Why You Struggle To Get Guitar Students
by Tom Hess
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Do you struggle to attract a lot of new guitar students?
Good news, attracting more guitar students isn’t that hard.
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- The state of the economy. (If other businesses in your area are able to attract clients and earn money, so can you).
- The size of your city. (There are many people who want to play guitar in any city, including yours.)
- Your experience as a guitar teacher. (Every guitar teacher had to start with zero experience.)
- Your musical credentials. (Your guitar students don't care abo your musical credentials. They only care about your guitar teaching skills.)
- Your age. Your guitar students don't care how old you are if you can help them solve their musical challengs and learn to play guitar the way they want.
This means the number of guitar students you have is always within your direct control.
Question: “But Tom Hess, what if the economy is bad and people are cutting back spending money on guitar lessons?”
Answer: You can and must be taking actions to get you more students regardless of the economy. This ensures that economic downturns affect you a lot less than they affect other guitar teachers. It is true that during a slow economy fewer people look for guitar lessons. It’s also true that:
- Some people always find money for things they really want to do.
- Many guitar teachers stop advertising during a slow economy. You have fewer competitors and can grow your business more easily.
- Building your business during a slow economy helps you dominate your competitors when the economy recovers your more people look for guitar lessons again.
The real reasons you struggle to get guitar students have to do with your skills, actions and mindset. Here are some of these reasons and what you can do about them to start attracting guitar students like a magnet:
Reason #1: Lack Of General Marketing Skills
Most guitar teachers don’t know how to create effective guitar lesson ads, flyers, websites and other promotional materials. They simply look at how other guitar teachers write ads and try to do something similar. This approach usually fails, because:
- Most guitar lesson ads are horribly ineffective. Copying them gives you the same poor results other guitar teachers get.
- Guitar students see that most guitar lesson ads look similar. They (wrongly) assume that all guitar teachers must be the same (or similar). This is one reason why many guitar students choose a guitar teacher based on the lowest price.
- You miss out on many other opportunities to promote your guitar lessons that other guitar teachers don’t know about.
The result: fewer people call you to ask about guitar lessons and you have a hard time filling your teaching schedule.
Reason #2: Missing Strategic Marketing Pieces
Your ads, website and other promotional tools aren’t strong enough alone to bring you a lot of new students consistently. You need other pieces in place to convince prospective students to start guitar lessons with you. These pieces include:
- A conversion process that shows your potential students why you are the guitar teacher for them (assuming that is true). Your prospective students usually don’t start guitar lessons based on reading an ad. They will first contact you to find out more information. You must know how to speak to them on the phone (or in person) and motivate them to begin guitar lessons with you.
Most guitar teachers do a poor job at this step.
- A message that is congruent with the type of guitar students you want to attract. You must know who your ideal guitar students are. You must also tailor your promotional materials to attract those specific people. The best guitar lesson ads don't help you if they attract guitar students whom you do not want to teach.
- Proof of your skills as a guitar teacher. The best proof is a long list of guitar students whom you’ve taught to become excellent musicians.
Question: “But Tom Hess, what if I am new to teaching guitar and haven’t taught a lot of students yet? How do I prove my skills as a guitar teacher?”
Answer: Get guitar teacher training. This helps you in 2 ways: 1. You learn how to turn your students into great guitar players very quickly. 2. You get a powerful credential that other competitors in your area cannot match (even if they have general music degrees).
When these pieces are not in place, attracting guitar students becomes very hard (even when you know how to write great guitar lesson ads).
Imagine 2 good guitar teachers who use an equally good ad, in the same location. For one guitar teacher the ad works very well and he gets 12 new students in 2 weeks. The second guitar teacher only gets 1 new student from the ad. How is it possible that one good guitar teacher gets 12 times as many students as the other? With the exact same ad!?…
Answer: Guitar Teacher 1 (the one who got 12 students from the ad) used the ad as part of a strategy. He also had a process for converting prospective students into actual students. His message in the ad was perfectly congruent with the students he wanted to attract. He had massive amounts of proof of his skills to show prospective students.
Guitar Teacher 2 (the one who only got 1 new student from the same ad) never learned how all the pieces of the marketing puzzle fit together. He continued to struggle to attract more new students and build a successful guitar teaching business. Without a real strategy, his good ad produced poor results.
But it gets even worse for Guitar Teacher #2. He wrongly assumes that the ad he used was not good (because he only got 1 student from it). He begins to change the ad, hoping for different results. He doesn't fix the real cause of his problem and continues to be frustrated with the low number of students he gets.
This is a very common mistake guitar teachers make. They rely on guesswork and trial and error instead of a real strategy. Some teachers change pieces of their marketing that don't need to be changed (often making things worse). Others look at a more successful competitors’ website and think: “I’ll copy what this guitar teacher is doing and I’ll have good results too!”. Copying pieces of a marketing strategy rarely works, because:
- The piece you are copying may not be the piece you need to improve to get more guitar students.
