2019 Best Ideas – Marketing & Advertisting

The RPMDA 2019 convention was a treasure trove of marketing and advertising tips from community-focused retailers. Here are five Best Ideas from print music’s greatest minds that you can start using today to boost your business going into the fourth quarter!

Lindy Campbell, Music on the Hill
I like using Facebook to get out announcements to my customer base, but I like to avoid clogging up my regular (public) Facebook page with posts that are only applicable to my student families. I created a “Music on the Hill Lessons group on Facebook. I can put as many announcements as I like on that without clogging up my public profile. I choose to make this a “Closed” Group, so that I can put student pictures and video up and make sure that I’m protecting the privacy of my students. 

Christie Smith, Alfred Music 
Why not have a contest where your music students, either from your in-store lesson center or from community music students, write stories or send videos to their favorite composers telling them how playing their music made them feel and how music has made their life better.  These letters or videos can be sent to the composers and the winner can receive a collection of that composer’s music and a personal Skype call from that composer to encourage them to continue in music. 

You can include a checkbox that gives the student and parent the right to ask for these submissions to be private or allow them to be used on your social media and/or be posted on the walls of your store. The publishers and the RPMDA (with permission of course), might also be able to share or post some of these stories, giving you many more opportunities to spread the word of the wonderful things you are doing in your store. 

Tracy Leenman, Musical Innovations
What do music teachers have on their desks all the time? MUGS! Either for coffee or for pencils. We want people to have our contact info in their view at all times, so we had mugs made that say M.I. “VIP” and we give them to customers we want to honor as VIPs. That way, they have the “honor” of being named a VIP by us, and they have our contact info right in their sight at all times.

We also use these mugs to honor our exceptional employees, when we have our monthly meetings, we honor an “employee of the month” and the get a mug too! We like our employees to feel special!

Cynthia Hanson, Forrests Music, Inc
At Forrests Music, we have branded Emory boards which help to promote our business to customers near and far. We sell them on our website (E-25-O and E-25-B) to oboist and bassoonist in particular for $2.80/each as “sanding sticks” for your reeds. I will give them away to good customers and/or with instrument purchases. It is a nice way to keep us fresh in the customers minds!

Becky Lightfoot, Arts Music Shop
For retailers that are inundated with requests to advertise in football programs, yearbooks, etc: instead of buying/paying for an ad, offer to give the school band a credit on their in-house school account in exchange for the ad space. As a music retailer, you want your advertising dollars to benefit the music program, not necessarily the entire school. By offering a credit on the school’s account, you are either helping them to get their account paid down, or you are virtually guaranteeing that the school band will make a future purchase from you.

In addition, the money “spent” on the ad (in the form of the credit), is a much smaller disbursement than if you had laid out the actual cash. The retail price of any items purchased with the credit will internally translate to your wholesale cost, which is much less than the credit initially applied to the school’s account.

From social media to promotional products, to good old-fashioned print advertising, RPMDA is the best place to find marketing inspiration for your brick and mortar music store. We aren’t mega-retail chains and we shouldn’t try to advertise like it. These Best Ideas are quintessential examples of RPMDA’s community-centric approach to modern independent retail. The next Best Ideas session is in New Orleans 2020!