Why your guitar student marketing is not working

Marketing is an interesting subject and one that I have spent decades learning and still feel like I only know 10% of what there is to know. But in saying that I feel that almost all guitar teachers get it very wrong when it comes to marketing. I don’t mean this to sound condescending in any way. In fact, it should be good news. Imagine if your marketing was perfect and you were still struggling to attract new students. Better to to be wrong I say.

The main problem with your marketing

The main problem for most people is they think marketing is about inspiring people to buy their product. This misunderstanding is rife in the industry and can be seen everywhere. These marketers go to great lengths and sometimes expense to design ads that will blow away their audiences. They design ads that leave people feeling like they just have got to have whatever they are selling. If this were true the most effective ads would indeed be the ones that move us to action. While this seems logical enough, any experienced marketer knows this is not the case.

What’s the real goal of your marketing?

The real goal of marketing is to get people’s attention. Yes its really that simple. Let me explain by using an example. If a company took 2 ads and showed them to 100 people let us say that 90 people liked ad 1 and 10 liked ad 2. Based on this information you would assume the company would have no hesitation in choosing ad 1 but there is a not so obvious mistake with this logic. The mistake is they are selecting the most inspiring ad, not necessarily the one that gets the most attention. Asking a random group doesn’t tell us which ad would actually get the most attention were it to appear along side other ads. The two ads were seen in isolation.

Why context matters when it comes to standing out

Success in business rarely comes from being sexy or inspiring but instead comes from being different. The first rule of marketing is to get people’s attention and attention comes from standing out. Marketing is basically the same as teaching guitar. If you don’t have the attention of your students it doesn’t matter how inspirational your lessons are. If you read Seth Godin’s book ‘The Purple Cow’ you’ll know what I mean. Apple’s ‘Think Different’ was all about saying that they were different compared to the main players at the time like IBM. Apple didn’t say ’Think Better’ or ’Think Cool’, they were all about being different. They knew that being different is what matters. In marketing the aim is not to be better or sexier or even cooler but to be different so you get the most attention.

The Purple Trump

If you want a classic example take Donald Trump. How did this business man basically come out of nowhere to become the Republican Party nominee for president? Is it because he is better, cooler, sexier than his running mates? No matter where you stand on Trump I think we can all agree he won because he is different. He stood out and got the most attention. He was the Purple Cow. Its that simple.

Go opposite

In the business of teaching guitar 99% of guitar teachers tout the ‘learn what you want to learn’ or ‘we tailor our lessons to you’. These are valid slogans because they appeal to a large audience but saying these things won’t make you different. You’ll be just another guitar teacher selling the same old story. To stand out you’ll need to be the opposite of what almost all these guitar teachers are saying. So I will leave you with a question which I welcome you to answer via email. What would be the opposite of the ‘learn what you want to learn’ slogan?

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