How to Get More Music Students For Private Lessons | Ep 91

Attract More Students for Music Lessons

In this  I map out my go-to email strategy for whenever I wanted to attract more students for lessons.  It’s an easy 3 step email campaign that ends with a knock-out phone call to close the sale.  It’s easy to execute but it does require some planning and strategy.


All good marketing requires planning and strategy. Without it, you’re just swinging in the dark hoping to connect with someone, anyone. Below are the show highlights from the episode.


The Truth About Music School Marketing

Marketing is relationship building. Even when it comes to brand awareness,  your building relationships as your market segment forms an opinion about your music teaching business. Every step from a prospect reading your social media post to a loyal student requires a constant investment in building and nurturing relationships.


Attracting new business is just one piece of marketing. Marketing is relationship building with the prospective customers, as well as your current customers. You’re in a perpetual state of marketing, a perpetual state of relationship building. The purpose of marketing isn’t to just attract new students. Marketing can help with student retention.


Think of selling as a marriage proposal. It can take time, months, even years before your prospect is ready to say “I do” to your offer.


How to Use Email and the Phone to Market Your Music Lessons

If you use this strategy that I am going to map out, you will not only build better relationships with prospective customers, but this strategy will help you build relationships and get more music students for private lessons.

Whenever I needed more students in my music studio, I always implemented this simple email and telephone strategy.  It’s easy but does require some planning in advance.


get more students email

2 Common Emails from Music Schools 

Most music studios have an email list and engage in some email marketing. I’m currently on 15 or 20 music studios, email lists. Out of those studios, only one is doing consistent email marketing. Your email efforts have to have a certain level of consistency and that consistency is going to come through strategy, which I’ll cover in the second half of this episode. The two types of emails that I see a lot of from music studios are.


  • Emails that are selling “Enroll now, 20% off” or
  • Emails that are providing details


Interesting fact: Did you know that people are more likely to unsubscribe to your email list the more inconsistent your email efforts are? A consistent email strategy that includes emails that provide pure value as opposed to sales is key to building excitement and anticipation of your emails.


Interesting fact 2: Email is the number 1 tactic for generating sales.


A Missed Opportunity

There’s a time to sell in your emails and there’s a time to share important details, but how you do that is crucial.  If you only use email for sales, promotions, and sharing important details, you are not maximizing the full potential of email marketing.  Email marketing is a great tool for relationship building. All relationships require constant effort. The same applies to your music students.


How to Get More Emails  

So how do you get these emails? We all get emails from our current customers, some of them, unfortunately, turn into inactive customers. You can certainly sell to inactive students and your current customers, but you’ll want to sell to them in different ways.


Marketing to Inactive Students

With inactive customers, you obviously want to inspire them or persuade them to come back or perhaps sign up another child in their family. I strongly encourage you to have some type of lead generator, some way to capture emails of people that aren’t customers, or aren’t inactive customers, a lead generator that gives them something of value in exchange for their email.


How to Capture Emails Through Your Website

An easy one is some type of giveaway on your website. Some pop-up, “enter to win a free month of lessons” or an offer for a one-time free lesson. Perhaps a report that they can download, a report with information that moms are going to be interested in. Not something about music lessons, not something about 10 good practice habits.


Moms aren’t interested in that. “10 signs that your child is suffering from extreme happiness”. That would certainly be an unusual or unexpected title. Parents might be inclined to hand over their email for that. “How to tell if your child is musically gifted”.  Google the topic,  read up on it and make a little one or two-page PDF that a graphic designer puts together. Parents might be willing to hand over their email for that.


Using a Call to Action Button to Build Your Email List

A great lead generator can simply be a persuasive call to action button, on your website.  A few examples are…

  • Start Today
  • Enroll Today
  • Start Now
  • Enroll Now


Your call to action button should lead to a contact form just 3 or 4 questions. I recommend


  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email.


I know what you’re thinking, “but I need more information than that”. Of course you do, but save that for after the sale is made. You want to create as little resistance as possible. A long contact form creates a lot of work for someone who isn’t sure they’re ready to sign up for music lessons. Studies have shown that each additional item on your contact form increases your chances by 10% that a person will “bounce” or leave your web page.


