself as affordable. Apple markets its products based on user experience — sleek, fast, convenient, and stylish. In contrast, other technology companies market themselves based on affordability and savings while maintaining that their products are powerful and advanced. Try visiting their websites (here’s Apple.com and Dell.com, for example) and notice what kinds of words you find on their homepages.
If you don’t get anything else out of this post, get this: Marketing your studio is about creating value for your customers.
How to Create Value
Creating value is about defining and communicating what is unique about your studio as well as the benefits you promise your customers through your service. Here are a few examples of what might make one piano teacher unique from another:
- I believe teaching composition along with how to play at the piano allows students another creative way to express themselves.
- I believe teaching through play is the most effective way to learn. We use lots of activities and games during the lesson.
- I believe teaching popular styles of music is just as important as classical styles.
- I believe music is an important way for humans express their feelings and emotions.
These are just a few examples. It might take some time and pondering to figure out what kind of focus makes you unique as a piano teacher. If you’ve written a teaching philosophy before, you’ve probably already figured some of this out for yourself. If not, try visiting the studio websites of some other piano teachers and see what makes their approach different from your own.
Once you’ve defined what makes you unique as a piano teacher, you can make it the center of your marketing. Then your website can boast much more than simply affordable lessons. And when people ask what you do, you will have more to answer than simply “I’m a piano teacher.” Not only will clearly defining your value be a helpful tool for you to talk about when potential students call, but students/parents will also perceive this value too and spread the word for you. This is how you can successfully market yourself.
So, what makes YOU unique?
If you think you’ve got this figured out, please share – what’s unique about your piano studio? 🙂
- Free Prize Inside, by Seth Godin
- The Small Business Owner’s Bible, by Steven D. Strauss