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What I Learnt From An IKEA Catalogue

The new IKEA catalogue came several weeks ago.  While we don’t NEED new furniture right now, I like looking at how they set up the rooms for ideas of what we can do with our home.

But, this time it was different.

What I Learnt From an IKEA Catalogue

Usually, I sit down on the couch & quickly skim from cover to cover in the time it takes me to finish my cup of tea.  But, not this year.  This year, I actually read sections of the catalogue!  It turns out that IKEA did something new.  They added stories.  Stories about how to customize furniture on a minimal budget so it is uniquely you.  Stories about how to use their plants in small spaces.  Stories about the people who make their products & the charities they are involved with.

And, it got me thinking about my studio communication with clients.  Do you find that your clients tend to:

  • Delete emails without reading them first because they are “too busy” & want to “minimize their inbox”?
  • Skim the newsletter & still text to ask about important information that was already included in the newsletter?
  • Rarely, if ever, check the website for upcoming dates … even though it’s all there?
  • “Like” the photos of the kids, but ignore the announcements on your studio social media?

For years, I have experimented with all sorts of different approaches to solve these problems.  Some with more success than others.  But, the IKEA catalogue made me wonder about how IKEA managed to drastically change my regular behaviour with their catalogue with one not-so-small change.

They focused on the potential customer.  We don’t care so much about individual products (until we go into the store to purchase).

We care about the ambiance, mood, & experience that can be CREATED by those products.

What if we did the same in our studio newsletters?

What if we focused on the ambience, mood & experiences that are created for our students with the services we offer?

This year, I will be experimenting with this concept for my studio newsletter.  Instead of focusing on what information I think my clients need, I will be focusing on creating a story or creating a reason for my clients to read to the end that (hopefully) fits with their needs. Here are some examples of how I changed my approach.

  • Intro:  I wrote about how a new academic year for me is much like a kid in a candy store vs. a regular “welcome back” message.  Who doesn’t like hearing about a teacher excited to see their child?
  • Facebook page:  Parents love to brag about their kids (me included).  We have been showcasing a new student each week all summer & I encouraged parents to check out the series.  Then, I included a big blue button right after that said “LIKE our Facebook page!” so they don’t miss out on other stories.
  • First challenges of the year:  Explaining what makes this challenge a challenge.  The majority of my piano parents do not play any instrument so this was a chance for them to learn a couple new terms that will help them support their child(ren) in practice … something many of them have struggled with in the past.  Honestly, most have NO idea how much goes into playing a piece of music.  I’ve made it my job to educate them.
  • Important Dates:  I wrote about how important our fridge calendar is & how if it isn’t written on the calendar … it just doesn’t exist. Isn’t it great that I’ve given a list of dates to put on the family calendar?  This was followed by a big blue button to find ALL important dates on the studio website.
  • Getting back to clients:  While I do go through this with new clients, it never ceases to amaze me when someone gets annoyed that I didn’t return a message sent at 11pm or that I received on the weekend.  This part was more about managing expectations so that my clients & I can stay on the same page throughout the year.

With these changes, my “opens” (who opened the email) & “clicks” (who followed links in the newsletter) percentages have gone up.  My hope is that with further experimentation I can increase those numbers even further.

Lessons from the IKEA catalogue

How do you convey important studio information to your clients?  And, what can you change this year to make those modes of communication even more effective in reaching your clients’ needs?

I would love to hear from you below!

Have a great weekend!

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