Tradeshows and Community Events 

Another great way to capture emails is by attending trade shows. Trade shows don’t have to be for music studios. Music school tradeshows certainly didn’t exist in my community, but camp fairs were a big deal. I always did a “register to win a free week of summer camp giveaway”. Not only was this helpful for marketing my summer camp, but it allowed me to meet face to face with my market segment and market my music school.  These camp fairs allowed me to hone my sales pitch for my music lessons. I was able to try out new marketing language to see what resonated with people.


Email Strategies

I rely on two email strategies to grow my business.


  1. Relationship building
  2. Selling


Relationship building can be approached through content marketing.  Content marketing is something that more music studios could benefit from. Content marketing is marketing that serves the purpose to simply entertain, educate or inspire. My podcast is an example of content marketing.  have products that I sell but I rarely talk about them on my podcast.  I use the podcast as a way to connect with my audience. If people find value in my show, they’ll be curious and check out my website.



Music Studios and Content Marketing 

I  would love to see more music studios incorporating content marketing into their marketing strategy and email is a great way to do that. An email that goes out to your list once a week or once every other week, that entertains, educates, and inspires, keeps you top of mind and if done well, encourages the recipients of your email to perceive you as somebody that writes entertaining and educational and inspirational emails. They’ll be that much more likely to open your emails.


If you’re always selling, when they get your emails, they’re going to respond with, “Oh great, he’s selling again – delete.” Emails that entertain, educate, and inspire, help the recipients of your email align with your brand, align with your message, and perhaps some of those recipients of your email will forward it to other people because they find your email entertaining. Now look, I get it, you’re a music studio, you’re not in the entertainment industry, but here are some different ideas for email types that could fall into those categories.


Your Customers Don’t Really Care About Music Lessons

Emails that educate really shouldn’t necessarily be about music education. Parents don’t really care about music education. They care more about what music education is going to do for their child.. Perhaps you search around on Google for articles that you think parents would find interesting. Articles on child development, articles on children’s behavior, articles on how to help your child cope during COVID-19. Find a good article, write a short email about what you learned from the article, and then link to that article in the email. No salesmanship there. It’s pure content marketing. The whole purpose is to educate the reader because you found the article educational. Now your email recipient is beginning to look at you as someone that provides and shares valuable content. Let’s talk about inspirational emails.


Share Stories About Your Music Students

Story marketing is a powerful email strategy. Your music studio is full of inspirational stories. It’s full of stories about kids that were shy, kids that hadn’t really found their thing yet, kids that tried sports but didn’t feel like a success in their athletic efforts. They took music lessons at your studio and became less shy, became more confident, experienced success in a way that they never had. You probably hear these stories all the time from your customers. They’ll say it to you in passing. These are great stories to share in an email.


Your Music Students Can Inspire Others 

I once had an email that I wrote about a customer. She had selective mutism, would only speak in the home, would not speak outside of the house. I had known her whole life. I was friends with the father and I never heard her speak. She came to my summer camp and her father, my friend, pulled me aside and said, “Dave look, don’t tell any of the staff that she doesn’t talk. She might be more inclined to talk if she feels like nobody knows about her condition.”


So I didn’t tell my staff. The week went on at camp, the staff wasn’t saying anything. On Friday we had the end-of-camp concert. The girl’s parents showed up. Their daughter was playing drums. But then on the last song, she got out from behind the drums, stepped up to the microphone, and sang in public for the first time, spoke in public for the first time. Her parents had no idea this was going to happen. Needless to say, her parents were clearly moved by this moment.


market music lessons mind


Staying Top of Mind 

Great story, right? So I wrote a little email about it. And then I ended the email with, “This is a great example of how music can help your child be a better person.” An inspirational story. Again, emails that entertain, educate, and inspire, will keep you top of mind, will help email readers align with your brand, form good feelings about you.


Consistent Marketing Makes for Consistent Results

For most music studios, email marketing suffers due to a lack of consistency. A lot of music studios say to me they don’t want to overwhelm their email list with emails. They’ll worry that they’ll begin to get annoyed and they’ll opt-out. For one, if people are opt-outing of your email list, that’s fine. Those people just aren’t likely customers. But you’ll get fewer opt-outs if your emails are less about selling and more about relationships, building more about adding value to people simply through email. Emails that aren’t about music, but emails that entertain, educate, and inspire.


