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#626065 - 02/15/09 01:07 AM Marketing Your Business
Glenn Doyle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/01/08
Posts: 40
Loc: Central Texas, USA
I've built up enough cashflow to invest some more in advertising my business to potential customers. I can tell you that I've used most of the techniques listed below with some success, but I would love to have some of you rank these in order of best to worst. Which ones give you the best results, and which ones are not as good?

-Yellowpages (Local town, multi-town (counties), etc.


-Newspaper ads (daily paper, weekly paper, thrifty nickel, etc.)

-Misc. - anything else that you may think is better or worse.


(ad 800)
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#626066 - 02/15/09 11:21 AM Re: Marketing Your Business
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
-Yellow pages. (medium of the road) The larger the ad, the more it draws price shoppers only. The smaller the ad, the more it draws more serious "mom and pop" type shoppers. However, it still draws in price shoppers. People are using the yellow pages less and less as they can look up anything online these days via the yellow pages or super pages.

I've learned from first hand experience that people call my smallest ad because it is smaller, NOT because it is larger. Reason.. They figure I don't need the business, like the idea of someone not piddling away their money on a huge ad just to draw in people.

The only reason I use a yellow pages ad, well, 2 reasons actually. One is because it comes free with the land line I've had in my family (same phone number) for 60 years. I know I could switch to a cell phone but, I don't want too.

2. It does help people that can't remember your name to more easily find you.

-website. (Second) A website is great. But, not one filled up with so much garbage, people are confused as soon as they look at it. Mine is one page only. Says what I mean and it means what I say. Simple, easy, cheap. $12.00 a month. I get emails and calls regularly from it.

-Newspaper ads can be good but it depends on where you place them. In higher in clientele area or lower end. Once again though, you will frequently most often get price shoppers.

Check out owning and operating a business thread here in Piano World that I started a long time back. There is a lot of information in there about this type of thing.

Advertise here on Piano World. I haven't yet but, will be doing so sometime in the future if nothing else but, to contribute to Frank B.

Advertise in Super Pages online. It is free.

(first) Word of mouth, building up a reputation for honesty, ethics, morals and quality is the best way ever to build up a business.
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan

We love to play BF2.

#626067 - 02/15/09 11:58 AM Re: Marketing Your Business
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
1). word of mouth
be kind, don't burn bridges, be punctual, friendly and fair in your business dealings.

2). Website
I designed my own, which cost me a little in grief, and I eventually realized that I could have done many tunings in the time it took to put it together. A computer savvy friend helped me sort things out. I pay $20.00 a year to my host, and $30.00 a year for the domain name.

3). Google
I've been lucky to have several clients who work for Google and they put me in the search engine. More people are going to the internet for this kind of information

a distant 4) Yellow Pages
I removed my ad. All I got was price shoppers. I paid $156.00 a year for a small ad and it didn't even pay for itself.
Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA

#626068 - 02/15/09 12:23 PM Re: Marketing Your Business
Horwinkle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 1011
All of that makes sense. I don't use the YP very often ... the web is so much easier. But the web is a bit weak for "local" businesses. How do you guys overcome that? You have your own web sites, but do you show up in a web search? My tuner doesn't even have a web site, but I know him from the pre-web days, so it doesn't matter. But if he did have a web site (and if I didn't already know him), I'd have a hard time finding him online.

Regarding Jerry's comment that "large ads draw price shoppers". I would add one more point. I always wonder about a company that puts a big flashy ad in the YP. I don't have any concrete reasons to be suspicious of them, but I am anyway.

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#626069 - 02/15/09 12:38 PM Re: Marketing Your Business
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
“But the web is a bit weak for "local" businesses. How do you guys overcome that? You have your own web sites, but do you show up in a web search?”

Do a bit of reading about SEO strategy will help.



I would suggest finding relevant music directories, as well as relevant web-sites (suppliers? customers?) Any chance of a link from your local authorities/music schools/newspapers? Try also writing a few articles about piano music -ezine is a good place to start.
There are the other main generic links that export links such as the Yahoo directory, DMOZ (expect to wait a year or two) and a few other quality search engines. Try submitting a short article to Digg.com on a unique piano related topic.

Dan Silverwood
Dan Silverwood
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

#626070 - 02/15/09 12:53 PM Re: Marketing Your Business
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Yes. For example from here just now, when I typed in Piano tuners Grand Rapids Michigan. I am 3rd down in Google. 4th down in Yahoo. But, first, in the list of actual names that pops up.

If you list it correctly, it'll pop up correctly. The more hits your site gets, the further up the page it goes when you look these things up.
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan

We love to play BF2.

#626071 - 02/15/09 01:46 PM Re: Marketing Your Business
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois

Here are my thoughts as a business manager of a rather prestigious Pest Control company.

Yellow Pages - We have found this to be a huge revenue drain, when you consider actual responses, (services provided) per phone call received. We have researched this and found that some of our add were costing us in access of $120.00 per call. (Not an efficient way to acquire new customers). Don't listen to what the reps tell you because they are there to sell their product... as space. We have since switched down to small display ads and have actually increased our hits. Overall, the phone books are not our main source for acquiring new customers.

