November 20, 2019
Musicians are notorious for being “starving artists”. But not Zach Evans. He took his love for piano and turned it into a $1,000,000 company at age 28, by leveraging the power of social media.
How did he grow his business in such a short amount of time? Well, he used a four-step approach, leveraging Product Differentiation, Organic Social Media Traffic, Paid Ads, and Scaling.
1. Product Differentiation
When Zach started his online piano course, Become a Piano Superhuman, the first step was to differentiate himself from the competition.
“Everything out there was just about memorizing songs” Zach says. “But there was nothing that was really teaching the fundamentals behind the songs. The technique, the music theory – that stuff is so important. You can learn songs for a while, but eventually you’re going to get stuck. And that’s where my course comes in.”
Before Zach started as a music major, he was learning piano off of YouTube. He credits that period of time with significantly helping him understand the market, because he actually WAS part of the market that he now caters to.
His course focuses on solving the problems and issues he ran into when trying to teach himself. Problems like getting hands together coordination, developing “smoothness” on the keys, and understanding how chords work. He learned how to solve some of these problems through YouTube, and some while studying under world renowned piano teacher Eli Kalman.
2. Leveraging Social Media for Organic Traffic
The key to his success? Great, evergreen content.
“When I started, I fell into the trap of trying to pump out a TON of content and ride trends. This can work for a big company with lots of content creators, but for me I had to make every post count.”
Now Zach focuses on optimizing every piece of the content, from the thumbnail to the title to the video script to the editing, before it goes live. Once he has a great piece of content, he can then repurpose that one great piece onto his website, podcast, ads, and all other social media platforms.
One great piece of content that gets traffic for years and years is better than having 100 mediocre pieces of content that get a bit of quick traffic, but die off later.
3. Paid Ads
Once Zach has content that works organically, he pours gasoline on the fire by running the most popular content as ads.
“YouTube is a great litmus test for me. If I release 5 videos, and one of them blows up and gets 500,000 views, I KNOW that messaging and content is what people are looking for. So I don’t have to guess on my ad copy. It’s already been tested on YouTube.”
Zach direct people to his free piano course, which has 21 lessons to help people learn piano online. If they like the lessons, they have the option of signing up for one of the premium courses.
Membership sites are known for their ability to scale fast. For example, if you can get 10 signups in a month, at $25 a month, that’s $250 for the first month. If you can get 10 more the next month, you’ll make $250 plus the $250 from the existing subscribers, for a total of $500. If you get 10 more the next month, you’ll be making $750 a month. 10 more and you’re at $1,000. And each month you can make more than the previous month.
But the most important thing to make this strategy work? Having a phenomenal product.
“It all comes down to having a product that actually gets results for people. If your product doesn’t work, people will cancel after the first month. Yea, you can run more ads, but it’s like filling up a leaking bucket. But if your product actually works, it’s only going to speed up the growth. It’s amazing how the market rewards stuff that actually works in real life.”
One stat Zach looks at closely is the “churn rate” – In other words, how long on average do people take a course before they cancel their membership. If they’re cancelling early, it means he has to take a look on how the course is structured and where people are falling off, and improve that part of the course to make it work better.
Another big benefit to having a good product is getting testimonials. Zach credits testimonials as a big driver in his sales and marketing. Hearing success stories from others works better than you trying to sell your own business.
So to recap? Have a great and different product, produce great evergreen content, scale up using ads. Those are Zach’s keys to success.
Chad Stevens is a music business writer from Los Angeles, CA. He specializes in writing about creative marketing and business strategies specifically for musicians, including using social media, paid ads, viral marketing, and other creative forms of marketing.