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Gone are the days where a letterbox drop and an ad in the local paper would make up the essence of a sound marketing plan. Now there are a great deal more avenues to explore, such as social media and online profiling. Who has time for it all? To simplify this momentous task let’s focus on the two main marketing areas for any business, your current and potential customers.
Many business owners are so focussed on potential customers that they forget to focus on their current customers. Below are some ideas on how to market to your current customers and make the most of your relationship.
Forget about heavy discounting to win over customers. A better way is to consistently provide the best service around. A good customer experience will encourage brand loyalty, retention and word of mouth promotion. Customers are looking for a friendly face, staff who know their stuff, and great listeners. Always promptly respond to requests and be flexible to customer needs.
Offer a small discount on term fees or a gift (a free dance bag) if one of your students brings a friend to a class and they sign up for a term.
Email is always a popular avenue to send messages, but as we become more and more addicted to our mobile phones, texting seems to be a far more powerful way to communicate. Try texting customers with a birthday message with some encouraging words, and invite them to have their party with you (if you offer a party service). It is a great way to show your students how much you value their participation.
Add early bird registrations to your pricing policy and reward customers who sign up early for a term (Sign up by 31 January to receive a $20 discount). This will make your loyal customers feel valued and looked after.
Parents are always looking for different birthday party ideas. Offering a birthday party service is definitely a ‘niche’ area. This can be a great revenue earner and could generate more registrations with exposure to other potential customers.
Explore business to business partnering to generate referrals. Try appealing to the need for kids and adults to get more exercise. We know that dancing is fun and is for all ages.
Some potential avenues to try:
Let’s face it, people just don’t pick up the phone like they used to. I know when I want to make a doctor appointment I go straight to my medical centre’s website. This feature makes this task so easy. It can be done anytime anywhere. If you haven’t already made the move to offer online registration, then get onto it. You won’t regret it. Also, promote this feature regularly on your Facebook page.
"DanceBiz has revolutionised the way we operate! It has increased the efficiency in several areas of the business including managing website bookings, collecting fees and communicating with parents/carers."
Claire O'Connor, Founder and Managing Director of babyballet Ltd
Provide additional classes, private lessons and camps during holiday periods. Do your research and review your studio management software to identify past enrolment trends. But, don’t be afraid to incorporate a new idea or dance craze into your holiday program either. You may find that a certain idea is so successful that it becomes one of your regular classes. Invite guest dancers to host some of your extra classes or camps.
Post your holiday program on your website, on Facebook and email/text customers to get the word out.
Now, this is the hard bunch. How do you get people in who don’t know you or your products and services? Below are a few ideas to consider.
Host an open day for your dance studio. Include offers, discounts, refreshments and fun activities for kids. Advertise on Facebook ‘Events’ calendar, local paper, local schools, through students. Offer a discount on registration to join on the day.
Tap into different age groups. Offer parents with underaged children opportunities to tour your facility.
Or provide classes for the over 60s group. Dancing is good for the soul, it has health benefits, mental and physical. Dance has a strong social and fun aspect, and this can be a definite attraction for retired seniors looking for connection and purpose.
Another market to tap into are beginners to dance. During holiday periods extra classes could be added to your holiday program for those who have never tried dance before. This may foster a regular customer and a beautiful relationship.
Offer some workshops on hair and makeup, nutrition, sleep, posture, breathing exercises, injury prevention, overcoming stage fright, back flexibility and anything else your customers are interested in. Think about offering these workshops to people outside your membership, you never know there might be a sign up in it.
This is an area that you can really go nuts or feel a bit overwhelmed. Everybody is time poor, so included below are some of the main online mediums. Timing is everything when promoting your business, events, program, so put your efforts into promoting your business, activities during holiday periods. This method may bring you closer to the front of the line when parents are searching for activities for their children to do next term or semester.
Facebook - Regularly post useful information for students and parents. Post photos and videos (make sure you have written permission from parents). Display a sign in your studio to advertise your address on Facebook and encourage them to like you on Facebook. Buy Facebook ads for particular events and make sure you time it well. Facebook ads are expensive so make your paid ad count.
Instagram - Post photos and videos about what you do. It is a fantastic tool to advertise, and showcase your achievements to get your brand noticed.
Google - Make sure your customers can find your studio on Google. Think about what your customers are looking for (dance studios and suburb, dance classes for kids and suburb, dance classes for adults and suburb and so on) and make sure you name each of your website pages accordingly. Also, ensure your website’s content includes the keywords that your potential customers will search for.
Google My Business is another Google feature that must be kept up to date. This is where your customers can rate your business on Google. Building a decent number of reviews will help promote your online presence. Try asking customers to add a Google review after you have helped them with a problem or when they have complimented your staff or your business. This is a free and very powerful online marketing tool for your business. There are not many things left, that are free these days.
Caroline Leigh, Marketing & Sales