Planning For Your Studio’s Growth – Part 1

Planning for your Studio's Growth, Part 1

Time to Update Your Dance Studio’s Marketing Plan:

With the many roles dance studio owners have to inhabit – that of business owner, manager, artistic director, teacher, choreographer, and “one who placates the parents”, it’s no wonder that the role of marketing director gets lost in the shuffle. So often, we small business owners feel overwhelmed, and find that we’re solely working “in” our business instead of “on” our business. But by creating and implementing a marketing plan (or updating an existing one), it’s possible to not only grow your dance studio but feel calmer and more purposeful to boot.

Planning For Your Studio’s Growth

What is the purpose of a marketing plan? Why bother with it, when so much else is going on? To quote the Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center website, “A marketing plan helps you establish, direct and coordinate your marketing efforts. Often, simply embarking on the process of preparing a marketing plan guides you in developing a successful marketing strategy.”

It’s the difference between:

– A studio owner named Kerry, whose only promotion is a rarely updated website built 8 years ago, one that pales in comparison to her competitors (if it ever got found in the first place), and

– A studio owner named Vanessa, who has implemented a well-thought out plan that includes:

  1. an ad in a local parents magazine,
  2. a referral policy,
  3. promotional activities in and around town, and
  4. a dynamic, contemporary website with ‘calls to action’

Which of the above studio owners do you think is likely to garner the most new students?

The Mini Marketing Plan:

Many business sites, such as those of Entrepreneur Magazine and the Small Business Administration, give you an overall recommended format for a marketing plan. These sites can be very helpful and provide valuable guidelines. However, the format isn’t as important as the process of developing it. The process makes you think about your business goals and what your marketing strategy will be to achieve those goals.

Let’s work together through an abbreviated form of this process. We will determine your marketing goals and objectives, design a promotional plan, and lay out the action plan that will keep you on course.

Activity #1 – Determining your marketing goals/objectives:

A good place to begin is to think about the strengths of your studio, your “niche”, if you will. How is your dance studio different than the others in town? Has it been around since 1978? Tout its history as the longest running school in your area. Did it open just last year? Well then, emphasize its fresh, new perspective. Perhaps beginning students are your specialty, or adults, or at-risk youth. Perhaps your focus is ballet, or hip-hop, or hula.

Whatever it is, use your dance studio’s strength to your advantage, and incorporate it into your goals. For best results, make the goals specific and actionable. Here are some examples, using the make-believe studio owners from above:
Vanessa’s goals are to:
  • Increase her studio’s reputation as a mainstay in the local performing arts community, and garner at least 3 positive mentions in local news media in the next 6 months
  • Develop an ongoing referral policy that will benefit her studio, her current students, and those new students being referred. Announce the new referral policy by April 5th, with the goal of 10 new referred students for the summer session
  • Increase enrollment by 12% this season
Kerry’s goals are:

  • Vague, involving keeping her head above water and growing her business
You can see what a difference having specific goals might make. What 3 or 4 goals for the coming school year can you come up with right now?
Jot down some ideas, and narrow it down to the few that enthuse you the most. Without a doubt, marketing goals are more effective when they are measurable. It’s much easier to track your progress when your goal is “increase enrollment by 12% this year” rather than “bring more new students into the studio”.

Here’s Part 2 of Planning For Your Dance Studio’s Growth!

Do you have any tips on determining a dance studio’s marketing goals? Please comment below!

Best wishes,

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