Singing teacher, Hannah Howie, approached us looking for a way to increase the number of enquiries to her business.
Together, we built a memorable brand called Happy Voices that consistently attracts more than enough students to fully book her singing school.
Today, we’re going to share exactly how we achieved this so that you can apply these same strategies to your own business.
If you want, you can skip this case study, and request a free strategy session where we’ll analyse your business and give you actionable steps on what to do next.
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Now, before we get into the Happy Voices story, we just want to say that it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, what service you supply or what customers you have.
By far, the most important factor in your business is that you’re able to clearly articulate the value that your target market will receive.
By keeping your message clear, they will understand your service better, be more likely to buy and quickly realise the impact that your service makes on their lives.
Luckily, there’s a simple framework that’s widely used in the creative community that can help you to simplify your message even if your service is super complex.
It’s called ‘The Hero’s Journey’ and it’s been used in just about every major Hollywood film for the past 100 years.
We can be break it down into 7 steps which you’ll soon see in context with Hannah’s singing school.
Here they are for a quick reference
- Establishing the hero
- Uncovering their problem
- Finding a mentor to give them advice
- Giving protagonist a simple plan to follow
- Encourage them to take action
- Present the risks if they fail
- Imagine victory
By follow these simple steps when creating your communications you’ll start telling powerful stories that get customers buying!
Let’s take a look behind the scenes at how we were able to create a unique story that attracted all those enquiries (and continues to do so).
Mapping The Story
The first step in creating any story is to take a look at a character in their ordinary world. We’ve got to understand what values they believe in, what drives them and the version of themselves they would like to become.
As marketers, it’s not our job to create desire among our target market; it’s more effective to tap into existing dreams and desires and persuade our hero that we have the key to unlocking the door to their success.
You know the people who really made money in America’s great gold rush? It wasn’t the gold prospectors…It was the shops selling shovels and pickaxes!
We looked at Hannah’s existing singing students and realised that they were actually quite a mixed bag. The demographic ranged from kids as young as 5 to teenage girls to elder gents in their 60s.
This level of diversity initially made segmenting the market tricky, however, we uncovered a few key drives that were much more ubiquitous among the market.
In particular, these included:
- The desire for change - these people wanted to experience something new in their lives that challenges them
- The desire for significance - these people wanted to master a skill that they can be proud of
- The desire to grow - these people wanted to grow emotionally and spiritually so that they can experience more from life
In their present situation, they saw themselves as quiet and timid. They wanted to express themselves, but weren’t comfortable opening up to their friends, family and the public.
They might say they “lacked confidence” in themselves at times. They had friends who were extroverts and wanted to be able to be the centre of attention too. Most importantly, they wanted to feel valued.
Uncovering their problem
This is a trigger point for our hero. It’s the point in time where they realise and accept that they have a problem.
For singing students, the most common of these involved:
- Watching a talent show programme and wishing they could be like a performer they admire
- Receiving positive/negative feedback from friends/family/colleagues about their voice and wishing for more praise
- Feeling overwhelmed in crowded rooms, being frozen out of conversations and wishing they were listened to
At this point in the journey, you’ve got to consider what the hero will do once they realise they’ve got a problem.
In this case, we identified 3 main different actions they may take:
- Head to Google and search for singing lessons nearby
- Consult friends and family for a recommended teacher
- Search Youtube for do-it-yourself singing videos
People who live in group 1 will tend to have a more present need and willingness to take matters into their own hands so will therefore be more likely to take action.
For this reason, we decided to focus on communicating with them.
More on branding, website design and SEO later.
First, we need to be aware of…
There will always be a degree of resistance for people when making decisions. They want to avoid risking what they’ve got.
When it comes to potential singing students, these may be:
- Monetary - they are concerned that they will waste their hard-earned money and feel silly for even trying to learn to sing
- Time - they worry that they might waste time learning a skill and make no progress
- Emotionally - they may be afraid that they’ll be humiliated by their friends and family for trying to learn to sing
- Practically - they may doubt they can improve their voice at all even with singing lessons (belief they may be tone deaf)
These limiting beliefs hold people from taking action and achieving their goals. It’s the mentor’s job to show that these areas of resistance are negligible compared to their desired outcome.
The mentor is a secondary character in the story whose role is to assist the hero on their journey.
There’s a problem though. For the hero to believe that their advice is worth listening to, they need to do two things:
- Show that they care about the hero by expressing empathy
- Show that you have tread the path the hero wishes to follow
For Hannah, it wasn’t hard for her to empathise with her audience. She had received singing lessons herself for over 15 years of her life and knew how daunting it was to approach a new singing teacher.
