Preparing Your Website for Fall
Your website is one of the first things you want to look at right now. I don’t want to get too caught up and talk about websites on this episode, but I think one important thing to look at is your homepage.
1. Clean, Not Cluttered
Look at the main frame of your homepage. Look at the above-the-fold of your website. Is it clean and clear? Is the message simple? Is your design clean? An ideal website should have a clean look with simple messaging in the above-the-fold.
Is your website cluttered with lots of menu options, slideshows, and images? Is your above-the-fold potentially overwhelming the website visitor with too much information? If yes, then you might want to just clean it up a bit.
Now’s maybe not the time to do a major overhaul of your website. You got a lot on your plate right now, but quite often the most common thing that I see on music schools’ websites is just too much stuff.
2. Use Headlines that Evoke Emotions
Is your messaging clear and simple? There’s not a lot of room for messaging on the above-the-fold of your website. You got a headline and it’s really about it, but does your headline have an emotional trigger in it?
“Welcome to Dave’s Music School.” There’s nothing emotional about it. “Music lessons your child will love.” Now, that’s an emotional trigger there.
3. Have Clear Call-To-Action Buttons
Most importantly, does your website has a clear call-to-action button? When people land on your website’s above-the-fold, do they have to go try to find a way to contact you? If yes, and if this takes more than a second, you got a problem. Have a very clear call-to-action button positioned in the center—a button that’s consistent with your brand colors but stands out.
People like to interact with websites. They don’t wanna push buttons. They don’t want to go searching for things. So a button that says “Start Today” or “Enroll Now”, if you don’t have that and your above-the-fold is just sitting there right in the center, maybe dropped down a little bit towards the bottom, you’re making it hard for people to contact you. You’re asking them to go and find a way to reach out to you.
Now, you might have a contact item on your menu. They don’t want to contact you. They want to enroll now. They want to start today.
4. Simplify Your Contact Form
When they click that button, it should redirect them to a very simple form. You might have the name, phone number, and email fields set up. You could maybe justify having a section there where they can write a message, but a form with fields such as name, phone number, and email is the best way to get the sales and marketing process started. Very minimal effort. People don’t want to put in a lot of time and effort when they’re on your website. Look at your own behavior when you’re on websites.
5. Optimize Your Landing Page
Another thing is to make sure your landing page is designed in this fashion. When someone does a Google search of “piano lessons near me” and it doesn’t take them to your homepage, maybe it takes them to your piano lessons page, where you want your piano lessons page to look like they’re on a homepage of a website.
You got an above-the-fold on your piano lessons page. It should have a nice image there with a child smiling and playing the piano, a nice headline that’s going to have an emotional trigger, and a call-to-action button in it.
These are just some simple, not too time-consuming things that you can do with these potential edits to your website.
How to Compete with Soccer Season
1. Find Out When The Season Ends
The next thing that I like to do right now is to figure out what are the popular soccer leagues that my students participate in. In my school, there were two or three leagues that most of my students were in, so I would find out when the seasons would end.
2. Email Strategy
Then two weeks before the first soccer league ends, I start an email campaign targeted to inactive students because there are a lot of people who aren’t signing up for your music lessons right now because of soccer. Ever since in the US again (I don’t know, we did something phenomenal in the World Cup ten or so years ago), soccer became so popular, at least in my hometown St. Louis, and it really impacted my fall enrollment that year. Hey, I was happy for the US, but come on people you need music lessons.
3. Use an Email from This Free Email Guide for School Owners
Identify when the soccer season ends and have an email campaign ready to go to inactive students. Actually in my ebook that contains a bunch of template emails, there’s an email in there that you can use specifically for promoting to inactive students about signing up for lessons after soccer season.
Optimizing Your Website for Search Engine Results Page
SEO is a game of patience and consistency. Neil Patel says, “If you’re not ranking, you’re pretty much not on Google.” And it’s so true. If your music school website is not listed in the top six listings when someone Googles “music lessons near me” or “piano lessons near me, you’re pretty much not on Google. You’re not really ranking. I mean if you’re at the bottom of page one, at least you’re on page one. Rarely do people go to page two when they do a Google search. Ideally, you wanna be in the top three if not six. That’s a problem and a long-term issue. It’s something that’s going to maybe take six months to a year to really work on.
