Owners and operators of children’s music studios will tell you that gaining new students is the most challenging part of their business. But often music teachers also struggle with how to retain those students once they take their first class. Any good businessperson will tell you that it costs up to five times more to acquire a new customer than to gain the same revenue from an existing one. But owners of children’s music studios often struggle with how to move an infant into the next stage of toddler classes, or toddlers into the next stage of pre-schooler classes. Of course, parents are the key, but exactly how do you get them to agree, or even better to desire, to keep moving through the program. In addition to running an effective and beneficial childhood music program, here are a few tips to help you move parents along to the next music class:
- Begin each program with a Parent Orientation Class – The first class of any music program should set up
proper expectations before classes begin, such as class policies, participation
expectations, and class materials needed. Since new parents can be entering
each new program or curricula, orientation should be performed in the first
class of each program. This gives parents a frame of reference for all other
parent education efforts throughout the semester.
- Provide a personal testimonial about why you chose your particular curriculum – Professional marketers will laud the effectiveness of a good testimonial. Part of this stems from the psychology of positive affirmation. Consumers, and especially mothers, want to know that they have made the right decision for their child. By telling your own story of carefully selecting the children’s music curriculum they will participate in provides assurances that they have made a good purchase decision. Parents also provide a wonderful testimonial for other parents, so do not be afraid to ask for your more seasoned parents to provide kudos, either verbally or written.
- Make Off the Cuff and Did you know? parent education remarks – Creating anticipation is a cornerstone of good creative marketing, as is the reinforcement of a belief or message. By making “off the cuff” positive comments about what parents can expect when children move into the next curriculum level, an emotion of anticipation is created. One way to do this is with “Did you know?” statements, such as “Did you know that this pattern “ba-ba ba” (or du-de du) is the same as that yellow notation game up there on the wall? It’s the first pattern your child will read in music notation in the [Next Class Name] class!” It is often helpful to write down and memorize Did you know? statements for each class so that you can naturally mention them “Off the Cuff.” An average of two per class helps to reinforce the anticipation and affirm the value of your next program.
- Use the end of
your last class to sign up for the next – There is no better opportunity to market your
next class than when you have a captive
audience. At the end of your last class, provide an overview of the next
class, along with the benefits the next class will provide to their child. Visual
aids and class materials help to show these benefits. Announce that you have a
sign-up sheet ready and ask who would like to sign up. To incentivize the
parents, offer a special on the next class, such as discounted materials or
class fees. Don’t be afraid to ask for the business, it is what is necessary to
keep your studio going while providing valuable exposure to music to young
While it is important
for any business owner to think about retaining customers, it is also important
to keep in mind that the first purpose of children’s music studios is to
inspire a love of music in children. While these customer retention techniques
are helpful in assuring the success of your business, remember that seeing
their child having fun while learning music will encourage the parents to want
to continue more than any marketing tactic ever could. So, be
sure to spend the majority of each class simply having musical fun with the
children and parents!
Since the dawn of mankind, the sounds of the natural world have been an integral part of our culture. All the world is sound, or vibration. From bees humming to the sound of falling water, the same vibrations that make music surround us in nature. Aboriginal Australian tribes believe that humans actually sang the world into existence with Songlines as they walk the song lines crisscrossing land between natural spaces. Great composers often used nature as the backdrop for their works, such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, or Johannes Brahms C Minor Symphony.
It should be no surprise that
exposure to music in early childhood helps kids make a connection with nature.
Many traditional children’s songs such as Green
Grass Grows All Around, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Teddy Bears Picnic, and Walking in the Green
Grass sing of the natural world around us. We know how music has many
benefits for the healthy development of a child from the earliest ages, but it
can also help to create a connectedness to nature that will last their entire
lives. Here are just a few ways that music helps kids connect to nature:
- It is often hard
to express in words the emotions and feelings that being in nature evokes.
Music helps express those feelings without words.
music and nature helps kids learn mindfulness – how to be present and in the
moment. This is why much Mindful Music used for relaxation, meditation, and
personal healing is based on sounds in nature such as waves at the beach, a rain
shower, or a babbling brook.
