If you are a music teacher, a musician, or another kind of artist that want to improve his/her visibility, you are on the right page. In this big guide, I want to give you some suggestions that will help use digital media in the most effective way.
I've been running FaChords Guitar since 2012 (10 years at the time of writing) and I know a thing or two, so keep reading!
Is Marketing Always A Bad Thing?
Marketing and music. A match made in heaven, or an awful combination?
When thinking of marketing for music teachers, you might get overwhelmed by all the options there are.
One of the downsides seems to be the negative "vibe" that musicians and artists feel with the term marketing. One of the reasons for that is the feeling of "selling out" their performative art. And, in a way this is true.
Something you have created from the heart, with emotion and passion, suddenly becomes a product in the vast sea of other products. It even gets a price tag! But there is also a very positive side to all this.
You can use the concepts of marketing strategies when you promote your product, course or music online.
This way, you do not have to go all in and use heavy, product focused marketing strategies to stay on top of all the other music teachers out there.
In the end, you probably just want to find your best students, connect with them and help them become better in music.
So, let's see how we can rewrite marketing for musicians in a good way that will give you results without feeling like a sell-out.
How To Stand Out From The Crowd:
In the mindset of marketing/promoting your online music work, it is a great advantage if you can stand out from the crowd. And, there is a good chance that you can do that without too many weird marketing tricks!
Simply creating an online music course or setting up a website with a phone number for your music services will not work. You will end up waiting for something to happen...
And nothing will happen...
You might already know that :-)
You want the perfect students to find YOU, the artist that wants to share their awesome course and lessons to help them create awesome music.
And, you also want to stand out from the crowd in the most natural way possible.
How can you do that?
First, standing out can be done by finding your unique selling proposition, or USP's as they call them in marketing. (See, we are already starting with some marketing basics).
I really like the USP that Justinguitar shows on his Facebook page: "Teaching the world to play"
To find your USP's you can check your current lessons and courses and try to find something unique about them. What is standing out? Is the quality on Hollywood level, or are your lessons built around a music style that is not so common?
It sometimes helps to ask other people how they experience your lessons too.
What are your students (or other people) telling you about your lessons?
Do they like your personality, are you adding a unique extra value to the lessons, like quirky jokes, confidence tips or maybe even technical tips?
Make a list of all these features and pick the ones that you would like to highlight. They will become important on your marketing and promotion journey.
By including these terms in all your online work, like posts and images, it will create a distinctive style that will make you stand out from the crowd!
See what works for you and what works online, mix and match and you are probably good to go!
Quick tip: Check out some top teachers on YouTube. I think that Marty Schwartz sticks out quite a lot for example.
He always wears his hat, has a very minimalistic video layout and teaches the basic top songs in his own way.
Are you the next Marty Schwartz?
Check How and What Other Teachers Are Doing Online (read: Analyze Competitors)
Sometimes a less fun activity for marketers is the competitor analytics.
It can sometimes be a bit intimidating to search for competitors. It can even be more intimidating if you actually find someone that does what you want to do (and maybe even surpasses it!).
Don't worry, this is actually a very good thing. The best competitor could be the one that gives you that "oh, I wanted to do that!" feeling.
A good competitor research should include a list of around 5 to 10 competitors that do the same, or at least are almost in the same niche.
The closer they are to what you want to do, the better!
A good second step could be to become critical. Put on your pedantic hat and start to nitpick all the things you see them do online.
Really, as silly as it sounds, you might find a lot of things that you would do differently. Maybe you find that they oversell, or undersell their courses. Or, they don't use Instagram and you want to start using it.
Add all details to a list and maybe start with your gut feelings. Then, shift towards more goal focused things that you want to add/change.
Maybe your competitor is selling courses, but you want to do 1 on 1 lessons.
After you created a solid list of differences/changes you can start to pinpoint which one of these you would start to incorporate in your strategies.