Website - We have spent tons of money on our website with additional, behind the scene, modules to capture addresses for follow-up calls. Websites are great for the "new generation, however we have realized that the new generation are very price conscience and shop for the best deals. Having a coupon or introductory offer that they can download, clip and present for a service savings seems to work well.

Newspapers - Maybe. How many people, within the distribution area of the newspaper, actually have pianos? What may be better is purchasing a mailing list from a list broker and mailing to people who actually own pianos. This will be a better bang for your advertising buck.

Misc - There are always misc opportunities. Become a sponsor for a benefit, such as toys for tots, local charities, fund raising. (Try to stay away from political things). Get in touch with your local radio station and offer to come in to talk about caring for a piano. These folks are always looking for ways to fill up time slots PLUS you get free plugs for your business. Write an article for your local newspaper. Again, they look for fill spots in their publications and you get free plugs. Go goofy and decal your service vehicle in an appropriate but eye-catching way that attracts attention. We have service vehicles stenciled like bugs. (I'm involved in Pest Control). They are nicely done and attract attention. You won't believe the responses we have received from them.

Just my thoughts, for what they're worth.


#626072 - 02/15/09 02:07 PM Re: Marketing Your Business
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
Originally posted by Dave Stahl:
I pay $20.00 a year to my host, and $30.00 a year for the domain name.
$20 a year for hosting is pretty good. In case anybody is paying more than that:

It's possible to host a bunch of small sites with one single hosting account (not with every hosting company), and reduce the cost for all the owners involved. Hosting is cheap these days.

$30 is too much for a domain, that's about 3-4 times the normal price for one year with most good registrars.

It's not that much money, but I guess it could be better spent on something else.

#626073 - 02/15/09 04:01 PM Re: Marketing Your Business
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1397
Loc: PA
Though I don't advertise, I do give out promotional pens to customers after I've tuned their pianos. They seem to appreciate it and it gives them a way to keep my phone number.

They seem to love the "Allure" style pen best. (If you do a search, it's the style with the little moveable triangle, not the other Allure pens.) Every time I try switching to a different pen design, I get actual demands/requests that I go back to the Allure style.

Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair

#626074 - 02/16/09 06:32 PM Re: Marketing Your Business
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
You guys don't like yellow pages? hmmmm..

We pull almost ALL of our business from our Kalamazoo pages...I'm in the ATT book with an add that costs around 100 buck per month...a square slightly large listing...and we're first, but I don't think that matters...

Our record last year was 9 appts booked by Jane on one day...but its slower now...nevertheless, we're still pulling 1-3 new customers a day and we don't even remotely LOSE that many from attrition...so we're still building...

I tune 20+ pianos every week of the year...plus rebuild off hours...its hectic, but our YP add keeps up hoppin'....

I've investigated, of late, doing more with our website...especially after the PTG Journal article reminded me again! But...for the moment we're relying almost entirely on YP adds...thanks for the hints above to improve the coverage with other means...

...and yet, for some reason (because we never try to optomize our site lol) we're pulling rebuilding work from all over the region, especially player and pump organs...so, SOMEBODY is finding our website for at least that kind of work...

Lately, we've noticed that probably 50 percent of new work is from referrals...and that's golden.

MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
DEALER Hailun Pianos

#626075 - 02/16/09 07:24 PM Re: Marketing Your Business
Anne Francis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 571
Loc: Toronto, ON
I agree with RPD. I decided to try the yellow pages (just a listing, no ad), and I have found it to be pretty good. I also have a display ad in a community newspaper in a neighbourhood not far from where I live that's really cheap and that people actually read--it's probably been my best and most efficient source of new business, other than word of mouth and networking. It pays to investigate these things. There's a wide variety in the quality of community papers in this regard.
Anne Francis
Piano Tuner-Technician

Check out my blog! www.annefrancis.ca/blog

1906 Heintzman upright (rebuilt)

#626076 - 02/16/09 08:58 PM Re: Marketing Your Business
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan

Nice website, by the way...I try to check out sites as possible, and yours is really well done...very informative for the customer. RPD
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
DEALER Hailun Pianos

#626077 - 02/16/09 11:51 PM Re: Marketing Your Business
rysowers Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3165
Loc: Olympia, WA
I read "Guerrilla Marketing" years ago and his suggestion about yellow pages was either to dominate or go for a very small ad or listing. I feel that having the dominant ad in the yellow pages establishes us as the dominant piano service business in our area.

The other thing that is really important for technicians is to make connections with as many respected piano teachers as possible. We have done direct mailing to teachers and I feel like it is well worth it. For the cost of a stamp and printer ink, you can advertise directly to the people who have pianos and know many people with pianos.

We have also placed pianos in a few locations in our town: a local bookstore, the violin shop, and an antique store. We put ads on the piano with business cards.

Another important marketing tool that many technicians don't take seriously enough is the voice mail message on your phone. I have called many techs over the years and have been astonished at how unprofessional some of the out going messages are. It's many clients first contact with your business - make it nice!

My last suggestion on this post is to practice full-service. Don't just be a tuner. Try to schedule enough time to tune the piano plus some extra: lubricate friction points, even out the voicing, do some regulating, check the pedals, vacuum out the interior, tighten the bench etc. I sometimes call my portable vacuum cleaner my #1 marketing tool. If your clients really notice an improvement in the piano that will be the best advertising possible. Word-of-mouth is the key to great clients.
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA


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