Recruiting students for private music lessons can be done in a number of ways, and successful music school recruiters and instructors take advantage of as many methods as possible. Constant recruiting of students for private and group lessons is vital to any instructor or music school, considering student turnover is a frequent business challenge.
Defining Your Market
Defining your target market is the first step in a successful recruitment campaign. If you don't know who your students are, you may have a difficult time reaching them. This does take some thought and effort, but begin by asking your students how they first heard of you and use the dominant answers to your advantage. If you don't have current students, make a list of where they are likely to congregate, what they read, websites they may visit, stores they may shop, etc. This will give you a better idea of where to concentrate your efforts using the methods described in this article.
Classified and Display Advertising
Long-term classified or display advertising in local newspapers and other publications is a traditional recruiting method that is still effective. Since many students are still in school, their parents read local publications and are the ones that are generally responsible for finding private instructors, setting up and paying for the lessons. Classified and display advertising is cheaper and more effective the longer you run the ads, so build it into your annual budget.
Don't rely solely on photocopied posters displayed on community billboards. Hire a professional graphic designer to create eye-catching postcards, business cards and posters, and have them printed at your local printer. Consider including your picture to the piece to add a personal touch, and ask local businesses to keep a supply, along with other business materials frequently left at the door of many of these companies.
Use local and regional Internet classified sites to advertise your private lessons and recruit more students. Some of these sites are totally free, while others charge an insertion or monthly fee. There are also music teaching sites that you can join, where prospective students and parents can search for teachers within a geographical area.
Word of Mouth
When it comes down to it, word of mouth advertising is one of the strongest recruiting tools for private music lessons. Ensure that your sessions are interesting and productive, and don't be afraid to break your own rules pertaining to late students, no show/no call and make-up lessons. A bit of understanding and courtesy when warranted will go a long way. Just be sure that offenders do not become chronic by making a point of explaining that you'll break the rule "just this once." Asking for referrals from happy parents and students can also help in your recruiting efforts.
- Doug Kelly, Owner; Doug's Music; Seekonk, Massachusetts
- old piano image by NiDerLander from Fotolia.com