As summer draws to a close, it’s time to drum up new clients. For most studios, that means holding an open house—but after a while, the tried-and-true can feel stale. Read on for some fresh ideas.
Not too long ago, marketing at most dance schools meant investing big bucks in printing, postage, and newspaper ads. Many school owners couldn’t pay for that kind of marketing, but nowadays, social media puts all schools on a level playing field. My motto is “Give it the time, and it will give you the return.” Where many school owners make mistakes, however—and squelch their social media success—is in moving beyond dance into hot-topic issues in their posts.
Many school owners, when they think of hiring non-teaching support staff, want someone to run the front desk. However, in the 21st century, operating a dance studio requires not only a website but also a social media presence, marketing skills, and, often, offerings beyond dance classes, such as birthday parties and competition teams. Studio owners who limit their employee roster to teachers and receptionists may be missing out on creative ways to boost revenue. Read on to explore how some studio owners are delegating important roles, freeing themselves to focus on teaching and their school’s overall health.
My school, Perna Dance Center, does many holiday-related performance events and participates in community and charitable activities throughout the year. For each holiday, a troupe of volunteer dancers is assigned to perform at events. All these occasions are good marketing opportunities for the school, but they require some marketing of their own.
Words from our readers
Social media marketing can seem daunting, with no one-size-fits-all solution. Facebook’s cover photo size and ratio differ from Twitter’s and Instagram’s. The ideal size for a Facebook post is different from that for a Facebook ad. Recommended sizes don’t remain constant over time. And not everyone can afford to hire a graphic designer.
What’s up in the dance community
Warming of U.S.–Cuba Relations Leads to Historic Giselle
Louisville Ballet Benefits From $1 Million Anonymous Gift
Risky Marketing Makeover Yields Big Rewards
I’ll Take That Dance to Go
When I vented my frustration to my non-dancer husband, he asked why we did it this way. Stunned, I stared at him and said, “But it’s always been done that way.” Wrong answer. Clearly everyone else’s old ways of doing “it” weren’t working. We needed to change “it.”
The first thing I did was eliminate the words but and always from my vocabulary. Then I began finding solutions.
Attracting teen beginning dancers is a wonderful way to grow your studio. Here’s how to market beginning programs in ways that will capture the attention of teens and get them talking, posting, and texting about your school.
The Ballet Company of East County (BCEC), in Brentwood, California, has been producing a Nutcracker for 10 years. In that time we have tried many different internal and external marketing techniques, including the expected ones like newspaper articles, local parades, farmers markets, flyers, and posters. But we like to come up with new, fun ideas.
Instagram is a fun (and free) way to engage your students and increase your school’s visibility. This photo-based social media app is very popular with tweens, teens, and young adults, and it’s easy to use—you simply upload photos you take with your camera or smartphone to your account. With a studio Instagram account, you can post pictures of classes, publicize studio announcements and student achievements, promote your registration days, and so on.
When I opened my dance studio 17 years ago, registration opened shortly before classes started in September and closed in November. Over the years, however, I lengthened the registration cycle, and now enrollment happens nearly year-round.
Your biggest competition isn’t the studio down the street; it’s the other activities that vie for our students’ attention. With a vast array of afterschool activities available to most kids, it’s more important than ever to create a sense of urgency and excitement about your dance studio’s registration season. Delivering unique messages to different target audiences can move potential clients from inaction to action when it comes to registration and commitment.
In the world of internet marketing, email blasts, Google ads, and Facebook ads rule. But don’t disregard an old standby: direct mail postcards.
School owners are always looking for new and exciting ways to market their businesses. But for most of us, many opportunities already exist in our studios’ perks, programs, and other offerings. In marketing our current studio offerings as something special, we save money as well as time and creative energy.
True or false? The work of an Italian economist from more than 100 years ago is having a large impact on your dance studio business today. True!
Social media’s popularity has given studio owners a bonanza of (free!) marketing opportunities. But because social-media platforms are so easy to use and because they feel informal, it’s also easy to forget that your studio’s reputation is on the line with each word you type and each photo you post. Don’t let missteps get in the way of your efforts. Keep your online integrity intact with these tips.
Most studio owners say they use social media. But there is a big difference between being on social media and using it as an effective marketing strategy. The idea is to get your audience involved, share value-added content, and get friends and followers to share your message.
Warning! Reading this story may inspire outrageous marketing ideas. Your imagination may begin to take your studio marketing beyond your wildest dreams. I take no responsibility for the increase in business you may receive as a result.
We are in conference mode here at the Rhee Gold Company and Dance Studio Life. What started as Project Motivate with 20 attendees in 1998 has morphed into the DanceLife Teacher Conference, which attracts more than 700 teachers, school owners, and studio managers from across the United States and Canada, and from as far away as Italy and Australia.
Need some promotional ideas to generate traffic to your school during the summer? Here are 10 test-driven tips to get you started.
As it so happens, there is a little bird that can help keep your customers informed and do much more—Twitter. As you probably know, it’s a micro-blogging social network whose logo is a bird, and the messages exchanged are called “tweets.” But have you thought about it as a marketing tool for your dance studio? Twitter can reach your customer base and beyond, giving your school a connection to prospective customers, your customers’ family members and friends, and other dance organizations.
For many people, the word “marketing” drums up colorful images of advertising: print and television ads, brochures and flyers, websites and blogs. But that’s not all marketing can be. For dance teachers—and studio owners in particular—marketing must go above and beyond common, passive forms of advertising to showcase the value of our skills and services and build and sustain positive relationships.
Henry Ford once said, “If there is one thing which I would banish from the earth it is fear.”
As I’m writing this, I’m heading into my fifth week of seminars at the DanceLife Retreat Center. And what I’ve discovered is that not only can dreams come true, but they can exceed our expectations.