She was aware of the difficulty in disciplining herself to practice every day.
And, she could understand the desire to overcome social anxiety through her degree in psychology.
In terms of credentials, Hannah had been performing on stages around the UK for a number of years which showed that she had already been through the trials and tribulations that potential students would soon face.
Lastly, by demonstrating her own singing ability, potential students can observe that they will be learning from someone who practices what they preach.
Having a knowledgeable mentor is well and good, but unless the hero can understand how the mentor can help, then they are of no use.
By introducing a plan, you can show them that achieving their goal is really quite easy if they put their mind to it.
For the hero (potential singing students), we simplified what they needed to do to 4 steps:
- Request a singing lesson
- Attend and receive feedback
- Practice at home with personalised assignments
- Track progress and hear results
People naturally follow the journey of least resistance so if you articulate how easy it is to do something, then they’ll have a higher chance of taking the leap of faith and joining your story.
Call To Action
It’s important at this stage not to forget a crucial element of any journey. Navigation. Your hero needs to know exactly what to do next.
You need to say “THIS IS WHAT TO DO”
In most cases, it will be step 1 of your plan.
For Hannah, her call to action was “request a singing lesson”
You need to make it extremely clear what the hero should do next.
Now it’s time to paint a more vivid picture of what success will look like.
How will the hero look and feel after going through the programme? What will they be able to do? Will they be more happy?
For potential singing students, we identified the marks of success as:
- Receiving positive feedback from friends, family
- Impress themselves by listening to recordings back
- Get accepted into their chosen music school
- Feel more confident when communicating with others
For many business owners, it is nerve-wracking to try and communicate perceived failure to their prospects.
However, wielding negativity is extremely powerful as humans tend to be fear loss more than they want gain.
What you’re doing at this point in time is articulating what could happen if the hero doesn’t start on their journey with you.
For Hannah’s potential students, they may suffer because:
- Spaces may fill up on her singing school
- They may end up with another singing teacher who is hard to work with and doesn’t care about their success
- They might not improve their voice at all
- They may be embarrassed when people infer that they are bad singers
- Their voice holds them back from progressing their career
In this case, we decided not to emphasise the potential setbacks as the audience did not need more convincing.
Packaging The Story
Now that we have our story, we need to package it up and communicate it in a way that people will understand visually.
The Brand Name
Deciding on the name of this brand was relatively simple.
We started off by identifying the core emotion that students wanted to feel, happy.
We then paired this with the vehicle that they would use to achieve the desired effect, their voice:
We then pluralised the name as an inclusive mechanism so that students would self-identify.
Hannah could then refer to her students as ‘Happy Voices’ and build up a following.
The Brand Identity
We decided that bright colours were most appropriate to reflect the happy, joyous and open nature of Happy Voices.
We went for contrasting: yellow and purple with pink as call to action.
The slight rotation in text also adds an extra bit of fun.
Reaching The Audience
One of the biggest reasons businesses fail with their marketing is that they don’t invest in reaching out to their target market and as a result, their message goes unheard.
Communication Method: Search Engines
We knew that there was a market out there for people who needed wanted to learn to sing, but needed to figure out the most efficient way to reach them.
Before we began working with Hannah, she was primarily using Gumtree to attract clients.
While Gumtree was providing some results, they weren’t exactly the flood of clients she was hoping for. Even with her strong brand story, the results would be limited by the number of people who could see it.
Gumtree was getting their traffic from Google, so we skipped out the middleman and decided to tap into this traffic at the source.
Looking at the key terms of interest such as ‘singing lessons in Glasgow’, we had two options: pay for traffic via Google Adwords or rank the website ourselves using SEO.
Paid traffic would deliver faster results, but would require ad costs.
We decided to opt for SEO as the competition was relatively easy to beat.
Googling ‘Singing Lessons Glasgow’, you’ll notice that Happy Voices dominates a huge percentage of the page.
Designing The Message
After the target market clicks from Google, they need to:
- Buy into the story
- Take action (request a lesson)
By simply articulating the story in a fresh design, we were able to create a buying decision that made sense emotionally and logically.
As a result, the website’s conversion rate is regularly above the 10% mark.
We would consider this project a huge success with:
- A strong story that transforms lives
- Daily applications for Happy Voices
- A fully-booked singing school
For more information about singing lessons in Glasgow, visit HappyVoices.co.uk