Thursday, October 04, 2012

Website Advice for Alexander Technique Teachers


Karen, an Alexander Technique teacher in Virgina, USA is creating a new website and asked my advice. Robert Rickover was the first Alexander Technique teacher to seriously jump this way – and look at the profile he has created. Does anyone think Robert has trouble finding students? Hopefully, he will let us know below… So what does Karen (or you) need to know about creating a website? Well, simply: what’s it for? I mean really, ask your Self: “Why do I want a website?” Here’s a hint: there are 3 kinds of website to choose: 1. To sell a service; 2. To build a list; 3. To serve members.

Your website is a link in a process you create for people to experience you. I learnt this the hard way, so save your time and read my story…

When I started out in 2005 on my mission to make a successful business out of Alexander Technique, I began by putting together answers to common questions. These are not questions I imagined people had – which is how most people approach the FAQ list. Instead, because it was Japan, I wanted to know what Japanese were asking us every day. BodyChance’s Office Manager at the time was Idenuma-san: a hot young go-for-it guy of 23yo who quickly put together a top 10 Questions list garnered from his selling on the phone (I miss him!). Question number 4 nearly threw me off my chair: “Is Alexander Technique a religion?”

Eh??? People are actually asking that!?

So I watched BodyChance’s studio visitors with new eyes… I noticed that many were furtive and nervous – as though they had come to a dangerous place. OMG! Is that how my Centre is seen? Yes - for that 15% that our Alexander Technique career success depends upon, this was a big worry. (see What's A Viable Niche Market? to understand my 15% reference).

How do you change people’s experience of you?

Research it: why do people come to my website? What are they looking for? What concerns them? You may guess at their answers, but if I had done that I would never have discovered one of their biggest worries. Do your students have a concern you don’t know about?

So go ask them. (if you are a trainee – go talk to people who might want your lessons.) Ask them to visit your survey at SurveyMonkey. It’s free, easy to do and your students will instruct you how on you sell to them! Of course they don’t know they carry those instructions - it’s your job to decode it. (Another blog!)

These days when people arrive at BodyChance they look expectant, excited, happy to finally be at the Studio. In some cases, they have been in an electronic relationship with BodyChance for several years. They finally decided: 1. BodyChance is a credible place to go; 2. BodyChance (as electronically represented by Jeremy or Basil) understands their need; and 3. They want something from BodyChance. You want your students to be thinking the same way.

So how does this all relate to Karen’s (or your) new website?

Your first and critical job is to get their contact details; that is the entire purpose, the only purpose, of your website. Only. Only. Only. Do you hear me? Get their name and their email, and start communicating with them. Your website is step on a walk, not a destination. The idea that people come to your website to book a trial lesson is wrong! That's like thinking you sell your house by your add at a Real Estate website. "Hi, I saw you add on the internet and I want to buy your house." Likely to happen? Same with your AT website. It is a way to collect contact details, not sell a lesson.

Oh, you may get the 5% that way, but not the 15% that your career success depends upon.

Get that 15% on your e-zine and start an electronic relationship. Like the one you’re having with me right now. Get it?

4 comments:

  1. You make some great points Jeremy - and any Alexander Technique teacher that has, or is planning to have, a website would do well to seriously consider them.

    But as I see it, there are two even more basic issues at play here:

    First,the majority of teachers don't have a website.

    Second, a great many teachers that do have a website have one that is poorly configured - for example, which lacks basic information (such as their location, or an email contact that actually works!) and in a few cases their site is so bad that it's worse than not having a website at all.

    Today it's more crucial to have a website than to have a phone.

    Not having a website is a statement that says, in effect, "Don't take me seriously, I'm not really a professional."

    There's lots more to say about this - you can find it all at http://alexandertechnique.com/ats/internet

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  2. Thanks Robert. I understand you can help the non-nerdy teacher set up a site - amazing that such basic things are not functioning. I suggest readers definitely seek out the information and support available at Robert's site!

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  3. I agree 100% with the statement about having no website "Don't take me seriously, I'm not really a professional.".

    Website is just one of many steps for students to find AT and to come back.

    These days of course is not enough to have just any website. It must contain all the necessary information, be fully up to date and be mobile devices ready!

    And yes, no website is better than "bad" website or one that's out of date - it is just a complete turn off if website doesn't look professional.

    I decided to have website as a portal for my current students in order to offer quality channel of communication. They can access all their assessment information i have made for them. Pay for my services (AT / Yoga), See invoices and receipts, Request help or get updates about what they are interested in.

    Currently still in a testing process so users are restricted for sign up by the admin (me) only.

    Have a look at www.SelfResponsible.Me

    I have some IT and computers background, so if there are AT teachers out there who would like some help, they can contact me as well. Maybe we should put together a webinar for AT teachers on how to set up the basic online presence?

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  4. Hi Martin - great work getting up a website. Had a quick look and I like the simplicity and ease of finding answers. I would change your first message to benefits statements, rather than explain AT. A person wants to know first, not what it is, but what is in it for them...

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