Encouraging young people to take up music lessons – and their parents to part with the money – can seem like an uphill battle. This is part 2 of the series, see also Marketing music lessons – why parents aren’t buying and how to change that – part 1.

Involve young people and parents

  • The most successful marketing involves users in development and testing of a service/ product. Could you involve young people and parents in choosing or shaping what you offer? Before you market to them, how can you understand what they really think of your services?
  • A simple step would be to ask a small group of parents and young people to give feedback. How easy was it for them to find out about lessons, and find the right lesson for them?
  • Even better, encourage parents and young people to let you/schools know what instruments they want to learn. If they/you don’t have tutors who teach them, seek them out and/or signpost parents to them. Wiltshire Music Connect has a series of leaflets for parents (and also a series for schools). They outline what goes on in schools music, and what they can do to get the lessons that are right for their child.
  • You could also ask them to give feedback on drafts of your marketing materials.
  • Have a process in place for contacting people when they stop having lessons. Ask if you could have done anything to help, or could do anything to bring them back.
  • If you’re part of a music education hub in England, you’ll know the importance of conducting needs analyses. Make sure to publicise the changes these consultations lead to. If they don’t lead to change, you may need to question why you’re doing them.
  • Find out how young people want to learn. If that’s online with videos, or through informal drop-in sessions, how can you support and develop that? It could be as simple as reviewing/ signposting to quality lessons/ activities. With online/videos, the bonus is that it’ll improve your online content and engagement too, see below).

Make sure that music lessons are easy to find and book

It sounds obvious doesn’t it, but in many areas, it’s not that easy to find a suitable music tutor. Google is not the answer, as it throws up too much information, even if you craft your search terms carefully.

Consider starting your own ‘search tool’ for music lessons, workshops and music services in your area. Gloucestershire’s hub started one – called touchBass. This is available for other hubs/music services to buy at a low cost. Find out more about how to get touchBass for your area.

Make sure that information about music lessons is easy to find online (otherwise known as ‘search engine optimisation’ or SEO). That simply means that webpages contain the phrases that parents/young people will use to search for lessons. It also means using suitable keywords, titles, headings, and content. And if you don’t provide music lessons, why not help music tutors in your area to learn more about how to do this? I’ll be writing a blog about SEO for music tutors very soon – sharing it will be a good first step.

Build your reputation online as a ‘go-to’ organisation

The best way to increase your likelihood of being found by people searching online, is to share genuinely helpful content. That is, content that answers the questions they may be typing into a search box. Things like:

  • How do I encourage my child to practice their instrument?
  • How do I find a vocal/violin/ukulele/piano/drum tutor?
  • How much should I pay for music lessons?
  • What sort of violin/ukulele/piano/drumkit should I buy?
  • How do I know if a tutor is any good/is safe/professional?

Could you draw on the skills of your wider team to create this? Even one post along these lines every quarter is better than nothing.

The great thing is, you’ll have genuinely useful content to share on social media too – which will increase your likelihood of being found. If people like it, they will ‘like’ it, comment, share etc. This means that: a) your followers friends may see it; b) the social media algorithms will recognise that you’re sharing engaging content, and display your posts to more of your followers.

These ideas are just a starting point and certainly not comprehensive: do you have any other ideas or examples of best practice? Let me know in the comments or contact me and I will share them in a future blog.

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