Dance Studio Marketing 101: The Only Guide You Need to Attract New Dancers

The ultimate guide to marketing your dance studio

Marketing? UGH, MARKETING??

I get it!! You opened a dance studio out of a passion for dance and the desire to pass that love down to the children in your community. You are an artist. You expected owning a dance studio to be a challenging yet exhilarating adventure. You didn’t picture… Marketing.

Here’s the good news! Marketing can actually be very creative, and dare I say it? (Almost) Fun. It can be automated to an extent. It can certainly be delegated. And 100% it can help you get more students registered into your dance programs.

Because the truth of the matter is, you may have a wonderful dance studio with excellent faculty and quality classes, but without a marketing plan and strategy, you’re unlikely to do much growing. If you’re like most studio owners, the last thing you want to do after a long week is to focus on marketing, but doing so thoughtfully will encourage a slew of new dancers to walk through your doors.

This Dance Studio Marketing 101 handbook breaks the topic down into bite-size pieces. It will help you get clear on your goals, determine the best marketing approaches for your particular studio, and stick to them.

Use the table of contents if you’d like to hop to a specific dance marketing type or strategy, or look through the entire post in order to get a sense of the ideas that will be the best fit!

Let’s dive in & get the word out about your dance studio!

The ultimate guide to marketing your dance studio

First, Let’s Get Clarity on Your Dance Studio Goals!

Determining your goals

You know you need to market your dance studio, but where to start? There are so many dance marketing strategies, you can easily get lost. 

Your seemingly simply aim is to bring an influx of new dancers into the studio, but before long you find yourself awash in an ocean of social media networks, search engines, browser windows (I personally have at least 45 open at any given moment) and everything else the internet has to offer.

The easy way to combat marketing overwhelm? Get super clear on your marketing goals and then keep them top of mind.

Dance Studio Marketing Goals Worksheet

For any marketing efforts to be successful, you have to be crystal clear on your goal. But not just “a goal”. We’re looking for your Most Important Goal. 

To determine this, open a new Word document (or pen + notebook) and at the top of the file write “Goal”. Then consider and decide upon the one thing you want to achieve with your marketing. Yes, one thing.

For instance:

 Get 80 new dance students to sign-up for dance classes this season

 Get 50 people a month to sign-up for my newsletter

 Increase website traffic by 20% month on month

Doing this exercise will give you clarity and a well-defined goal. When we delve into social media marketing, lead generation, AdWords and all the other marketing goodies, you’ll be less likely to get lost in it all, and more able to keep your eyes (and efforts) on the prize.

So, write at the top of your file or the top of a piece of paper, “Get [X number of] new dance students to sign-up for classes each month”. Or whatever is your Most Important Goal.

Wanting to spend a little more quality time on this all-important piece? Check out this 2-part series on planning for your dance studio’s growth.

Always remembering the main aim of your studio marketing plan will help you to focus on what really matters 

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Ok, let’s get into it! The first one we’ll delve into? Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Using Social Media Marketing to Grow Your Dance Studio

Social media marketing is a powerful strategy that many dance studios and performing arts organizations continue to overlook. Well, not so much overlook as ignore, due to the vast number of other studio tasks needing doing. Don’t be one of of those people!

While marketing through social media certainly can feel overwhelming, there are ways to tame the beast while still receiving the benefits.

What are the benefits of marketing through social media?

Social media is a powerful platform that is easily accessible to everyone

It can help you to position your studio’s brand and improve your credibility

It is a relatively inexpensive platform for companies to execute marketing campaigns

It helps establish better communication with your parents and dancers

It can raise awareness of your studio within your community

It can encourage viewers to remember your dance studio and share it with their social networks

Which social media are most important for you to use with your studio? Oh, and how many do you need?

Here is the breakdown of your options and how to decide which to use. Any/all of these can be used to build a following, establish your studio’s brand, and promote your classes.

Facebook – With the continually rising popularity of TikTok and Instagram, you may be asking yourself, is a Facebook page still a viable marketing tool for my dance studio?

And the answer is… yes, it is. It is more difficult to gain organic attention these days (aka: without paying for Facebook ads), but get in line with Facebook’s fresh attention on engagement, and you can still successfully spotlight and promote your dance studio business. 

What is meant by engagement? Concentrate on conversation, interaction, and education when spending time on your Facebook page.

Instagram – Home to a younger and more visual userbase, Instagram is the place for curating your best photos. You can also use Instagram Stories to showcase events, notices, and announcements, such as when your dance team wins a top competition trophy. As a very visual artform, dance – and by extension your dance studio – is a great fit for Instagram.

Clearly the quality of what you post is key. You cannot post poor quality pictures and videos and expect people to keep coming back for more. This doesn’t mean you need a photography studio in which to shoot, but it does mean that you should pay attention to basics such as lighting and sound.

Pro tip: Embedding your Instagram feed onto your studio’s website will add continual, fresh content to your site! Ask your website designer about this possibility.

Tik Tok – By creating videos that appeal to the demographics on TikTok, you can have a valuable marketing tool for your dance studio and some fun in the process. As an article in Dance Spirit Magazine puts it, TikTok seems tailor-made for dancers

After learning the basics and checking out their new TikTok advertising options, create a short, eye-catching piece of choreography and launch your own hashtag challenge. Get your dancers involved, and expand your studio’s reach!

YouTube – YouTube can help you build up a loyal online following when you produce and post video content that entertains and/or educates. In showing your faculty, dancers, and studio in action, you’re also demonstrating how wonderful it is to be a student at your school.

YouTube is excellent for your search engine optimization as well, so make sure to add appropriate keywords to your videos’ title and description. Include a link to your studio’s website near the beginning of each video description so that people know where to go for more information about your offerings. Remember too to embed your YouTube videos into your website for fresh dynamic content.

Make your video marketing more manageable by using this free dance studio video strategy planner!

Other social platforms – Of course, there are many other social media platforms you can consider, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest, but I would encourage you to build your following on one or more of the 4 main options above before going anywhere else.

How do I decide which social media to use with my studio?

Social media works best when you work to create a community out of your target audience and create content that entertains and inspires them. Choosing which social to use for your dance studio is actually pretty easy. In a nutshell, go where your audience is!

First, learn what social media platform your students and parents are using most. Parents may be active on Facebook while kids are on TikTok, so it’s important to ask both generations about their favorite platform. Don’t be afraid to ask for their input from your dance family and community. Select 1 or 2 of their social platforms to start with. 

If you have an extreme aversion to a particular social media platform, either give yourself permission to not use it at all, or delegate responsibility for that account to someone else on your staff. I’ve never been a fan of Twitter, for example, since I tend to want to write more instead of less (case in point, this blogpost 🙂). Because there are other valid social media options I can use for my business, I stay away from Twitter and save the time & energy I would have devoted to it.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew! It’s better to use only 1 or 2 social platforms and engage regularly with them, rather than having nothing but crickets on a ton of social accounts.