- Like music, the
sounds of nature help children to listen more carefully and intently. This
helps sharpen communication skills and teaches perseverance.
- Songs and music
about the natural world help children to develop familiarity and empathy towards
plants, animals, and elements in nature, encouraging them to spend more time in
outdoors. This develops a sense of harmony and rhythm with nature, and thus a
more caring attitude towards it.
- There is a reason why outdoor concerts are so popular in all forms and genres of music. The scenery and smells provide additional stimuli to make the music experience even more enjoyable. Concerts are often scheduled at sunset to take advantage of the beautiful sky. Many religions have a dawn or sunrise ritual attuned to music or chanting to communicate new beginnings, new life, or hope.
- The link between
the pleasure that music brings and exposure to nature in early childhood helps
to encourage a lifetime appreciation of the outdoors and environmental
It is well documented that
exposing children to music at an early age helps their development in numerous
ways. Science is also proving that time in nature provides kids with exercise,
mindfulness, and the development of deeper social connections. It should not be
surprising then, that the natural connection between
music and the environment have been around since the dawn of mankind.
Summer is coming to a close, and with it comes the new
school year. Parents are beginning to plan class schedules and lists of needed
school supplies and clothes. This is a time where the mind changes focus from
the more laid-back summer activities to a more structured schedule that
includes school and other activities. While parents’ minds are focused on
setting up the school year calendar and children’s schedules, it’s a great time
to gain new students for your children’s music studio. Here are a few tips and
methods to beef up your rolls for the new school year:
- Make sure your online listings are up to date – While we may not all be part of the online generation or comfortable with technology, you can bet that your target audience is! First and foremost, make sure your Google Listing is up to date. Parents use Google for even the simplest information, such as phone number or driving directions. Make it easy for them to find your children’s music studio! It’s also a good idea to perform a Google Search on your own business to see if any other listings need updating. Many online directories create listings without notifying you, so it’s important that their information is also correct.
- Social media is where parents find recommendations and support – Older generations of parents relied heavily on books and advice from their own parents or grandparents. Today’s generation tends to rely heavily on social media. While you don’t have to be a social media guru to be effective, having a presence is imperative for reaching today’s young parents. Instead of spending too much time trying to be on all social media, pick a few popular ones and spend more time on them to promote your children’s music classes.
- Make good use of your current parent network – As school preparation begins to crank up, parents are spending more time online. Now is a great chance to speak with and/or email your current parent client list to ask them for reviews and referrals. Google reviews are highly regarded by your target audience, so ask your current parents to provide a simple review. To get referrals from parents, consider offering a discount or free class to encourage them to provide names of their peers that might also be interested in music classes for their children.
- Network with your local schools and parent
organizations – With the school year beginning, there are numerous
opportunities to network with parents, such as open houses, PTA meetings,
booster clubs, etc. Consider creating a business card with a special offer on
the back to provide incentive for parents to try out your music studio. For
Kindergarten and Pre-K, approach some of the day care providers and schools and
offer to do a free music lesson for the children. This is a great way to gain
new students by getting parents and school administrators excited about your children’s
- Consider a mailing to prospective parents – While direct mail seems very “old school,” if done correctly, it still remains an effective way to get your name out there and gain new prospects. List brokers can provide affordable lists of local prospects in your area based on all kinds of demographic information such as geographic area, number of children in household (and approximate ages), home value, etc. To make your mail campaign more effective, provide a theme and incentive (coupon or voucher), such as Back to School Music Class Special! Keep in mind that consumers typically respond better to dollar amounts vs. percentage when pricing is not known. To save even more on your mailing, explore the different options provided by the USPO to get the best Return on Investment. Finally, keep in mind that sometimes direct mail programs require several mailings to the same recipients to be effective. Be patient and budget accordingly.
Using all or any of these methods will help you prepare your
children’s music studio for new students in the new school year. Take advantage
of the change in focus that affects parents this time of year to become a part
of their regular new school year schedule.