Meet Your New Administrative Assistant
Ever wish you could wave a magic wand and have an administrative assistant?
For those of us who have just begun the new teaching year, this is a season full of creating lesson plans, enrolling new students, collecting tuition, and educating families about studio policies.
Do you find these tasks to be time-consuming and energy-draining?
Particularly if you’re introducing new programs to your studio this year (group lessons, anyone?), it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the administrative tasks that are necessary.
Meet your new administrative assistant: your studio website.
Wait, my website?
When you think of your studio website, you probably think of a powerful tool for attracting new students (and if it’s not, you can easily make it so!).
You might see it as a way to showcase your studio’s unique qualities, to connect with your community, and to establish a professional online presence.
All of those things are key to having a studio that is alive, flourishing, and relevant to families in your community.
Increasingly, though, teachers are finding that they can ask more of their studio websites.
Teachers are able to use their websites to not only attract new students, but also to make studio management much simpler.
Here are three ways your website can relieve the burden of managing your studio and free up more of your time:
1. Online Enrollment
Consider your enrollment process. How many steps does it entail? For most of us, it looks something like this:
Receive new student inquiry
Respond and offer a trial lesson
Receive follow-up questions from parent
Respond to follow-up questions and, again, offer trial lesson
Parent chooses trial lesson time
Send trial lesson confirmation and directions to studio
Trial lesson occurs
Follow up via email to encourage enrollment
Parent enrolls student
For each email written, how many minutes of your time are you investing in this potential student who may - or may not - enroll in your studio?
As many of you are increasing your enrollment (due to adding group lessons, hiring other teachers, etc.), you have less time to invest in lengthy email conversations with potential studio families.
Here’s a great way to cut down on time spent emailing:
Allow parents to enroll through your website.
You can do this in several ways:
→ My Music Staff offers a lovely, clean widget that you can embed directly into your website. This allows you to keep everything right there on your website AND maintain consistent branding.
→ Customize your Contact form to allow parents to enroll, changing the “Contact” to “Enroll.” Be sure to create fields for all relevant information needed to complete the enrollment process.
→ Create a button that leads to a Google Form. You can customize the Google Form to be quick and simple for parents to fill out. Make sure that the Google Form is set to alert you every time there’s a new enrollment.
You can decide whether this “enrollment” is a full enrollment in your studio, an application to enroll, or simply a commitment to a trial lesson.
Whatever the purpose of your online enrollment, you can save yourself many hours of emailing over the next year by allowing your website to handle this task for you.
2. Studio Calendar
Do you receive frequent emails from confused parents who have misplaced their paper studio calendar or can’t find their email with relevant semester dates?
Building a calendar into your website will save you from spending extra time updating parents and sending multiple emails.
We recently completed a website for Music Speaks Studio in California, and you can see their calendar function in action. When you hover over a date, it immediately expands and you can see all relevant information. Parents are encouraged to visit the studio website to stay current with studio events.
Notice that the Music Speaks Studio full year calendar is also available as a PDF below the month view calendar.
We connected this to a button because, well, buttons are attractive and fun to click. They also keep everything clean and easy to locate.
3. Tuition Payment
Are you tired of collecting checks every month? Do your studio parents tend to forget their checkbooks?
Put your website to work collecting tuition for you. You can make it so easy to pay tuition that parents have no problem getting payment to you on time.
There are a couple of ways you can do this:
→ Widgets: If you have My Music Staff, you can embed a small widget (different from the enrollment widget) that will allow parents to log in from your website and pay tuition. Although I haven’t used them yet, TeacherZone also offers widgets for embedding in your website.
→ Other options: Wordpress also offers integration with WooCommerce (you can read more about both options) and Squarespace also offers integration with Stripe (steps for both Paypal and Stripe are here).
OH! And don’t forget...
There’s one more huge benefit to using your website for studio management:
As parents go to your website to enroll, locate important studio dates, and pay tuition, they are also increasing your website traffic.
And, as you probably know by now, this helps Google to see your website as relevant and boost your rankings.
So by using your website to streamline your studio systems, you are also boosting your rankings in search results.
Have you used your website to automate anything within your studio management?
What will you do with your extra time once you begin to put your new administrative assistant to work?
I look forward to hearing from you!