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Opening a Dance Studio: Planning the Grand Opening

opening a dance studio

Now that you’re about to get started opening a dance studio, you have to begin planning your initial marketing strategies to let the public know that you now exist. How will you get the word out? How will people know that you are a credible institute of dance? Before mentioning any detailed strategies, the most important thing to realize is that the more time you have for planning and marketing your opening timeline, the more successful your efforts will prove.

Here are some strategies that worked well for The Dance Exec’s Studio during its opening:

“Coming Soon” Sign

Placing a “Coming Soon…” banner over the doors at the soon-to-be studio site (which stresses importance of location, visibility, and neighboring businesses)

Set Up Tables Around Town

Set up tables at nearby locations to promote your coming location. When The Dance Exec’s Studio was opening, tables were set-up at a fun park (putt-putt, go-karts, arcade games, etc), nearby preschools, local swim clubs, nearby churches and local country clubs on a regular basis. The studio set up at any and every community festival and event possible. These events are frequently free, and you can create an extensive prospective client database by gathering emails and phone numbers with a raffle or give away (e.g. enter for a chance to win a free month of classes, just give us your email!).

Some places that may not work well for setting up a table (local schools), may be willing to put out flyers or business cards advertising your services.  Our philosophy is that it never hurts to ask.

Free Demo Classes

Be prepared to give lots of free demo classes! You must be so confident in your service that everyone wants to buy-in. Visit as many places as possible and show them what you have to offer. Very few places will refuse an offer for a free demo class.  If you do not ask to offer a sample class, it is unlikely they will ask you.  Do not be afraid to put yourself out there.

Any time you are in the public, you must be prepared. Before beginning your marketing, follow-up information should be ready.

Prior to beginning your marketing / grand opening announcement efforts, make sure the following are fully functional and ready to go:

  • A website
  • Phone number
  • Class offerings/schedule information to give to people
  • Business Cards
  • Flyers & Information Sheets
  • Studio T-Shirts with Logo (not required, but encouraged)

It is incredibly important to remember that if people are contacting you, you need to be ready to respond. Be prepared to answer the phone and respond to emails in a prompt, efficient manner. Show your prospective clients that your level of customer service is exceptional from their initial interaction with you.

We also recommend planning a large Grand Opening event, which can be the centralized theme of your early marketing efforts.

At your Grand Opening event, this is your first time officially introducing yourself as a business entity to your community and prospective clients. The studio should be as close to completion as possible and should be clean and in neat order. Show people how organized you are from the very first day.

The Grand Opening event should include any of the following options:

  • Complimentary Sample Classes for a variety of ages, featuring a variety of your instructors
  • Facility Tours (we recommend having a tour script that highlights the studio and its best features so that everyone visiting the studio receives the same, standardized information)
  • Face Painting/ Balloon Animals/ Craft Stations / etc.
  • Food
  • Separate Registration area, so interested clients can be efficiently and sufficiently addressed
  • Separate Shoe Fitting/Merchandise Purchasing area

At the end of The Dance Exec’s Studio’s Grand Opening, we had over 100 students registered. This number will vary significantly based on where you are opening and your marketing efforts. When the studio began, it began from scratch. There was no taking of half of a student base of a nearby studio, or any of the “ick factor” stories you often hear associated with the opening of a new studio.

If students choose The Dance Exec’s Studio, it is because we are building a reputation and are providing the best possible experience for each and every one of our clientele. As a Studio Owner, you have a huge responsibility—in the world of dance studios, there is not a quality control department or corporate headquarters where we can send dissatisfied clients; rather, dance studio owners are all-encompassing title holders.

Be ready for every scenario possible. One of The Dance Exec’s Studio’s greatest mentors and advisers gave us this initial advice,

“You are now a business owner first, and an artist second.”

Take that advice, and enjoy the ride that is opening a dance studio!

Chasta Hamilton Calhoun

Chasta is the artistic director and owner of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also the founder of The Dance Exec, a website and organization that provided resources and training for dance studio owners. The resources from The Dance Exec have a new home on the TutuTix blog, giving dance studio owners an even more in-depth library of free tools and information with which to grow their business. Chasta contributes to the TutuTix blog from time to time, offering her perspective as a studio owner (and TutuTix client!).