Chances are that, like most dance studios around the country, your cash flow drops during the summer. You may host dance camps and a few summer classes, but you won’t be as busy as you are during the school year. Just because your studio has hit its seasonal lull doesn’t mean you can’t continue to market your business and services. In fact, summer is the perfect time to hone in on some of your marketing tactics and see how you can revamp them for the seasons to come. Here are five dance studio marketing ideas for specific areas that you may want to focus on while you have a little extra time this summer.
1. Work on SEO
Search engine optimization best practices are always changing and evolving. The strategies that may have boosted your website in search last year may actually be hurting it this year. That’s why you should take time this summer to read up on SEO and how you can improve your studio’s site. Here are some of our SEO tips for beginners, but you may also want to look into mobile optimization, keyword strategies and best landing page structures.
2. Set Up a Referral Program
If you don’t have a student referral program, set one up this summer! The Dallas Chronicle explained that referrals are one of the most cost-efficient ways to bring in new students without shelling out a ton of money for advertisements. Think about what you could offer students who refer friends to your studio – discounted tuition? Free merchandise? Free recital tickets? Whatever you choose, just make sure that it’s valuable enough to be appealing to your dancers, but not so generous that you’ll wind up regretting it.
3. Create Testimonial Videos
You probably have some great videos stored on your phone or computer from seasons past, so why not put them to good use? Gather your videos together in one place and work to compile short films that you can display on your website. You may also want to see if a few of your long-time dancers are willing to sit down and talk about their experiences at your studio. A compelling testimonial video will likely perform well on your website and social media pages.
4. Work on Your Brand
Small businesses are always growing and evolving, and it’s essential that you keep your brand consistent across all forms of communication. If you haven’t had the time to upload your new logo onto your email newsletter or are still using outdated class prices on your website, take time this summer to update all these little inconsistencies. It may not seem like such a big deal, but potential customers are more apt to trust your business if they receive consistent messages about who you are and what you do.
5. Keep Up Your Newsletter
Your summertime marketing should ideally grab the attention of prospective students, but you also want to keep your current dancers engaged. That’s why it’s crucial to keep up your studio newsletter during the summer. Send out updates about what’s going on in the classroom during the warmer months, changes that you’ll be making for coming seasons, what other dancers are doing at summer intensives or even just tips on how dancers can stay in shape over break.
Don’t have a newsletter? Create one soon! There’s no excuse not to take advantage of this easy marketing strategy, as free platforms like MailChimp provide you with all the tools you need to put together a professional, polished email blast.
When it comes to marketing and communicating with your clientele, few mediums are as easy and inexpensive as email. Most people have round-the-clock access to email via their smartphones, so it’s a great way to keep in touch with your MVPs – most valuable parents! Here are a few suggestions on how to make the most of a digital dance studio newsletter and send out content that your customers are actually going to read.
Have a Clear Purpose
If you’re going to send out a studio newsletter to your parents and students, you should have a defined goal for the email. Otherwise, you may end up with a rather jumbled, unfocused newsletter that’s ultimately uninteresting to your recipients. HubSpot recommended that all e-newsletters have a common thread that ties the content together. So when you’re coming up on recital season, you might send an email that has performance-related tips and tricks, along with your recital schedule and how to purchase tickets. During your registration period, a influential newsletter might contain an article on the benefits of dance, a list of new class offerings and details about your early bird specials. When your newsletter has a clear purpose, it will be much more engaging to readers and serve as a valuable marketing tool.
Craft an Awesome Subject
When you see a book with a boring, generic title, do you feel compelled to read it? Probably not. The same holds true for emails with boring subject lines. The subject is the first thing a reader sees, so it sets the tone for the whole newsletter. If you send an email with the subject “Studio Updates,” your recipients may very well put off opening it. Inc. magazine recommended keeping your subject between five and seven words and changing it up with every subsequent email. For a newsletter during registration season, a compelling subject might be something like, “Early bird discounts on new classes are going fast!”
