Hey guys. I’ve been really building up my collection of guitar and bass students over the past while and I’ve learned a great deal. Particularly when it comes to advertising and marketing my service. So today I’m going to go through a number of advertising techniques and rate them based on cost, effort and effectiveness.
These techniques are definitely geared toward advertising for lessons but the general principals should work for any kind of business
Here we go:
1 – Online Ad Sites: Here in Ireland we have sites like Adverts.ie, Locanto, Gumtree, OLX, Vivastreet and Craigslist. When advertising anything your first step should be to plaster your services over as many of these sites as you can.
Cost: Many of these sites will be free to list on, however some will have an additional cost for advertising a service. This is usually pretty reasonable like 5 bucks a month. If you get even one lesson through that site you will more than pay for your advertising costs. There are often also optional addition costs here. You can pay a small fee on most sites to “bump” your listing to the top of the search results, or keep it there for a few days. If your ad on a particular site is bringing in a lot of interest it’s a good idea to keep it bumped up there!
Effort: Couldn’t be simpler. Write up your ad, take some nice photos for your ad and simply copy them into each ad site.
Effectiveness: I find online ads to be very effective, especially if they are up there a long time. The longer your ads are up and the more sites they are on, the easier it will be for people to find you when searching for lessons in your field.
2. Flyers and Posters: For some people there is a level of distrust when it comes to the internet (and rightly so!) and so seeing a physical poster in a window is still a great way to attract business. It’s never been easier to make your own attractive ads and print them out at home, at school/office or a print shop.
Cost: Just about anyone can design an ad themselves using photoshop, Gimp or another design program, however printing will cost you. Unless you can print for free at work or the school library you’re going to need to consider the cost of ink and paper if you are printing at home or the cost of printing at a print shop. With that said this is still a very affordable way to advertise!
Effort: There is a little more effort required here than with online ads. As well as designing and printing your ads you’ll need to distribute them. This can lead to some serious leg work. Second hand stores are great, super markets, school and college bulletin boards, bus stops and lamp posts (consider that this may be in breach of the litter laws where you live), cafes and so on are all great places to stick your ads. But do keep in mind this all takes time and effort!
Effectiveness: You may not get a huge immediate result from physical poster ads, but if you keep it up you will develop trust. People may need to see your ad 3 or 4 times before they decide to commit so stick with it.
3 – Newspapers: Newspaper advertising can be very effective but it depends on what you are selling and how well your ad is placed. Seeing an ad in a reputable paper gives you a whole lot of credibility and really builds your level of trustworthiness in the eyes of the public.
Cost: Here’s where things get expensive! For a simple 3 or 4 line ad in the classifieds or buy/sell section of a major paper you can be looking at up to 100 euro for just a few days of placement. If you want a color advert that’s bigger than an inch in size then you are getting into serious cash. You may get a great result from you ad, or you may get nothing, so make sure the money you are putting in really is disposable and that you are not relying on getting an immediate return.
Effort: Easy peasy! Write a few lines describing your service, put your number and email on there and confirm. Or if the ad is more elaborate, work with the paper’s design team to make the ad, or design one yourself. Once the ad is finished the paper does all the work in distributing your ad!
Effectiveness: If you are prepared, and can afford, to run a small ad in a newspaper on a weekly or monthly basis then you may find that you begin to get a steady stream of work through it. As a once off venture though you may be a little disappointed. People often need to see a name a few times before they begin to trust it. If you are in a position to afford it and are prepared to wait there’s no doubt that the widespread distribution of paper ads can be a very powerful advertising tool. So far results have been hit and miss for me.
4 – Word of Mouth: The single cheapest, easiest and most trusted source of advertising there is!
Cost: Word of mouth is virtually free. Though it may take a while and cost a little in other forms of advertising to get effective word of mouth started, once the ball is rolling there are no additional costs. Your satisfied students become walking billboards for you.
Ease: Again, you really don’t have to do anything here. Word of your quality services spreads through your friends, family and clients/students. All you have to do is gently remind those you know to “be sure to let anyone else who might be interested know about” your service You may also want to offer incentives to your current students. For example you could offer a free lesson if they manage to convince a friend or family member to also take lessons from you.
Effectiveness: Word of mouth is extremely effective as the advertising is coming from the most trusted source of all; a close friend or family member. This kind of advertising takes time and dedication to create, but once it’s up and going it can become your most effective means of advertising!
So there ya go, a few tips to help get you started advertising for any kind of lessons, but as you can see many of these techniques will work for any kind of business or services Good luck and have fun!
Thanks for reading, all the best
Rohan Healy is the author of “Greeks to Geeks: Practical Stoicism in the 21st Century”, “The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do The Same For You”, “SEX, Not as a Separate Subject: A Guide to Great Sex with Great People” and Sci Fi Action/Adventure novel Gyaros: The Mice Eat Iron!
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