Posts Tagged 'marketing tips'

Improve Your Music Studio’s Website with These Simple Headline Writing Tips

Headshot (2019)

Doug Hanvey

Guest post by Doug Hanvey.

Doug Hanvey studied piano and music composition at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University Bloomington and jazz piano with keyboard guru John Novello in Los Angeles. In addition to his musical training, Doug holds a master’s degree in adult education. He is the author of The Creative Keyboardist course and specializes in online piano lessons for creative adult beginners.


Music teachers are not obliged to be good writers, though it certainly comes in helpful when trying to communicate one’s services to potential students or parents. Fortunately, a few principles of clear, effective and persuasive writing can make all the difference to the success of your studio’s website.

This article will focus on how to write an effective headline for your studio website’s home page. Headlines are crucial because their major purpose is to get your website visitor’s attention. If you don’t get your visitor’s attention, you’ve already lost them.

Every headline for a web page should follow at least two (and possibly three) principles:

1. Get attention by grabbing the reader’s interest
2. Give them a reason to keep reading

If you are trying to get your website higher in the search engine rankings, your headline should also:

3. Include keywords that people use to search for music teachers in your area

Principle #1: Get Attention


The most important principle is to get a visitor’s attention. Headlines get attention by appealing to self-interest. For example:

Piano Lessons That Kids Love

All Piano Lessons Aren’t Created the Same

The first headline gets attention by promising a benefit. The second headline gets attention by stimulating the reader’s interest in your offer.

Principle #2: Give Them a Reason to Keep Reading

After you get the reader’s attention, give them a reason to keep reading. Rule of thumb: try to get them to think, “I can read the rest of this quickly and it will be worth my time.”


Ways to draw readers in include arousing curiosity, asking a question, making a provocative statement, or promising useful information. For example:

A Cutting-Edge Alternative to Traditional (and Dull) Vocal Instruction

Retired and Ready for Those Guitar Lessons You’ve Been Putting Off Your Whole Life?

The first headline offers a reason for continuing to read by making a provocative statement. The second headline does the same thing by posing a question. (It also selects the audience, which is another useful task for any headline.)

Principle #3: Include Keywords That People Use To Search For Teachers In Your Area

Note: If there are dozens or hundreds of competing websites in your area, you may be using your website as a calling card to which you send people by other means (such as a brochure or business card). In that case, focus on Principles #1 and #2 above. On the other hand, if you’re in a less competitive market and have a chance to get your site to the first page of the search results (or are determined to do so no matter what!), then you may wish to use search engine optimization (SEO) principles when writing your headline before applying Principles #1 and #2.

For better or worse, search engines like Google have imposed their own demands on headlines. If you are attempting to raise the position of your website in search engine results, you will probably want to write your home page headline for the search engines before writing it for human beings. (While these aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive in theory, they may be in practice.)


The search engines look at headlines in particular to determine how relevant and useful it is. For SEO purposes it is especially important to use keywords in your headline that people are using to find your site. If research reveals that the most popular search phrase for flute teachers in your city is “flute lessons Peoria,” then your home page’s H1 headline will optimally include these keywords in a prominent position (preferably towards the beginning). Note that in terms of HTML (the language in which websites are written), each page of your website should have one H1 headline and no more.

You should also:

  • Make your H1 headline slightly different than your home page’s title tag, if only by a word or two
  • Use two or three H2 headlines to further describe your offer

Many resources are available for conducting keyword research, but one of the easiest approaches is to use Google’s “autocomplete” feature. If you search “voice lessons Chicago” autocomplete suggests related popular searches with keywords like “adults,” “private” and “south side.” If one or more of these keywords is particularly relevant to what you offer, you may want to include it in your headline, or at least somewhere on your site.

Two More Headline-Writing Principles

Finally, consider two additional principles when writing headlines:

  • Offer a complete message. Some people will never read past the main headline. By offering a complete message you can at least communicate the fundamentals of your offer.
  • Engage readers emotionally. Emotion sells. If you can engage a reader’s emotions, your headline is more likely to get them to take action.

If you come away with just one thing from this article, I hope it’s that having a headline on your website’s home page is important. If that headline also follows some or all of the above principles, even better!


