You’re a guitar teacher. You want to build your reputation, attract more students, and earn a solid income from your efforts.
Whether you consider yourself a traditional guitar teacher that works at home, in the studio, or in the homes of your students, or you’re an online instructor with a blog or membership site, there are opportunities to grow your business by boosting your presence where it’s weakest – online or offline.
Your guitar lessons need to get out into the world. As you take steps towards promoting them, you will build your name and your client base. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of ways you can gain more students and clients, and we’re about to explore several worthwhile methods.
Here’s what you can do to get your product in front of more people.
Advertise On Facebook
Facebook advertising is a powerful way to promote your website or lessons. You can set a budget, determine who you want to target, and entice people to sign up with compelling pictures and sales copy.
I have friends who’ve been quite successful growing their client base by utilizing Facebook ads. They weren’t doing anything fancy – just appealing to a specific demographic they felt was untapped. This is easy to do with targeting. As with most online advertising channels, on Facebook you can target people of a specific location, gender and age with certain interests.
If you were looking to attract global subscribers to your membership site, then you would target people that are interested in guitar, guitar magazines, guitar publications, and so forth. If you were trying to grow your local client base, then you would focus more on targeting people locally.
Because you can set your own budget, it’s hard to overspend with Facebook ads, though I will admit your first run at it might not be successful. You’ll probably need to experiment for a while until you find sales copy that causes your target audience to take action. Don’t give up too early, and don’t worry about a low conversion rate either – it’s typical. Even a 2 to 3% conversion rate could be considered decent. The point is to exceed your expenses with the profit generated from your students.
Of any social network, Facebook is the ideal place to advertise. It has the largest user base, and it is used by a wide demographic of people.
Build An Email List & Connect With Them
You can build your email list both online and offline. You should collect emails from as many people as possible, as this will give you a way to reach people directly and get referrals.
Use an email marketing tool like MailChimp to keep your list up-to-date and send campaigns to your subscribers. Send campaigns when:
- You have a workshop or recital coming up.
- When you have a new product – like a course or a book – your subscribers can buy.
- When you have a special deal on lessons or memberships.
- You’ll be appearing onstage, on the radio, on TV, and so on.
- When you receive a positive review from a client.
- And so on.
Collect emails both online and offline if applicable. For instance, if you have a website, you can use every page on your site to entice people to sign up for your email list. If you’re teaching lessons in-person, then collect emails from your students when you have lessons with them.
Students will come and go. Every teacher has some turnaround. But if you have their email address, you may still be able to sell them products down the line, or appeal to them with other offers like workshops. If you aren’t building your email list, you’re almost certainly missing second and third chances at additional profit.
Advertise In Print
Print advertising still works, but to be fair, it can be expensive. You may not want to place an ad in a newspaper, magazine, or newsletter unless you’ve got a bit of a budget to work with.
But the great thing about print advertising is that you can easily target specific communities with it. If you think certain communities in your city have yet to be tapped, then it might be worth exploring advertising opportunities with community newsletters and newspapers.
If you feel like print ads might be out of reach, then you can always try classifieds. Typically, they are free or relatively inexpensive. Online classified sites like Kijiji and Craigslist are also worth a look.
Oftentimes, when selling lessons, it’s important to appeal to parents. If you can get in front of them, you may have the opportunity to teach their kids. Newsletters and newspapers are good mediums for getting in front of parents.
Host Workshops & Recitals
Are you hosting workshops and recitals for your students? If not, you should consider doing so, because it’s worth the extra effort it takes to set up.
Hosting regular recitals and workshops could help you generate additional income. You shouldn’t overcharge, but it can add up.
These also represent opportunities to demonstrate the value and excitement of performance to your students. Once they learn how fun it can be to play for an audience, they’ll be hooked, and be far more likely to remain a student of yours for longer.
Workshops and recitals can also lead to referrals, because people tell their friends when they have a good time. They can help you make money and increase your student base. They can also boost your credibility, as teachers are always looked upon with some respect and authority. Teaching individually is one thing. Teaching to a room of people makes you the expert.
Embrace Content Marketing
Articles, free lessons, chord charts, and other free resources are available everywhere. It might seem like sharing these resources with your audience would take away from the product you’re selling (especially since the product your selling may not contain different information), but in reality it’s one of the best ways to attract new customers.
