Social media, teacher directories, and websites: online marketing strategies for your piano studio
In the Spring of 2011, Clavier Companion sponsored its fourth annual Collegiate Writing Contest. College students at any level from any country in the world were invited to submit 1,500 word essays on a pedagogical topic of their choice. The grand prize was publication of the winning essay in Clavier Companion. The esteemed panel of judges was comprised of Reid Alexander, Martha Hilley, and Frances Larimer. We extend our congratulations to Steven Brundage, author of the winning essay printed below. We also congratulate Michelle Wachter, whose essay entitled Chamber music for the elementary and intermediate student was awarded the runner-up prize. Ms. Wachter's essay will be published on the Clavier Companion website in January 2012.
Collegiate students are the teachers of tomorrow and the future leaders of our profession. Clavier Companion is proud to provide them with an outlet for their ideas, and we will again sponsor this contest in 2012. The entry deadline for the 2012 contest will be June 1st, 2012 (see ad on page 41), and complete rules and regulations can be downloaded from our website, www.claviercompanion.com.
Does the notion of connecting your piano studio with the web spark your imagination? Perhaps you have tried launching a studio website but became overwhelmed by the myriad of details. The world's leading businesses are realizing the value of connecting with customers on the web. These businesses are rapidly gaining exposure, advertising, and boosting reputability through the use of online marketing strategies. The internet is affecting positive change in the way businesses connect with people.
Piano studios, too, are taking advantage of online marketing resources and are connecting with current and potential students. Fortunately, many affordable and easy-to-use online marketing tools exist. This article will give teachers strategic methods for connecting with students on the web through social media, websites, and teacher directories. A web presence for your piano studio is no longer a matter of investment worth but of competitive necessity.
The popularity of social media provides businesses with a simple and productive online marketing resource. Facebook, boasting more than 500 million members, has emerged as one of the most effective social media marketing tools available. Piano studios can post and share news, student pictures, performance videos, and nearly anything imaginable for current and potential students, friends, and families. Facebook performs the task of advertising for your studio by allowing members to share information with each other. Social media peer-sharing is a highly effective advertising tool for your piano studio because it acts as an online word-ofmouth recommendation. Consider for a moment how viral videos gain millions of views in a matter of days. These videos are shared among friends on social networks like Facebook until people all over the world are sharing, posting, watching, and talking about the video. This phenomenon is the very essence of social media advertising, and it is free, as well as independently generated.
Also, consider creating a studio account with YouTube, where you can post performance videos, lesson demonstrations, and student recital videos. Filming a welcome video for prospective students is a great way of making a positive first impression. YouTube also helps in linking studio videos to your website, blog, and social media. Creating a Twitter account for your studio is another great method of connecting your studio with people. Joining your piano studio with social media is completely free advertising that builds rapport with people. These days, people expect that reputable businesses connect with social media, so begin posting, sharing, and tweeting today.
The yellow pages and local newspaper listings once dominated a large sector of advertising. For an affordable price, these ads reached thousands of individuals through a single publication. Today, they seem to lack depth, are marginally attractive, and reach an increasingly limited number of individuals. Many online advertising opportunities, however, offer a much more attractive, affordable, and effective means of advertising. Online piano teacher directories are one such option for exposing your studio to potential students by listing your services on search engine results. Directories exist with a variety of functions, designs, and capabilities. Many directories offer free membership while others offer membership for between $49 and $99 annually. The effectiveness of piano teacher directories varies among type, but, in general, for little to no investment, they produce positive results within a short matter of time.
A professional website is the most effective online marketing tool available. Online web builders and weblogs offer a wide range of capabilities and affordability for do-it-yourself web design while professional web designers, on the other hand, produce hassle-free, high-quality websites for a substantial price. Research your options and consider your studio's shortand long-term goals before making a decision. Your goal should be to find the option that creates the most professional website possible for your budget. The following are three web design options for your piano studio: Online Web Builders, Weblogs, and Professional Web Design.
Online Web Builders ($4.99 to $39.99 per month)
Consider using a do-it-yourself online web builder offering build-it-yourself website templates at low monthly costs. Reputable web builders offer attractive designs and free web hosting; others allow users to build websites and then pay when ready to publish the website, or they offer some form of a money-back guaranteed plan if you decide to cancel within the first month. Make sure that you test the building capabilities of a particular web builder before making a purchase. Nearly all web builders are simple to use, even for nontechnically minded piano teachers, but not all provide trendy, professional website templates and facile web builders. Nonetheless, online web builders are a great first step towards producing a web presence for your piano studio.
Weblogs (free to $59.99 annually)
Businesses large and small are increasingly choosing weblogs as templates for their website designs. Offering affordable, trendy, and highly customizable themes, weblogs like Wordpress are not just for bloggers anymore, but rather, they are changing the way small businesses approach web design.
Wordpress offers both free and premium themes, supports video and audio uploads, allows blog feature disabling, multiple pages, and hosts your site free of charge. Free Wordpress themes can effectively serve your studio as basic websites but noticeably appear more blog-like than a website. Premium themes, on the other hand, offer professional designs for between $9.99 and $59.99. These hybrid blog-websites are affordable, trendy, professional, and growing in popularity among businesses. Additionally, there is a growing trend for professional web designers to integrate premium themes into website creations for lower costs compared to bottom- up web design.
Consider also the benefit of transforming your hybrid-website into a studio blog once your studio has upgraded to professional web design. Your weblog can serve as a great platform for writing about current trends in piano pedagogy, practice help for students, and tips for improved parental involvement, and it can provide another great online marketing tool for your studio. Using weblogs as the foundation for your studio website is a great idea.
Professional web design ($350 to $2000)
The most striking websites are built by professionals. Remember that online marketing is an investment that produces positive returns over time. Be aware of a few peripheral fees involved in professional web design such as monthly hosting costs, usually available through your designer, which range from $3.99 to $9.99 per month, and annual domain name purchasing from companies like GoDaddy, which cost around $15 per year. An added benefit of professional web design is that search engine optimization (SEO) is ordinarily included in your design package. This very important element of website creation works to rank your website at the top of Google search results. SEO is not available through weblogs and web builders unless purchased separately through an online marketing company for a very expensive price tag. Professional web designers usually include logo design in your package price as well; a great value considering the average cost of logo design is between $200 and $500.
Remember that a studio website is one of the most significant studio investments you will make. Do online research to find a reputable web builder within your community. Usually there are multiple freelance web designers as well as web design companies to choose from. The future of business, including your piano studio, will only increasingly tend towards the web, and the production of a studio website will go farther in producing studio exposure, growth, and reputability than any other form of online marketing. Start small with an affordable weblog-website and incrementally build towards a professional web design.
Businesses large and small are turning to the web for successful marketing. Fortunately, creating an online presence for your piano studio is not as complex as it appears. Start marketing your piano studio on the web using the basics like social media, free teacher directories, and websites. At little to no cost, your studio can begin reaching potential students. Consider investing the monthly income of a single student towards online marketing. Depending on lesson rates, a single student taking private lessons for ten months at $80 per month will produce $800 annually. This is more than enough income to begin marketing through several avenues. Set short-term and long-term online marketing goals for your studio. After gaining experience with social media, blogs and do-it-yourself websites, begin branching out with professional web design, logo design, and Google advertising. Begin promoting your piano studio online today. The opportunities for growth are unlimited.