Businesses create boards that educate and inspire, attracting new customers and keeping current ones talking.
QR barcodes are starting to show up everywhere. Everyone from Fortune 500 companies to the U.S. government is using these square, two-dimensional barcodes in their marketing. Easy to use, they can help you rev up your studio’s advertising with a bit of interactive fun. And creating them costs you nothing.
People love a deal, and coupons are an easy way to attract thrifty parents. Why not offer them for dance lessons? They’re appropriate for all classes and levels, but let’s look at what works well for parents of preschoolers.
By Melissa Hoffman With the development of new technologies and media for “getting the word out,” email newsletters are emerging as an integral part of any dance studio’s communication with current dance families and as a tool for gaining new clients. Constant Contact’s email marketing program has proven successful for . . .
I established my school, Astoria Dance Centre in Astoria, New York, in l983 as a pre-professional ballet school, and over the years it has expanded to include other dance disciplines, piano, acting, and voice.
With the changing economy and increased overhead, more studios than ever before are running programs in the summer months. In marketing such programs, several strategies are key to success.
“For immediate release.” Utilizing these three words in a press release—a written statement to the media announcing your news—is an easy and economical way to publicize your dance studio.
Reaching out to the community should be an integral part of any school owner’s marketing plan. The more visible your school is, the better.
A strong preschool program indicates a bright future for a dance school. By offering a quality curriculum and hiring teachers with experience in preschool education, school owners can inspire this age group to make dance a part of their lives for the next 15 years.
September and October are prime time for dance studios. Schools are back in session and parents are busy signing kids up for after-school activities. Make the most of the momentum with these tips to maximize the back-to-school enrollment wave.
if within that marketing you throw in a snide remark about the competitor(s), you have added negativity to your own advertising that will hinder your success
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s October 2009 annual survey, more than half of children under age 2 are minorities. And early analysis of the 2010 U.S. census reveals that slightly less than half of children under age 3 are non-Hispanic whites.
By Rhee Gold Do you want to become savvy at marketing your school? Welcome to our new department, which will present various marketing concepts and how to implement them. Today’s marketing options are plentiful. Whether your budget is small or large (or nonexistent), you can get the word out about . . .
You’ve given a lot of thought to marketing your studio. You’ve updated your website. You’ve sent out postcards and taken out ads. You’ve donated to neighborhood fund-raisers. Now it’s time to turn your attention to organizing promotional events.
What can email do for your business? If you’re like me—not a computer whiz—it’s probably more than you think.
The studio owners and teachers filling The Gold School studio had a million questions—about marketing techniques, dealing with problem personalities, balancing work and family, providing quality education, and making money.
It’s never been easier to get the word out about your studio. School owners now have a plethora of online marketing opportunities to choose from to reach students and parents, including popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Learning how to put online marketing to use may seem daunting, but dance studio owners can harness the power of social media to help build their businesses. All it takes is a little research, experimentation, and effort.
Call it a sign of the times, a response to the sorry state of the economy. But I’ve noticed some marketing methods and “value-added” efforts by major ballet companies that boost their own visibility and image while promoting creativity in others.
I’m a new school owner, just having opened last June, and I also moved to a new state knowing not a single person. So getting the word out about my new school has been a challenge, with an essentially nonexistent marketing budget. Then I had this idea, which will help in my marketing and branding.
Marketing—it’s a dreaded part of running a business for many dance school owners. It takes time and money and can drain even the most enthusiastic entrepreneur of creativity. But it doesn’t have to be that way. How can you build enthusiasm for your classes and your product without feeling that pressure? One great way to get the word out is by having new faces continually flowing through your school. Sometimes the joy the students show in their dancing is a better marketing tool than a brochure or website—the trick is to get people into your school to experience their enthusiasm, and that means tapping into the community. So if you’re looking for ways to bring in new faces but don’t have a huge marketing budget, these innovative, alternative marketing methods are for you.
Why are you such an advocate for the recreational dancer?
First off, I believe that dance is an art form and that every person, whether child or adult, can experience that unique feeling that dancing gives us, whether they can do 10 pirouettes or only 1. To me it’s that inner-gut thing we should be passing on, regardless of the skill level of the student. If we as teachers lose sight of the value of the recreational dancer and focus only on our best or most promising students, then I wonder if we’ve also lost sight of why we became dance educators in the first place.
Many school owners are experiencing a bit of trepidation about how the economy might affect registration for the fall season. This year, the customer loyalty that you’ve developed will be more important than ever. If you can hang on to most of last year’s enrollment (and hopefully add to it), the upcoming season should be a successful one.
Are your advertising dollars working for you? If you’re like most school owners, you’d love to know that you’re getting a return on that hard-earned money. There is a way to be sure that your money is well spent—with pay-per-click advertising. Imagine not having to pay for ads that don’t bring in business. Wouldn’t you like to pay only for ads that get a response? And what if they cost only a few cents each time a potential client responded, instead of hundreds of dollars simply to be seen? How would it change your marketing plan if, rather than trying to attract potential clients, those people were looking for you? No doubt your mind is racing at the thought of how these conditions could affect your studio financially—and favorably.
What do designing a website, putting together a registration packet or marketing piece, or writing a press release have in common? They all need great photos to spruce them up. But you, a dance studio owner, are not a professional photographer, so what are you to do? You have a camera, maybe even a digital one—but will it give you the results you need to create compelling images? Have you saved your digital images in the correct format and resolution for each project? If questions like these sound like technological mumbo jumbo to you, you’re about to breathe a sigh of relief. This article will give you essential information about how to capture and save dance images.
A decade ago, a potential customer’s first impression was made when he walked through a dance studio’s door. Today, that front door could be your school’s website. More and more Web-savvy folks shop online before checking out a studio in person.