Drumming up new business

Posted by: DanS

Drumming up new business - 04/30/13 11:09 PM

I'm sure this has been covered here before, but how do you guys and gals drum up new business? I've been looking to increase my teaching load (I'm mainly a church organist/pianist). I put an ad in the church bulletin and got a few new students, but now I'm stuck. I thought about advertising in the hyper-local newspaper, but the classified are filled with gaudy ads for handymen and 'cash for gold', and Craigslist seems like I'd be attracting weirdos. Any suggestions?
Posted by: Bluoh

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 12:55 AM

Most people get new students through word of mouth-- it's the best way to get new students, actually.

You can try giving ads to your current students or starting a group class once a month. Let your friends know that you're taking in new students; they might know someone who might know someone who wants to take piano lessons.

Even at your church, you can (casually) mention that you're taking new students to anyone who lingers by the piano. wink
Posted by: Stanny

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 01:41 AM

I get a lot of new students through my website.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 03:12 AM

Have you asked the parents of students to recruit other students for you?
Posted by: ten left thumbs

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 04:04 AM

elementary schools
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 08:43 AM

Just remember that it takes time... I had 2 students in my first year back in Greece, then 3, then around 30, then 7, then 10, now around 15... (30 was half a year I spent replacing a pregnant piano teacher! grin). But I do see a steady raise in count, through the years, so I definitely can't complaint!
Posted by: Overexposed

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 08:53 AM

Dan,
This has been my Craigslist experience: Lots of people selling things. A few wierdos just putting in comments that have nothing to do with starting lessons. And I had one father who wanted a teacher to teach him piano and son violin "at the same time" and didn't want to pay more than $10 per lesson. (No harm done, just delete oddball messages, and decline inappropriate offers.)

BUT I also had one good response and student started lessons. From this one student, through word of mouth my studio has grown. The majority of my students can be traced back to that student. Another found me through an internet search.

Edit: I am reminded of Pip in "Great Expectations". In the end he finds out his benefactor is a criminal. Like Pip, we don't like to associate ourselves with a criminal (or the slimy reputation of a Craigslist), yet sometimes a slimy connection provides income. smile
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 08:58 AM

Having a website I think is key. Also, you may wish to subscribe to some online music teacher websites like getlessonsnow.com. I've gotten at least a couple of students from that which more than pays for the annual fee.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 10:04 AM

Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
elementary schools


A great resource for students. If your local private or public schools have music programs, introduce yourself to the teachers and pass along your flyers to them.
Posted by: red-rose

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 10:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Barb860
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
elementary schools


A great resource for students. If your local private or public schools have music programs, introduce yourself to the teachers and pass along your flyers to them.

How exactly does one do this? I tried, with the 4-5 schools near me; I looked up online who it was and their email addresses, and emailed them, I only heard back from one person who asked me for references, which I gave, but then never heard anything else back.
Would I have gotten a better response by going into the schools? So how exactly do you do that? Aren't most schools super strict about visitors? Do you just walk into the main office? Or do you find out ahead of time who you want to talk to? Do you go during school hours? Or how do you know if the person will be there when you come?
Posted by: Joyce_dup1

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 10:53 AM

Eventually you'll reach the point where referral by current students will keep you busy. I offer a bonus to any student who refers a new student. Until you get there (a few years?), I've had the most success from postcard mailings. You can get them cheap on Vista.com. Either mail them out to the immediate neighborhood nearest your local grade school, or if you have a local YMCA or somewhere that does children's programs, get a schedule of activities. Look for one with children the age you're trying to target. And put them on the windshields of the cars in the parking lot. (Be a good neighbor and go back later to pick up discarded cards.) That has always gotten the best response. I have also gotten students from a mix of other advertising strategies, but only one here and there: Church bulletins, advertising on student brochures, providing lesson packages at auctions, flyers on mailboxes, advertising on dance programs, etc. Good luck and let us know what works.

Posted by: Overexposed

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 10:57 AM

It may help to join your local teacher organizations. I have had a couple of referrals from other teachers who I met in local teacher organizations.
Posted by: R0B

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 11:01 AM

Unless you can get referrals by word of mouth, I would agree with Morodiene.

A website, and getting yourself listed on a couple of web directories, can be most productive.

For many people these days, their first port of call, is an online search.

(Ironically, as I type, my website(s) are down, due to a problem with my hosting company mad )
Posted by: Brinestone

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 11:05 AM

Do you have a local music store? There's a bulletin board there with lots of teacher ads up. I haven't ever done it myself because I haven't lacked for business, really, but that seems like a good place to advertise, since people are presumably there because of an interest in music.
Posted by: rada

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 11:27 AM

Although I've never tried it I think bulletins where the phone numbers can be easily torn from the bottom on the pages....at school, coffee shops, any where you see bulletin boards...libraries....maybe a senior citizen home?

rada
Posted by: dumdumdiddle

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 11:58 AM

Website.

