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How to sell what you teach. Think like a marketer, inspire like an artist. A Website Makeover For Teachers.

by Paul Montreal. Average Reading Time: about 4 minutes.

Photo by Malta Girl http://www.flickr.com/photos/21749115@N00/

Photo by Malta Girl http://www.flickr.com/photos/21749115@N00/

I’m doing a marketing makeover on David’s website. He’s a piano teacher by day and a recital pianist by night. He wants to share his passion with the world and he’s throwing all his energy into testing his way forward.

His website should be acting as a central resource for his free video lessons, his paid online training and his real-world piano lessons. But in a world full of piano teachers all trying to get attention with free tutorials, can we turn his fortunes around? Or is it time for the fat lady to sing?

Click for full size screenshot

Click for full size screenshot

Let’s take a look and see what we can learn…

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1. Thinking like a marketer will take you a long way.

I was encouraged by reading the application for this makeover. It’s always a good sign when I see lots of numbers in an application. Sales, Sign-ups, Conversions. Experimenting with different sites and different traffic sources is all great. Thinking like a marketer will take you a long way. You’ll know when you’re getting closer to winning and when you’re not. But it isn’t the whole story…

2. Inspiring like an artist will take you further.

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Whilst you need to adopt the mindset of a marketer, you also need to inspire your customers. In this case you need to be both an inspiring musician and also a credible teacher. Not just an Internet marketer.

What is a teacher, at the core? A teacher is someone who has a solution to a problem and they are willing to share it. But unlike the traditional school environment, online the pupil has all the power. The power to accept or dismiss you based on their personal preferences.

In that role, as a teacher, there are a lot of tweaks we can make so that your visitors will perceive you as being the perfect solution to their individual problem. The key thing to remember here, is that all those numbers, the sign-ups, conversions and sales are the result of decisions made by real human beings. Not computers. And these human decisions are often made intuitively. Based on the unconscious processing of dozens of signals in just a few seconds.

So, lets see how many we can fix in our favour as quickly as possible…

3. Write copy for people, not robots.

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Much of the site reads like a keyword dump. You’re trying to be noticed by the search engines, but the second a human clicks onto the page they will leave because you’re not connecting with them as a real person. So, ironically Google will never rank you very highly. Google cares much more about sites that work for people, than sites stuffed with keywords.

To illustrate this, consider what you make every human being who visits your homepage read in the first few seconds…

About The Piano

About the Piano – Your One Stop Resource for Everything About The Piano.

About The Piano

About The Piano

Welcome to About the Piano, your one-stop resource for everything about the piano.

That’s the actual copy. You make them read “about the piano” SEVEN times before you say anything of value. The problem is, most people will never even get to that next sentence. They just hit the back button. There’s always another 10 million search results they can follow.

Action: Write a compelling headline for each page, it must speak directly to the PEOPLE who you’re trying to build a relationship with and the problems they are trying to solve.

4. The most important thing should stand out the most.

Obvious right? But I got lost through a network of pages for at least 15 minutes before actually finding the things that you sell. And they are right there on the homepage! The problem is, the human brain doesn’t pay attention to the things that are hidden in plain sight. It pays attention to the things that are bright and bold and flashing.

There are only a few things that are important on this website… Your paid training course is one of them and your local piano lessons are another. What ISN’T important is selling hosting, selling email marketing services, selling domain names, selling forex trading secrets. Yet those totally irrelevant ads take ALL of the visual attention on the page. Even the supposedly relevant, music related advertisements are a distraction.

People have very limited attention, you spend their attention every time you make them look at something that’s flashing or rotating. By making them notice ads for expensive amazon products, you’re playing the amazon lottery. Sure, there’s a chance in a million that they will buy the £25,000 piano you’re advertising. But it’s unlikely. However, there is a very real cost to you. Warren Buffet would call it the opportunity cost. You wasted the opportunity to divert their attention to something more relevant, and valuable. Like your own products.

Action: On every page, get rid of everything that isn’t specifically valuable to your ideal customer. Lose the ads. Which share buttons do people actually use? Lose all the others. Simplify the process of joining your email list, have one very prominent box. Create a visual hierarchy. Use headlines and sub headers properly. Use big clear buttons to direct people to the relevant product or page.

CONTINUED…

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