1. Improve Your Ranking on Google
Something you can do is Google “How to see my real ranking on Google” because if you do a Google search on your browser, your browser knows that you go to your website a lot. It isn’t really going to give an accurate sense of where you’re really ranking. You could try Chrome’s incognito mode. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but you can certainly go ahead and find a tool that will reveal your Google ranking.
2. Optimize Your Meta Title
A few things you can do today to help you rank on Google is to optimize your meta titles on each page of your website. Your meta title is when someone Googles “piano lessons near me” and your website shows up. The meta title is the brief and descriptive title that people see listed on Google’s results page. You can also see the meta title sitting in that tab when people have different tabs open on their browsers. Google can read all of those.
3. Optimize Your Pages for Local SEO
Your school’s name should not be the name of your meta title. Say you’re drafting a meta title for your homepage. The meta title could be “music lessons in Cleveland” followed by your school name. On your piano page, you can use “Piano lessons in Cleveland” and then your school name. Don’t put Cleveland unless your school is really located in Cleveland.
Running Facebook and Instagram Ads
Facebook and Instagram ads are obviously popular marketing tools and tactics to use right now. I would test different ads. You can do general ads when you’re marketing for your music school, but targeted ads are ideal when you’re promoting music lessons for specific instruments.
1. Create Targeted Ads
Let’s say the piano is the most popular instrument in your school. You can run ads for your piano lessons. It’d be great if you could run an ad for each instrument, but Facebook ads that are designed to target parents that are looking for a specific instrument are going to resonate with them in a way that ads for general music lessons won’t.
2. Identify Which Ads Perform Better
Not that running ads for general music lessons is a bad idea, but it’s important to test multiple ads at once and see which ones perform better. This way, you can invest your money into the higher-performing ones and turn the lower-performing ads off.
3. Create a Sense of Urgency in Your Facebook Ads
A great thing to do with Facebook ads is to run a promotion with a deadline. This promotion that I’m referring to is going to apply to all different marketing channels. For example, when you include a deadline in this copy “Enroll in lessons by August 20 and get 50% off,” that deadline creates urgency. As I’m going to talk in a moment about email marketing, you’re going to be able to play up that deadline and motivate people to take action with that deadline.
4. An Easy and Effective Strategy
You could sweeten the promotion with not only 50% off. Prize giveaways are one of the great ways to level up your music school’s fall marketing. You can say, “If you take advantage of this promotion, you’re gonna be entered into a draw to win a free electric guitar or a free computer.” Just something big.
This gets people more excited about enrolling now. If you aren’t sure what kind of giveaway is going to be appealing to people, run a survey of your current families in your school. Ask them, “Hey, we’re thinking of having a giveaway. One’s a laptop. One’s a free guitar. One’s a gift card to Guitar Center or to Amazon. Which one as a parent would you find the most appealing?” Asking them will help you kind of gauge which giveaway items should you include in your drawing.
Marketing Emails for Dropouts and Inactive Students
I want to talk about marketing to people that dropped out for the summer; people that dropped out last fall and last spring; people that were in your fall lessons in ‘22 and then dropped out during that season; people that dropped out during your spring or your winter-spring session; and people that weren’t dropping out because of summer.
1. Segment Your Contacts into Specific Groups
Perhaps they’ve dropped out because there’s some conflict or maybe they just didn’t love the lessons, but you want to segment these different types of inactive people. You also might want to segment people that are just simply inactive. People that have been out of the school for maybe two or two-plus years.
2. Launch Separate Email Campaigns
You can launch three separate email campaigns to three different groups. The groups are summer drops, 2023 spring drops and 2022 fall drops, and then inactive students.
3. Use an Email Marketing Software
4. Customize Your Marketing Message
Note that the language in each email is going to be a little bit different. For the summer drops, you want to deliver a message that goes like this:
“Hey [name], how would you like to see them again? I know you discontinued in the summer, but now’s a great time to come back.”
You need to speak directly to their situation.
Then, you have to use a different language for another email that’s specifically addressed to people that dropped out last year. You should use a different language when you email inactive people as well. You want to have three separate emails written for each of those groups.
