Five Phrases to Avoid in Your Music School’s Marketing | EP 171

[…] Zig Ziglar says “Lead with need”, meaning your marketing message should initially focus on the customer’s needs, their wants, their hopes, and their dreams. That’s what’s going to hook them. That’s what’s going to captivate their attention.

Your Music School’s Marketing Message

There are 5 marketing statements that perhaps 70- 80% of music schools make that I believe have little to no impact on a prospective customer.  Personally, I would be inclined to keep these completely out of my marketing, or I at least position them as secondary messages. Sales guru Zig Ziglar says “Lead with need”, meaning your marketing message should initially focus on the customer’s needs—their wants, their hopes, and their dreams. That’s what’s going to hook them. That’s what’s going to captivate their attention.


Try This on For Size

A weight loss program would be much more effective in its marketing if it led with the transformation that you would experience as opposed to the details of the program. A marketing campaign that focuses on how great you’re going to look and feel, and how impressed your friends and family will be will be, would be an effective approach to marketing a weight loss program. The details of the program will become of greater interest after this picture of transformation has been painted. I encourage you to think of marketing your music school the same way.




Five Phrases to Avoid in Your Marketing Message

  1. Welcome
  2. We accept all ages
  3. We teach all skill levels
  4. We teach all styles of music
  5. We’ll help you achieve your goals



1. Welcome

A lot of music schools, on the above the fold of their website, may have a welcome message or may use the first sentence in their sales copy that says “Welcome to Dave’s Music School”. That phrase doesn’t really resonate with anybody. You’re almost trying to warm up the reader. Copywriter Ray Edwards calls this “happy talk”—when you begin your sales copy not with an appealing message but just with some small talk to warm the reader up.


The Importance of Emotional Impact

Readers just don’t have that kind of time, especially not on the internet. I recommend you just cut right to the chase. A headline or a sentence that starts with “Welcome to Dave’s Music School” will likely have zero emotional impact on your prospective customer.


 […] all purchases are an emotional experience. Every purchase you make has an embedded feeling of hope—a hope of transformation.


You buy a slice of pizza because you’re hungry and you’re hoping that the pizza will taste good and kill your hunger.


2. We Accept All Ages

Do you really accept all ages in your music school? In my music school, I only accepted students from ages 4 and up. I wouldn’t put out the “all ages” message because I clearly didn’t accept all ages, but maybe you do. Besides how many of your prospective customers are thinking, “I wonder if these guys accept someone my child’s age? Or I wonder if they accept adults?”


That’s a legitimate question that certainly some people have, and you want to be able to answer that question. The problem with “all ages” is that most likely your competition says the same thing. It also implies that there are music schools that don’t accept all ages or at least a broad range of ages. That would be a music school that’s most likely geared more towards adults, or perhaps obviously a music school that is geared specifically to kids; and they’re out there. Most schools do accept a wide range of ages. There’s an argument to be made that No, this is important that you feel it’s important to state that you accept all ages.  I wouldn’t introduce this idea at the beginning of your marketing message. I would put it later in your messaging.


Your opening phrases in your marketing message should be all about the transformation that the child will experience by taking music lessons at your school, and then further down, you can get into the details.


3. We Teach All Skill Levels

Most music schools accept all skill levels. Not all, but I would say most. I go as far as saying perhaps 80% to 90% of music schools teach all skill levels unless they’re a specialty school that’s geared towards ambitious and professionally minded musicians.


Stating that you accept all skill levels is almost stating the obvious[…] It’s like a restaurant with their opening message saying “We offer hors d’oeuvres, main course, and dessert.”


With each of these five statements, I encourage you to ask yourself “How likely is it that your prospective customer is thinking this question?” “How likely is a prospective customer thinking I wonder if these guys teach all skill levels?” Maybe if it’s an adult who’s pretty advanced, they might be thinking that. My hunch is that a majority of your new students are kids and that they’re beginners and the parent assumes that you teach beginners.


It’s like a restaurant with their opening message saying “We offer hors d’oeuvres, main course, and dessert.” Most restaurants offer that. Not all, but that statement would be stated as something that’s assumed.


4. We Teach All Styles of Music

Let’s get back into the mind of the prospective customer. What percentage of your prospective customers are likely asking themselves the question “I wonder if they teach all styles of music because my child specifically wants to learn country music?” I do feel like there’s potential value in stating that you teach all styles of music, but I wouldn’t mention that until later on in your marketing message.


5. We’ll Help You Achieve Your Goals

A music school might say, “We’ll customize your lessons to help you achieve your goals.” I think the problem with that is how many new students have specific goals in mind. Most likely, the person who’s reading your marketing message is a parent. Most likely, they don’t really have specific goals for their child other than they want them to take lessons and reap the benefits of playing music.


There’s a good chance that the child doesn’t really have specific goals. Maybe it’s a teenager that wants to be a song leader at a summer camp. Okay, so then they’ll have specific goals.


These five messages are the details of the music lessons. Some of these statements, in my opinion, are obvious in the prospective student’s mind or aren’t answering a question that a parent has in their mind, and they’re most likely not top-of-mind thoughts.


The top-of-mind thoughts for a parent are likely to be “What are these music lessons going to do for my kid?” “What transformation is my child going to experience?” Talk about that.


Your first paragraph of your marketing message should be all about the transformation when you’re on the phone doing a sales pitch with a prospective customer. Talk about the transformation first.


If you’re on the phone doing a sales call with somebody and during the discovery portion of the sales call where you’re trying to get the parent to reveal to you what their specific need is and if the parent says, “You know my son’s really into heavy metal.” Okay, great. It does make sense to talk about “Hey, we can teach your son that because we teach all styles of music”. That certainly makes sense.


I’m not saying eliminate these phrases completely, though I do think having the phrase or message “Welcome” (e.g., “Welcome to Dave’s Music School”) as your headline could certainly be permanently removed. All ages, all skill levels, all styles of music, and we’ll help you achieve your goals—again, these could be secondary messages. I wouldn’t open with that.



Using Your Customer’s Top-of-Mind Thought is an Effective Marketing Strategy

I see a lot of music schools that position these as their brand promise or as what makes them unique. If you use any of these phrases in your marketing or really lean into any of these phrases, look at your competitor. Look at their websites and see how they position these ideas.


Effective marketing is marketing that addresses a top-of-mind thought for your prospective customer. Its initial message is a message of transformation, specifically a message of pain in transformation.


An example of that would be “Are you worried about too much screen time for your child? Would you like your child to have a greater sense of balance in their life? Our music lessons help kids be the best version of themselves or their self. Our hope for your child is…” and then you talk about what your hope is for their child. Then, maybe after that start, get into the details of what your lessons are.


A Marketing Message That Focuses on Your Customer’s Needs

Your marketing message should lead with the customer’s need. If you do that, your prospective customer will think “That’s what I’m looking for. That’s exactly what I’m looking for.” If you’re writing just a little paragraph of a copy, then I would make that purely focused on the customer’s need.


If you’re writing a longer form, maybe a two- or three-paragraph section on your website or in an email, that’s where to reveal the details of your music lessons. I think it makes more sense. That first paragraph is where you’re likely to make a connection where your prospective customer is likely to feel like “These people get me. These people understand me,” and it’s a great way to kick off a relationship with your new customer.

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