Social media marketing for dance studios

How can you keep your social media presence relevant but manageable?

After creating accounts for your chosen social, start using these platforms as ways to share what’s going on at your dance studio through images, videos, and storylines. Content to post can include highlighting student successes, sharing techniques and choreography via short videos, and curating content about the dance world. Keep it interesting and/or useful to your audience and you’ll be good to go!

Make sure several members of your staff keep phones handy, ready to snap cool pics/videos (when appropriate) and post them on your social accounts. This will give newbies a feel for your classes and programs and a sense of what it would be like for them to join your dance family.

Because many students are kids, parents and friends will gladly share posts that show them in action. The more they share your content, the more you’ll get (free) brand exposure for your dance studio! 

Engaging Content:

Don’t just send out non-stop notices encouraging class registration, or people (especially those not currently dancers/parents) may stop following your page. Instead, keep your audience interested and engaged by asking questions, posting beautiful photos, and taking surveys.

Creating contests & challenges will also increase engagement, and people will love hearing updates on the progress of any major studio renovations you are in the middle of. Lastly, share articles and motivational thoughts about how dance can improve health and well-being. After all, dance is what connects you!

Offer Freebies: 

It’s great to use social media for lead generation. If you’re wanting more sign-ups for your newsletter, make people aware of the freebie they’ll receive in exchange for signing up. Giveaways and contests are popular and again offer the opportunity for you to capture the email addresses of engaged readers.

Offer Solutions: 

Remember that your followers are interested in dance because they want to solve a problem. For example, they may have a squirmy kid they’d like to get moving (and help them practice focusing). An adult dancer might want to improve strength or gain flexibility. Position your classes as the solution by emphasizing the benefits.

Facebook Live:

One of the best ways to build rapport with your audience is through live video. The Facebook Live service is built into Facebook pages and is completely free to use. Your videos can also be saved and edited later. The creative possibilities are endless!

Once you have a good social media foothold and active, visually-rich accounts, it may be a good idea to take it to the next level by using paid social ads. More on this in the Pay Per Click Marketing section below.

All types of dance studios big or small can benefit from social media marketing. It’s a strategy that lets your customers and prospects learn about the people behind the curtain and introduce your studio in a friendly sociable manner. It clearly demonstrates your commitment to interacting with your dance family and building healthy relationships. This is one place where people can start seeing your dance studio as a step above your competitors’ studios.

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Print Marketing

Print Marketing – The Nearly Forgotten Strategy That Still Works

I remember fondly being 11 years old on a road trip across the US with my family. Somewhere in Minnesota, we started noticing signs off the side of the road. The first one said: “Refreshing free ice water! Wall Drug“, and they continued to show up along our route towards Mount Rushmore:

Wall Drug advertising sign

 Old Fashioned Soda Fountain! Wall Drug

 Cowboy Up! Boots, Buckles, and a whole lot more! Wall Drug

 Something to Crow About – Wall Drug!

I know I’m not the only one with such a memory – more than 2 million visitors per year stop at Wall Drug – but it sure sold me fast and hard on what is in essence a giant souvenir store. 

Why did the Wall Drug signs work so well for me and my family? They broke through the clutter. They amused and entertained us. We remembered them and took action on them. In fact, we changed our road trip plans in order to include a stop at Wall Drug.

Flash forward to today. Every single morning I get my mail. I handle each piece, looking it over and deciding whether to open, toss, or put aside for later. If there is an postcard in the mix, I give it a really good gander. In a world where a bazillion online ads flash by everyday, a tactile, well-designed postcard or flyer (or road sign!) is unique and interesting in comparison.

Will I take action on all postcards? Of course not. But they do grab my attention, and if the service they’re advertising is something I need or am interested in, I’ll explore that business further.

The concepts don’t change much. What does change is the “real estate” we are working with. 

In today’s world, why go back to print marketing? Between everyone being online and the omnipresence of digital marketing, it would be easy to assume that print marketing is dead. Why spend money having postcards and flyers designed and printed, and then going to the effort of getting them into the hands of the right people, when you can simply post an Instagram story or email out a newsletter?

Read on!

Why print marketing works:

Here are the top 3 reasons why print marketing is still a powerful tool that should be part of your dance studio’s marketing arsenal: 

1: It can help your dance studio stand out and get noticed:

Just think of all the marketing emails you never open, and the online ads you never click on. So much digital content is being produced that we’ve become blind to it. Print marketing can bypass these digital blind spots, and done right, can intrigue, entertain, and motivate people to action.

I alluded to this above, but print is a slowed-down type of marketing that people look at one at a time. It is by nature tangible: you can touch a postcard or brochure and turn it over. In fact, nearly EVERY single piece of mail or flyer handout gets held and looked over with at least a tired eye before a decision is made to act upon it or scrap it.

In a seriously overstimulated world, many of us yearn to slow down (if even for a moment), pause the multi-tasking, and get centered. Looking at received mail – a tactile and straightforward task – can achieve this for people. Much of online content goes unnoticed today, but print can make it easier for dance studios to stand out and get noticed.

2: Millennials respond well to print marketing

Millennials are the group most likely to have 3-5 year olds, wee potential dancers who can spend the next dozen+ years taking dance classes at your studio. And the internet, smartphones, and consuming of video content are infused through every day of the average millennial’s life. You might expect that because of this, they wouldn’t respond to or value print marketing, but studies show otherwise. 

In fact, according to research by Quad/Graphics, Millennials respond more to printed communications than they do to email. A whopping 82% of them said they would engage with retail print literature.

Maybe it’s the novelty of receiving something physical through the mail or being handed a leaflet or flyer they can hold and keep. Whatever the reason, if you want to reach millennials, it’s worth considering reaching them in a new way by going “old school”.

3. Print marketing through direct mail gets great response rates

People are more likely to respond to an offer from a familiar business, one whose message they’ve seen a number of times. Using print marketing through direct mail (such as sending out a postcard to parents in your community) familiarizes people with your studio and classes and moves prospects closer to registering.  

According to the Data & Marketing Association, direct mail has a higher response rate than digital marketing, so it’s a great addition to your marketing plan. According to the 2018 DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail response rates come in at 5% to a prospect list (potential people who may benefit from your business) and 9% to a house list (a permission-based list compiled from opt-in subscribers).

These excellent numbers are in contrast to those of the most popular online channels, with response rates of 1% for email, 1% for paid search, .3% for online display, and 1% for social media. Direct mail outperforms all digital channels combined by a massive percentage!

A high percentage of people, including Millennials, like to get direct mail. In fact, the DMA reports that 56% of Americans consider it a real joy to receive mail (except bills, I expect. Because, bills). Printed pieces encourage people to get up close & personal – sorting through, opening, and considering them one by one. Even better, statistics show that print pieces can motivate people into taking action!