A good thing to keep in mind is to avoid blatant copies. Even though you like an idea and want to replicate it in your strategy, make sure you give your own personal spin to it.
Don't replicate word for word, but rephrase a lot and add your personal vision and motivation to your content.
That way you will stand out even more! Which loops back to number 2 :-)
A Big One: SEO and keywords:
Using content and SEO to attract new students
SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is a technical strategy to optimize all your content, from website to social content, with a keyword rich and user related search.
OK, but what does it mean in non-technical terms? Your content should be created to tailor the needs of your ideal client. The text and images should match the search terms used by your ideal client. This is done by using the correct keywords.
In search engines like Google(also YouTube) or Bing, people type in the topic they want to search for.
Yeah, groundbreaking, I know...
This is not always just one word. It can also be a short sentence.
For example "free acoustic guitar lessons".
These are the keywords that could direct people to your website!
After typing in that search phrase, the search engine will present you with a lot of found results. This is where SEO comes into the picture. The search engine will show the results that are the best match for the search term.
In this case, it will probably not show "paid electric guitar lessons", and absolutely no "trumpet lessons for classical players".
You get the idea :-)
On your website, you want the text and even images to match your ideal client/student.
After you did your customer, competitor and USP research, you will end up with a list of topics that you can create content around. This will be your list of keywords that you want to use in all your content.
This content will be added to the pages of your website, and even in the social post you create! All this will tell the search engine that your website might be a good candidate for the person searching "free acoustic guitar lessons".
Do you have a few pages talking about guitar lessons for beginners, acoustic guitar lessons and free basic guitar lessons? The search engine might find you a good fit for the search term "free acoustic guitar lessons".
Again, there is a more technical approach to this, which will be another full blog post in itself.
Important! If you want a big list of interesting guitar-related keywords, that you can use to create useful content, contact me here.
You Should Build a website, Of Course
Why and how to create a website to promote your lessons
Probably the most important thing to do, when you want to start with online guitar lessons! You need your own website.
There are many options available to setup a basic website online. They also have a variety of costs, and the pricing usually depends on the technical aspect and extra service you want to have.
If you setup a basic site, make sure it has at least these pages:
- Home page, the page people land on when they type in your url (for example: fachords.com)
- An about page: Tell people who you are, what they can expect from you and how they can contact you.
- A separate contact page: people often search for a way to contact you if they are interested in your services. Make it easy and clear for your visitors where and how they can contact you.
- A product/sales page: Add a few of your top products and/or services to this page to show new students what they can expect.
- Optional: Images/Videos/Music page. Here, you can showcase your other work to set the tone of your work (pun intended). As a music teacher, this can give a nice overview of your skills, combined with something your students can work towards.
More pages are optional, such as a blog page that contains updates and such.
Lastly, add a sign-up form on multiple places on your website. A good practice can be to add it to the footer (bottom part) of your site. That way, it will appear on every page.
You can also work with pop-up forms or designated sign-up pages. All of this will connect to the next part, email marketing.
You Want To Create Your List Of Contacts (read: Email Marketing the good way)
This is probably the most important part of your online marketing. Email marketing is still a strong and valuable tool to use.
An important factor of email marketing is, you "own" your list of clients/fans.
They have signed up for your email marketing, and you can send content directly into their inbox!
Yes, you can do somewhat the same on social media, but we have seen in the past that social media communication can change due to platform changes, which sometimes disables targeted communication with your best fans altogether! (Looking at you, Facebook...).
In a nutshell, with email marketing you control all the emails that you send out on a regular basis.
Email marketing works best if you have a certain consistency in it.
Sending emails out on a regular basis, with content that is tailored to your best audience will usually work best.
Even though you can get very advanced with email marketing and create marketing funnels (targeted email series that point towards a certain product/goal in the end), it might be good to start simple.
You can sign up for a free service like mailerlite or mailchimp, put a newsletter sign-up form on your website and start sending out emails on a regular basis.