5. Revisit Your Marketing Strategies for Special Offers
You might also want to incorporate strategies in your email marketing. What I often do is create urgency and amp up the promotion with giveaway prizes.
Here’s an example of how you can get this done:
“Enroll by [this date] and get $50 off. Take advantage of this offer and your name will be entered into a draw to win a free yacht!”
Okay. Well, maybe that’s a little ambitious, but you get the idea.
6. Know When to Send Your Promotional Emails
Today you send out the first email. A few days later, email two goes out to the three groups. Maybe three or four days later, you send out email three. The last email goes out a week before the promotion expires.
7. Marketing to Spring and Summer Drops
One thing I just want to add to the summer drops. It might be that their email should not be necessarily a promotion. The message could be more like this:
“Hey [name]. Enroll now and get your spot before they fill up.” or “Hey [name]. If you enroll [program] for [this date], your name is gonna get entered to win this prize.”
You don’t have to give them necessarily the 50% off. Think about what works for you. When you give 50% off to summer dropouts or to the people that are coming back, you’re kind of punishing the people—the loyal ones—that have been with you all summer.
This is something to think about, but for sure offering promotions to last year’s dropouts as well as just general inactive people works great.
Using Data to Guide Your Email Marketing
Okay, you’ve run your three email campaigns to these three groups. Now, you got a week before the promotion expires. This is where some heavy lifting is gonna get involved, but this is gonna pay off. IT ALWAYS PAYS OFF.
1. Export Data from Your Email Campaigns
What you can do is export your data from all your email campaigns. Create a spreadsheet containing these tabs:
a. Contacts That Have Opened an Email
This tab is dedicated to contacts that have opened your emails. Sort this list based on the number of times each contact has opened an email.
b. Contacts That Have Clicked on a Link
Another tab that you should include in your spreadsheet is for the contacts that have clicked on a link. For this to work, your email needs to have a call to action.
Adding a call to action in your email helps you track the number of clicks on that certain link in your email. You can tell these people are a little bit more interested than someone who just opens an email.
Launching a Phone Campaign
Now, you’ve exported the data. Maybe you’ve collected 40 names of people (hopefully you got 140). Then, you sort them by the number of clicks. You see you’ve got four people at the top. These people clicked on like every email. The next step is to launch a phone campaign. You’re going to call these people.
1. Promote Your Offers Through Phone Calls
Hopefully, you got the phone numbers of these people. Call them and say, “Hey, just wanted to see if you saw that we’re running a promotion right now for enrolling in the school with 50% off. You’ll enter a drawing to win a free electric guitar.”
You will have that message scripted out, and you call everybody on that list who’s been clicking. When they answer the phone, you want to have a little bit of a starter phrase memorized to help transition into your little sales pitch.
2. Tweak Your Sales Pitch
Your sales pitch shouldn’t be memorized necessarily, but you want to have some little starter phrase. Calling 30 people with maybe only four people answering can be jarring. It’s like, “What do I say now?” It’s good to have that little phrase memorized just to kind of start the conversation.
3. Delegate Calls to Your Staff
If you’ve got an office staff, even better yet. You can divvy up your list between you and your admin staff. You call the people that have clicked first, then you call the people that have opened.
4. Reward Your Staff
Next, you could even have a contest. Whoever gets the most sales this week will earn the big bonus (like a three hundred-dollar bonus)—something that’s gonna motivate your staff.
Here’s the idea for the contest: Each sale that you make earns you an X amount of dollars. The person who gets the highest number of sales by the end of the week wins a big bonus prize. Then the day before the promotion expires, you can launch a text campaign to the people that you are calling.
Be Confident With Your Offer
1. Don’t Be Afraid of Email Overkill
I know a lot of people are afraid of email overkill. If you got a service that you believe is going to help kids, then you have a moral obligation to spread the word or reach out to parents. The more passionate you are about music and music lessons and how it impacts kids, the more excited those prospective customers are going to be about signing up for music lessons. So don’t be shy about those emails.
2. Be Consistent
Don’t feel like you’re being a nudge or you’re being too pushy. They’ll let you know if you are.
You’re selling them a product that everybody loves and everyone values, so most likely they’ll appreciate your conviction and your consistency.
I know it’s still blazing hot outside and fall might seem miles away from here, but now is the time to fully ramp up your fall marketing.