Print marketing for dance studios

CAUTION!! There is a caveat here, however. In order for direct print marketing to work, it can’t scream “junk mail!” Your campaign needs to be well-designed and must meet expectations. High quality print is a good indication that your dance studio is an authentic, high-quality studio.

To be clear, I’m not saying you should abandon your digital marketing for print marketing. People use the internet and social networks every day, and they obviously should not be ignored when it comes to marketing your dance studio. 

When combined with digital, though, print is still a powerful marketing tool, with the ability to break through the clutter, intrigue and entertain, and incite people to take action. Print marketing it is still one of the most highly effective methods of marketing today.

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Lead Generation

Get a Steady Stream of New Prospects Through Lead Generation

You don’t have to be in the dance studio business very long to realize that getting new leads (prospects) is crucial to keeping your studio open. You know you need a stream of new dancers to grow your studio, but how do you reach people from your community for whom you may be a great fit?

If you’re like most studio owners, it can seem mystifying, but never fear! I’ve got you. 

First, revisit the exercise you did in the marketing goals and strategy part of this blogpost. With your #1 goal freshly top o’ mind, the next step is to determine the lead generation strategies you will use to make it a reality.

The best ways to generate fresh leads for your dance studio

1. Give prospects a great offer to entice them to take action

If you’ve been working on your studio’s digital marketing for a while now, you may already have a signup link or box on your website from which people can sign up for your newsletter. It’s a great idea in theory, but honestly, why would potential dance parents in your community want to do that? What’s in it for them? In my opinion, it can be a tough sell.

So make it worth a visitor’s while to add themselves to your email list! You can do this through offering a freebie for signing up.

A great freebie will do the following things for you:

Clarify your expertise and attract the right audience

Connect with your readers & start turning them into loyal fans

Move prospects through your sales funnel

Give you the means to reach out with a timely offer to sign up for dance classes

So, what can you offer people to grab their attention and get them to sign up? 

We’ve all seen freebies that websites offer their subscribers. Common freebies are an e-book, checklist, or guide. It could be access to an email series, a free webinar, or a discount for subscribing. How do these things translate to the world of dance studios?

The quickest and easiest way to come up with a freebie is to use something you (likely) already have in place. A free trial class is an excellent freebie! It has a low barrier of entry with no upfront investment or commitment needed, so if parents are in the need of a dance studio for their child they’ll be likely to sign up. Of course, you’ll need to wow them and their child with an excellent experience once they’re in the studio, but the toughest bit will have been done already – you got them through your doors!

There are MANY other ways to go with freebies. For example, you can teach newbies a short dance routine through a YouTube series accessible only to signups. You can offer a free printable dance poster or a well-designed pdf about the benefits of dance for young children.

Freebies bring qualified leads. Make yours as enticing as possible, so that your would-be customers take action right away.

Use an opt-in freebie to encourage visitors to subscribe

2. Use popups and/or landing pages to obtain information from prospects

What’s the best way to collect email addresses from leads? Popups and landing pages. Popups are used in conjunction with your website, and landing pages can be used along with social media campaigns or in companion with your website. Both options allow you to present a specific offer and the opportunity for people to sign up for your email list.

Popups:

Dance studio owners can see their list growth rate increase dramatically after setting a pop-up form onto their website. They’re great to use as an ongoing “evergreen” campaign to obtain new mailing list subscribers, and they’re a quick way to let website visitors know about any ongoing promotions. We’ve all experienced being greeted by a popup when visiting a website and if you’re like me, you’ve signed up for the discount or freebie offered on at least some of them.

Dance studio popup example

If designing your own popup, use the design and editing options to create a popup with a clean layout. Choose fonts and a color palette that match your studio’s brand, and create a styled, compelling call to action button. If possible, set them as “exit intent” popups. As the name would suggest, these popups don’t show the second a visitor gets onto a site, but rather as your mouse is moving towards getting out of the site. Your popup can then show up with your offer to encourage people to sign up. (You don’t need to do the exit intent timing, incidentally, but it’s currently the recommended way to get the most prospects to sign up.)

You can create popups with a service such as Leadpages, through your email marketing service, and/or with the help of your website designer.

Landing Pages:

Once someone clicks on your Facebook or Instagram ad, they should be taken to a specific landing page, not your dance studio website’s homepage. Why?

Your website is the main hub where people can learn everything about your business – all of the classes you offer, all of the supplements you sell, and all of your instructors on staff. It’s a must-have, for obvious reasons. But people don’t need to know all of that if what you’re currently focused on is a specific offering, such as an upcoming master class. They just need to know what they’re signing up for and why they should do so. A landing page achieves this for you!

Dance studio landing page example
Dance studio landing page example

A landing page is a one-page website (supplementary to your full studio website) built to deliver a marketing message. Landing pages can be used to promote things such as your studio’s upcoming season, a special event, or other offering. They are simplified, have no distractions, and feature a strong call to action. 

Why would you use a landing page?

To grow your email list by offering a freebie in exchange for signing-up

For an event sign-up page where users will need to sign up to register

With a coupon or deal offer where users sign-up to access the offer

To feature a sweepstakes drawing where the focus is on gathering names and email addresses

As a sales page to focus on driving sales of one particular product or service (such as a master class or summer camp)

It’s great to have a landing page or pages for the reasons above. These can be used through your social media and also in ads.

Question: Which should you use, a website or a landing page? Answer: BOTH!

1. You can use landing pages towards specific goals, such as for a fall registration drive or as a way to increase your newsletter subscribers. Landing pages are typically used with paid search advertising, social media advertising, and social media marketing campaigns, separately from your website, and in conjunction with stronger (more aggressive) calls-to-action. 

2. You do also need a full studio website that is user-friendly, easy to navigate and with full information about classes, schedules & rates. If you want to feature a specific campaign, say for your upcoming summer season or Nutcracker production, you can link from your website to a landing page and get visitors to take action in a focused, non-distracted way. (And of course, your website can and should have a well-designed popup on one or more of your webpages.)

You can hire someone to create landing pages for you, with copy, graphics, and layout that are designed to convert. Or you can create your own landing pages. How?

Option A:
If you’re already using email service, such as Constant Contact, landing pages may be included in your level of service.

Option B:
Or you can use a more robust service like Leadpages for your landing pages (with Leadpages you can create popups and hello bars as well!).

Talk with your website designer to find out more about the possibilities for your particular studio and situation.

3. Communicate, build trust, and convert leads through email

Now that you’ve got newbies on your email list, what do you do with them? Growing your email list and interacting with your customers & leads through email is one of the best things you can do to grow your dance studio biz. In fact, this is such an important element that the next section of this blogpost is on this very topic. Suffice it to say, with an irresistible freebie, email welcome series, and regular email communication, you can build a strong funnel that will bring enthusiastic newbies into your studio.

