When people think of music education, do they think of you? Is your business positioned as an expert in music learning?
Here’s why these questions are so important: Credibility is crucial in education, just like it is in the music business. Nobody trusts an unqualified school teacher to educate their kids, in the same way that nobody wants guitar-playing tips from a guy who doesn’t even play guitar.
Before buying an instrument, signing a rental agreement, or taking lessons, your customers need to know that they’re working with a true authority. Help them see you that way.
Rethinking Your Mission
You likely already employ music experts as salespeople and instructors. Most music retailers have great connections in the industry. People who are already your customers have some degree of respect for your music cred.
But what about people in the community at large, who have never set foot in your store? Local educators? Private tutors? Parents and grandparents? YouTube viewers? These are all groups who need to know more about your expertise with education - not just music.
Perhaps you need a new mission to become a music education leader, rather than solely a music shop. A new mission could be phrased as: To be THE local authority on music education.
This mission is important, because it opens a new world of future customers for your business. You’re not just selling to musicians, but potential musicians. You’re not just connecting with experts, you’re teaching people how to become experts.
Research shows that when companies take the time to educate their customers, customers are grateful and tend to stay loyal. They also view the company as more professional than its competitors.
Fulfilling the Mission
Here are some key strategies for fulfilling the music education mission.
BUILD PARTNERSHIPS with local music instructors, tutors, schools, and bands to expand your reach without expanding your workforce. Connect with these key people and arrange partnerships for teaching and public speaking. In your advertising, promote these partnerships and highlight their expert backgrounds. Help the public understand how valuable it is to have your store as a resource for world-class music education.
OFFER FREE AND LOW-COST resources to put your name in front of a wider audience. Produce inexpensive music tablature, sheet music, lessons, and other materials. Share them for free at public locations like community centers and charitable organizations. This shows your commitment to making music available to everyone in the community, which positions you as a leader in education.
SELL HIGH-QUALITY resources as a part of your educational toolkit, to connect with advanced and high-income learners. Seek advice from schools, educators, tutors, and bands to see what kinds of materials are being requested by advanced learners. Offer workshops based on world-class methods. Hold seminars about innovation and the future of music. Over time, you can transition your free/low-cost learners to more advanced, high-quality educational resources, which builds your revenue potential.
SUPPORT YOUNG BANDS and songwriters by viewing them as future customers in training. Connect with them - especially on social media - and offer free learning resources, so they don’t turn to free resources on the internet instead. Show them how you can help them make connections with people in the music industry. Provide free space at your location for rehearsals and gigs, with experts on hand for feedback. Ensure that your location is a place that feels welcoming to new learners and young musicians.
BUILD A VIDEO PRESENCE that shows the entire world your music expertise. Educational videos have become some of the highest-ranked on YouTube, with 500 million views every day. In fact, YouTube now serves more people than the Library of Congress, in terms of education. Offer music instruction, tips, workshops and much more by creating music education videos. Share these videos widely on social media, further extending your reach.
Ready to expand your audience? For more helpful tips like these, download Octave Media’s ebook How To Reach New Music Retail Audiences. It’s packed with tips for music retailers in search of new customers and revenue.