If you keep the main topics around your main content, you should be fine.
If you are unsure what to send, try to think from the client/student perspective. Why did they sign up? What did they expect to get in their mailbox?
Some good topics to provide value in your first emails are:
- Who you are and what they can expect in their mailbox
- Types of music that you play, your journey into music and how you teach
- Upcoming events (YouTube/Facebook live events, new courses, discounts)
- Personal stories that can be relatable to your students. How did you start on your instrument, what hurdles did you face and how did you solve them?
- Free downloads, gifts, discount codes, etc.
The list can be very long once you start brainstorming.
Quick tip. Start writing down a list of topics, order them in a meaningful manner and write emails in batch.
If you send out an email per week, that is only 4 emails to write each month and very easy to do within an hour or so.
Some email programs even give you the opportunity to schedule out emails for the future. Automation for the win :-)
Another part of email marketing is, getting people on your email list!
As mentioned before, in the website part, adding a sign up form on various pages of your website will help with this.
You can also add links to a sign-up page on your social media. A pro tip to get more subscribers is to add something of value for people that sign-up.
If they receive something in their inbox that is of value, for example a free ebook with basic music theory, a series of beginner lesson videos or a bundle of backing tracks, you will increase the number of sign-ups a lot!
Important recommendation: don't ever spam people with junk and salesy stuff, the email address and the attention of your visitors are sacred and you must delivery only useful, high-quality content.
Using Social Network
How to use Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to gain more exposure Technically a total opposite of your website and your email marketing social media.
There are many social media platforms out there, some even focused more on music than the social aspect (think SoundCloud).
In general, a social platform is used to share your personal interests and interact with people on the same platform.
You do not have to be on every social platform, but it can be beneficial to be on at least 2 or 3 top platforms.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be more than enough. Many YouTube music teachers use YouTube and Instagram and nothing more, but this is totally up to you.
The powerful benefit of Social Networks is that they are all (mostly) free to use! You might be able to find your best students on those platforms, interact with them, create groups/pages for your products and services and more.
Using Online Ads
To conclude the basics of digital marketing for music teachers, I want to briefly talk about marketing with ads.
A good advice might be, to only start with a serious ad strategy after you have done all the above steps first.
The reason for that is simple. Without a good understanding of your SEO, your ideal client and your USP's, creating an ad that will work for you is pretty difficult.
There will be a high chance of losing more money than you will make, which is the total opposite of the ad marketing strategy.
Ideally, you want your ads to take up a certain amount of revenue per month, but they should target your most ideal client/student in the end.
They should help you to reach your goal, whether it is getting more people to your email list, getting more visitors to your website, increasing your Instagram followers or to get more clients to sign up for your courses/lessons.
Of course, you are free to try a few cheap ads on Facebook by simply boosting a post of your latest course. This could be a good way to get an idea of how ads work, what the results can be and how you could improve them.
Be careful though, putting up random ads without any specific goals can eat up a lot of money quickly, but they can be equally powerful when set up correctly!
Finally, The Most Important Thing: Create valuable content
Lastly, you obviously should have valuable content to share. This will help new clients and students to see your work and decide if they connect with it.
What types of content will you be sharing. Which parts are free and which are paid. Will you only do 1 on 1 lessons, or will there also be online courses.
Valuable content can also be shared on your social media pages. Sharing videos with short lessons on YouTube or Instagram can attract a new group of potential fans and students. Even images of your work and courses can help with this.
Setup a good sharing strategy for each social platform you are on, and start building a group of potential students there!
Personally, I made a point here: I've been creating useful, free guitar content for more than 10 years, and it seems that people are happy about that.
Digital Marketing For Musicians: Conclusions
There you have it. A brief overview of what digital marketing for music teachers includes.
The topic of online marketing for musicians is a very large one, and it would be way to much to include it all here.
I hope you have found this information valuable and feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or through the contact page.
And, of course, don't forget to subscribe for future updates.