Proven Promotions: Get Students Recording Holiday Music
The holiday season is a busy time. Teachers conduct a ton of recitals, the media gets flooded with ads and our clients are busy making plans with family. People pay less attention to what local stores are up to. I knew my advertising budget would never compete with that of large-chain retailers, so I had to find a creative way to bring people into my store long enough to hear my holiday message.
My solution was to get local students recording music they could share with their families. And the outcome was startling.
Resources: I went to the local office supply store and bought a 100-pack of blank CDs, a CD label kit and some paper CD sleeves. (The total cost: $68.) Then, I used a cheap computer microphone and some free music off the Internet to create a radio commercial for my store. I kept the message short—about 30 seconds—and emphasized our Wonderland Event and our Holiday Buyer's Guide. I also mentioned our holiday store hours. Once I was happy with my “radio commercial,” I downloaded it to my USB flash drive and printed up a number of CD labels with my store logo and a "happy holidays" message.
Outreach: I called each of my partner teachers, ran stories on my blog, posted info on Facebook and wrote a story in my e-newsletter. The message was that we were hosting a free holiday CD recording program for local students. I invited them to come to my store and record a CD on my digital pianos. They could play any of their favorite holiday tunes and go home with a CD that day—all for free.
Response: Forty-eight students and their families made appointments between Thanksgiving and Christmas to come into my store and record a studio-quality CD on one of my high-end digital pianos. I showed the students how to make the recording and save their songs on my flash drive. Each student had a half-hour to record. At the end of the session, I pulled the flash drive, transferred the songs to my laptop—including my pre-made radio commercial—and burned the student's CD while he or she waited. Then, I wrote the student's name on the CD label, stamped the label onto the CD and sent the student home with a "professional" CD, featuring my store branding and a copy of our Holiday Shopping Guide.
Outcome: In all, I sold three high-end digital pianos as a result of this promotion, totaling roughly $15,000. I also sold more than $400 in gift items from our Holiday Shopping Guide. My partner teachers loved the promotion, and I even got a couple of thank you letters from local students.
This year, I’ve already been approached by teachers who want their students to participate in this fun, inexpensive program. Instead of begging folks to come to my store, I am left with the happy challenge of fitting them into my own holiday schedule.
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