Do a google search for piano teachers in your town. How many listings/sites come up? If there aren't too many, then it's prime for you to have a website. You can create one very easily with www.tripod.com Pick a template and plug in the info and photos you want. It's $9 per month and includes the domain name.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 12:14 PM

Performance opportunities can often get you students.

If you play around the area, at least subbing in other churches if that is mostly your genre, you'll perform for a wider audience of potential students. If you can do cocktail piano, accompanying for choral events, broadway musicals, etc., so much the better.

Not everybody who can play well can teach well, or vice versa, but I've often heard a listener ask a performer if they give lessons. Always have your pocket full of business cards, and remember every gig is also an audition for the next one.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 02:36 PM

Originally Posted By: red-rose
Originally Posted By: Barb860
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
elementary schools


A great resource for students. If your local private or public schools have music programs, introduce yourself to the teachers and pass along your flyers to them.

How exactly does one do this? I tried, with the 4-5 schools near me; I looked up online who it was and their email addresses, and emailed them, I only heard back from one person who asked me for references, which I gave, but then never heard anything else back.
Would I have gotten a better response by going into the schools? So how exactly do you do that? Aren't most schools super strict about visitors? Do you just walk into the main office? Or do you find out ahead of time who you want to talk to? Do you go during school hours? Or how do you know if the person will be there when you come?


You could email and ask to meet the teacher in person, introduce yourself and provide references.
Posted by: ten left thumbs

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 03:20 PM

Originally Posted By: red-rose
Originally Posted By: Barb860
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
elementary schools


A great resource for students. If your local private or public schools have music programs, introduce yourself to the teachers and pass along your flyers to them.

How exactly does one do this? I tried, with the 4-5 schools near me; I looked up online who it was and their email addresses, and emailed them, I only heard back from one person who asked me for references, which I gave, but then never heard anything else back.
Would I have gotten a better response by going into the schools? So how exactly do you do that? Aren't most schools super strict about visitors? Do you just walk into the main office? Or do you find out ahead of time who you want to talk to? Do you go during school hours? Or how do you know if the person will be there when you come?


I walk to the school and ring the bell. This is the uk, so maybe different elsewhere. They let me into reception. I smile sweetly and tell the receptionist I am a local piano teacher, I have postcards with my details, and is there a teacher's coffee table or a community noticeboard it could go on?

Last year I got a student directly on walking in. I said 'I am a local piano teacher...' and was interrupted by the receptionist. Family had moved from overseas and girl just started at school. Dad asked where he could find a piano teacher, and the receptionist had no idea. In walks me...

It helps to come at the start of term, when the noticeboards are fresh, to avoid break and lunch time, school start, pick up time, etc.
Posted by: DanS

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 04:12 PM

Thanks all, there's a lot of good advice here. I've been trying to avoid getting a website, but I think it's probably time. I like idea of getting postcards from vistaprint as well. I think that would work well in my target area. I'll try craigslist too, but I think I'll get the website going first.

I have reached out to a few school teachers (some of the ones who have played at my church), but that hasn't produced any students. I think 20 years ago I could have just walked into a school after hours to try to talk to a music teacher, but somehow I don't think that would fly these days. Perhaps some emails would fit the bill

Thanks again. I'll keep you posted of my progress.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 06:20 PM

Dan, another source for printing postcards is Overnight Prints. I used them a few years back to cover some new neighborhoods in the area. Very nice quality, and easy on the pocketbook.
Posted by: currawong

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 06:36 PM

Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
I walk to the school and ring the bell. This is the uk, so maybe different elsewhere. They let me into reception. I smile sweetly and tell the receptionist I am a local piano teacher, I have postcards with my details, and is there a teacher's coffee table or a community noticeboard it could go on?
Ditto. Also, some schools have newsletters where you can put ads for a small fee. At least they do where I am.
Posted by: Jonathan Alford

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/01/13 08:14 PM

Not sure I can help a lot except I can tell you how I found my current teacher.

I did a web search and looked for a music teacher's association in my area.

I then used their search utility to get a few names that I emailed and met before making my final decision.

Good luck!

Jonathan
Posted by: pianoSD

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/02/13 02:00 AM

I highly recommend onlessons.com if you are looking to find new students on the web.

I have been using the site for almost 2 months now, and I have received three new students from the site. I use the scheduling calendar to book my current students and then set availability on my calendar with open slots for new students to book me online. They also have a cool management tool that I use to keep track of my student's information.

It's free to signup which is really cool. There aren't any session fees either like some other websites I have seen. I think they do have a paid plan for like $15 / month, but the free plan worked just fine for me.

Heck, a free tool that got me three new students? Can't beat that.
Posted by: malkin

Re: Drumming up new business - 05/02/13 08:30 AM

My current teacher had ads posted on craigslist and on local online classifieds. When I googled his name I found no web site, but got several hits for performances, articles, and a large youtube channel.