Side note: Lead generation is not only about landing pages and popup boxes. You can generate leads through your social channels, such as Facebook, and in fact, it’s not only a digital marketing thing. Asking your current dancers and dance parents for referrals is a form of lead generation as well.

Only top-performing dance studios currently use strategies like these to find new leads and experience the benefit of that stream of new students. Why not join their ranks?

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Email Marketing

Use Email Marketing to Turn Prospects Into Dancers

Story time!! Let’s say there are three dance studios in a community, and they all have relativity the same offerings. All three have decent websites and have done their SEO due diligence, so they show up in the top half of a Google listings page when a prospect does a search. 

A dad in the community is searching for the best dance studio for his twin 5-year old daughters. He’s not picking up on (what he perceives to be) small differences in studio quality when looking at their websites. He doesn’t know a Marley floor from a cement one, and barely knows the difference between ballet and tap, much less between lyrical and jazz. He also has zero idea whether his daughters may want to compete in a few years.

Of the three dance studio websites he’s looking at, two have no email capture forms. The studios look fine but are quickly forgotten once he leaves their sites.

The 3rd dance studio does have a popup email capture form and what’s more, offers a free “What to Consider When Your Child Wants Dance Classes” pdf, so he signs up to learn more. This dance studio now has the opportunity to reach out to the dad with a free class trial. They can share a promotion they’re having or invite him to an upcoming open house. They can share interesting and informative information with him, and in doing so demonstrate that this dance studio knows its stuff and cares enough to engage with their customers and prospects. The chances are greatly increased for this 3rd studio that the dad and his daughters will be joining their dance family.

Email marketing for dance studios

Easy enough for me to tell a quick story, but how do you get started with email marketing for your dance studio?

The 5 Parts Of a Successful email marketing system are: 

  1. Create an account with an email service

    There are a number of email providers you can choose from, including Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and Mailchimp. Most now allow you to segment your subscriber audience, as well as create popups and landing pages.

    Pro Tip: Unless you’re really married to your current service, take a fresh look at the options and change to the best one for your needs before adding a ton of new subscribers through your popups and capture forms. (I learned this the hard way!)

  2. Create email capture forms for your dance studio website

    Build a list of subscribers by setting up a popup and/or an embedded form on your webpages requesting that people sign up. Offering a freebie makes them much more likely to do so! You can create forms yourself through your email service, use a more robust offering such as Leadpages, or hire someone else to do the task. 

  3. Create an email series 

    Once you’ve got some newbies on your dance studio’s email list, you can start to develop and nurture a relationship with them through an email sequence. Those emails will help to establish you as an expert in your field and in your dance niche. 

  4. Create automation

    If you or a staff member had to personally send out emails whenever anyone signs up for your list, that would quickly become irritating (and at some point, overwhelming). Enter email automation. 

    Sometimes you’ll just want to automatically send new subscribers a pdf (or other freebie) and no further emails. Other times, you’ll want to send fresh subscribers an entire email series after they’ve signed up, in order to move them through your funnel towards becoming a dancer at your studio.

    You can do either option when automating your email, which can be done through an email service such as Constant Contact, ConvertKit, or Mailchimp. It does take some initial (potentially confusing) setup, but once in place you’ve really scaled up your email marketing efforts.

  5. Create a follow-up plan

    If you have established a connection with a prospect without them being immediately interested in starting classes, it makes sense to follow-up with them to keep the relationship going. Obviously, this ties in with your automated email series, but you can also reach out with a phone call if they’ve given you their number during signup. Don’t overly pester them, of course, but it’s perfectly appropriate to assume they will continue to be interested in what you have to say. After all, they’ve already invited you into their virtual home by becoming a subscriber!

Email marketing can be a powerful force for your dance studio. Not only is it the best way to keep everyone updated about current and future dance programs, private class options, events, and promotions, but it’s an excellent tool for marketing your studio to prospects through an email series and follow-ups. 

It’s not a quick and easy task to set up, nor is it a “1 & done” situation, but it can be worth the time and/or money to generate a flow of interested people to your studio.

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Pay Per Click Marketing

Get More Dancers in Your Studio with Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads

Imagine people sitting on a bus or subway. Or waiting in line at the post office. Are they likely to be looking around, reading, or engaging in meaningful conversation with the person next to them? Those things are possible, of course, but the majority of them are likely looking at their phones. And ingesting, knowingly or not, a multitude of pay per click ads.

Most online advertisements don’t fully register, but successful ones break through the clutter. They amuse and entertain us. And we take action on them!

What are the differences between organic and paid marketing?

All marketing techniques we’ve discussed so far are ‘organic’ marketing, which generates traffic to your studio naturally over time. In this section, we’ll be talking about using paid advertising or sponsored posts. 

With organic marketing a studio owner attracts users for free. In using it, they establish their studio brand, educate and entertain, have authentic interactions with customers/prospects, and acquire leads (without outright paying for them). Referral programs, an effective optimized website, Facebook posts, Instagram stories, YouTube videos – these fall under the umbrella of organic marketing. Basically, organic marketing is any method where you are not directly paying to acquire or buy followers.

On the flip side, when studio owners decide to use paid marketing, they’re essentially paying for results. The focus with paid marketing is on more quickly acquiring more leads, converting viewers to customers, and reaching marketing goals (for example, the number of new dancer signups).

Use organic and paid marketing in tandem, along with careful targeting, a planned sales funnel, and testing/tweaking your campaigns, and you’ll have an effective marketing strategy that gets results. Which means? More prospects through your funnel and more dancers through your doors.

Paid Marketing

Do you know that feeling where you post an awesome promo video about your dance studio on YouTube and next to no one watches it? Or your gorgeous new dance studio website launches and there are… crickets? This is the downside to organic marketing – your output can be stellar, but if no one is finding or interacting with you, it’s all for naught. If you’re having these types of experiences, even though you’re actively trying to get the word out and improving your dance studio’s SEO, it may be time for you to invest in paid marketing.

Paid ads point to a page on your studio’s website, or to a specific freestanding landing page, with the goal of driving specific actions. For example, if you’re doing a registration drive, a paid ad would drive people towards a webpage that offers a quick and streamlined way for prospects to sign up for a free dance class. This means that instead of waiting & hoping for prospects to find your dance studio in organic search or through social media, paid marketing has you “pushing” content – mainly in the form of ads – directly to your target audiences.

Paying to buying followers and/or leads may sound distasteful, but it’s simply an opportunity to share your awesome studio to a wider audience. Scratch that! I should say – a narrower audience, because paid marketing allows you to use platforms you already use, such as Facebook, to target the exact audience you want to put your studio in front of.

Budget your marketing plan to allow you to use AdWords

If your dance studio is in a busy area where there are lots of competing studios, it’s going to be harder to get new students in your doors. One solution is to use Google’s advertising platform, AdWords.

