Dance studio owners, have you ever experienced stress as a new season approaches and you don’t know how you’re going to fill it? I have. It’s not a good feeling. I have to say though, it was my fault. I didn’t understand how to keep marketing momentum going all year so that people were excited to enroll in my classes. I was reactive instead of proactive, scrambling last minute to get bodies in the door. An additional result of gaps in my marketing rhythm was a sense of desperation which made me feel like I had to accept every new student and keep every current student, even if I knew they weren’t right for my studio.
Over the years I figured out how to close the gaps and keep marketing momentum going year-round without breaking the bank. My only regret is not figuring it out faster. If you’re discovering that you have some gaps in your dance studio marketing energy, here are some ideas and thoughts that might help you.
Keep New Students Coming in Without Disrupting Your Curriculum
We want our dance studio to be worth its salt. There is no point in bringing in new bodies all year if we can’t keep our students progressing their technique and abilities. I see a lot of programs being sold to dance studio owners that promise to pack classes, but I am yet to see one that takes this into consideration. We have to strike a balance and find a way to bring new students in while maintaining the quality of our programs. Here are some ideas to consider.
- Keep new dancers coming in all year with a free or paid trial and follow up system that is mostly automated. Trials help ensure that incoming students are getting placed in appropriate class levels without disrupting the progress of the class they are joining.
- Create short recreational sessions that happen several times during the year. This usually works best for the preschool age group which comes with the added bonus of gaining a new customer that could potentially be sticking around for the next 15 years.
- Set cutoff dates for joining a current season, but overlap those dates with open registration for the next season.
Marketing that Makes You Money
Ads on Facebook and other platforms can work great when done properly, but some dance studio owners don’t know how to set up effective online ads, and some dance studio owners don’t have a budget yet to do so. Even if you are running online ads, some marketing that makes you money should be sprinkled into your yearly marketing plan.
- Sell some clothing items to your current students that are emblazoned with your studio’s name, logo, and web address.
- Hold non-recital dance related events that the general population can purchase tickets to attend. Think Nutcracker or ballerina themed tea party with your older dancers dressed in beautiful costumes and a small performance to highlight them, or a daddy daughter dance with your company dancers or competition team hosting. An added benefit with events like these is that they can be used as fundraisers while simultaneously showcasing your product; great dance education.
- And, of course, your recitals should be big marketing events and big profit centers.
Marketing to Current Students
Don’t send all of your attention outward. It costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than it does to upsell to a current fan. Create opportunities to make the most of the students you already have.
- Again, studio swag is great marketing and it makes you money.
- Have a “Crazy Class Week” where current students can try additional classes for free and you can get some additional enrollments from within your studio.
- Create special early enrollment opportunities for only your current students when heading into a new season.
Letting Current Students Market For You
There will never be any better advertising than word of mouth. Encourage your current customers to ramp it up with some fun contests and rewards.
- Create a great referral incentive year-round and give it an extra boost at the beginning of new seasons. Try double referral credits; a credit for your current student that referred a friend to you, as well as a credit for the friend that’s starting.
- Have a “bring a friend to class” week.
- Create a fun social media contest that gets your current fans posting about your studio on social media to expand your circle of influence.
You Mean I Need a Plan for Social Media?
Yes, there should be plenty of spontaneous posts to show the day-to-day awesomeness of your studio, but you should also have an organized plan laid out for the whole year that will keep current and prospective families engaged with your studio happenings.
- Your posts should communicate all of the amazing events that you have planned in plenty of time for people to get involved, sign up, buy tickets, and share the information with others.
- Highlight accomplishments of your students, the quality of your faculty and facility, and programs that set you apart from the studio down the street.
- You absolutely must post regularly to keep up the momentum. Without a plan in place and posts scheduled out, it’s so easy to let weeks or even months slip by without posting regularly and lose follower engagement. Have a plan!
I employ all of the ideas listed above and more in my own dance studio’s yearly marketing plan. Each event is placed strategically into the calendar when it will be most effective. It gives me peace of mind to have healthy enrollment numbers long before new seasons even begin and have a steam of new faces continually coming through my studio doors. It took my years to bring a plan together that truly left no gaps in my marketing momentum, but my plan has been tested repeatedly and has proven to be profitable and easy to execute. If you don’t have your whole year of marketing planned yet, carve out some time to do so right away, or let me help you. See how you can get my whole year of marketing ideas and materials along with a year-long plan for every aspect of running your dance studio at www.studioplannerpro.com.