Of the many hats studio owners wear, one of the most important ones is that of a marketer for our business. In fact, if you think of all of the ways you have marketed your studio over the past year you will probably be surprised to find out just how much time is spent promoting your studio to the next generation of dancers. When I reflected on my studio’s marketing initiatives over the course of this school year I came up with a long list including: printed brochures, postcards, Facebook ads, free trial classes, free dance days, community performances, camps, workshops, master classes, birthday parties, field trips, print ads in the local parenting magazine and various community partnerships.
But if you are only marketing to the public you are missing one of the most powerful marketing tools of all: re-selling to your existing client. Various studies report that it costs anywhere between five to seven times more to attract a new client than to re-sell an existing client. And there is no greater opportunity to re-sell the value of being a part of your studio to your families than the upcoming annual studio dance recital.
Make the most of your annual studio dance recital by adding these 5 Easy WOWs to make a great day-of experience for both dancers and attendees:
Tell your story
The recital is a great opportunity to tell your story either in a welcome letter at the beginning of your recital program book or laced throughout the show announcements. For example, if one of your core values is being family-friendly, take time to highlight some of the ways a studio becomes like family. Ideas include having seniors share what it meant to them to grow up at the studio or including quotes from parents and students in your program book. If academic achievement is one of your core values, take time to highlight how your the discipline of dance is helping your students to achieve in the classroom.
Go full service
There are a lot of details that go into planning recital including rehearsal times, picture information, show details, costume instructions and hair/makeup directions. While it’s important to have all information on a master document, it’s even better to deliver JUST the necessary information so that parents, especially first time parents, don’t have to wade through hundreds of lines of information just to find the few details that apply to them. Whether you present this info digitally or a hand out, parents will appreciate this concierge approach.
Greet them at the door
Nothing says “We’re happy you are here!” like actually having someone at the front door of rehearsal and recital actually greeting families in person. At rehearsals we have a rotating team of teachers greeting students at the door and showing them where to go. At recital, our teachers move from the greeter position to the backstage and dressing posts and I take the lead on greeting families. Every year I hear from families, especially new ones, how nice it is that the studio owner is accessible. Recital is likely the only time of year you will see every parent in one weekend so this is your chance to get personal and thank them for being part of your program.
Double down on details
Over the nineteen years I’ve had my studio I have found that more parents arrive at our rehearsals and shows each year with less preparation. We do our best to combat this trend on the front side with great information, but still we will have parents show up to rehearsal without the proper tights and costumes that need attention. We’ve turned this trend into an opportunity to serve families and provide some WOW with our “Emergency Table.” The emergency table is a place where we can solve most of the common problems of rehearsal and recital. We have a sewing machine, a steamer, extra tights, shoes and makeup. If it’s broken or they haven’t bought it yet, we can fix it. Our Emergency Table has saved a lot of tears over the years.
Adopt the phrase: “Everything is figure-out-able”
Even with the best of planning you are going to run into issues once the curtain goes up, so have your team adopt the mentality that “everything is figure-out-able!” Did a child forget their shoes? No problem, we can borrow a pair from another student. Missing headpiece? No worries, we can come up with a solution. Did something major happen backstage? No need to stop the show if you can calmly switch the order of a couple of dances. Issues and challenges that happen backstage should never become the audience’s worry. Just remember, “everything is figure-out-able”!
So give these a try! Make the most of a marketing opportunity that you already have and create an even better recital day for your dance families.
Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:
As studio owners, we know the power that the recital has on your brand. At the end of each year, this is your culminating event that will ultimately affect registrations for the upcoming seasons. The planning process should be taken very seriously, and you should get started early!
Pre-planning, organization, preparedness, and professionalism are essential elements in creating a strong, cohesive positive performance experience for students, parents, and instructors. If people love your recital, then they will love your brand! In fact, if the recital is an enjoyable experience, your clientele will eagerly anticipate the arrival of the event each year.
Looking for more ideas to take your recital and your studio to the next level? Check out these additional resources:
How many times have you wondered, “What did that song just say?” or “What does this song really mean?” If you are unsure about the meaning of dance lyrics or the content of a song, it is likely that the song should not be played in your dance classes or used for a performance/competition routine (and, if something is questionable, research the answer).
Many popular songs that receive radio play are pushing the limits of appropriateness with insinuating, suggestive, or inappropriate dance lyrics that are not appropriate for children. In a similar vein, songs that are played in your high school classes may not be appropriate for six and seven year old dancers.
One resource we found was songmeanings.com, where you can search for songs and research what the content is actually talking about.
Take the time to find class music that is age appropriate for your class composition. Err on the side of caution and make choices that will positively influence your student base.
Today, we begin the first of seven spring recitals that will span through June 7th!
For me, spring recitals are the most exciting time of the year – teachers and students have worked hard to present a product that will showcase their work. We begin planning spring recitals immediately after each year’s event, so we have 11 solid months of planning. Once the immediate recital season arrives, most of the work is finished!
For some, I know it can be a stressful period. And, even if the midst of joy and celebration, stressful moments occur- like the time our balloon drop pull wasn’t pulled out at intermission or an upset child that will not calm or a parent that feels exceptionally frazzled. Know that the stressful moments happen, but, more often than that, use the following tips to create a happy, exciting, and positive event!
1. Set the tone: Your mood and leadership will set the tone for the event- keep it positive and fun!
2. Be prepared and organized: Allow yourself plenty of time to be as organized and prepared as possible.
3. Delegate: Manage and assign tasks to every piece of the puzzle. This will result in a smooth operation.
4. Communicate: Let people know every detail of what to expect, multiple times. This includes students, parents, staff, and backstage volunteers.
5. Have support: Rely on your immediate support team for ideas and strategies.
6. Do not procrastinate: Recital is the not the time to procrastinate – finish everything with plenty of time to spare.
7. Be flexible: When everything does not go as planned, be flexible.
8. Be calm: Even when dealing with difficult situations and problems, remain calm and diplomatic. Isolate and address the problem and move on.
9. Take care of yourself: Don’t forget to include some rest and relaxation (when you can)!
10. Have fun: Think of the children you are inspiring and the memories they are making. Produce an amazing event that will continue cultivating their love of dance for years to come!