Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Marketing for New Season

I can't believe that our studio's opening day is less than four weeks away!  Our last summer intensive starts this Monday and then we have a break before starting up in September.

This is a list of what I do to market my studio, including the failed ad attempts - hopefully it will help someone!

FREE - The best advertising is free in my opinion!
  • Internet Presence:  Make sure your studio shows up when you search "dance near ZIP CODE" on Google! Update or add your studio to Google Places, Bing, Yahoo, etc.  Check out this post for a way to see if your business is visible.
  • Facebook:  If you don't have a Facebook page yet, get one!  Post on your studio's facebook wall at least once a week if not multiple times.  For extra credit, mix up your posts between photos, videos and regular "Classes start soon - not too late to register!"
  • Twitter:  If you have a large Twitter following, that may be the way to go.
  • Email:  Keep an email list of everyone who has ever asked for information for classes.  Send email blasts once a month or so.
  • Demo Classes: Offer free demonstration classes and see if you can get them listed in local community calendars or websites.
Continued after the jump...

  • Community performance or booth.  In my area of the globe, 'tis the season of county fairs. Offer your dancers to fill stage time at the local fair, bazaar or craft fair between acts.  Some craft fairs also allow vendors to set-up a booth.  My students perform at a popular church bazaar or glorified community garage sale in the beginning of September.  We perform during the busiest time of the day (lunch time) and besides the free advertising, I get to set up a booth where I have two of my dance teachers rotate in shifts handing out information. Cost:  I have paid anywhere from $25 to $50 to have a booth.
  • Signs!  If you are on a highly visible area - put a lawn sign out "Enroll Now!" or "Open House".  Keep the sign simple and brightly colored.  Make sure you have signs in your windows if you're in an area where people will be walking or driving by.  Unfortunately most people looking for a recreational studio will choose the one closest to them--make sure they know you exist! Cost: Depending on the size and type of sign
  • Traditional paper ads. People in my area still read the local circular.  I do 2-3 weeks of ads before classes start in September. Cost: $50+
UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS - Disclaimer - This is very area specific.  What works for my town (a suburban area), may not work for someone in a city, or a lower populated area or a different type of studio.
  • Phone Book.  No one uses this except my grandpa.  And despite what he tells me, he is not looking to try a hip hop class anytime soon.
  • Other:  Direct mailing postcards, door hangers, flyers.  None of these yielded profitable results for me.
I know I am missing some - what was your most successful marketing campaign?

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