How to Get Better Results with Email

Before I get into strategy two I want to talk about what makes an email an effective email. Emails that invite the reader to engage as opposed to emails that sell or provide details will get a greater response and will be much more effective. What are emails really? Emails are short messages that you send to your friends or other important people in your life, and usually, there’s some type of response that you’re trying to elicit from them.


Maybe the response is thank you. Maybe it’s going to spark a conversation. And so when you’re marketing and you’re using email as marketing, it should serve that same purpose. You should be writing emails that are inviting the readers into a conversation or to engage in some way.


The Problem with Newsletters and Music Studios

Newsletters are not emails that are likely to get engagement. Sure, you might have calls to action in your newsletter, but you’re not eliciting a conversation. You’re not posing questions in the email. Emails with questions are likely to get more replies. Emails that look and read like real emails are likely to get more replies. Newsletters are only read by your most loyal customers and they can be very effective in a music studio that uses culture building and community building as an actual marketing strategy.


Let’s take Los Rios Rock School as an example. They’re big on community building. They’re big on culture and creating these amazing musical and social experiences. It almost feels like a summer camp at their studio.  I have a hunch that the parents in their studio if they receive newsletters from the studio, would be pretty likely to read them, especially if they themselves, as parents feel like a part of the culture.



If you only use email for sales, promotions and sharing details, you aren’t maximizing the full potential of email marketing. Email is a great tool for relationship building.


An Easy Way to Get More Music Students Today

Here’s my second strategy. This strategy is all about getting more sales. I always would use this when I needed more students asap. The first thing that I recommend doing is establishing a promotion; $40 off your first month of lessons, 20% off summer camp, some promotion. Before you jump into this promotion that you’re going to do, I encourage you to look at your calendar year and identify times that you want to do promotions. I think four to six, maybe seven promotions a year is fine. Some promotions are going to be for your current students, students that you want them to upgrade, you’re trying to do an upsell or students that you’re trying to enroll in your summer camp. That’s a likely internal promotion that you could do, but most of your promotion is going to be to people that aren’t in your school and inactive students.


Establish a Promotion 

You set up a promotion that is going to expire in seven days. The strategy is to send out three emails during that seven-day period and then based on the data you collect, you identify who are likely people to buy and you call them. Let me dive in a little bit more into the details.


Send Out an Email

Email one could be an email that has a story in it, a short email, the story, and an offer, or an effort to get the reader to engage.  I love tying holidays or shared cultural events as opportunities to create a promotion; the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, the World Series. These are events that bring the country together. Everyone’s thinking about those things as they’re happening, and it’s an opportunity for you to tie that event into your offer. Here’s an example.


Subject: “does this bring back memories?”


A smokey breeze, a barbecue and Motown fill the air. The whistle and pop of bottle rockets keeps the dog indoors. It’s the 4th of July. A celebration of independence. A cause to take pause and celebrate.

What’s missing? The acoustic guitar and Uncle Phil singing Bye Bye Miss American Pie.

Every family outing needs a little music. Music always elevates an event, makes it more memorable.

Bring a little music into your family this summer.


Click here for $40 off of music lessons. Offer expires July 10th.


Story Marketing 

My strategy with that email is story marketing. I’m simply telling a story and I’m using a story to hook the reader into the email. The three things every good marketing email needs is an email subject that’s going to inspire the reader to open the email. It needs a first sentence that’s going to inspire the reader to read on. A sentence that builds curiosity even more so that they read the rest of the message. Finally, a message that leads the reader to a call to action at the end, a clear call to action.


Sending a Follow Up Email

You could send the same email to the group of people who didn’t open the first email and simply change the subject. For whatever reason, the first email subject didn’t motivate them to open the first email.

The people who opened the first email should get a follow-up email. See the example below.


Subject: This is not a joke


Did you hear about the girl that was painfully shy until she discovered the guitar? Did you hear the one about the boy that was in search of his “thing” and found it in the piano? Did you hear the one about the mom whose eyes welled up with tears when her child stepped out onto the stage and was met with applause?

Perhaps you could add your child to these never storylines.

Perhaps your child’s life could be forever changed by music.

Click here to receive $40 off lessons.


PS Promotion expires on July 10th. Start your child’s musical journey today.