5 Handy Tips for New Piano Lesson Enquiries

Guest post by Dr. Sally Cathcart of The Curious Piano Teachers. View the original on The Curious Piano Teachers blog HERE.

CuriousPianoTeachersLogoHave you had many new piano lesson enquiries recently? Do you ever find yourself caught ‘off-guard’ by phone calls? I know I certainly do! When this happens I can end up babbling on and feeling that I am not representing my work and worth to the best of my ability.

The next three months are probably the peak season for receiving phone calls or emails from potential students. Here’s some top tips from some of the highly organised Curious Piano Teachers members.


Do you know what kind of teacher you are? What is your teaching philosophy and approach? Discussions with potential clients are so much easier if you have made up your own mind about the following:

  • What do you teach?
  • How do you teach?
  • What ages do you teach?
  • What standard do you teach up to?
  • Is an instrument needed at home and if so what sort?
  • What do you charge?
  • Do you ever give discounts?
  • Are your teaching hours fixed or flexible?
  • What support do you expect from parents?
  • What availability slots do you have?

Once you have thought through these questions turn them into a one page cheatsheet and keep it close by for future phone calls.

It’s worth spending an hour or so getting this all pinned down. Check out our video below.


Young entrepreneur at her workplace using laptop and phone.

As a rule of thumb let any unknown callers to your mobile go to the answer phone. Then, if they leave a message, this gives you the opportunity to listen through and consider your response. You’ll want to phone them back as quickly as you can so rehearse what you will say and aim to call them back within 24 hours.

During the phone call work down your cheatsheet (that’s assuming you have spaces and are actively looking for new students). If the answers correspond with your expectations offer a consultation/interview where both parties will have a chance to meet in person.

At this early stage don’t be too prepared to compromise on your core teaching approaches. For example, if you are only willing to take on younger children with the parents attending to lessons then stick to it!


If you have a studio website or Facebook page you might find that some new piano lesson enquiries come in by email.

Responding to each one individually takes time so a useful approach is to create a standard template response. Set aside 30 minutes or so of your time to do this and once again use the one page cheatsheet as your starting point.

When a new enquiry arrives in your inbox simply copy and paste the main body of the template into your reply, adding whatever personal responses you want to.


FAQBoardThe fourth tip on how to deal with new piano lesson enquiries is to turn your cheatsheet into a Frequently Asked Questions sheet.

This can be used on your website as well as being a really useful document to send to parents whether you’ve spoken on the phone or corresponded by email.


Has all this been ringing a bell and you have found yourself caught ‘off-guard’ ? Then you need to find some time to sit down, grab a coffee, watch our video and think through what kind of teacher you are.

I really wish I had done this a long, long time ago as being communicating clearly what you offer prevents misunderstandings and frustration later on.

A big shout-out to all the piano teachers who contributed to this blog post for all their brilliant suggestions.



Dr. Sally Cathcart, Co-Founder and Director of The Curious Piano Teachers, has many years of teaching experience both as a piano teacher and as a classroom music teacher. After her travels as a Winston Churchill Fellow, Sally founded the Oxford Piano Group as a place for pianists and teachers to collaborate and share experiences. She was awarded a PhD from the Institute of Education at University College London in 2013 upon completing the first comprehensive study of UK piano teachers, exploring common practices, expertise, values, attitudes and motivation to teaching. She is a Principal Tutor on the Piano Teachers’ Course (UK), a trained Kodály practitioner and a senior musicianship practitioner of The Voices Foundation. Sally is an examiner for ABRSM and is on the ABRSM Music Education Advisory Committee. She is a Fellow Member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).

How to Get Testimonials from Your Music Students

Guest blog post by Doug Hanvey, author of Piano Lab Blog

Testimonials and Online Reviews = A “Real Reason to Believe”

In these days of overhyped marketing of nearly every product and service – and yes, that sometimes includes music lessons! – it is more important than ever to communicate why your prospective students should have what marketing experts call a “real reason to believe” in you and your studio.

The best way to communicate a “real reason to believe” is via testimonials from current or former students/parents.

Of course, testimonials now include online Google reviews, Yelp reviews, etc. Testimonials and online reviews are effective because they are based on the actual experience of a student/parent. They are thus more believable to prospective students/parents than anything you personally say about yourself and your teaching. Continue reading ‘How to Get Testimonials from Your Music Students’

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