Populate with Compelling Content
Once you’ve established a purpose for your newsletter and crafted a pithy and engaging subject line, it’s time to focus on the bread and butter of the email. Each and every newsletter needs to have compelling content if you want your readers to continually open the emails. It doesn’t have to be award-winning journalism, but you should certainly put some thought and effort into your content. On Suite.io, former studio owner Terry Finch suggested using the following prompts to get started on newsletter content:
Reviews of previous performances or competitions
Interviews with industry professionals
Tips from teachers or choreographers
Question-and-answer sessions with students
Dance industry news
Exciting studio announcements
Original content relating to the newsletter theme.
HubSpot noted that a good balance of content is 90 percent educational and 10 percent promotional, so be sure to add a call to action at the end, but keep it short and sweet.
Don’t Forget Aesthetics
With all the newsletter programs available online, there’s really no need to pay for a platform. However, be sure to use a template that will make your emails look professional. It’s important that your newsletter is easy to read, organized and overall aesthetically pleasing. An email that is jumbled and not intuitive to read will lose the interest of recipients and possibly result in people unsubscribing. When it doubt, keep it simple – don’t go overboard with fonts and colors. You should also choose a template that is optimized for mobile viewing so busy parents and students can scroll through the email on their phones.
If you follow these easy steps as a guide, you’ll quickly learn to put together great newsletters that will engage your customers and serve as supplementary marketing material for your studio.
It can be hard to get word of your dance studio to the public without dishing out money for advertisements. However, the are lots of viable dance studio marketing options for small businesses that embrace creativity.
1. Make the most of social media
It’s not enough to simply have a Facebook page or Twitter account – they need to be complete and active. The first step is to fill out every aspect of your page. Include a detailed “About” section, your hours, location, phone number and email.
Post Planner suggested that you create a posting strategy for each social media platform. This will help you stay consistent with content and keep the page fresh for returning visitors. Outline what days you’ll post on – aim for a minimum of two or three posts each week – and what kind of content you’ll include. As you become a social media veteran, you’ll notice which types of content – text, pictures, videos, open questions – get the most feedback from fans.
2. Send monthly newsletters
Sending newsletters via email requires a little preparation, but the results are worth it. Entrepreneur explained that email marketing drives website traffic, so build email into your dance studio marketing plan! Email communication establishes your expertise and allows you to stay in contact with customers.
To start your own newsletter, you’ll need two things: email addresses and software. Thankfully, both of these things come free. You can only send emails to people who have knowingly given their contact information, so have your current customers sign up at your studio or on social media. Once you have your list, it’s easy to import that list into free newsletter software like MailChimp. Most platforms are user-friendly, even for technophobes. Just create an account, pick a template and you’re good to go.
3. Partner with other local businesses
Forming a partnership with local businesses is a great way to reach new customers. For example, your dance studio may want to hold joint promotions with a local costume shop. When parents buy an advertisement in your brochure, you can give them a coupon for new dance attire, and in return, your partner will promote your business.
This back-scratching technique doesn’t necessarily have to be between complementary businesses. If you cater your end-of-year showcase, ask the restaurant to hang a poster and have fliers available. The possibilities of cooperation between small businesses are endless.
4. Employ fun guerilla marketing techniques
More creatively inclined businesspeople can benefit from attention-catching guerilla marketing tactics. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Entrepreneur explained guerilla marketing as any unconventional and unexpected method of advertising – think of yarn-bombing or cutouts people pose with. When done correctly, guerilla tactics are inexpensive and garner a lot of attention, but the tricky part is making sure your chosen methods are legal and don’t step on anyone’s toes.
For an upcoming show, dance studio marketing could mean drawing murals in sidewalk chalk to increase awareness. Ask permission from the city, then pick local places where parents are apt to be and create a colorful advertisement on the sidewalk. Another idea is to spell out words by sticking cups into a chain link fence – like high school sports teams do. Again, make sure you ask permission from the owner, but it’s a simple, eye-catching advertisement that will cost you pennies.
5. Volunteer in your community
Getting out into the community is an underrated way to meet people and build your fan base. It can be any type of involvement, from volunteering at a food kitchen to selling tickets for an art show. You don’t need to do anything except represent your brand (maybe wear a T-shirt with your logo) and be friendly. Be sure to carry business cards. The National Federation of Independent Business suggested that something as simple as joining clubs can be a great way to advertise via word of mouth.