The Power of a Postscript 

Using a postscript (PS) is a strong tactic in email. I like to bold the PS. When people scan an email they’re deciding whether they want to read it or not. When they see a PS, they’re likely just to read that PS. Marketing expert, Neil Patel says he likes to summarize what the email’s about in his PS because he knows that people are likely just to read that.


The Third and Final Email

From these two different emails, you’ve identified who’s showing interest. You’re using MailChimp or Active Campaign or some other email provider that allows you to track who’s opening and clicking on your emails. Three days later do a final email to all the people that have opened the other emails.


Using Urgency to Close the Deal 

Now this email is going to be a short email. I like to use a short email and use it for a sales tone. For example”One day left and then poof, it’s gone.” It uses a touch of humor. If you can use an emoji in your subject you can add a little more flair or personality.  One of the most effective lines I like to use is a question: “Does this sound like something your child would enjoy? Or, “Would you like your child to have this type of experience?” Following that with a, “PS: Click here” You’re just trying to elicit a response from the email recipient.


People Buy The benefits Not the Details 

People often want to load up their emails with details. I saw an email from a music studio that’s promoting their summer camp. In the email, they talked about what days of the week, the times, how much it costs. That information is important, but you want to keep the reader focused on contacting you. You want them to focus on their feelings. Buying is an emotional experience. People justify it later with logic, but at that moment of purchase, it’s all about emotion. It’s all about the customer thinking about how this purchase is going to impact their life. You can help them by painting a picture of what the final outcome looks like; a happy child.


Use Your Data and Go to the Phones

All of your emails have gone out. Now it’s the last day of the promotion. You go to your email provider or email platform, you export the data and you look at all the people that have been opening and clicking. The data will tell you how many times someone has clicked. Sort your email based on who’s been clicking the most, or you have the higher clicks at the top of your list. Maybe you’ve got 40 that have clicked.


Apply Soft Pressure with Urgency 

Now it’s time to go to the phones. You go to the phones and say something like, “this is Dave. Just wanted to see if you saw the email that I sent out about our promotion for $40 off of music lessons. I know a lot of kids don’t have a lot to do this summer, so now would be a great time to provide your child with some structure and take advantage of this promotion. I have two or three openings right now on the schedule. I’d be more than happy to share those with you.”


Presumptive Close

So what am I doing in that phone call? First of all, I know that they know about the promotion because they’ve been clicking on it. I made a statement about the value of the service, I addressed the pain point in that, kids don’t have a lot going on this summer, and I went to an assumptive close. I applied some soft pressure there at the end when I said, “We have two or three openings on the schedule. I could share those with you.” I’m already jumping right to, let’s make this happen. I’m asking for the sale right there and then. By clicking you’re creating a sense of urgency by saying you have a couple of openings left. You sound confident because you’re ready right there and then to make the sale.


Staying Connected With Old Music Students

All of these things are going to be playing into a person’s emotions. It’s totally worth your effort, especially right now where getting sales, in general, are hard to come by.


For the people who pick up the phone who say, “No,” there’s still hope in those people because you’re building a relationship with them. Maybe they’ve never spoken to you before. Maybe they’re genuinely not ready to sign up for lessons, but they got a kick out of some of your emails. They like how once a month on Friday, they get an email from you mapping out the top five family fun activities in your city. Maybe they enjoy those emails of kids telling jokes. Perhaps they really appreciated that email that you sent out about why children act out. You’re building a relationship.


Referring New Music Students

Perhaps that mom has a friend who has a daughter that she thinks might be interested in music lessons. Perhaps during that call, the mom clearly is enjoying the conversation with you and is genuinely not interested at the moment, but you can plant a seed by saying, “Well, if you have any friends that might be interested in music lessons, feel free to forward the last email that I sent to you to them. I’m sure your friends would really appreciate a good referral.” Everyone wants to be the one who’s known for giving referrals to their friends.


This strategy works. It’s going to be labor-intensive with the phone calls, for sure. As you get better at sales, you can keep those calls down to about 10 minutes. You can make a sale in 10 minutes. Marketing is relationship building. The stronger the relationships you build, the more sales you’ll make.


2 Questions For You

  1. How often do you email your list?
  2. Is there anything from this blog that you would want to implement in your music school?
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