With AdWords, dance studios can advertise on Google’s search listing pages, as well as on other websites that show Google’s ads, on some apps, and on YouTube. What makes this powerful is that you can precisely target the people you wish to advertise to, narrowing your audience by location, age, gender, even interest groups.

The keys to successfully using AdWords for dance studios are:

Choose the right keywords for your AdWords ads (the search terms that will trigger your ad to show)

Bid competitively but within your budget

Target only those people who are within your primary demographic (so if most of your customers are women 30-40 who live within 5 miles of your dance studio, advertise to just those people)

Test variations of ads to ensure you’re using the best combination of headline and ad copy. It’s worth looking into Google’s RSAs (responsive search ads) which can automatically test variations of your ad to help you find the best result

Google Ads are CPC (Cost Per Click) advertising, which means you only pay for an ad if someone clicks on it. You set your own budget, in that way controlling your ad spend. There is no minimum spend requirement and you can stop the ads whenever you’d like.

Paid ad marketing for dance studios

Leveling up through paid social media ads

Facebook & Instagram

If you’re a new studio, I wouldn’t recommend spending your hard earned on Facebook or Instagram ads right out of the gate. As you gain an audience and develop your pages/accounts on those social media, though, you can start doing targeted paid advertisements designed to reach people who are more likely to convert into paying students.

Make sure that your targeting is quite specific, because you don’t want to be spending money on ads that are not sitting in front of the right people. Split test your campaign by running experiments in order to improve your results. Lastly, include retargeting ads for people who’ve visited your website or engaged with your page.

Using paid social ads in conjunction with a well-designed landing page can further increase the marketing opportunities and your return on investment. With these options, you can more quickly establish a following and start to attract new students to your dance studio.

TikTok

A new social platform in the ad game is TikTok. Given its popularity with youths, you’ll likely been hearing about it from your dancers, but for those not in the know – TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share short music & dance centered videos. Increasingly popular and a hot commodity, TikTok is nonetheless in an early stage, which means you can be in front of the curve on this one!

TikTok does skew to younger users, but more & more it’s popular with a wider age range. Data from MarketingCharts (March 2019) found that over 50% of TikTok users in the US are aged 18-34, and 1/4 of US TikTok users are aged 45-64.

If you’ve been considering TikTok for advertising your studio, now is a great time to get started, because through the end of 2020 they’re offering a one-time ad credit worth $300 USD to be used by December 31, 2020 – AND – any additional spending will be matched 1-to-1 with ad credit, up to $2,000 USD per business. That’s pretty awesome! Leaping on this deal would allow you to test out TikTok advertising at a low-cost starting point. If you find your return on investment is excellent, you can then continue with TikTok ads during 2021. 

The Proof is in the Pudding

Paid marketing can be a good investment or a bad investment. As with all your marketing endeavors, you’ll want to calculate your ROI in order to determine the true success of your paid ads. In a nutshell, ROI (return on investment) refers to how much profit you’ve made from your ads compared to how much you’ve spent on them. When set up and managed correctly, studios can see strong ROI, but without careful targeting, smart use of ad copy & graphics, a well-designed sales funnel, and A/B testing, your odds of that go way down.

Again, why bother?

If you’re a well-established studio with not much competition in your area and have strong success with organic marketing methods, it may be perfectly fine for you to stay away from paid marketing. However, if you’re struggling to compete with other studios in your area and/or are a new studio, it can take many months, even years for you to build up an engaged follower base using organic methods. In that instance, using paid marketing to more quickly acquire more leads and reach marketing goals may be worth the cost.

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Dance Studio Website

Your Dance Studio’s Website = Your #1 Marketing Tool

While other marketing techniques can be valuable, your marketing HUB is your dance studio’s website. It is your “shop face”. It’s where people come to find out initially about your studio, and typically it is through your website where they move through the sales funnel and ultimately register for classes. For prospects determining whether a dance studio is the best spot for their children to dance, a powerful & effective studio website is key.

Is your studio’s website helping or hurting you? Consider your site and answer the following:

Does your site have clear and obvious calls to action? 

Does it make a great first impression? 

Does it make it clear why your dance studio is the best choice in the area? 

Does it lead visitors naturally through the sales process? 

Is it user-friendly and easy to navigate? 

Can people register for classes easily & quickly?

If your answer to all the above questions is Yes, you’re in a good position. Keep that site updated and fresh, and continue to reap the benefits.

If you can’t honestly answer in the positive to the questions above, read on, and answer the next set of questions.

Is your website just a pretty brochure? 

Or worse yet, is it dated & sad? 

Is it difficult to figure out where you are on the website? 

Are people frustrated by the navigation bar, which isn’t well organized?

Answering in the affirmative to any of this second set of questions means it’s time to level up. A new website, or at least drastic modifications to your existing site, will be worth the money and effort. Don’t keep a website that is letting your studio down!

Your dance studio website is your #1 marketing tool

So, what’s the best way to get a new dance studio website?

Well, you have several options here, and the one you should go with depends on a variety of factors, including whether your studio is new or established, where you’re currently landing in the search engine rankings, the amount of time you have to dedicate to building a new website, and the financial aspect.

Here are 3 ways to get a new website for your dance studio:

1. Design your own website using WordPress

If you have (plenty of) time and interest, you can build your own dance studio website using WordPress. There are many themes that can work for a studio site and look darn good, but to build a decent studio site will take a newbie an enormous amount of time. To counteract this a bit, choose to not to get too creative with the appearance of your site and instead concentrate on simplicity and ease of use for visitors.

Using WordPress is free except for domain and hosting, but the frustration involved may not be worth the cost savings.

2. Use a website builder such as Wix or Squarespace

If you’re a newbie studio and need to keep costs minimal, you can start with a website builder/host like Wix. These builders can help you create a really decent looking website. If you’re in a large metropolitan area or have surrounding competitors, though, using a builder can actually hurt your website traffic from search engines. For this reason, it’s recommended to only using a builder in certain situations. For example, if you’re one of only two dance studios in a community that can easily support you both, you can get away with a Wix site. Remember, though, that if a third studio opens, and that studio hits the ground running with a professionally built website, you may suffer some consequences.

3. Raise your game with a professional custom dance studio website

This option has a higher cost upfront but has great return on investment. Done right, your studio’s website will bring in more dancers, quickly paying off the cost of the website. You don’t have to fuss with the designing and building of the site, and can instead concentrate on more important things, such as teaching and managing your studio & staff.

Working with someone who knows the dance world is a HUGE benefit, so do find a company who works primarily with dance studios and performing arts organizations. They’ll speak your (dance) language and will understand the specific needs of dance studio websites, such as coordination with a studio software service such as Jackrabbit or Studio Director for online registration and class schedules.

What should your website include?

