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Author Topic: How to advertise your teaching studio online  (Read 272 times)
klavieronin
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« on: September 17, 2017, 02:16:08 AM »

I thought I would give a quick introduction on advertising a teaching studio online in case anyone is interested and not sure how to go about it.

I'm going to ignore paid ads like Google adwords or Facebook ads because even thought they can be effective if done right, I haven't quite cracked that nut so I can't really make any solid recommendations. In any case, the free methods of advertising are generally more effective for businesses such as music teachers.

I'm also going to assume you have a website already. If you don't have one yet, get one! And make sure you have your own domain name, don't use wordpress.com or blogger.com. While it used to be true that your exact domain name was important, for example, if you are a piano teacher in Melbourne, a domain name like pianoteachermelbourne.com.au would have been preferable to lisztacademy.com, but that isn't the case anymore so simply choose a domain name that best suits your business. Do try to keep it relatively short and readable though. Don't use hyphens and I do recommend a 2nd level domain name such .com.au or .com.uk if you are outside the United States.

Anyway, on to business. When it comes to advertising online Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is the big fish and the one you want to go after. There are two kinds of SEO; on site SEO and offsite SEO. Onsite SEO is everything you do on your own website. Offsite SEO is what you do on other people's websites. I'll talk about offsite SEO first because it's a little more straight forward.

Search engines, especially Google, are starting to really focus on local search results and you want to take advantage of some of the services they provide. The first thing to do is set up a Google My Business and Bing Places account. Make sure you fill out your details completely and verify your listing. Most likely this will be done with a code they will send to your phone.

Next you want to scour the internet for any local business directories you can find and register on those. The more the better, particularly if they allow you to link to your website, but make sure they are relevant. A general local business directory is good, a dedicated music teachers directory is even better. An international directory or one for auto part manufacturers is useless. So is any other directory that doesn't have any local relevance. Don't advertise on a UK directory if you live in Canada.

It's really important that when you sign up with these directories that you you keep all your contact information consistent because search engines cross reference these things and if there are any inconsistencies your business will lose a little bit of trust with them. Keep a spread sheet of all the places you have signed up with so that if any of your contact info changes you can keep it up to date across the internet. You may also find that some directories insist that you have a unique description for your business so before you start write out a few variations of your business description and make sure it isn't identical to anything on your actual website. Keep it short an relevant too. Few people have the time or patience to read an essay while looking for a local piano teacher.

Next comes onsite SEO. There really is just one rule when it comes to onsite SEO and that is; "Content is King". Unfortunately that's a rather vague rule so I'll try to outline a few rules of thumb and give some practical tips.

Search engines are getting really smart and can tell the difference between quality content and poorly written content. If you fill your website with keywords (search terms) such "piano lessons springfield" in an unnatural way, the search engines will see though this tactic in a flash and penalise you accordingly. Of course you want lots of relevant content on your site, start a blog, write frequent articles, and by all means remind your potential students about the services you offer and where you are located but you have to do it in a natural way. Here is an example of bad content;

"Our piano lessons paddington studio offers fun piano lessons for children and adults alike. We give piano lessons to all ages and in all styles. Contact us now and one of our piano teachers will get in touch shortly."

An example of good content might be something like;

"Liszt Academy offers an intuitive approach to learning piano focusing on improvisation and building practical knowledge of the most important aspects of music creation. Our teachers are experienced, dedicated, and enthusiastic. We are located in the quiet suburb of Paddington and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us any time."

Search engines have no trouble understanding what you are writing about even without keywords. The point is to make your content natural, readable, and relevant. You also want to sell your business without overselling it or making any promises you cant keep. I also recommend keeping a certain focus on your particular area of expertise. Don't offer to teach in all styles in the hopes that it will attract all students (and it most likely won't) unless you genuinely have some expertise in all styles and can demonstrate it.

