Musicians — why survey your customers?

We’re asking this: Musicians — why survey your customers? Your audience? Let’s find out. Think about whether you really know what the people you’re seeking to serve want. Have you taken the time and trouble to ask?

Because If you want to genuinely connect with audiences, presenters, or with prospective students, you need to understand THEIR needs and concerns. So you can “speak their language” in your email pitches and marketing materials.

Asking questions—the right questions—is key.

This takes getting past our own egos and assumptions. Because it’s all too easy to design a new website, a new one-sheet or EPK, or a new promo video—in a vacuum of our own perspective. It’s easy to think we’re addressing our intended audience’s concerns.

Only to find out after the fact that we’ve got it wrong—really wrong.

On our own, we jump to inaccurate conclusions about what our intended customers want and need.

Time after time I find my clients doing this. And heaven knows I’ve been guilty of this, too.

We pay the price for it. With marketing materials and behavior that doesn’t serve our goals—or those of our customers. So instead of having materials that help us create connection, we end up having material that distances us from our prospective customers.

It’s too easy to be stuck in the way we’ve been thinking and doing things.

What’s the answer? Don’t assume: Ask questions

Use customer surveys and targeted interviews can reveal what our prospective students, clients, or employers really want. And their responses: their language can then be used in our promotional materials to more effectively connect with our target audiences.

Getting candid input from the people we seek to serve is invaluable.

Let’s imagine you’re focused on recruiting students for your private studio. And you’re reworking the teaching section of your site. You want it to attract your “ideal” student. And you’re unsure what language and messaging to use.

You realize you could ask a few people you’ve connected with but . . .

What customer survey questions should you ask? And of whom?

Let’s say you are scheduled to teach a guest master class or workshop in the coming weeks at a summer camp or festival. You might survey the student participants in advance or afterwards, sending a short friendly email. You might write how much you either enjoyed or look forward to working with them. And then explain that you’d love to get their responses on three key questions:

Sample survey questions for prospective private students . . .

  • When it comes to your practicing and performing, what three things are you most frustrated with? (Detail your frustrations.)
  • If you magically woke up tomorrow with the results you most want, what would that look like? How would that feel? What difference would it make in your life?
  • What are the three biggest obstacles that have stopped you from getting those results in the past?

If you don’t have an upcoming master class or workshop, you could make these questions part of any initial conversation you have with prospective students.

Ideally, you’d record the conversation (just make sure you get the other person’s permission). The recording will help you capture the language these people use.

Or you could have an “intake form” with questions on your site for people inquiring about lessons.

Do at least 5 of these and be on the lookout for patterns of concerns and challenges. Listen for the through line of your customers’ desires, frustrations, and goals.

How might their responses change your marketing materials?

Think how having someones’s responses might change the first meeting you have with them. Think how understanding what your “dream” students most want might change your teaching. And how asking the right questions in your teaching might change the results your students achieve,

Imagine how you could use this same approach—asking core questions about goals and obstacles—with other customers. With concert presenters, artistic administrators, or with your audiences. Identify the questions that would help you uncover what they value and are looking for. And then use their responses to shape the language and intent of your marketing material.

And now, I want to ask you, dear reader for . . .

YOUR input, please!

If you’re a musician who’s actively looking for a college teaching job, I’d LOVE to have a brief conversation with you on Zoom.

Why survey prospective customers?

Because I’d love to hear about what you’ve been experiencing, what issues have come up for you, and what kind of help you might have found or be looking for.

This will be a big help as I’m re-working a course I taught last year for college teaching job applicants. The course was a blast and the participants got real traction—they worked hard and ended up with beautifully upgraded CVs (a few people used their new CVs to get new jobs, too!)

That said, I’ve been working on a new version of the course designed to help more musicians. Your input and perspective will be much appreciated.

So if you’ve been applying for college teaching jobs in the past year and would like to have about a 20-30 minute conversation on your experience, let’s do it.

This will be a clarifying conversation to help you reflect on your goals and challenges (and help me improve the course). You can SCHEDULE A TIME HERE. YAY!


Looking forward,

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well

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