As a music teacher, when the Covid pandemic began you probably received a crash course in how to teach music online. Have you considered not only continuing to teach online, but specifically promoting yourself as an online music teacher?
After all, offering online lessons opens up the possibility that just about anyone connected to the Internet could take lessons with you. And Duet offers an easy technology solution with Online Studio, the video conferencing teaching platform that is built into your Duet account.
Yet when offering lessons online you’re suddenly in competition with thousands of other teachers doing the same thing.
You need to approach promoting your online lessons in an informed and strategic way. By doing so, you’ll stay a step ahead of those who don’t bother to study effective marketing tactics.
You might begin the promotional process by thinking about how and where you can advertise your online music lessons. It goes without saying that online music lessons need to be advertised online! Four essential ways to do so are:
- Signing up for one of the myriad online teaching marketplaces such as Take Lessons or Superprof. Duet offers a partnership with MusicTeacher.com. This is relatively easy. Downside: the provider will likely take a cut, although Duet teachers receive a 25% discount on MusicTeacher.com when you access the site through your Duet account.
- Building a website for your online lessons (if you don’t already have one). This isn’t too hard, but it does take effort. Yet a website is just a modern version of a business card. Remember those? If you never handed out your business cards, what good were they? Similarly, if you build a website but nobody ever sees it, what good is it? So, while having a website is a prerequisite for effective promotion of online music lessons, it’s not sufficient. You’ll need to promote your website, and there are two main ways to do that…
- Paying for online advertising (buying ads on Google, Facebook etc.). Can be pricey and complex (especially Google Ads), but may bring quick results.
- Performing search engine optimization (SEO). This means getting your website to rank higher in the search results so prospective students can find it. This can take many months (or longer), and there’s no guarantees it will work at all, but it’s free (if you don’t count the time you spend doing it)!
But before you decide on one or more of these approaches, there are several important things worth considering. Getting clear about these will make it that much more likely that whatever marketing method(s) you choose will be successful.
Choose a Target Market
If you’re marketing your online lessons to everybody, it’s that much harder (and potentially expensive) to cut through the noise of the Internet. And even if you were successful at reaching “everybody,” you don’t need one million students anyway!
A better approach is to choose a relatively small market of prospective students that you can reach with a targeted approach. Several characteristics of the target market of my online piano school, Creative Keyboardist, are:
Age: Adults, specifically younger adults (25-39)
Skill Level: Beginners and “returners”
Musical Styles: Interested in many, classical to popular
These and other characteristics make it easier to write and target content for the Creative Keyboardist website and online ads (when we’ve run them). Does it mean that we will turn down older adults or advanced players? Of course not. Just because you target a certain demographic doesn’t mean you won’t reach people outside of that demographic. It just makes your marketing more cost-effective and potentially profitable.
Choose a Niche
By choosing a niche for your online lessons, it becomes easier to differentiate what you’re offering from the competition. Do you have a subject specialty? Perhaps you specialize in a specific technique for your instrument. Do you have a style specialty? Perhaps you focus on Baroque music or jazz improvisation.
The niche that differentiates Creative Keyboardist from most other virtual piano lesson providers is our focus on creativity. The combination of that niche with our target market means that we specialize in offering creative-oriented virtual piano lessons for adults.
Choose a Pricing Strategy
Consider what your target market can reasonably afford. Then decide whether to “compete on price” by offering the most reasonably-priced lessons (preferably lower than your direct competitors) that still leave you with a profit, or to “compete on quality” by offering lessons near the top of your market’s price range.
Obviously, lower-price lessons may lead to more potential students contacting you. Yet surprisingly, most marketing experts consider that competing on price is usually not the best strategy. Instead, setting higher prices and promoting the high quality of your lessons (since people naturally associate high prices with high quality) is usually a better strategy.
Think you’d feel guilty charging higher rates? You could always offer scholarships to select students.
By taking time to consider and intelligently choose a target market, niche and pricing strategy, you’ll maximize the chances that the marketing methods you choose for your online music lessons will pay off.
Doug Hanvey is the founder of Creative Keyboardist, which offers useful information (and a free assessment) for choosing the best online piano lessons for adults.