How To Build – AND USE – An Email List for Your Dance Studio

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You’ve probably heard by now that you should be gathering email addresses through a mailing list, so you can reach out to prospects about your dance studio’s classes and programs. In fact, an email marketing strategy is essential if you want to proactively communicate with your community and increase enrollment.

Sounds great and all, but how exactly do you do that? What’s the easiest way to welcome new subscribers? How do you create a freebie to entice people to subscribe? And keep your audience engaged?

Well, I’ve got you covered! Below you’ll find an overview of the steps involved, with links to further resources to get you on the right track.

1. Consider Your Email Service

First up is to create an account with an email service, if you’re not currently using one that you love. 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/or 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!)

Having spent years in the past with both Constant Contact and Mailchimp, I now use and am a Big Fan of ConvertKit. I’ve been helping some of our customers (who are all dance studio owners) get set up with ConvertKit as well, and feel comfortable recommending it to any dance studio or
performing arts organization. Check out this blogpost for my overview on ConvertKit and its features, benefits, and pricing.

Once you’ve got an email service in place, you’re ready for the next step…

2. Get Clear on Your Dance Studio’s Marketing Goals

When was the last time considered your goals for the studio? These definitely can change over the years, depending on your dance studio’s type, stage of growth, and marketing objectives. It’s best if a marketing plan is reviewed and updated at least annually.

If you do nothing other than take an hour or two to write out a mini-marketing plan (or refresh your existing one), you’ll discover a refreshed sense of focus and purpose. It’s an especially important step when you’re embarking upon a new marketing strategy – for example, email marketing.

If you are clear on your studio goals from the get-go, your email marketing efforts will go much, much further towards getting more dancers through your doors!

Take a look at this blogpost on updating your dance studio’s marketing plan!

3. Determine Your Studio’s Sales Funnel(s)

Starting a new marketing direction without a clear plan is a common mistake that many dance studio owners make. I get it! Somehow it’s easier to get excited and barrel forward, without a full picture of how all the pieces fit together.

But here’s the reality… Building one or more sales funnels for your dance studio is essential if you want to see a marked increase in dancers coming through your doors.

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a structured process that turns strangers into paying dance families. It takes people on a journey from being completely unaware of your dance studio to connecting with you, becoming interested, and signing up for your dance programs.

A sales funnel helps you understand what potential customers are thinking as they move towards enrolling at your studio. You’ll then be able to proceed with the best marketing activities and channels, create the most relevant messaging during each stage, and enroll more dancers. 🙂

Do you have a sales funnel in place for your dance studio? If not, then you’re definitely missing out on leads, new dancers, and revenue!

Check out this blogpost for the low-down on sales funnels and how successful dance studios use them!

4. Create a Popup and Inline Form to Gather Email Subscribers

Start building a list of subscribers by embedding a signup form and/or adding a pop-up to your dance studio’s website.

  • An embedded form is a mailing list signup that shows within the content of one (or more) of your webpages.
  • Depending on the email service, you can show a pop-up form (aka: modal form) to visitors after they’ve been on the page for a certain amount of time, after they’ve scrolled a certain percentage of the page, or as they’re moving to exit the page.

For our dance studio website design customers at StudioofDance.com, we like to recommend having an embedded form near the bottom of the homepage and on the Contact Us page, as well as a pop-up form that shows up as visitors are moving to exit the homepage.

You can create forms yourself through your email service, although some make it difficult to create more than one form per account. Other email services (such as ConvertKit) allow you to easily create multiple forms for use in different locations and for different purposes. ConvertKit (can you tell I’m a fan?) also allows you to create simple landing pages in order to gather email subscribers. Check with your email service to suss out its capabilities.

Ready to create signup forms but unsure where to begin? Do a search in the support section of your email service to learn how to build your first form(s). Search YouTube for this as well; it’s a fantastic resource for getting up to speed on your email service. If using ConvertKit, this blogpost will help you set up your account and get your first forms in place!

5. Send Out an Awesome Initial Welcome Email

Send out a strong welcome email to new subscribers, thanking them for joining your list, reminding them what your studio is about, and explaining what to expect in their inbox.

An awesome initial welcome email makes a solid first impression and shows your audience that you understand them and can be a good fit for their needs. It’s excellent to include a clear call-to-action (such as “learn about our summer programs by clicking here!”), to get a reader to click
through to your site for a great piece of content or to take advantage of a trial class offer.

Having said that, don’t do a hard push to sell full enrollment yet. With this all-important first email, the goals are to establish connection and to reflect back your subscribers motivations, intentions and reasons for signing up to your email list. One soft but effective call-to-action for your welcome email is to encourage new readers to get a sense of studio life by clicking on your Facebook or Instagram account. It’s a small step for them to take, but seeing your social accounts can give them a warm and wonderful feeling about your studio, and will move them closer to registration.

