If you really want to compete in the 21st Century as a piano teacher, you need a regularly-maintained and informative studio website and you need to know how to market yourself in the online world.
This is the subject of a great ebook by UK-based teacher, Martyn Croson called How to Find Music Students and Promote Your Teaching Business. It's all about making the most of your online presence in order to find more students, build your studio and, hopefully, make more money through your teaching.
***Update 9/9/2015: Martyn has now built a whole marketing course for piano teachers around the content of his eBook called the Music Teacher Marketing Course. This five-module course adds HEAPS of new content and is really well designed for teachers, whether they are completely new to online marketing and website or whether they are experienced. You can check it out here.
This course is actually applicable to all instrumental teachers, so whether you're a guitar, drum, piano or kazoo teacher, you'll find the information really helpful.
I'm also excited to announce that Martyn will be a forthcoming guest on Tim Topham TV, my bi-monthly piano teaching podcast, where he will be sharing all his ideas about online promotion, studio set up and content marketing. Stay tuned for more news soon!
If you're like most piano teachers, you'll find the day-to-day business side of studio management somewhat of a bore: tax forms, income reports, insurance and marketing.
We're just here to teach piano, right?
If you've already got thriving studio with an overflowing waiting list, then give yourself a pat on the back and take some time out with a glass of wine: you probably don't need to read this article right now (but keep in mind that circumstances can quickly change - like a move to a new state/country - and this may be very useful).
On the other hand, if you're like many home-studio businesses, and you'd love to have a few more students and increase your income, then the place to start is online.
Remember that if you're running a piano studio, you're running a small business - just like the person at the cafe down the street or the local convenience store owner. You might not employ other staff or have that much inventory, but you're still a business owner.
So even if you're the only piano teacher in your area, you need to have a presence where people are going to be looking. And that, for most people, is online.
The best thing is that having a studio website doesn't have to cost anything at all. I started this blog as a free wordpress website and learnt everything I know about blogging and running an online business using this free platform.
Before you start thinking about building a website, you need to make sure of two key points:
The site is easily updatable...by you!
There is no point paying a web designer or developer to build your site if you have to keep paying them when you need to change things. This is the old way of running websites and it doesn't make sense when you can get build a site using a free Content Management System (CMS) in minutes. Check below for some options to get you started.
Make sure your content will rank in Google.
This is known as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and it is a field of marketing all of its own. There's a lot of misinformation out there about how to make sure you rank in Google, often using some devious methods. Google is clever. All you really need is interesting, original content with good headings and to make sure you enter all the info that you want Google to know.
If you haven't got a website for your piano teaching business, then here are a few places to start. While there are literally hundreds of options available online for building free websites, these are my top two recommendations:
I'm going to be blunt: in 2015, if you want a popular, thriving piano studio, you need a website.
Martyn discusses five key areas of online presence (not just a studio website) that are vital for music teachers and how you can gain maximum leverage from your profiles:
In order to make sure that people find you online (and all your work developing a website doesn't go to waste), you need to engage in two activities:
The first of these is important if you want to get noticed on Google for free. The best way to do this is to write articles that people want to read, with headings that are based on the question that they might have. This is where a blogging platform like WordPress is so handy as it's designed as a place for writers to share content and it's very Google-friendly.
For example, you might like to write an article about the "Best Piano Teachers in Melbourne" (which obviously is all about you) or something like "How to find a decent piano teacher in New York" which is a topic that people may be searching for, and by reading your article, find out about you.
By writing about a topic that people are likely to search for in Google, if you are able to get your content ranked, people will click on your article and find out more about you and your thoughts.
In order to make sure your page ranks in Google, you might like to read more about SEO on these sites as I don't want to re-invent the wheel:
Writing good content and ensuring it ranks well in Google is a huge subject so I suggest that if you're interested in finding out more about this, read the above articles and do your research.
Online advertising can be a real minefield for people new to having a website, but Martyn shows you step-by-step with screenshots of how to establish a number of campaigns including using Google Adwords and Facebook Ads in particular.
His writing is clear and concise and will have you up-and-running with some inexpensive advertising options in no time, even if you're quite new to these platforms.
In this book, you'll learn:
Despite my experience online and blogging over the last few years, I learned quite a few new things from reading Martyn's eBook. He has put together a great reference that will be perfect for people just starting private piano teaching or those who've been in the game for some time but who'd like to explore online options for bringing in more revenue.
Whether you are starting from scratch, or would like to expand your teaching bueinss, this eBook offers some tips on how to find more students and increase your income.
One of the best things about Martyn's book is that it's written by a music teacher for music teachers. While you might be able to find similar content online, I doubt you'll find a book like this that is geared to people running small businesses in the music teaching industry.
If you're interested in finding out more, just head to:
Oh and you'll also get three bonuses if you purchase his book:
1) A guide for writing ads more effectively
2) A summary sheet of all the tips people can use to find more students
3) A guide for writing Facebook ads in more detail
Martyn also has a website at musicteacherinfo where he has a number of articles all dedicated to setting up and promoting your music studio.
Given that I'll be interviewing Martyn for the podcast episode all about building and marketing your studio online, what questions do you have that you'd like him to answer?
Perhaps you're confused about how using Facebook can build your business or why you should consider online advertising in the first place. Whatever it is - leave your thoughts below.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary download of this eBook for review purposes. I was not required to write a favourable review and all opinions expressed are my own. Links in this article are affiliate links. That means that I will receive a small commission if you choose to buy Martyn's book. I only ever promote products that I use myself and that I know will provide considerable value to other teachers. If you have been enjoying the free content you find on this site, this is one of the ways you can acknowledge and support my work in the future. If you have any questions, please contact me.
Tim Topham has one mission in life: to stem the tide of children quitting music lessons by helping teachers maximise student engagement through creativity, technology and innovation. Tim hosts the popular Creative Piano Teaching Podcast, blogs regularly at timtopham.com and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, Californian Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.