Building loyalty with a local music store could yield results for years to come and build your guitar teaching business the right way.
Finding guitar students can be tricky, and although it is arguably easier today than ever before, finding the right type of students takes some careful thinking.
When you start out running your guitar teaching business it is likely that you are a guitarist turned businessman, not a businessman turned guitarist. So the challenge for you is to understand how to market yourself and produce leads whilst still becoming a great guitar teacher and progressing enough to feel happy with your development.
When I started out teaching guitar I went for a scattered approach, and many of my attempts at finding new students were in vain. I would place very low quality flyers through people’s doors hoping that someone would be tempted into picking up the phone. I then upgraded my flyers and began paying small amounts of money to have them put in shop windows in my local area.
What were the results?
Ok, so you expect me to say that nobody picked up the phone and it was a complete waste of time, right? Well not exactly. My scattered approach landed me two very different students. The first student came as a surprise as the student’s mother had seen my flyer in my work place notice board at the time when I worked in retail. She knew who I was and thought I seemed like a nice guy, so the trust was already there. It was a great success and it turned into my first taste of teaching guitar for money. I would walk roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes across the city in total but it was all worth it.
My second student was a surprise to say the least. It was the model and actress – Yana Gupta, who had found my flyer in a health shop. This was a great experience and propelled my confidence in teaching onwards and upwards.
On reflection though, this was no way to grow a client base at any healthy rate. I began writing ads on Gumtree and found that people didn’t want to pay very much for lessons when they find you through a site that is based around deals and 2nd hand items. I picked up some lovely students this way, but also had to deal with a lot of time wasters who were taking the free taster lesson from every guitar teacher in town, then not choosing a tutor after all.
How did I make my guitar teaching business successful?
When your guitar teaching business is local, you have to think local. Where do people who love to play guitar or perhaps are just getting interested in guitar hang out? Your local music store. It sounds obvious and of course it is, but how many other tutors are walking in asking for the shop owner or assistant to put their flyer up in the shop window. This is where you have to be able to offer something in return. When I approached Badlands Guitars in my city, I built a relationship rather than simply asking for a favor. I knew they weren’t the most popular guitar shop in town, but that didn’t matter, the largest guitar shop was too well known to want any kind of relationship like this with a local guitar teacher. I offered Badlands the agreement that I would refer all my students to them for everything related to guitar, as well as regularly talking about the store in social networks like Twitter and Facebook. This has generated sales from guitar straps to guitars and amps for the shop, and I have benefited from finding some of my favourite students to date.
The best part is that you don’t even need a website to do this if you are just starting out.
So think about your local area and the possibility of offering something in exchange for referrals from your local guitar store.
Great businesses don’t happen overnight but there are many choices and only a few that will yield great results.
Image credit to cogdogblog