Instead of using your welcome email simply to confirm them signing up your email list, use it as an opportunity to begin a new long-term relationship!

What should you put in that all important first email? Would it be helpful to have a fill-in the-blank set of welcome email templates to use with your dance studio? You’re in luck! Click here for free email welcome templates specifically created for use with dance studios!

6. Decide On and Create Your Freebie (aka: Lead Magnet )

Freebies are commonplace these days, and for good reason… because they work. Well, they work if the freebie you’re offering is one that your target market finds educational, entertaining, or inspiring – or if it includes a perk they can’t otherwise find on your website.

Offering visitors a great freebie will entice them to take action and sign up for your studio’s email list. What will your audience connect with and get excited about? Think about what will best educate, entertain, or inspire them. Or better yet, figure out what will do all three of those things!

A free or discounted trial class is a classic freebie for dance studios. Other examples of great freebies are a printable dance poster, a YouTube video teaching a few basic tap steps, and a parenting checklist for those with first time dancers.

Having a freebie is an important part of building and using your dance studio’s mailing list. Want to make sure that yours is irresistible enough to pull in new subscribers? Check out this blogpost on the topic!

7. Write Your Welcome Email Sequence

When a prospect signs up for your studio newsletter, don’t leave them hanging! As mentioned above, an excellent welcome email is the very minimum you need, but to get the full benefit of email marketing and get more new dancers through your doors, you’ll also want to write a welcome series for your subscribers.

All this means is that they’ll receive a series of pre-prepared emails sent to them over a period of time.

Email sequences give you the opportunity to give newbies a great sense of your studio’s personality, establish yourself as a dance expert, and can take care of several of the “touchpoints” people go through before making a commitment.

These don’t have to be long emails, but they should give truly helpful tips, ensuring that readers will think highly of your studio. Once new subscribers have received valuable content, they’ll be even more open to hearing about your classes & programs. You can increase specific mentions of your class offerings in the later emails, and finish with a discount for the reader who would like to sign up for classes.

An email series planner is included in our 50-page “Plan Your First Email Marketing Campaign” guide + workbook!

8. Set Up Your Automations

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). Other times, you’ll want to send out an entire email series, in order to move readers through your funnel towards becoming a dancer at your studio. You may want to include or exclude certain
subscribers. For example, you may want to send a discounted offering only to newbies and not to your current dance families.

You can do all these things when automating your email, which can be done through an email service such as Constant Contact, ConvertKit, or Mailchimp. I am personally in love with visual email automation platform of ConvertKit, which makes setting up automations easy and danged near fun.

Depending on your email service’s capabilities and user experience, it can take some initial (potentially confusing) setup, but once automations are in place you’ve really scaled up your email marketing efforts!

9. Use Landing Pages, in Conjunction With Ads and Your Mailing List (aka: The Next Level!)

With landing pages, you can more easily persuade visitors to take the action you want them to take; whether it’s to sign up for your mailing list, buy tickets for an upcoming production, or click through to register for a free class. There are many uses for a dance studio landing page, but they
are most commonly used to create a distraction-free page driving traffic to your lead magnet (aka: freebie) or seasonal offering.

If you’ve been wanting to venture into Facebook or Instagram ads for your dance studio, a landing page is the perfect compliment. Visitors will be taken to your landing page after clicking on your ad, and there they’ll see more information – the exact info you want that particular audience to see.

If they’re interested, they’ll grab hold of your offer in exchange for their email address. It’s an excellent way to promote your upcoming dance season and do a targeted registration drive.

My favorite tool for landing pages is Leadpages (this link gives you a free trial of the service!), which is a service to help you build landing pages and sales pages easily. Note that Leadpages is not the same thing as your email service (ie: Mailchimp or ConvertKit). Leadpages helps you get more subscribers, but doesn’t allow you to send emails to your list. If you opt for this service, you’ll connect it to your email service. You’ll then use Leadpages to help grow your email list and you’ll use your email service to communicate with that list.

10. Conclusion

At Studio of Dance.com (where we create websites specifically for dance studios and performing arts organizations), we’re getting more and more requests to set up mailing list forms and pop-ups on studio websites, and to create landing pages to complement FB and Instagram ad campaigns.

I’d go as far as to say that at this point, if you’re wanting more dancers in your studio, an email marketing strategy is essential.

While your email marketing can definitely include short term pushes towards timebound offerings such as a summer dance program or Nutcracker performance, ideally it will provide your studio with a steady stream of prospects ripe for converting to full dance family status.

Do you have an email marketing strategy for your dance studio? How are you growing and engaging your audience?

Want to learn how to get your studio’s first email marketing campaign in place? Click here for the 50-page guide + workbook!

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.