What are some ways that you can grow your business that aligns with your unique vision and studio mission?
Leverage what you already do well and combine that with some effective low-cost marketing strategies, which I’ll tell you about below.
I know you’re up to big things at your dance studio. Before we can go any further into low cost marketing, though, I’m assuming that you:
- Provide quality dance instruction to your students and are aware of your ‘brand’ of dance instruction.
- Have reliable business systems in place for potential and current students to register for classes and participate in everything your studio has to offer.
- Have a solid commitment to customer service and student/parent relations.
- Offer a syllabus that allows for ongoing growth and improvement.
- You and your team are producing successful students at all ages and abilities. This could mean a happy three year old who separates from a parent and fully participates in a 30-minute movement class to a first time dancer moving from beginner ballet to intermediate. Or it could be your star dancer getting accepted into a college program they set their sight on years ago. Not every dancer aspires to be a professional. Know what success means to you and your students at every age and ability.
The fundamentals and basics of any business, especially a dance studio, must be in recognizing where the focus is before you invest your precious time in low cost marketing strategies.
One of the best purchases you can make in terms of a walking billboard of your business is logo wear and logo items. The options are vast, the best place to find out what would be effective is to ask your current students what they’d be proud to wear around town or at at school. The most popular logo wear items at our studio are zip up hoodies, flannel pants, dance shorts, tanks and tees.
If you cringe at the thought of matching track suits or sporting your logo all over your clothes how about waterbottles, insulated cups, decals, stickers, pens, pencils, reusable tote bags, or backpacks?
Another example, we just had custom coloring pages created with our logo and crayon boxes made for birthday parties and dance camps. Infuse your personality, your studio’s mission and vision, and just have some fun with your logo items.
Low Cost Marketing Strategy #2: Demo Days and Open Houses
Rarely does a new student make a decision on where to take dance lessons based on one point of contact such as a website or brochure alone.
Demo days or open houses at your dance studio are one of the most effective ways to keep new students coming through your door and current students talking about why they dance with you.
One way to take this strategy to the next level is to add a unique theme. At our studio we’ve had everything from an African Zulu Drumming day to a Tap Jam to Hip Hop events and more. You can host an open house on a day you already have classes running and let people observe or tour your facility. What can you celebrate right now? Don’t wait! Now is the perfect time to get the word out about why people would want to take a dance class with you. Again, keep it fun and interesting.
It doesn’t cost anything to say thank you. Extending your appreciation to your friends and family of your dance studio community feels great.
So many business owners focus an incredible amount of time and money on constantly generating new business. I think that is important, however don’t over look the good will that extending a genuine thank you or we appreciate you can provide. Above and beyond a kind word of thanks you can also extend some special incentives.
At our studio any parent of a child currently taking class will receive 50% off tuition of a class of their choice. This keeps our adult only classes full and gives the parents a tie back to our studio as well. I can’t tell you how many moms say that they love being able to take a jazz class or ballet class again with other parents or adults. This is a retention strategy as well. Not only are the students tied to our studio but the parents love us too!
Some dance studios do a marvelous job promoting the local small businesses of parents of their studio. Where can you publicly thank or praise or acknowledge the work your volunteers provide? This goes way beyond bring a friend to class day, get creative with showing your appreciation for family and friends of your dance studio.
Applications Offline AND Online
Evaluate your current venues for getting the word out about your studio, your students, and the joy of dance. A personal testimonial or recommendation is priceless. People speaking highly of you, your staff, and your programs has power no tangible method of advertising could ever produce.
There is power in letting others know how you positively impact your customer base. This applies to social media too! And it is definitely a tool and platform to add to the list of low cost marketing methods.
Social media done well is an invitation to join your community to work, to play and to celebrate dance education and performance. Demo days, open houses, and guest teacher events are fun to promote and easy to talk about on social media. Plus you can always get the conversation going by saying hello, thank you, and I appreciate you to your followers and fans.
Have video or slide shows to add to a YouTube channel? What about pictures for your Facebook fan page? They are a great way to keep your name out in the community.
Here’s the video from the fun we had last week with the Jason Sadler and Evan White the duo from IWearYourShirt.com wearing the DanceStudioOwner.com logo t-shirt. Again, have fun with social media!
Social Media Can Enhance and Enliven Your Brand
While all the great tweets, interesting posts, thumbs up, friends and likers can enhance and enliven your public image, reputation, and the potential for attracting new students, they will not secure the foundation of your business.
Low cost marketing strategies aren’t complicated, however customizing them to your studio’s vision and mission will make them most effective. In general marketing strategies give the public a chance to see, touch, and experience the spirit, mission and results you produce at your studio without having to make a commitment to registration.
Becoming the talk of the town for all the right reasons will always have the ‘brand equity’ that is priceless.
What have you found to be the most effective way to leverage your dance studio’s identity with low cost marketing methods?
Don’t miss Suzanne at the Dance Teacher Summit in NYC this summer! As a presenter, she’ll be providing even more insight and valuable tips for growing your business.
Suzanne Blake Gerety is not only the very busy mom of two young children but is the owner and co-founder of DanceStudioOwner.com, and the Vice President of Kathy Blake Dance Studios. She is a regularly featured contributor in various pieces for Dance Teacher Magazine including, “Ask the Experts”, business articles, and has presented live workshops at Dance Media’s Dance Teacher Summit New York City.
Suzanne experiences the ups and downs of studio ownership too, which is what inspires her to help studio owners and teachers keep their passion for dance alive as they grow their business. You can connect with Suzanne on Twitter @SuzanneGerety and at DanceStudioOwner.com.