How to Promote a Wildly Successful Clinic At Your Music Store

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By Jack Barton

Over the years, I’ve helped a few small band & orchestra shops promote several highly successful educational clinics:

  • Reps and artists from product manufacturers like Yamaha, Eastman, Cannonball, and JodyJazz.
  • Local musicians including prolific teachers, university professors, and gigging professionals.

Most of these clinics bring in anywhere from 30–80 people. And for a local store selling highly niche products to a relatively small population, I consider incredibly successful.

Guests inside a music store attending a clinic

Benefits of Hosting an In-Store Educational Clinic

While music clinics like these can directly lead to sales, they also have an indirect impact:

  • You establish your store as an authority in your area.
  • It builds trust with current customers and attracts new customers.
  • It’s a community service that strengthens individual musicians, school music programs, and the broader music community.
  • When hosting an artist or manufacturer, you boost the relationship between your two businesses.
  • Residual sales can trickle down in the following months and years.

Tactics for Promoting a Good In-Store Clinic

Getting people to actually show up for clinics takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work. These are some of the frequent tactics we use to promote them, which you can replicate:

In-School Clinics & Events

Band & Orchestra is the bread and butter of stores like Summerhays. So naturally, you ought to go straight to the target audience — students from local band and orchestra programs.

For about 3-4 weeks before each event, we send educational reps to nearby schools for in-class sessions with students and teachers. (With permission, of course!)

If you have a guest artist in town, take them to the schools yourself and have them work with the students.

Jody Espina with a local Utah jazz band
Jody Espina with an afterschool community jazz band.

You have to be careful not to go overboard with these clinics. Plan ahead and don’t overbook yourself. 

Also, avoid being sales-y to the students. You don’t want to anger the moms and dads by telling their kids to buy a $5,000 clarinet for band. It’ll also upset the teachers who have to deal with those angry parents.

Posters, Catalogs, and Handouts

These go hand-in-hand with in-school sessions. We’ve worked with brilliant graphic designers and print shops to create posters to promote our clinics. 

Leave them up in the school classrooms. Students will see these every day — much more effective than putting up posters in a local library or grocery store. 

We also produce physical catalogs to hand out to students. These are more tactile, fun to flip through, and get people excited about all the wonderful products you carry.

The Website

Your website is also critical. Feature any upcoming clinic on your homepage, and also on its own dedicated page.

Read more: 4 Stupid-Simple Ways to Improve Your Music Store’s Homepage

It goes without saying that you need to provide the correct date, time, and location. Also, use as much descriptive information as possible — let people know exactly what they’ll get from attending the clinic.

Email Marketing

Email is one of your most powerful marketing tools. We usually send multiple announcements and invitations to our email list during the month leading up to the event.

Social Media & Google

Like email, we make several posts about each clinic in the weeks leading up to the event. Facebook and Instagram are the go-tos for Summerhays. But wherever your audience is, you should be there too.

We’ve also posted about events on our Google Business Profile. These are like social media posts that can show up directly in Google search results when people click your business listing.

Our Promotion Timeline

It’s equally important to figure out when you’re going to promote an in-person event like this. Start too early, and people will forget. Wait until the last minute, and they won’t have time to plan for it.

With some of the special guests we bring in, we sometimes schedule these clinics 5-6 months in advance.

That said, our public marketing efforts often don’t start till about six weeks before each clinic. The biggest push happens in the two weeks leading up to them.

  • 3-6 months before — Make plans and block out time for each clinic.
  • 4-6 weeks before — Trickle out information about the clinic. This mostly means putting up posters around the area and talking directly to customers in the store. We also publish the first info on our website, email, and social channels.
  • 2 weeks before — Get more aggressive about sending emails and publishing frequently on social media. This is when the bulk of your school visits should also be.
  • 2 days before — Wrap up your in-person promotions and send last-minute reminders via email and social media.

Power-Up Your In-Person Marketing with Digital Marketing

It’s safe to say that for school music dealers, in-person marketing is one of, if not the most effective way to promote an educational event in your store.

But man cannot live on bread alone, which is why you need to pair your efforts with a solid digital marketing plan. With an extensive background in the music industry, I can help you create content and develop a digital marketing strategy that drives people to action. Contact me and we can get started.

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