We took a GIANT step in putting ourselves out there when we opened up our own studio this past summer. Our name is on a sign that is visible from a busy road, which has been wonderful for business. Yes, it’s a giant step, but only the first of many.
As our business and team have grown, we’ve started stepping up our game in terms of building a community presence. Just recently, we hosted a booth at a huge local event called KidsFest. We met hundreds of families and helped children make their own egg shakers in addition to networking with other local businesses. We’re sponsoring another event in a few weeks, where we hope to make new contacts and educate even more people about music therapy.
Putting yourself out there can be challenging, time consuming, and draining. There’s a lot of prep involved, from designing and printing marketing materials, to standing on your feet for hours at a time, to dedicating evenings and weekends that you’d probably prefer to spend with your family.
But we’re already seeing our hard work pay off in terms of new students and clients, as well as recognition from people who have already heard of us. We’re not a household name in Springfield just yet, but we’re steadily taking steps towards that goal.
Based on our experiences so far, here are a few quick tips for putting yourself out there and building your local presence:
- Develop quality print materials. We make our own business cards, brochures and fliers fairly inexpensively by using software like Pages and Microsoft Word and then having them printed locally.
- Participate in local fairs, exhibitions, and community events. Get yourself a sign or banner (we ordered ours for less that $100 from Vistaprint) and register for your first booth, if you haven’t already. Doing so is usually affordable, depending on the size of the event, and sometimes you can even snag a small business discount.
- Collect info from people you meet. Giving out fliers and business cards can be effective, but more often than not, they are tossed aside or lost. Have an email list signup or registration form handy so you don’t miss out on a potential new client or student.
- Host your own events. Last summer, we organized a Midsummer Music Celebration and invited the community via mail and social media. Not only did we have a blast, but we recruited quite a few new families!
Of course, don’t try to do everything at once; take your time, experiment, and see what works the best for your business. We are having fun doing that ourselves — it’s a learning experience, for sure!