Your dance studio website should include class descriptions, a current schedule of classes, rates & policies, and a way to register online for your classes. Your upcoming workshops and special events should also be featured on your website.

Your About the Studio page should include your mission statement – your vision and intention for providing dance classes to your community, plus information about your facility – type of flooring, number of studio rooms, and etc. It’s a great spot to emphasize what makes you unique and differentiate your studio from the other dance studios in your area.

Your Staff & Faculty page includes teacher bios & headshots. It’s a page that can easily get out of date, so when you hire someone new or a teacher moves on, make sure to update.

A Testimonials page is optional but recommended – showcasing happy customers is a strong form of social proof that can sway prospects who are on the fence. If you find that you and your office staff are regularly asked all the same questions, adding an FAQ page to your studio’s website can also be a great choice.

Your website can and should feature pages for your competition team, summer programs, and other offerings such as studio rentals and birthday parties.

Your dance studio site should make it incredibly easy to find contact and location information, so opt to have those details in the footer and/or header of each page as well as on your Contact Us page. In addition to contact and location information, your Contact Us page should feature an interactive Google map and your studio hours. 

And remember your calls to action! This is an all-important element that ensures prospects can easily move through your sales funnel towards becoming one of your studio’s dance families.

Lastly, your dance studio’s website best acts as a marketing hub when you connect it to your other marketing efforts. You can do this by having a popup to collect info from new leads, Facebook and Instagram feeds on your website, and by embedding the YouTube videos you’ve made in your studio or collected from competitions.

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Content marketing

Grow Your Dance Studio Through Content Marketing

So… What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing educational, entertaining, and/or inspirational content in order to build trust within new audiences online — and, ultimately, to convert leads into customers.

What types of content are we talking about? No single type of content will appeal to every dance parent, dancer and newbie, so it makes sense to vary your output. Types of content to use in your studio’s content marketing strategy include images, infographics, email newsletters, contests, quizzes & polls, and arguably the best option of all – video.

But oy (you may be saying)! Who has time to create content in addition to running a studio? Why should I spend my precious spare minutes this way? What’s in it for me? Read on…

Why should I bother with content marketing?

There are so many benefits to use a content marketing strategy for your dance studio! 

Content marketing can:

 Let your studio personality shine through

 Connect with your audience through more than one platform and in more than one way

 Establish you as a dance expert

 Create awareness about your studio’s brand (and keep it top of mind!)

 Keep your customers engaged, and make your prospects eager to join the fun

 Support your audience throughout the conversion funnel

 Establish E-A-T (Google’s acronym for Expertise, Authority & Trust)

 Boost your SEO and traffic

I know it sounds daunting, but content marketing for your dance studio is doable and worth it. Whether you’re trying to get new students, increase your email newsletter subscriber base, or entice more people to sign up for a master class or summer program, content marketing is a proven method for connecting, nurturing, and converting new opportunities online.

Here’s an idea for a first piece of content marketing for your dance studio:

Think of ways that you can engage, educate, and inspire people online using video content. One relatively simple option is to create short dance tutorials filmed in your studio. The trick here is to think it through, quickly create a plan, and don’t get precious about your creations! 

You don’t need a professional video team to come in and record a teacher demonstrating how to do a time step. Instead, whip out your cell phone and record away. Do consider – is the lighting decent? Is the distraction/noise level low? Do your best to quickly adjust those things as needed. Other than that, though… Juicy content doesn’t have to be PERFECT content. As long as your content is educational, entertaining, and/or inspirational, you’re good to go. 

Once you have the content ready to post, remember to also make it actionable. Good content can help convert a stranger into a prospect, and a prospect into a customer, but you’ll need to nudge your leads in the right direction. So, did you just post an entertaining YouTube video? Remember to ask viewers to like it and subscribe. Did you include an interesting article in your studio newsletter? Ask your dance parents to share it with someone they think may like it. Have you created an awesome “Guide for New Dancers”? Send it in return for visitors signing up for your newsletter.

Content marketing leads to engagement and relationship-building. It will increase your website traffic, build your audience in your social channels, and bring you closer to your monthly conversion goals. I guess that’s why they say that Content is King!

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The Importance of “Google My Business” for Your Studio

Google My Business

In a nutshell, Google My Business (GMB) is a platform that gives you control over how your dance studio appears on Google. It’s a two-fer, because it’s both an excellent marketing tool and a way increase your visibility for local search terms in Google. Oh, and did I mention it’s free? Yay!

By using GMB wisely, you can:

  1. Control how your studio’s name, location(s), driving directions, and hours are shown when people search for dance studios on Google
  2. Begin appearing more prominently in the Google Map results
  3. Add photos of your studio and facilities
  4. Monitor (and respond to) customer reviews
  5. Learn more about where and how people are searching for your studio
  6. Optimize your profile to draw in more new students

All of these things help your studio compete with other studios in your area, and stand out from the crowd!

Quick Exercise!

First, do a Google search for “dance studios” + a city/state that is NOT yours. Note one of the studio names and then do a Google search for that name plus its city/state. Look at the Google My Business listing that appears (it will look something like the listing above).

Take a few notes about the things that most appeal to you about this listing, and then repeat this step several times with different studios so that you can see a variety. This is a no pressure way to see what you can do with your GMB listing and learn what well-optimized listings look like.

Now take a deep breath and type your dance studio’s name into Google plus your own city/state. What does your listing look like? Chances are it’s there, but is it bare bones? Well fleshed out? Are there photos? Google reviews? Anything currently missing is a great opportunity for you to increase your visibility and manage how your studio is presented!

Example of an optimized GMB listing for a dance studio

How to Create a High-Quality Listing to Start Driving New Business to Your Dance Studio:

If you’ve yet to claim and/or optimize your Google My Business listing, visit this page for step-by-step instructions

Creating and optimizing your studio’s GMB listing will not only control your online presence but generate more and drive new dancers to your studio!

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Online Reviews

Online Reviews – Word of Mouth Matters

People today pay attention to reviews, to the point that they expect to see them for local businesses. A positive review profile does a lot to convince people to trust you and that your dance studio would be a great fit for them. 

Here are current tips and best practices for handling online reviews (and obtaining more of them!)

 Monitor what’s said about your dance studio on Google and review sites like Yelp and Facebook.

 Actively ask your best parents and students to give you reviews! You can ask in person, over the phone, and/or by email. * 76% of consumers that are asked to leave a review go on to write one. [Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey]

 If you have claimed your studio’s short name in Google My Business, you can create a shareable short URL (website address) that directs customers to leave reviews.  

 Use the positive reviews your studio receives as testimonials on your website and in other marketing materials, however, first contact the customer to ask permission! If they love your studio, they’ll likely be more than happy to oblige.

 Respond to reviews! Whether positive or negative, if a review site allows you to respond, be sure to do so. Besides being a kind and polite thing to do for the reviewer, it shows readers that you engage with your customers and care about their experience.