- The piece you are copying may not work at all for you without other pieces of the marketing strategy being in place.
You can’t build a successful guitar teaching business on guesswork. Learn all the pieces you need to have in your marketing to get more guitar students. Then implement them.
This guitar teaching eGuide helps improve your marketing skills, so you can attract more guitar students.
Reason #3: Your Guitar Students Quit Lessons Too Soon
If your guitar students stay with you for less than 2 years, you have a problem in your guitar teaching business. This problem causes you to lose money in the short and long term. The short-term problem is obvious: you lose income from students who quit.
The long-term problems are less obvious and are much more serious. Poor student retention makes you more desperate to get more guitar students. When you feel desperate, the following often happens:
- You make poor strategic decisions in your guitar teaching business. Example: you may start reducing your lesson prices to attract more students in the short term.
- You let your guitar students walk all over you to keep them from quitting. Example: you let students reschedule their lesson time and teach unpaid make-up lessons.
- You begin to accept students who are not your ideal clients just to fill your schedule. These students cause many problems in your business. They often don’t pay on time, don't respect your lesson policy, don't practice and don't become good guitar players.
- Your reputation suffers. Your guitar students don’t become great musicians if they don't take lessons from you long enough to get big results. If your guitar teaching schedule is full of mediocre students, you miss out on many new students via referrals.
Solution: Learn how to keep your guitar students for many years. This helps your students become better guitar players, builds your reputation and helps you earn a lot more money.
Reason #4: You Market Your Guitar Lessons Inconsistently
Most guitar teachers do more marketing during some months of the year (such as September or January) and less during the rest of the year. Many others stop advertising entirely during the slow summer months and put their business on hold.
This is a massive mistake. Getting more guitar students starts with relentless consistency in your marketing and advertising efforts. A mediocre strategy implemented consistently works far better than a great strategy implemented inconsistently.
Question: “But Tom Hess, what’s the use of advertising guitar lessons during the summer? Guitar students aren’t looking for lessons during these months!”
Answer: Wrong. Guitar students look for lessons 365 days per year. You miss out on those students when you are inconsistent with your marketing. The summer months are your best opportunity to get far ahead of other guitar teachers in your area.
This article explains how to get more guitar students during the slow summer months.
Reason #5: You Don’t Think Like Your Guitar Students Think
To get more guitar students, you must learn to think how guitar students think. You must predict what happens when a prospective student sees your ad, video or website.
You must know:
- What they are thinking about before they see your ad
- What is going on in their mind while they are reading your ad
- What happens after they finish reading your ad
This knowledge helps you create better advertising materials.
Hint #1: You must understand the thought process from the student’s perspective, not from your own prospective.
Hint #2: Your ad must direct readers to take a very specific action (to contact you). You must give readers a specific reason to take this action now.
Your guitar students must understand, believe and visualize very specific things about:
- You as their guitar teacher.
- The process of learning guitar with you.
- Their own potential to become good guitar players.
Your promotional materials and your communication with your students must establish that:
- You relate to their challenges and frustrations.
- You will help them improve their guitar playing faster and easier than they can do on their own.
- You will make the process simple and enjoyable for them.
- You have helped other guitar students just like them to overcome similar challenges.
Note: stating these things is not enough. Your prospective students must believe and see these things in their own mind.
If these elements are not in place, people who read your ads don’t become your guitar students.
Reason #6: You Have Conflicting Beliefs About Marketing, Sales, Money And Business
You will always struggle to get new guitar students if you believe that:
- Money is evil.
- One can have too much money.
- Rich people are bad (greedy or corrupt).
- It’s unethical to promote yourself or to sell music lessons.
These disempowering (and false) beliefs hold you back from building a successful guitar teaching business. Attracting a lot of guitar students becomes much easier, when you believe that:
- You are trading value for value.
- You provide your guitar students way more value in exchange for the money they pay you.
- You provide your guitar students way more value than they can get anywhere else.
- It’s your moral obligation to motivate your guitar students to take action in their own best interest. This is what ethical sales, marketing and persuasion are really about.
Question: “But Tom Hess, I don’t feel that I'm providing more value to my students in exchange for the money they pay me. What should I do?”
Answer: Improve your guitar teaching skills. You must take action to become a better guitar teacher on an ongoing basis. This gives you a lot of confidence and makes attracting guitar students much easier.
This guitar teaching eGuide helps you attract more guitar students.
About Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He trains guitar teachers from all over the world how to earn 6-figures per year teaching guitar, while working less than 40 hours per week.
Get started teaching guitar as a profession and earn a 6-figure annual income.
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