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Advertising and getting new students

Posted By: Jxclark

Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 02:48 PM

I have been teaching piano full time for about 2 years now at a local music store and am ready to make the leap to running a studio out of my house. I have everything I need: a good room, a piano, materials, teaching experience, a website. Everything except students! grin

Obviously I have to get my name out there and advertise, but I'm not sure what the most effective means are (print ads, mailings, door-to-door, etc.). I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.
Posted By: Jennifer Eklund

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 03:06 PM

Personally I always did best passing out flyers door-to-door in neighborhoods. You can print them at home (or an office store) and then target neighborhoods in close range, go early in the morning, and drop them on the doorstep. Here in CA it's illegal to put anything in a mailbox and I imagine this is true in most states.

The nice thing about this type of advertising is it's cheap and you control your teaching radius. Good luck!

~Jennifer Eklund
Posted By: Monica K.

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 03:11 PM

Welcome to the forum, Jxclark. smile Another idea is to talk to the staff at local elementary schools. Depending on the school's policies, you may be allowed to distribute flyers to the students there to take home. (In my school system, you have to go through some hoops in terms of getting the central school district office to approve it first, and you have to include fine print at the bottom to the effect that the school system doesn't endorse individual services or companies, and the like.)
Posted By: R0B

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 03:37 PM

I found taking out four weeks of ads in a local free newspaper, delivered to all homes in the local area, worked well.

Also, as you have a website, try getting listed in a local web business directory. A quick Google search, should find one local to you. Sometimes, such listings are free. Then, when someone types in: "Piano teacher (your area)", your website will be listed.

After a while, you should find that 'word of mouth' recommendations, will fill your available spaces.
Posted By: trillingadventurer

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 05:14 PM

I have used Craigslist with some success. Currently I am taking only referrals from good clients. Like attracts like!
Posted By: Ebony and Ivory

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 05:22 PM

Originally Posted by trillingadventurer
I have used Craigslist with some success. Currently I am taking only referrals from good clients. Like attracts like!

I never got anything but a load of [Linked Image] from Craigslist!!!

I keep business cards at all the local schools, that and referrals are all I have ever needed.

You can pay for ads on the back of grocery store receipts too.
Posted By: dumdumdiddle

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 07:12 PM

I do a lot of advertising. Here's what works for me:

Yellow Page listing - some cities allow home businesses to have a listing in the Yellow Pages for a MUCH cheaper rate than if you were a retail location with a business line. I have a 2" column listing (similar to a display ad but it's right where the alphabetical listings are located) and I pay $50 per month. That same ad using a business phone number would be 3x that amount.

Family-type publications - they are usually published once a month, so their shelf life is much longer than the daily paper. I pay $38 monthly for a 2x2 ad.

Direct Mail - you can purchase a very specialized mailing list of let's say 'homeowners with children ages 6-10' in certain zip codes. I much prefer mailing a nice brochure than going door-to-door passing out fliers.

Community papers - if you're having a studio recital, particularly if you're using a church or other public facility, call your paper up and request they do a small story on it, maybe featuring one or two exceptional students. A great way to promote yourself.

MTNA Membership - join a professional music teachers organization. They usually have a teacher-referral person who funnels students to whoever has openings. Our local branch is listed in the phone book and we are always getting calls for lessons. Most of our teacher-members have full studios.

If you do any kind of print advertising, just remember that a person has to see something at least 5x before they'll respond with a phone call.

Posted By: WillisWill

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 07:20 PM

I would second Monica's advice, but not limit myself to elementary schools - middle and high schools are more likely to have a full-time music faculty, who probably field the most questions from interested parents.

you could also make flyers to post in areas where families congregate (places or worship, community centers, ymca's etc...)

i would absolutely create a website, even if it's really bare bones - so if someone googles piano+roswell your page appears (unless they're looking for the score of close encounters of the 3rd kind)

you could also make yourself known to more established teachers. if someone has a full book, they may be willing to refer potential students your way

good luck

Posted By: Barb860

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 08:06 PM

I have found the best advertising to be word-of-mouth referrals. Print up some business cards and tell every person you know about what you are doing. Send emails to everyone in your address book. Get the word out if you haven't done so already. Tell people you already do business with: hairdresser/barber, teachers, doctors/chiropractors, real estate agent/landlord, everyone you are in contact with.
Posted By: Mrs.A

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 08:46 PM

Last year when I decided to increase the number of students, I had a yard sign made with my telephone number. This worked amazingly well for me and easily removed when I filled the spots.
Posted By: Mrs.A

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 09:00 PM

Another idea for getting your name out there. Every year a local private school hosts a large auction. I donate three months of piano tuition. It has been very good advertising as an auction book is distributed to the community members. It has always sold for more than its value and some people bid on it to make the donation without intentions of taking the lessons. For the others who take the free lessons, they always contiue after the lessons have expired. There are many of these kinds of auctions in our area, Domestic Violence shelter, CASA, Arts Council.
Posted By: dumdumdiddle

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/17/09 10:44 PM

Ditto the website idea! I am the only teacher in my music teachers branch who has a website (and it received 2nd place in a statewide competition for studio websites).
Posted By: musiclady

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/18/09 01:33 AM

Here are some ideas which are from my blog which have worked for me or other teachers I know:


Posted By: Chris H.

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/18/09 06:03 AM

Things have no doubt changed a lot since I used to do any advertising. As others have said, once you get going most of your business will come by word of mouth (which is free!).

I had most success with ads placed in local free papers and also the Yellow pages. Another good source was the local sheet music store who kept a list of local teachers. Sadly they have since closed down and have become online only.

I imagine most people looking for a piano teacher nowadays would search on the internet so a website will be essential. You could also try searching for piano teachers yourself and see what comes up in your area. There are quite a few piano related sites which have links to for teachers, dealers, movers, technicians etc. Plenty of them will allow you to list your contact details free of charge.
Posted By: Stanny

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/18/09 01:45 PM

Targeted "advertising" works best for me, and I get inquiries off my website several times a month.

I target the students I want by cultivating a good relationship with the catholic school down the road. I donate to their auctions and keep a good relationship with the music teacher.

Also, the choirmasters at our church are a good source of referrals.

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/22/09 06:07 PM

I started teaching over 20 years ago, and business has steadily grown to 50 students per week now during school year months.

Most of my students come from word-of-mouth referrals, although I am registered with a local piano sales store. I see, although I've never tried it, that sheet music/instrument stores will have flyers with a telephone number tear-off at the bottom.

If you are known at the elementary school, it helps as well.

Good luck!

Posted By: Jxclark

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 07/30/09 02:14 AM

Thanks so much for all the advice. I'm going to try the door-to-door flyer thing to start off. Fortunately I know a number of teachers since my wife is one so I think targeting the closest elementary schools is a good idea, too. Appreciate the help!

Posted By: Mike in Illinois

Re: Advertising and getting new students - 08/07/09 06:06 PM

My plan to attract students is to put a sign in my front yard. (The neighbor across the street has a sign in her front yard "Day Care" + Phone # and has about 6 children daily.) I haven't yet settled on a title, but I've narrowed it to two-- pianolessonsongrand.info or pianostudioongrand.info. This would link to my website (still in the planning stage) which would provide all the information including fees, approach, benefits, links, etc. There hasn't been a piano teacher in my neighborhood for about 20 years despite the fact that there are a lot of children. My hope is to first get students from the neighborhood. A website eliminates the repetition that would be required from answering phone calls as all the information would be included on the website. I plan to offer a free "get acquainted" session. At present I've been getting my house ready-- fresh paint, guest bathroom remodeled, and exterior work.

Mike in Illinois
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