Every music teacher needs a website. It’s like having a virtual office and provides a way to communicate with your students and your potential students. As a business owner, you know this is as important as your storefront.
In my wide-angled magical career path, I co-founded an early Internet ad agency with Cathay Pacific as our first client. From there I went on to create many other websites for clients as diverse as American Express to Seagrams to MetLife to HP and Clairol. While small businesses do not have the same type of resources as these giant corporations do, the web has changed drastically over the last 20 years and the cost of creating and maintaining a website is now ridiculously low with some even free!
Your website needs to look good and look professional. It is your virtual representation in the world. You wouldn’t go to a business meeting wearing a shorts and flip-flops – or maybe YOU would! The impression and message you send through your image is as important, or more, than what you say.
The website is now the primary tool of most small businesses generating leads for their businesses. These leads, or prospective clients, seek more information. Even if they came from a word-of-mouth referral, prospective clients will generally take a look at your website to see if you are what they say you are.
So here’s the top 5 biggest mistakes I see music teachers (and most small business owners) making with their websites.
Mistake #1 – Using your name as the website address.
This is pure vanity. Think of it, unless you are famous and people are searching out your name, no one’s going to find you in Google. Try using the name of your community/neighborhood along with the instrument you teach. Here’s a few examples I just made up:
- Georgetown Piano Lessons
- Springville Flute Lessons
- Caton Music School
- Bloomsbury Piano Tuition
- Musica Medellin
- Kids Music School of Dayton
- Hudson School of Music
Mistake 2 – Not choosing a niche.
My father recently went to a restaurant that had a French-trained chef married to a Thai wife. They had two menus – French delicacies and traditional Thai cuisine. There was no one in the restaurant and it closed in a few months. Would you want to eat at a restaurant that couldn’t decide on what they wanted to be? The same is true with a music teacher. Choose a focused niche and stick with it. When I started Park Slope Music Lessons, my subhead said “Music lessons for children 4 and up in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It’s very clear and specific. But you know what? I still get calls, “Would you accept an adult student who is beginner?”
Choosing your niche will make it easier to describe what you do. It makes it easier for friends, family, and students to talk about you. So here’s a few niches you can try on for size
- “Piano lessons for seniors – reignite your passion”
- “Saxophone lessons – audition coaching pro”
- “Guitar lessons for rock stars…and future ones too”
- “Vocal training for actors”
Mistake #3 – Not thinking like your clients
What would your desired clients type into the Google search to find you. What would they want to read and see? When I first started Park Slope Music Lessons, I had a very simple one page website which was just a small photo of me, and a letter to fellow parents in my community. As a parent, I knew I wanted to talk to other parents and that we shared the same values. I talked very little about myself and more about the ideals, values, and results of music lessons. Then, the basics of a call-to-action. Your website should really have a clear desired action from reading the page. In this case, it was contact me to setup an interview and trial lesson, etc.
Mistake #4 – Not Having A Clear Understanding Of Customer
When I was in advertising, we would start with a document called the Creative Brief. This would force us to choose our audience. But we would go beyond that. We would create an avatar, a stand-in made up person, that would be the ideal customer. We would even give this person a name, a job, age, family background, interests, what foods she liked, magazines she read, etc. It was a complete demographic AND psychographic profile of a made up character. Seems crazy right? But what this does is make it much easier to create marketing materials for her. Let’s call her Jenny. What would Jenny think of this email? Or what would Jenny think of the colors in this sign? What would Jenny think about this website wording? You see? It’s like having a clear person to talk and sell your services too, even though you just made them up.
Mistake #5 – Not Having a Professional Look
This is possibly the biggest mistake. I see it in small businesses everywhere. Unless you have a background in design or know of someone who has trained in design, there are many subtleties that can be missed. Ordinary people not trained in graphic arts will not know how to say it, but they will feel that something is just not quite right. It’s like seeing a woman in a nice dress with the wrong shoes. I can’t tell you why they are wrong, but something in me knows they look weird.
And it just makes for that little bit of doubt well up. Trust is everything. Do your customers believe you will provide the quality of services that you promise? Having a well-designed website is one measure of trust. Is your website congruent with your self-image, values, beliefs, and the image of the business you want to project to the world?
My advice on this is to hire a professional web designer. It’s not as expensive as you think and it lasts a long time. You can find some great folks on outsourcing websites like Upwork, or Behance.net, or 99Designs.com. This last site allows you to run a contest for your design which you then decide on the winning design. It’s a great way to get access to major design talent all over the world.
Still want to do it yourself?
There are a number of free places to start your first website. Wix.com and WordPress.com have free packages. Here’s a helpful free resource How To Start A Music Teacher Website that will guide you through the whole process.
Already have a website?
If you have your site already, did you check that you are not making any of these mistakes? As part of my upcoming course: Prestissimo! Super marketing magic for private music teachers, I’m going to do some free website reviews. It will be a fantastic opportunity to have your site reviewed by me and my team. You can apply here.