nondual teachers, is often overlooked as a great way to grow your student base. In a nutshell, networking is building business relationships. When you first hear this word, you may cringe at the thought of meeting new people or just think that it’s too much work. Yes, to effectively network, you do need a plan, be able to follow-through, and follow-up. Building that network takes some patience at the beginning but the results are more than worth it.
About a month ago, I responded to a music teacher’s Facebook status update asking about marketing ideas for expanding your teaching studio. I initially responded because I have been successful in my first full year of teaching as a studio owner and wanted to offer up my advice to others. After responding, she asked if I would contribute to a series of articles on marketing/networking she was putting together for her popular music teaching blog.
Why am I mentioning this? Well, this is a perfect example of how to network…putting yourself out there is the first big step. The fact that I was asked to participate and share my success story is a direct result of me putting myself out there, meeting people, sharing ideas, etc. Perhaps a local teacher will read this article and remember my name down the road. Maybe a parent will type in a certain Google key word and land on this article. Networking does not always directly lead to new students but it does provide more exposure, visibility, and create opportunities. The possibilities are endless for what visibility can do for you as a business owner. Just like in Sales 101, a lot of ‘maybes’ usually end up in a lot of good results…filling up that pipeline with quality leads.
My music teaching business has been open full-time since the beginning of this year, January 2011. I taught full-time as a piano instructor at a local music school for about 5 years before my transition into a studio owner. Since January, I have had steady growth in students, along with a steady growth in inquiries. I am to the point now where I am thinking about expanding my business (which has always been the plan) but I never imagined it could happen so quickly. I whole-heartedly believe that Networking & Google Visibility are the two most important factors for the studio growth.
Networking should be an extension of everything that we do to promote our studios. The key is having those relationships create & generate new relationships. How much does it cost to Network? Absolutely Nothing!! That’s the beauty! I’ve spent about $1000 in advertising (3 different ad campaigns) since last November. How many current students saw my ads? 0. Now, that’s not to say that it’s ineffective. Over the course of time, I’m sure that Google AdWords will end up being an important marketing tool. The problem is that my marketing budget is not where I need it to be for AdWords to work for me.
I try to implement a little bit of networking in my everyday life, even if it is subtle. Here’s an example of subtle networking that actually generated several positive leads. I wear my polo, that shows my studio logo, not just in my lessons but when I go to business/networking functions, run errands, or just to get my haircut. Branding your studio is another topic within itself but it leads to building relationships as well. When I get my hair cut, more often than not, I am asked what I do because of my logo and have given out 3 or 4 business cards to different hair stylists this year (yeah, I don’t have a preference!). Just from those encounters that didn’t add any time to my day or require effort (outside of throwing on a shirt!), I had several inquiries about music lessons. Having business cards on you at all times is a must! I constantly have to refill my business card holder and occasionally forget (when I need it the most!).