You have a website, right?
If so, how is it? Is it comprehensive? SEO friendly? Does it clearly convey who you are to newcomers and draw them in? (And if you don’t have a website, you really should make one!)
Your website will be your most valuable marketing tool in this day and age. It’s the modern-day phonebook listing and brochure all in one. Nowadays, if people in your area are searching for music lessons, where are they going to search? Referrals from friends are one way - and although this is a very successful method, most parents will still want to do their research on you after getting a referral. If you don’t have a convincing website, you’ll be missing out on many, many potential students.
Having a well-made website is also great to inform newcomers about you, your teaching style, and what to expect in your studio so they can assess if you’re a good match or not. This saves you a lot of time from doing free introductory lessons or taking on students whose needs don’t match your style.
Now, let’s take a look at your website and see if there’s anything that could be improved. If you’re on break right now, it’s the perfect time to revamp it and get it ready for the busy season when families begin to pick out their activities for the new school year.
Consider what information customers look for on a website:
- Is this the service I’m looking for (e.g. piano lessons)?
- Is it near me or at my house?
- Does the class fit my schedule?
- Is the service good and something I’m comfortable with?
- Is it in my budget range?
With this in mind, go through this guide and see if your website is answering all the questions:
1. What do you do?
I don’t know how many websites I’ve seen where I wasn’t quite sure what instrument this person was teaching or their name. It’s kind of bizarre when I have to dig for that info, sometimes not even finding it in the person’s bio. Instruments are sometimes just implied (by the logo shape, or a background image of an instrument). That’s never a good first impression, and probably the most important pieces of info needed! First and foremost, make sure that what you’re offering (e.g. “Clarinet lessons”) is written out right on the homepage or as a header. This will also be great for being search engine friendly. If you teach a wide variety of instruments, list them all up front! Make it very clear who you are and what you are offering.
2. Where are you? Does it work with my schedule?
This seems obvious, I know. But it doesn't just matter whether you have this info on your website or not, it matters where you put it and how easy it is to find. I've arrived at a website that says “Nancy’s Piano Lessons” - but where? Is it in my city? county? state? solar system? People first need to know whether they can even get to you before they decide if they are interested. Usually, I find this info in the “Contact” section of the website, or I see a tiny address down at the bottom of the page. Try putting something like “Piano lessons in Orange County, CA” or “Saxophone lessons in the San Francisco Bay Area” on the homepage or as a header. This, again, is important for search engine traffic. If you offer classes at set days/times, list those! Individual lesson times probably need to be discussed, but maybe if you have select days/semesters/etc. Any info to help families narrow down their options, instead of having to call/meet with you and then realize “Oh, none of this works with our schedule”. That saves both parties a lot of time and hassle.
3. What makes you unique?
Why are you different? So you’re offering what I need in my area. But what makes you different from these 5 other studios I’m looking at? This the fun part - show off who you are!
Do you use a specific method or prepare students for exams?
If so, write about it! “I teach using the Simply Music method, which is unique because…” or "I prepare my students for this exam (ABRSM exam? Certificate of Merit?) which is great for...". If you use Better Practice in your studio, that’s a huge unique point! You can mention how your studio is more social, engaged, modern, connected, and even eco-friendly (less printing!). We also have badges/log-in buttons available to put on your site.
Testimonials will go a long way.
Families who love your teaching will be more than happy to give you great testimonials to put on your website. Nicely ask for a couple from your students that emphasize success stories and your unique points. People nowadays rarely go out to eat without checking Yelp reviews, so you best believe they will be looking for testimonials. With your website, it’s even easier because you can control which testimonials are put up.
What are your credentials?
Your story and your motivation behind teaching? All of this would be great in an About Me or Bio section. Let people get to know you, and the people who contact you will be better matches for you.
How does your site look and feel?
Do you only train serious musicians? Do you prefer to teach young children and introduce them to music? The look and feel of your site can convey much of that at a glance. Think about colors, fonts and layouts (work with a website designer if needed). A good-looking website is already a convincing one. If the website looks lazy, I get a sense that the owner of this website is also lazy.
4. How can I contact you?
A good idea is to have your phone number and email at the top corner of every page. Often as people are exploring your website, they will go through the pages in any order - so, it’s best to have your contact info ready to go whenever they decide they want to learn more! Making things easier increases the chances of it happening, so there’s no harm in making it as easy as possible.
5. Is your website search engine friendly?
This whole time, I’ve been talking about being “search engine friendly” and whatnot. But what does that mean? Well, think of it this way: If you were the one searching for music lessons, what would you search? You need to think about what your potential students & families are searching for and make sure your website is found from those search terms. For example, I would probably search “oboe lessons in Orange County” as an initial search. You want to appear in those results, but there’s more potential if you’re also there when I narrow it down further to “oboe lessons in Irvine”. Then, I might get even more specific and search “funk oboe lessons irvine”. As searches get more specific and your studio matches those needs, the more likely they are to choose you. See why it’s important to list your specialties and offerings? (Anyone know any funk oboe players, by the way?)