Calling on your Strengths

Before you start selecting the various elements for your campaign, you need to make sure they are working with your own particular strengths and weaknesses—not against them.

A music teacher with a public speaking phobia but good desktop publishing skills should probably steer clear of the “Present your own Seminar” strategy, but may well be able to achieve stellar results with a color brochure and letterbox drop. Similarly, a teacher with good networking skills would be ideal to launch a new music competition, while someone who was more introverted but with a flair for writing might want to try a piece for the local paper (all these ideas—and many—others are explained later in the book!)

Some of the strengths and weaknesses you need to consider will actually be environmental. So for example, organizing free concerts at your local school is less effective if the school is already saturated with music and music teachers, but you might find that the local Pre-Schools might not be so well equipped musically, and might jump at the opportunity. Likewise, if you live in a major metropolitan center, a huge Yellow Pages display ad might cost you more than a new car, but a short interview on radio would be free and worth its weight in gold. The reverse would be true if you live in a small country town that has two digit phone numbers.

Every time there is a change in your own skill base or environment, you need to reassess your promotion strategies. In other words, once you stumble on a successful promotion idea, you can’t simply assume that it will always be appropriate.

Being smart about your choices

This book provides a huge range of ideas because there is a huge range of teachers. Your own profile and preferences will be unique, so it was never going to be possible to create a “one-size-fits-all” advertising campaign for everyone. Successful promotion will be about choosing strategies that call on your strengths, and using the cards you have been dealt as effectively as possible. You can’t do that until you’ve had a good look at what those cards are.

Rate the ideas for compatibility

Not compatibility with each other. Compatibility with you.

For every idea you read in the second half of this book, make a note of what personal qualities would be required for you to pull the idea off successfully. Do they require good telephone manner? Or the willingness to cold-call potential strategic partners? Or strong layout and design skills? Or the touch of a wordsmith? Or perseverance? Or the willingness to work with the media? Or knowledge of computers? Or strong organizational skills? Or confidence in front of a crowd?

You should also list the required resources. Does the idea require a good printer, or the co-operation of your students, or a large hall? Does it require plenty of cash up front, or a lot of free time?

Armed then with a list of what’s required for each idea, you can match that against your own personal qualities and resources. This should then convert dozens of possible promotion strategies into a short list of those that you are best suited to delivering successfully.

And those ideas that rate poorly on this compatibility index? Make a note of what exactly you are missing to make such an idea a reality, and consider a little upgrading—either of your own skills, or your available resources. There’s no reason that a snapshot of your current skills and resources has to be representative of what will be available to you in two years’ time.