There’s a difference between “push” marketing and “pull” marketing. Push marketing is where you sell directly to the customer and try to convince them to buy on the merits of your offering. This is becoming less and less effective by the moment, and people are more on guard when it comes to unsolicited calls and emails than ever before. Plus, people like to feel in control of the purchases they make.
Pull marketing is where you draw the customer in by first adding value to them. When you provide them with the value they’re looking for, they’ll feel more inclined to reciprocate by purchasing from you. When you offer something for free, it gets people to your website. Since you can sell whatever you want and position yourself how you see fit on your site, you increase your chances of closing the sale just by boosting traffic to your site.
It’s important to understand that content marketing is a program. You don’t publish once and suddenly see a massive influx of traffic. You need to keep publishing on an ongoing basis to entice people to keep coming to your site, and to appeal to your target audience. You need to be consistent with your publishing efforts.
One of the simplest ways to get started in content marketing is by blogging. Blogs are incredible content management systems that automatically organize new content as you publish it. And every time you publish something new, you create another opportunity to connect with your audience. You can keep stacking the deck in your favor by publishing more and more.
Utilize Tear Sheets
You’ve probably seen tear sheets at the local community board before. Tear sheets contain an offer. It might be for a used car, a private service, a missing pet, or otherwise. People can tear off the contact information at the bottom if they’re interested, or if they know something about the matter.
I’ve used tear sheets to promote my guitar lessons myself, and I can tell you that they don’t convert any better than any other method. This means you must post them up at as many different places as possible. It could be at the local Jr. High, Starbucks, or mailbox (Note: don’t post where not permitted). Be targeted in your approach, as tear sheets in certain locations will always outperform others.
Make your ad as eye-catching as possible. Posters are everywhere, and it’s easy for people to ignore them. They will only tear off your contact information if they’re interested, and they will only contact you if they’re particularly engaged. Grab their attention upfront so there’s a better chance they get in touch with you.
If you’re trying to promote your website with tear sheets, there’s no reason why you can’t replace “contact information” with your website address.
Build Your Network
As someone who’s earned a considerable amount of money as a substitute guitar teacher, I think it’s worth building your network strategically.
There are plenty of places you can go to meet other people in the music community. Here are a few examples:
- Live performances.
- Open mics and jams.
- Music and instrument stores.
- Music studios.
- Meetup/enthusiast groups.
If you’re good at what you do, people will naturally come to you asking if you offer lessons. But don’t forget – you can also be proactive about handing out business cards and letting people know what’s available.
Knowing other teachers is a definite asset, because if they can rely on you to fill in for them, they may ask you to substitute when they have other commitments and can’t tend to their students. Plus, you never know when they might move onto other ventures. When they do, who will be the first person they call to take over their client base? Hopefully you!
Also think about where beginner musicians tend to gather. After a certain point, some musicians don’t feel the need to take lessons anymore. This means the beginner market is one you should be targeting. Get in front of them so you can serve them as clients.
Start getting out there and make some contacts.
Video content is huge right now. It represents a powerful way to appeal to your target audience.
When people think video, they naturally think of YouTube. But YouTube isn’t the only place you can show your videos. You can also upload them to sites like Vimeo and Dailymotion, host them yourself using Wistia, or even get the movie theater down the street to show them on their screens. You are only limited by your imagination.
You could build your entire content marketing strategy on video if that’s what you wanted to do. I will caution you that video is among one of the most difficult and time-consuming forms of content to create, but one of the reasons it’s so great is because it gives people a chance to see and get to know who you are.
There are many types of videos you can create. For instance:
- Lessons or lesson excerpts.
- Performances or demonstrations.
- Rig rundown.
- Rig unboxing.
- And so on.
Since your goal is to promote your lessons, be sure to include your contact information or website address at the end of each of your videos. You need to ensure there’s a way for people to get in touch with you if they’re interested in your offering.
There are a near endless number of ways to promote your guitar lessons. In this guide, I’ve showcased some of the methods I’ve tried, as well as some of the more effective tactics I’ve come across.
I’ve found the most powerful way to build your career is to show up in front of your target audience consistently. It doesn’t matter if you blog, podcast, make videos, speak at conferences, go to Meetups, attend jams, play at parties, or otherwise. Doing these things regularly makes you more discoverable by the people you’re trying to attract.
You may not see results from the effort you put in immediately. This is almost always the case. But if you stay patient and keep at it, you’ll begin growing your client base steadily.