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Marketing, Visibility, Retention, and Enrollment... OH MY!

November 13, 20234 min read

Now is a good time to pause, reflect, and do a little audit of what went really well this year in your studio space. Evaluate what could have used some tweaks. Maybe there's something that inspired you and you would really love to see this happen for next year. 

Reflect on these four categories:

  • Retention

  • Visibility

  • Marketing

  • Enrollment

These four categories, they have to work together in harmony if we want to see our dream studio happening. They are a foundational piece and you have to have a plan and strategy for each of these pillars.

The first thing that we need to focus on is retention. Make your students who are currently with you feel loved, special, and supported. It may be an unpopular opinion here, but the number one goal for your recital should be retention and enrollment. Our families like to see their children and family members on stage showcasing what they’ve been working on and having fun. They love seeing the progression and what's possible when they watch those older students. Your recital should foster retention of the students to return in the fall. It should get people excited and students excited about other opportunities that are available to them. 

You have to be intentional about all your activities and strategy. Retention activities need to happen all year long. Your families, students, and teachers need love taps throughout the year. It is meaningful, it fosters connection, and it creates loyalty. 

Who is your Sneezer family? Sneezers are those families who - I know this is really disgusting - don't cover when they sneeze. They tell everyone. They'll tell everybody they know about your studio all year long. 

New enrollment time needs to be strategic and tested. VIP prior priority enrollment works well for us. Secure your early adopters early on by opening up enrollment to only them before it opens to the public and easily secure your retaining students for next year. The trick is to track how many sign up early. What is your percentage that enroll in the spring for classes next fall? You need to know this number and plan and strategize to maintain and raise it next year. You also need to love tap the ones who don’t sign up that early so they enroll at the time that works for them. Be intentional through this process. You can plan retention activities to build community in your studio. 

Visibility is not necessarily the same as marketing. You cannot become the go-to studio in your community if you're not being seen and people don't know you exist. When I ask about visibility plans, studio owners often say they put some stuff on social media and have stuff on their website.

What I really mean when I ask studio owners about their visibility plan is what do you want to be known for? Who are you being? Do you want to be known as the studio who is like a fairy godmother when it comes to tiny tots? Do you want to be known as the competitive studio that wins titles? Do you want to be known as the studio that believes in performance opportunities over competition? What do you want to be known as? When you can answer this question, you have to show up in your community consistently as this studio. Then you can become known as the go-to person for that. 

Marketing is so much more than just Facebook ads or Instagram ads. Marketing is taking different pieces - organic strategies, paid strategies - and melting them together for a complete marketing plan that's strategic based on your goals. Your marketing plan should have ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys, to really set you up for success with whatever your objective is at that certain time of year. 

For marketing, you might want to start with an awareness campaign where the copy talks about my why and the belief systems of my ideal clients. When you are crystal clear about who your ideal families are, your marketing will be successful. And here's the key: your ideal families are probably three different sets of people. Write down your three best clients and what makes them ideal. What are their beliefs? What makes you want to have a million more of them?

Now let’s talk about enrollment. It may be an unpopular opinion, but you should always be enrolling. There should not be a cut-off for enrollment at your studio, ever! I hear the voices in your head with all the objections. If you're so stuck in your ways because you think this is the way it's always been done, and if it is not getting you to your goals, then something has to change. I’ve heard all of those objections. 

I have a question for you: 

Are they facts or feelings? 

Are they a story you’re telling yourself or based on real data?

One of the ways to get all these things in line is to plan and strategize well. That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to guide you through this journey of studio ownership. 

Let’s start with a Studio Audit today: https://dancestudioempires.com/dance-studio-audit

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Erin Burd

Erin Burd, is a Women’s Empowerment and Business Coach, Author and Speaker. She started Birdy’s Kids In Motion and Dance Biz in a Bag on a budget of only $300.00 and built a six-figure business in just two years. Erin is passionate about paying it forward and created the $100K Studio Dance Blueprint and the Mobile Studio Mastermind and has coached multiple women entrepreneurs to launch their business on a small budget and how to take their business to six-figures.

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