If you (like most studio owners) want to attract new leads and convert them into enrolled dancers, the first question I would ask you is: “What does your sales funnel look like?”
If your answer is nothing but a blank stare and/or a nervous cough, don’t fret! You are most definitely not alone. And yet this piece is crucial to the success of your dance studio. Without a solid sales funnel in place, your studio will grow haphazardly at best.
Most studio owners have pieces of what could be a sales funnel, but nothing firmly in place. What do I mean by that? Well, if you have a website for your dance studio (I assume you do!), that’s a potential sales funnel piece. Do you offer a free trial class or discounted registration fee for early enrollment? Do you gather email addresses for use on your mailing list? Those are other potential funnel pieces.
Unfortunately, having several disparate pieces does NOT equate to a working sales funnel that will reliably gather leads and converts them into dancers. Are you currently without a proper sales funnel for your dance studio? Let’s fix that!
First things first… let’s make sure we’re on the same page:
What Exactly IS a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is simply the process a prospect goes through on their path to enrolling at your dance studio.
A sales funnel looks and functions just like you would expect: wide at the top, narrowing to a small opening at the bottom. At the top of the funnel is where you start to generate awareness of, and interest in, your studio and its programs. The middle section of the funnel is where you nurture leads and further your connection so they can easily picture becoming part of your dance family. At the bottom of the funnel, your prospects are signing up for a trial class and fully enrolling in your dance programs.
Some people will quickly go through all stages, while others are exploring options so they can make their move at the time that is right for them – for example, once little Janie turns 4 years old. The goal is to develop a process to nurture relationships so that prospects enroll at your studio when the time is right for their family!
While the graphic above illustrates the general idea of a sales funnel, it’s not specific enough to do a dance studio any good. At this point, it’s just conceptual. For a sales funnel to WORK, we need to activate each of the funnel stages by making them intentional, actionable, and specific.
How do you activate a sales funnel? Read on!
Dance Studio Sales Funnel Example
Here’s a short sales funnel you can use with your dance studio. It includes only three stages (yay!).
The first thing we need to do is determine the goal of the sales funnel and who we’re aiming at. People of all ages may be interested in dance, but we’ll want to narrow it down to a subset to ensure a successful funnel.
For this example, we’ll say we have a strong competitive dance program, but want to “beef up” our preschool classes because they’re our bread and butter. Therefore, our target market for this funnel is parents in our community with preschool aged children.
Now on to our funnel stages and how we’ll activate them!
Funnel Stage #1 (the wide part at the top of the funnel):
Prospect Identification & Connection
In this first stage, we want to identify and connect with the specific part of our target market -parents of preschool-aged children. To activate this stage of the sales funnel, we need to answer HOW it will come about. How will we find and connect with the right prospects?
In this particular instance, we’ll use Facebook ads to get the right swath of our target market about our preschool classes. If they’re curious and click on the ad, they’ll be taken to a landing page with teaser info plus a mailing list signup. Once they submit their info, they’re officially on your mailing list. Stage #1 complete!
Funnel Stage #2 (the part in the middle of the funnel):
A Trial Class or Entry Level Program
Our next funnel stage is to offer a discounted trial class and/or entry level class offering. This is where a prospect can experience what it’s like to take classes at our studio, but without making a huge commitment.
To activate this stage of our sample funnel, new subscribers will receive an email with information about our summer dance program for preschoolers, plus an easy registration method to sign their little one up for a 4-week summer dance camp.
Stage #2 complete! The prospect gets to experience our studio, and if their children have a wonderful time, they’ll be primed and ready to enroll fully.
Funnel Stage #3 (the narrow part at the bottom of the funnel):
The Commitment-Level Service
The final step in this 3-stage sales funnel is to convert the prospect into a fully enrolled customer. They should already have momentum towards that, because of their excellent experience with the 4-week summer dance camp. It’s now our job to make it obvious and easy to register for a full season.
How do we activate this stage? We’ll want a two pronged approach here:
- Give prospects reason/incentive to enroll “now”, and
- Make the actual registration process intuitive and easy
Discounting dance classes is typically not recommended, however, we can still offer something to encourage newbies to make their move. We could discount a registration fee, for example. Better still is to offer a piece of studio merch as an incentive for early registration.
For our sales funnel example, we’ll offer a free studio t-shirt for students whose parents register them by a certain date. If a parent is somewhat interested in enrolling their preschooler but dragging their heels, the offer of a studio t-shirt for their little one could get them on track and compel them to register.
We’ll then not only have a new preschool student, but one who is inadvertently advertising our studio by proudly wearing her cute new t-shirt!
Now we’ll give our registration process a gander. Can parents register online? Do we use a studio software service for online scheduling and registration? If not, do we have a seamless process for enrolling newbies in a different way? If people can’t register easily, it’s very possible they’ll lose focus and not register at all, so it’s worth taking a fresh look and making sure our enrollment process is easy breezy.
Stage #3 complete! We now have a (nearly) automated sale making machine!
Answers to Common Questions:
Why should I target a funnel to a subset of my target market? I wouldn’t want to target only preschoolers, for instance, and miss out on registering teens in my community!Narrowing down your target market helps you design a sales funnel that will avoid waste and get your offerings in front of likely customers, without spending precious resources on those unlikely to be interested. But I get it! It makes sense to be concerned about getting super specific with your funnel. You’ll be happy to hear that doing so does not mean you’ll abandon the remainder of your aspects. The secret is to have more than one sales funnel. In this way, you can not only connect with different segments of your target market (ie: age specific, recreational or competitive students, those interested in specific styles of dance or acro, etc), but you can tailor your message to each segment, ensuring more signups.
Time management pro-tip:
Batching your sales funnels by creating them all at once will save you a lot of time in the long run. It’s much faster than trying to get back up to speed each time you need a new funnel. You can activate your funnels individually at the best time for each one, but they’ll be there for you to pick up with once you’re ready.
What about timing? It makes sense to have a sales funnel that leads people towards summer registration, but I mean, it’s not always summertime.The answer to this is the same as the one for the previous question… have more than one sales funnel! And create them all at once (reminder: you don’t need to activate them all at once). You’ll then ensure that your most important prospects AND programs are being well attended to.
How many steps should there be in a sales funnel?The number of steps in a sales funnel depends on the studio and the different pieces needed to take visitors towards and through registration.
What you can expect is that everyone will be going through 3 main phases –
1. Top of the sales funnel: Awareness and discovery
2. Middle of the sales funnel: Lead nurturing, furthering of connection
3. Bottom of the sales funnel: Making an educated decision and enrolling
As we know, to make a funnel work, concrete steps need to be put into place to guide visitors towards and through registration. These steps could look something like this -> Google Ads -> Website Homepage -> Pop-up mailing List Signup Form -> Thank You Page With Offer -> Online registration. So the number of steps in this funnel is 5, but can depend based on your needs.
Does a lead really have to go through ALL of the sales funnel steps? Can’t they just register quickly?Of course they can! Some prospects will make a quick decision and enroll without going through all of the pre-determined steps. Create an (easy to find) path to registration from all of the stages, in order to accommodate these people. Most people, however, do go through more of a process before signing up for classes. It’s for these people that a well-crafted funnel is important.
Wrapping it Up:
If you don’t have enough dancers in your studio, it’s likely that your sales funnel (or lack of one) is to blame. Having no sales funnel can put a serious crimp in your studio’s bank account, but that’s fixable by using the techniques above! I’d love to know your questions and hear about your experience. Let me know how it goes!
May your studio flourish & grow!
P.S. Curious to see how this sales funnel piece can fit into your dance studio’s email
marketing plan? Check out this post.