As a teacher we have a brand. As a studio owner we have a brand. And, we need that brand to fascinate our ideal studio clients.
Recently, I read “Fascinate: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist” by Sally Hogshead. And quite frankly, I was fascinated.
(Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the author in any way. Just really enjoyed the book & hope you will to!)
Sally has a mission. She wants “to bring branding out of the ivory tower & into the trenches.” (page xvii) A brand “should unite people, giving them a shared sense of ownership” (page xviii).
Does this sense of unity & shared ownership sound like something you want for your studio? To have piano parents & students that are proud & eagerly sharing with others what happens in lessons?
What Makes Your Studio Fascinating?
How do we convince potential clients that our studio is THE studio for them? Sure, we teach piano. And, we have something that stands out from other studios. But, is that enough?
Our clients are “buying the emotions, connotations, values, & priorities of the brand.” (p. 18).
For example, my clients choose me because my studio is student-focused. What do I mean by that? For my special needs students, I meet them where they are each lesson & work closely with the child’s parents to support the whole family. For my students that don’t learn at a “book a year” pace, we do lots of different activities to fill out their learning & take away the pressure of getting through the level that year. For my families that are stressed & overwhelmed, I’ll do my best to support them so piano is an enjoyable retreat from the rest of the week. While we use technology in lessons, that isn’t why clients choose me. It’s what the technology gives that keeps them coming back … a way to connect during the week, a way to explore new ideas, a fun way to learn & so much more.
Why Smiles Are Important
Think about a phone conversation where you “heard” the other person smile. How did you know?
This phenomenon happens all the time with my husband. I’ve also learnt it works really well to put potential clients at ease while we talk on the phone. And, it turns out there is research that explains why this is!
Smiling changes the way our voices sound. Yes. Sounds. There is an interesting experiment to try out on page 33 (in the footnotes ironically) to test how changing the pitch of your voice changes your facial expression. But, the result is that smiling makes us sound more approachable & friendlier.
(Honestly, the footnotes really are interesting in this book, so be sure to read them!)
How Do You Fascinate a Goldfish?
We’ve heard that the average person now has an attention span of 9 seconds (or less depending on the source) which is the same attention span as a goldfish. This doesn’t bode well for attracting new clients to our studios. (Not that we should think of clients as goldfish, just remember the comparable attention span when giving information.)
“If you communicate a slew of haphazard & conflicting messages, it’s difficult to develop a clearly established route.” (p. 41) And, this means you may be having potential dream clients turning away from your studio before they have even had a chance to experience your awesomeness.
I have a travel piano studio. While this is great & works well for our family life, there is one really big marketing challenge. Many potential clients stop listening or reading as soon as they realize, “The teacher comes to ME. I don’t have to drive to yet another activity.” I’ve been dealing with less than 9 seconds of attention from the first moment I marketed my studio.
When I recently revamped my studio website, I wrote out a path for potential clients. I was blunt about who would fit my studio & who wouldn’t. Every picture was chosen specifically to draw in the clients I want … & drive away the ones that I didn’t. Even if they didn’t realize it consciously as they looked at my site. My brand needed to get past the very powerful desire of parents to have a teacher come to them regardless of whether my teaching style & their goals matched up.
As you look at your studio website (& marketing materials),
- What message does your website send?
- What decision should a reader make on each page?
- What does each image say about what your studio stands for?
“Identify what your [studio] is already doing right – and then do more of it.” (page 50)
Think about …
- What do your students love about your studio?
- What do parents rave about or bring up in conversations with you?
THAT is what is special about your studio & THAT is what will fascinate potential clients so they contact you for lessons.
Your “Unfair” Advantage
Marketers love to talk about using your “unfair advantage”. What they typically mean is knowing what makes you unique & making sure your clients (current or potential) know about it.
In “Fascination”, these advantages are categorized as:
- Innovation: new ideas & ways of doing things
- Passion: LOVES what they do & it comes through in everything they say
- Power: authority that comes from a place of helping others
- Prestige: the best & only getting better, can be linked to exclusivity
- Trust: reliability in approach & results
- Mystique: won’t be sharing that secret sauce that makes you so successful
- Alert: guiding clients to a certain path by pointing out what will happen if they don’t (sounds scary, but not necessarily)
Depending on which of these advantages you choose to focus on, your communication both in person & written changes. Instead of inadvertently communicating different messages & confusing clients, there are adjectives & examples given for each & every Advantage.
How Does Your Studio Fascinate?
- Which of the 7 Advantages best fits your business
- Words that best describe your approach … that you can then use in your marketing
- And, much more!
When I did my assessment, it came back as Passion. This came as no surprise to me or anyone close to me. Whenever I talk about my studio or what I am doing here to support you, there is usually a lot of waving arms, big smiles, & always excitement to be helping those I serve.
Let me know below which Advantage you have! Let’s see if we start to see a pattern … or perhaps as a group we may be just as diverse as the list Sally has.