In my last post about lean startup business principles for piano teachers, I discussed the importance of understanding what your students really want – the “problem” that piano lessons are intended to solve.

In this post I’ll tell you how creating a Unique Value Proposition (UVP), partially based on the information you gather from your students, is an essential foundation for your piano studio’s success.

Does writing a UVP mark you as a slick businessperson? Depends on what you do with it. A classic UVP that doubles as an extremely effective (and slick) advertising headline is the Domino’s Pizza slogan:

Hot fresh pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or it’s free.

Now, as artists, most of us would rather parachute from the Eiffel Tower than post a UVP to our website like:

I’m always on time for your in-home piano lesson or it’s free.

Granted, if you teach piano in a metropolis where advertising is omnipresent, such a UVP could actually work. Just because the majority of teachers are uncomfortable with stating something like this – and keep in mind that the vast majority of teachers don’t know much if anything about marketing – doesn’t mean you have to be.

However you end up using your UVP in your marketing, though, there is tremendous value in simply knowing what it is.

What A UVP Does

A good UVP clarifies what differentiates you from other nearby teachers – also known as “the competition” (or if we are lucky, “our friends”). It:

  • Reveals how you are different from the competition
  • Reveals how you can solve the problem(s) your customers (students) have
  • Focuses on the benefits your students receive
  • Positively differentiates your studio from others

This last point is the most important. You can determine whether you are positively differentiating by asking whether a competitor could conceivably say the opposite. If none of them would or could, then it is not a positive differentiator.

For example, if part of your UVP is that you “teach select students,” this can work because another teacher may claim “I teach everyone.” If you teach only classical music in the tradition of Teacher X, this can also be a differentiator because someone else may state that they teach in the tradition of Teacher Y. Of course, if your target audience doesn’t care about (or more likely, doesn’t know about the value of) learning in the tradition of Teacher X, then your marketing must educate them about the benefits.

What if your UVP is that your studio produces excellent pianists? This is not a very good differentiator, because no teacher is likely to claim the opposite!

How To Write A UVP

To write a powerful UVP:

  • Take a look at the websites or marketing materials of your competitors. Write down the terms that they use to distinguish themselves and their studios.
  • Ask: what can I say about what I offer that my competitors can’t say?
  • Ask: what are the solutions (benefits) I offer to the problems my students are hoping piano lessons will solve?
  • Ask: in what ways do I please, or even delight, my current students? What nice things do they tell me about my teaching?
  • Ask: what do my potential students not yet know that might give them more confidence in me?
  • Ask: how do I provide exceptional service to my students that I don’t yet highlight in my marketing materials?

As Ash Maurya says about a good UVP:

“Be different, but be sure your difference matters.”

After you draft your UVP, ask yourself if the differences you are offering to potential students or parents really matter to them. If you’re not sure they’re a match, keep talking to current and potential students, drilling down to find out what it is about your studio that distinguishes it in their eyes.

How to Use Your UVP

Your Unique Value Proposition should be the foundation of the content on your website and all of your marketing materials. If it feels right, you could even use it verbatim as a studio slogan or “tagline.” (Though as I mentioned, you may want to avoid directly stating a UVP that comes across as too slick. Make sure your inner artist is in agreement with your inner businessperson, and do what feels right.)

Have you written a UVP that clarifies what makes your studio unique? Tell me about it.

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