Keeping a blog is a good idea too provided, once again, you keep the content readable, and relevant. And make sure you write about things your potential students or their parents, and even your current students for that matter as it's possible they might want to share your content with others, are interested in. Articles on choosing a piano, what to look for in a teacher, how to practice, news about your students' exam results, etc… these are all fine topics for a blog. A little reminder at the end of a blog article about your teaching services won't hurt either, again, as long as you make it sound natural.

You are going to want to keep your site, including your blog, well organised and easy to navigate too. Don't make people struggle to find the information they are looking for and don't bury relevant information in a heap of irrelevant information. Use tags and categories in your blog and keep a simple and well organised menu at the top and bottom of your site. When linking to other pages within your site don't have the anchor text for the link be something like "click here". Instead use anchor text that describes what you are linking too. If you are linking to your contact page use "contact us" as your anchor text. If you are linking to an blog article about choosing a piano, have your anchor text read "choosing a piano".

Especially important now days is to make sure your site is mobile friendly. In fact, I would go as far as to say you should organise your website around what people see when they view it on their phone or tablet. If it's confusing or difficult to navigate on a phone, you're likely to loose the bulk of you potential students and like I've said before, search engines are getting really smart and are starting to consider user experience when they rank websites.

Okay, well I think that's about it from me. I hope this is of some use to some of you. Perhaps just one last thing. Getting a website to rank well in the search results isn't something that can happen overnight. How long your site has been live also plays a role in how the search engines view it, as does how frequently you update it with new content, so be patient.
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klavieronin
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2017, 02:31:03 AM »

[accidental post]
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Bob
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2017, 02:41:22 PM »

Are you aiming at the world or just your city for getting students?
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Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."
klavieronin
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2017, 02:10:02 AM »

Aim within the area that you think people are willing to travel to get to your studio (or the distance you are willing to travel). It's wasted effort trying to attract people outside that area. Personally, I target my suburb and the suburbs surrounding it, roughly a 5km radius.
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j_tour
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2017, 01:31:53 AM »

Not quite sure if you're asking about how to create a basic website, or how to spread knowledge of its existence online.  For the latter, plenty of people just include a link in their signature to various forum posts -- I've never heard anyone complain, and I think it's appreciated, just so long as you don't make every post self-advertisement, but add actual content.

If it's the website, I confess, I'm a computer guy, reasonably fluent in C++ and some of the machine learning libraries in it and Python, with a CCNA certification, and I find creating html markup a huge hassle -- it's just cumbersome, and not fun.

So, that said, the easiest personal page hoster, for free, I've found is at GitHub -- the personal pages are not necessarily for techies or anything, and they're simpler (for me) to set up than WordPress, for a simple blog.

But, I did look into WordPress, and while IMHO the learning curve is steeper, because of the many predefined options to choose from, and that's probably the main one.

My online stuff is under heavy redesign, so is offline, but arioso7.wordpress.com (I think) has a nice WordPress design, with embedded video of her demonstrating things -- I think it's ethical and allowed to borrow elements of her design (not her personal logos, but the basic look, which is probably based on something WordPress offers as one of their free templates.)

And then just go on posting helpful, informative posts at good, serious forums, with a link in your sig -- if people are interested, they'll click.  Probably not if you bring up your l33t custom blog every time, though, like some people who spam with "look at my new piano method informs has to be making good number one pianist perfect method," who are c**-drenched empty-s*** sh**heads and ignored and reviled by everyone.
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klavieronin
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2017, 02:31:28 AM »

Not quite sure if you're asking about how to create a basic website, or how to spread knowledge of its existence online.

Actually, this thread was meant as helpful instruction for other people who don't know how to go about building an online presence for their local teaching business. In addition to teaching piano, I'm also a WordPress developer and have worked a lot with online marketers who specialise in helping local businesses improve their online traffic.
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j_tour
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2017, 02:38:13 AM »

Actually, this thread was meant as helpful instruction for other people who don't know how to go about building an online presence for their local teaching business. In addition to teaching piano, I'm also a WordPress developer and have worked a lot with online marketers who specialise in helping local businesses improve their online traffic.

Thanks for the information.  Sounds like my post was perfectly on topic, then, in addition to being unusually informative.
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