Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Ask Joy: Stop Marketing! Start Engaging

By Joy Donnell on Jun 11 2011 • Filed under Ask an Expert

Ms. Joy,

I have a new online guitar lesson business and I struggle with being in the limelight. I think it's because I'm not comfortable with my looks and, especially in person, I get nervous when I'm being looked upon by others with anticipation or judgment. I've tried all the online marketing ideas I can think of that don't require me to personally be the center of attention, but my website is still hardly known and visited. Do you have some new publicity suggestions?

― Strumming in San Francisco

 
Ms. Strumming,

You struggle with issues that most people wrestle with and you are not alone. Putting this aside, my first suggestion would be to stop marketing. That’s right. Stop marketing to people and start engaging them. Whether you choose to put yourself directly out there or keep pushing the product without yourself at the forefront, you need to stop marketing.

It doesn’t matter what type of folks comprise your target audience, if you create a campaign that provides experiences, you’ll create real connections. Real, loyal connections will establish your brand and help the word spread because you can use these contacts to help you publicize your business.

At first, online guitar lessons can sound cold or impersonal. Redirect focus onto the fact that through the internet, you can teach anyone anywhere in the world how to play the guitar and, it becomes pretty cool. You can indulge anyone’s passion for music and desire to play the guitar. This is a gorgeously human thing so, relate this to other human beings in a way they can feel and hear and see.

Make your campaign speak as passionately and as enthusiastically about learning an instrument as you would. Think of some ideas that people can experience, such as video content. If you don’t want to appear in the video content, then use your past and current customers. Ask them to send in video testimonials that you can share. While you’re reaching out online, try an online song competition. You can advertise it through social media and utilize online voting. Then competitors can wrangle voters from their own networks.

Speaking of networking, ask for referrals and offer folks something interesting for their referrals. You could try a giveaway competition where the top referrer wins something cool like, a guitar maybe. (hmm?)

Also try to find offline, local events that can yield visibility. Look for music, education, or self-improvement related things. Find ways to partner with these events and perhaps have one of your local students demonstrate the skills they’ve acquired through your online lessons.

Music is passion. It uplifts, enraptures, electrifies, soothes and woos. Hell, half the dudes I know that play guitar only learned so they could score chicks! All joking aside, music can embody how we feel about love and life itself. That makes it magical. Grab that magic and infuse it into your campaign. Ignite it in others and you will see results because you’ll make connections that people will love and they will love your brand.

Keep rising!

― Joy


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