Online reviews dance studios
Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey

What if I get negative reviews?

Sometimes you fall short in an area, or have a misunderstanding, or just get a dance parent who is a stinker. It’s possible in these situations that you may receive a negative review. Not ideal! But also, not the end of the world.

A poor review is normally taken in stride by readers, if it’s balanced by a number of excellent reviews. If you have multiple bad reviews, though, or only 2 reviews in total and one of them is bad? That can negate the hard work you’ve put into your dance studio branding and marketing and can do you serious harm. That’s a big problem.

If you receive a negative review, respond to it in a measured and understanding fashion. Prospects who are looking at your reviews will likely care more about how you handled the review than the complaint itself. 

Positive dance studio online reviews

How do I get rid of a negative review of my studio?

You can’t remove negative Google reviews, but Google may remove a review for you if it includes spam, hate speech, fake comments, illegal information, or is a conflict of interest. If you notice that a Google review of your studio is really awry and is not just a disgruntled dance parent, you can flag the review, and Google will check the content and remove it if appropriate. Typically, however, individual, legitimate reviews – however malicious – cannot be removed.

For Yelp, if you see a questionable review, you can report it. They make it clear, though, that they don’t typically take sides in factual disputes and generally allow Yelpers to stand behind their reviews. One good thing to note is that Yelp uses automated software to hide certain reviews in order to display only the most helpful and honest reviews. In doing this, the software is likely to automatically filter out fake or illegitimate reviews.

Unfortunately, as with Google and Yelp, a negative Facebook review cannot be removed if it’s legitimate. It does make sense – if businesses could tamper with their reviews, these platforms would no longer be trusted as a reliable source of information. Your recourse will be to take the high road, respond to the negative review professionally, and work to obtain more positive reviews from your dance parents in order to lessen the impact of the negative one.

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Referral Marketing

Getting Your Biggest Fans to Spread the Word With Referral Marketing

When someone needs a new hair stylist? They ask an acquaintance for a recommendation. 

When they commit to starting dance classes? They ask their friends for suggestions. 

And when a parent wants to start their child in dance classes? If you’re playing your cards right, they’ll get a referral – to your dance studio.

Referral marketing has long been used by dance studios to bring in new students, but with all the flash of the rapidly changing internet and social media, it’s easy to forget or dismiss. And that’s a mistake.

When looking for a new service, people trust reviews, testimonials, recommendations, social media comments, and referrals FAR more than paid ads & company claims to being #1. Even reviews from strangers hold more merit than a business’ declaration of its own greatness.

Referral marketing for dance studios

There are many reasons why a referral program is a smart marketing method for your dance studio, including its low start-up cost and the fact that you only pay out once a sale is made.

Using referral marketing wisely can ensure that your biggest fans will help spread the word about your dance studio. Be smart with the following four tactics, and you’ll make excellent use of this tried & true marketing method.

1. Make sure you have the right foundations

For referrals to work, your dance studio has to be worth referring. Dance students and their parents will actively share and recommend your studio only if they feel it’s worth shouting about.

Doing business with integrity, teaching with care and passion, and providing high-quality dance classes are the building blocks of an exceptional experience for your customers. They also result in an overall excellent studio reputation.

Look at your dance school from a customer’s perspective and ask yourself whether it’s worth sharing with your friends. If the answer is no, then you have some changes to make before you launch your referral campaign.

How can you improve in this area? Communicate your philosophy, values and mission statement – as well as your standards of excellence – within the studio and on your website. You can also demonstrate these through your social media, events and branding, and most importantly, in the way you interact with your dance students and parents. Make sure your staff is also in the loop and that you are all operating from these core values in the studio.

If you have the right foundations plus a smart referral strategy? It’s a one-two punch that will bring more dancers through your doors.

2. Implement a referral program 

Next, it’s time to decide on the particulars of your referral program. Remember that your parents and dancers are only paid a commission once the desired action (registration) has taken place. This gives you flexibility and the ability to be generous with what you give them once their friend or acquaintance makes their move.

A good referral gift needs to be generous, immediate, and desired. What is meant by this? Consider these two scenarios:

Scenario A:
How motivating would it be to know that: 

  • If you went to the trouble of referring a friend, you would receive $15? 
  • But wait – you would only receive it after a couple of months go by, in case the new dancer backs out? 
  • Oh, and you won’t receive $15 in cash (which you could use to buy coffee or to get your nails done) – you’ll receive it as a credit against your account at the studio? 

That is not going to entice anyone to refer people actively and often!!

Scenario B:
Would you feel differently if: 

  • You received a $25 gift card to Amazon for each new referral? 
  • What if you received a $25 gift card as soon as the new dancer signed up and paid their first payment, and a second $25 gift card once they’ve stayed and paid for at least three months? 

Now you’re talking!

Scenario B is generous, but because it’s paid in two installments, you’re protected for the second half of it (the parent only receives the second gift card once the new student has stayed for 3 months). It has immediacy, since you’re not waiting to disperse the first half of the referral gift. And it’s desired – who wouldn’t prefer to do a little shopping at Amazon? They’re going to pay their dance bill either way. Scenario B is a much more appealing THANK YOU to your dance parents for sharing your studio with others.

Yes, as the studio owner you’ve now paid someone $50 instead of $15 for their referral, but you’re not really anything out-of-pocket. The first gift card is paid with the new dancers’ initial payment, and the 2nd is paid for with subsequent payments. Plus, the new dancer will assuredly stay at least a full year, so you’ll be profiting over time. Make them a happy, loyal student themselves and they’ll not only pay & stay for years, but may refer friends themselves.

Wouldn’t a steadier stream of referrals be worth giving parents a bigger reward at the outset?

A mini-pet peeve: It mystifies me why some studios make a customer wait – sometimes months – to receive their referral thank-you gift. Why hold the parents’ reward hostage? They’ve done their bit. Once a dance parent gets a new student into the studio doors for you, it’s up to you to give them a wonderful experience and compel them to stay. Seems fair, doesn’t it?

3. And remember the dancers themselves!

As young & social people, your dancers are more likely than their parents to talk up their dance studio, and when excited, could send a number of their friends your way.

Would they be more likely to do so if their reward was to save their parents $15 after a friend signs up? Or would they be more likely to refer friends if they got free cute studio merch in return?

The answer is most definitely the latter. The bonus here is that you can gift them a studio ball cap or dance bag at your discounted apparel rate, thrill your student, and receive the benefits of the dancer wearing what is in essence a mobile ad for your dance studio. 

Offer merch to both the referring and referred dancer with signup (“encourage a friend to sign up for classes and you’ll both receive a free studio t-shirt!”), and you’ll double the mobile ads along with increasing their loyalty and enthusiasm!

