Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Minute for Marketing #3: Get a Website

I've started new studios in 5 cities and learned a few things along the way. Minute for Marketing is a weekly series about advertising the independent piano studio. Click here for other Minute for Marketing posts, and click here for all of my posts which reference marketing.

The absolute best advertising effort I make for the money is my studio website. Since I moved to my current town, nearly every student I’ve signed on or even had a phone conversation with has already visited my website, and this is exactly what I want. It reduces the number of people who call me just for price checking since my rates are on my online policy page, and it weeds out the less serious students. By the time they actually contact me, they’re a strong prospect. In fact, all of my other advertising is designed primarily to direct people to my website.

My site is free from Music Teachers Helper. If you want, you can pay for a subscription and use it to manage your studio, but that’s optional. (I do use it, and love it.) You can have a home page, post photos, post your policies online, have an email contact form, and a registration form – all for free. Since you create it yourself, you can also update it as frequently as you want for free. Creating your pages is as easy as creating a document in Word. You just type your text into a template.

In order to have a more professional-looking URL to put on my business cards and other materials (without attached to it), I bought my own domain name from GoDaddy and have it redirect to my MTH site. This costs me $9.99 - for the year. I'd call that cost-effective!

Once you have a page, you're not quite finished. You've got to get people to visit it. I learned at the MTNA conference that most people who visit my website likely typed in the URL rather than finding it through a search engine. So I make sure that lots of people have my web address by giving out lots of business cards. (Business cards will be the topic of my next Minute for Marketing post.) But, you still want the search engines to be able to find you. One good way is to submit your site to local directories. The ones listed below are free and will certainly improve your visibility online. Also, by getting listed on these directories, you’re creating more links to your site. More links to your site improves your google page rank.

Google Local Business Center
Merchant Circle
Yahoo! Local
Yellow Pages

Minute for Marketing by Laura Lowe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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