Allowing prospective students to see inside your studio

Your webvertisement comes with a photo gallery, complete with the ability to add captions to every shot. The end result is that prospective students will be able to undertake virtual tours of your studio - long before they ever set foot in the door.

Remember, before you get too carried away polishing your studio promotion prose, there's a basic rule of copywriting that you have to know:

The more words you write, the less likely it is that people will read your ad

There's a much better way to communicate such things. Don't tell them.

Show them.

Using images to promote your studio

It's not just a case of pictures being worth a thousand words - they're actually worth more, because a casual glance can suffice with a picture. This is critical when people's attention is fleeting.

So if you want to parents to understand that your studio has a comfortable waiting area, you can devote 400 words to it ... or you can simply show a photo of a parent relaxing with a newspaper, with your coffee maker clearly in shot.

If you want to highlight your CD lending library, a wide-angle shot of shelves of CDs, with a one-line caption explaining the lending options is all you need.

Your webvertisement here at allows you have up to 10 photos - so what should you include in your online album?

Your studio events in action

Your ad is going to refer to many standard studio events - recitals, interviews, workshops, theory classes, practicing - but you have to remember that these events are not "standard" for the people reading your ad. Their inability to relate to these events can stop an enquiry in its tracks - particularly if they are nervous about lessons not being too "serious" for their child.

Some well chosen photographs can go a long way to making these events feel real - and accessible.

For example, many ads end with "call for a free interview". Nothing complicated there - as the teacher, you'll know exactly what that means. But for readers who free-associate "interview" with "job interview" or interviews they may have had with school principals, the offer can actually sound daunting. A smiling photo of you chatting to a parent and a child, with a caption saying "The whole adventure starts with your interview - a chance to meet and ask questions" can disarm the fear, while also providing an image of you relating in a positive and engaging way with new students.

All of which is why you need to make sure that you take plenty of photos at your next studio recital. That way, instead of just talking about "regular performance opportunities", you can show a photo with a caption that confirms the recital was recent, and from the smiling faces in shot, that a good time was had by all.

And then for a nice touch, include another photo from a similar recital 15 years ago - to help remind visitors that your studio is established.

Rather than just detailing your studio's policy on practicing, you might want to show a picture of a student actually practicing - and then a short caption:

"Students aren't just sent home to "practice". They're shown how..."

If your studio offers theory classes, or runs it's own choir, you can underscore the features by including photos of the theory class in action, or a choral rehearsal.

The aim is to ensure that the prospective student can visualise themselves in the picture - so the more real you can make your studio events for them, the better. And parents will see that these events are not just marketing rhetoric - your studio actually does all this stuff, holding the promise of a rich and varied experience for their child.

Highlighting studio facilities

It's tempting to simply reel off a shopping list of all the great resources your studio has, but nothing beats letting visitors to your webpage actually see these resources for themselves. It's the reason that so many online advertisements for hotels contain "virtual tours". So instead of just having a paragraph with a heading "extensive use of music technology", include a photo of a student pointing to a computer screen. "Onsite parking options" can be covered with a shot of where visitors are encouraged to park.

And if your studio as recently been renovated, don't just announce the fact with a paragraph or two. Show the before and after shots. Like one of those lifestyle home-improvement shows. In two side-by-side pictures, you demonstrate that there's no moss growing at this studio, while also showcasing the new facilities.

End result is not only that visitors are left with a thorough understanding of what resources your studio has invested in. It also ensures that when the prospective student turns up for their interview, that they recognise and feel comfortable right fom the start, because they've seen it before.

Confirming that you're human

Citing your music credentials is all good and well, but in the end, a prospective student is going to base their choice of studio on how well they think they can get along with the teacher. You'll be able to communicate a thing or two through your recorded greeting, but photographs are also a powerful way of confirming a simple but essential fact:

You're not just a "teacher". You're a person.

One photo to consider is a shot of you as a student - the younger and cuter, the better. Without another word needing to be said, you've communicated a number of reassuring facts to the reader:

  • That you've been doing this for a long time (did you see the haircut in that photo?)
  • That you were a student once too, and remember what it's like
  • That having lessons as a child can lead to lifelong proficiency
  • That you're prepared to be vulnerable - and human

If you have a hobby outside music that you're passionate about, then a photo of you engaged in that will help remind readers that you're not just a music-obsessed automaton. Similarly, snaps of you with your own family can help reassure parents that you are comfortable and experienced with kids

It's also worthwhile including some photos of you taken unawares - candid moments while teaching, or at a studio recital - as they'll convey a sense of genuineness and warmth that no posed photo ever could. And if you're caught pulling a weird face, or gesticulating wildly, then so much the better.

And if you remember nothing else...

Candid shots aside, you have to remember to smile in these photos. It can be tempting for musicians for want "artistic" shots, which normally involves staring seriously into the lens like a tormented genuis. Great for an album cover, but nobody wants a tormented genius teaching their kid.

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