Tailor the referral gift to the person doing the referring, and you’ll have much more success!

4. Make it ridiculously easy for customers to refer your dance studio

It’s crucial to make it as easy as possible for dance parents and students to refer your studio. There are several ways to do this:

In your newsletter, you can provide them with an email template to send out to friends.

You can give parents examples of posts they can use in their social accounts.

Best of all would be to offer them a unique link so they can send it to friends. This method makes referral tracking super easy, but it requires using referral software or a referral service.

It may be a little old school, but creating business cards or flyers for parents to hand to friends is still a valid method. You can give each interested parent a distinct number that they can write on their cards, so that when their friend hands it over, you know who has referred them. This method has best success when there is something in it for the newbie as well as for the referring parent. For example, if they bring in the business card or flyer when registering, they’ll receive a free pair of tights for their child. 

Note: It’s a smart idea to create a spreadsheet to keep track of referrals, especially if you use the tactic of giving the 2nd half of a reward a couple/few months after a newbie has begun classes.

5. Make sure your customers know about your referral program, and ask them to use it!

As with any offer, if your customer isn’t aware of it, they won’t take you up on it. Create flyers and post them around the studio. Send occasional reminders in your studio newsletters. Include information about the referral program on your website. It’s ok to do these things!

Most happy customers are quite willing to refer a friend and send more business your way.

Having said that, people have a lot going on, and even your most well-intentioned dance parents and dancers will sometimes forget to bring your studio up in conversation. If you want that referral business, you have to ask them for it. 

So, who exactly should you ask for referrals?

Everybody – and I do mean everybody! Your dance parents and dancers, your staff, your friends and family, and even your dentist are all fair game. (But start with your dance parents and dancers 🙂.)

Periodically remind everyone about your referral program, make it worth their while, and watch your studio become more profitable!

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Offline Marketing

Offline Marketing: Still Important, Still Valuable

In this day and age, it’s so easy to think only of online marketing when coming up with a marketing plan. People are online – be it on their computers or on their phones – much of every day, so that does make sense.

Don’t disregard offline marketing, though! The fact that it’s easily overlooked these days makes it a renewed opportunity for you and your studio to stand out amongst your competitors.

We’ve already covered referral marketing and print marketing, but there are so many other ways to market your dance studio offline. Here are a few:

Studio Merch

One of the very best ways to market offline is through your own studio merchandise. People LOVE branded merch these days, and your dancers are sure to be happy to move through their lives in super cute t-shirts, sweatshirts or ballcaps emblazoned with your studio’s name and logo. They’re proud to be part of your studio, so giving them the option to wear branded clothing and accessories is something they will likely really want to do.

Every time a dancer wears a studio t-shirt at the cafe? They’re advertising your studio!

When they wear a team jacket to school? They’re advertising your studio!

If they use a dance bag with your logo when staying overnight with friends? They’re advertising your studio!

You get the idea. 🙂

To get the most out of this marketing strategy, make sure your merch is cute and of high quality. If your studio is due for a rebrand anyway, consider having a new logo designed and adopting a fresh color palette.

While charging students/parents for merch is fine, keep the cost as low as possible. Making money from merchandise sales is not the main goal here. The goal is to have a large number of dancers actively marketing your dance studio.

In-studio events

You likely already offer birthday parties at your dance school, but even so, it may be time to give it renewed attention. Birthday parties are a fantastic way to introduce your business to wee prospects, with a likely chance they’ll tell their parents they want to take dance classes with you.

To encourage more people to have birthday parties at your dance studio, you can position your offering so the birthday girl or boy is free (absorb the cost by charging a little more for each of the other attendees). Even if the cost ends up the same for the birthday girl’s parents, the perception will be that that’s a great deal. If you have an inexpensive branded giftie, like a cute sticker with a dancer and your logo on it, give one to each child in attendance as they leave, along with an offer for parents to encourage them to enroll.

While birthday parties are fabulous, there are other ways to get newbies into your studio. Offering wedding choreography can be a great idea, particularly (but not only) if you offer ballroom or Latin classes in your normal schedule. Renting out studio space can be lucrative, assuming measures are in place to protect flooring, and may be worth considering. Once in the studio, prospects will feel a familiarity and be more comfortable to join your dance family for the long run.

Community events

Consider hosting free dance events during times when your regularly enrolled students are away (i.e., on summer vacation) or during times of low enrollment. Done right, they will showcase the value of your dance studio’s programs and classes.

Try one free event per quarter to get started and see how it goes. At your free events, try and get many of your attendees to subscribe to your newsletter, follow you on Facebook and/or Instagram, and leave an online review. This is a perfect time to offer your best discount or promotional offer, to encourage them to enroll for classes at your studio.

Giving Back

Back in the day, the studio I taught at performed at several senior centers in the weeks leading up to recital. I always loved those Saturdays. The elderly residents were So Thrilled to see the children dance, and it gave young students the opportunity to practice in front of a live audience.

You can also choose a worthy local volunteer opportunity and establish a Studio Volunteer Day. Kids learn a sense of responsibility when volunteering; it feels good to contribute and feel like you’re making a difference. Helping the environment by planting trees or volunteering for a shift at a community food bank or soup kitchen are two of the many possibilities.

Performing at local retirement homes or having a student volunteer day is so fantastic for everyone involved. While not strictly a marketing strategy (and it would be cheesy if that’s the only reason for doing it), it does nonetheless introduce your studio to more of your community. It’s a win-win!

Your dance studio marketing doesn’t have to be all digital! There’s plenty of value in marketing your studio offline and in more traditional ways.

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Wrapping It Up With a Bow

If you’ve made it through this whopper of a post, you’re ready to market your dance studio like a pro! These techniques and strategies will help you outshine your competition, even in the toughest of times. Speaking of which…

COVID-19 is doing a real number on all of us, and we know that some dance studios are, sadly, having to close their doors. What we’re finding really interesting, though, is that many of our website customers have opted to have us redesign their website in the months since Covid started changing our daily lives, and we’ve also had a very healthy number of NEW clients. Yes, even during Covid! These newbie customers are very focused and clear in their goals and seem prepared to take advantage of the very ideas you’ve just read about. 

They’re leveling up. You can do so too. All you have to do is take action.

To that end, create a clear marketing plan and get to executing it, taking measured, consistent steps towards specific goals. Exercise patience and consistency, focus on really nailing the strategies outlined in this guide, and before you know it, you’ll see an influx of new dancers!

Thanks very much for reading. Please share your comments and questions in the comments box below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Best wishes!
Stacey

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Would you like a website for your studio that rises above the clutter of the internet (and the websites of your competitors)? If so, we’d love to work with you! We understand (and absolutely love) the dance world, have been in business since 2002, and have created hundreds of unique, appealing websites for people just like you. Please check out our www.studioofdance.com website for full information including website features & costs and our design portfolio.