Music Lessons and Moms with Ruthie Smith | Episode 16

Moms and Music Lessons

So what do moms want when they seek out music lessons? Ruthie Smith knows. She’s a triple threat. She’s a music studio owner, a record industry marketing whiz and a mom.


In this episode Ruthie shares with me what moms really want from music lessons. It’s not about sonatas, theory and technique.  Mom’s are looking for something a little more personal. By better understanding what mom’s want the better you can dial in your marketing.


Choice Cuts By Ruthie Smith

My own studio marketing has radically changed since looking for programs for my son. I get it now. I want for my son to be amazing. I want for somebody to think he’s awesome. 


I think that as business people sometimes, especially as musicians, we think we’re amazing and your listeners are right. They are amazing…So, so often we’re tempted to put that front and forward and first. But I’ve discovered that’s not what moms care about.


Moms Know Best

 It’s so not about the teacher, it’s all about the kid and it’s all about how the moms or dads think their kids are gonna have a great experience there? If you can validate my kid at first, I’m going to pay you. I really will. I will pay what you think you are worth. Because if you make my kid feel valuable, that makes you valuable to me.


I really think that validating the kid, you can show it on your website. I mean if your listeners wanted to do the best thing for themselves right today, hire a photographer that’s going to come in during lessons. Like not the phone pictures, but get a good photographer that shows pictures of you interacting with students, of the students interacting with each other. Those experiences that the parents want that make the kid feel awesome.


What Moms Value

What’s more valuable to a parent then making sure their kid feel special. Make their kid feel special. Greet the kid first, because the parent knows that you’ll get to them. The kids are used to being ignored. So if you can show them that you’re on their team, greet them first. And then especially with the kids that might be a little more shy, a little more reserved, hand them a thing of stickers and say, pick one.


 I recently heard about a studio…who gives popcorn out. I mean, what a brilliant idea. And then that concept goes, this is a generous place. I want to be part of a place that values us. I want to be part of a place that is generous.


Kids are Musicians Too

I always call the kids musicians. From day one, we make music on the first day and that makes them a musician. And how cool does it feel to be like your child is a musician. What? Really? But this is their first day. Yes. And I refer to them as musicians. I don’t refer to them as students. That’s just my little thing, but it just sounds, it just feels stronger. It feels bigger than what they think they are at that point.


I think that a lot of moms want to know, they’re looking for how do other parents feel there? And I’m saying moms, but I don’t think it’s obviously just moms that are going to be looking. We’ve been talking just now about how once they’re in the door, you make them feel, but what are some of the things that you can do before they get to you, when they’re just first starting?


Moms and Testimonials 

You want to have those testimonials. If there’s any way to get some footage of them saying it, you’re going to see in any websites, suggestion anywhere, testimonials, testimonials, testimonials. Make sure they’re there. If you don’t have any testimonials on your website, then literally ask a parent the next time they’re in your studio, like, “Hey, how’s it going for you? Do you say anything about our studio to anybody else?”


We probably hate to admit it, but exactly that status that you’re looking for is part of what we’re looking for. Like what are other people gonna think if I choose this spot instead of the other spot? Am I going to be proud to be there? Am I going to be proud to have my kid there?


Word of Mouth Marketing

The moment that you start something, that’s when you want to talk about it. That’s when you’re most excited about it. So that’s when I want to start my referral program, because if a person’s excited, that word of mouth is most fresh, most hot after the first class or after their first meeting. That’s when they’re asking other people, “Hey, have you heard about this place? Do you know anything about this instructor? Do you know anything about these musicians?” And they are going to start that, “Hey, this is the cool place to be,” for you.


“Oh I use this specific method and your kid is going to learn the theory and the rhythms and the timing and the whatever it may be…and I studied at a certain place and I run these kinds of programs.” They don’t know how to care about that and you lost them in all the words.


So as marketers, as business people, we studio owners need to tell the families, “Okay, what you really want to know is the experience you’re going to have and I promise we’ll tell you about the cost and timing.”


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