Our Studio Success Formula Alumni have achieved phenomenal results during their time in the SSF program, with many of our members tracking profit increases of over 200%, tripling their student numbers, moving into their own premises and so much more. In this chapter, I’m so excited to share some of the epic student attraction and studio growth strategies shared by our community of dance studio owners worldwide.
1/ Now THIS Is How You Launch A Brand!
Roxy Langeveldt from Praise Performance, Wellington NZ knows exactly what it takes to make an impact with her new classes. Personal touches are make-or-break in this industry and when there is a studio on every corner you need to stand out as the only one who will go that extra mile to make a student and their family feel special and valued from the moment they walk through the doors.
Inside of the VIP portion of the Studio Success Formula program we know how much thought and preparation has gone into Roxy’s launch of her unique preschool program and couldn’t be more proud – we know she will be able to hold her own against existing programs as her personalized welcome pack with a uniform, postcard, customized coloring sheet and handwritten packaging truly takes the cake!
2/ The Proven Way To Get Potential Clients to Actually Take Your Call!
We have ALL been there – spending days agonizing over your Facebook ad design, perfecting your irresistible free gift and finally launching your online promo. You sit back and watch those expressions of interest come rolling in and can’t wait to get your team on the phone that evening to follow up and book your new students into their trial classes. But there’s a bit of a problem. While 40+ people have sent you their contact details, only 6 have answered their phone and booked a class!
DSOA and SSF superstar Charlotte Bromilow has the answer: “I’ve been doing ‘within the hour’ calls today and managed to register 20 new students.” Leslie Dee is also on board with taking immediate action and grabbing those eager parents while her gorgeous studio is still at the forefront of their minds: “I am going to have the phone call made as soon as we get the notification. 98% of our leads come through mobile so why not get them while they are on the device.”
3/ Recognizing And Rewarding Your Biggest Assets
There is nothing more powerful in attracting and retaining your students than having an amazing team who will wave the flag for your business and treat your goals within the studio as their own. Most, if not all, studio owners have had experience teaching as someone else’s employee and know that one of the most damaging things you can do is to undervalue your team and fail to show your appreciation for what they do.
You need to start thinking about what you are REALLY paying them for, because it is not just a couple of dance classes per week. You’re paying them to prepare for their classes, to download music and arrive before their shift. You’re paying them to make your students feel special beyond their dance steps, to engage warmly with parents and to ensure the safety and well-being of their students. You are also sometimes paying them to spend time away from their friends and family while they attend rehearsals, performances or classes that run late – and this is the hardest one to recognize as it’s not only your teacher who is affected.
This is why we adored Maggie from Spokane Elite’s supershare at recital time, where she took the time to purchase a handful of ice cream vouchers and ‘Thank You’ cards which she then posted directly to the husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends and children of her faculty with a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ for sharing their loved one with her studio. This is how you keep amazing teachers.
4/ The Best Referral Program Ever
A referral program tends to be one of those things that you introduce in your studio at the start of the year, announce it a couple of times to your families and then let it fade into the background. Typically, referral programs look something like this…”Bring a friend to class and receive 10% off your fees when they enrol for the term.”
Melody St. Louis is the director of No Gravity Academy Of Dance in Canada and has shared her amazing ‘referral wheel’ which is a huge hit with her clients and students. Refer a friend and spin the wheel. Simple. Effective. Fun! We love this!
5/ The Happiness Fund
Keeping your customers’ happiness at the front of your mind is such an instrumental part in running and growing your studio as it feeds into your retention rates, your referrals and your reputation in the community. But how frustrating is it for your valuable time as a studio owner to monitor and approve every little dispute or mistake within your studio?
This is what we love so much about DSOA member Tara Shaw’s happiness fund. It’s so simple we couldn’t believe we hadn’t thought of it before! Tara has given her team a petty-cash allowance of $100 per month as the ‘happiness fund.’ These funds are to be used to fix up the little hiccups that occur every now and then but simply aren’t worth your time to have a back-and-forth over. The wrong sized shirt came in for one of your clients? Use the happiness fund to resolve it then and there. A customer is disgruntled because they were late to a rehearsal that they didn’t get information about? Use your fund to treat them to a new pair of stockings or a tote bag on the spot.
Your customers will be so pleasantly surprised by your team fixing things then and there without hassle and you are going to love having less clutter in your day dealing with these smaller issues in the business.
6/ Be The Authority In Your Field
Setting yourself apart from your local competition can be a tough thing, especially when you may have similar classes and styles on offer. But it’s always important to remember that there is one thing in your studio that none of your competitors have. YOU!
This is where it’s important to get yourself and your studio out into the public eye as an authority in your field so potential clients will have the easiest decision possible in choosing your studio above the rest. There are a few ways of going about this, and Studio Success Formula graduate Rhiannon Johnson from RPA studios has absolutely nailed it by posting a blog that went viral. Rhiannon shared her article “Is It OK To Cry” with our community which has since been shared close to 5000 times on social media. With the support from our community she went on to be featured on international radio to discuss the piece and has inspired many members to explore blogging themselves.
7/ The Special Touches That Will Have Your Attention On Retention
DSOA member Sarah Beth Byrum from All Things Dance has built a wonderful reputation within our community as the go-to-girl for special touches and events that make us all wish we were a part of her studio when we were growing up.
When Sarah Beth felt that her teenage students (which we all know can be one of the most challenging age groups to engage and retain) weren’t as enthusiastic about their team placement for the upcoming season, she grabbed her rockstar team and turned an announcement into an event.
“I felt like our high school girls were getting a little less enthusiastic about finding out their team placement for the season – when they’ve been on for years, it’s kind of a given. So this year we made up packages with shirts inside that said “IT GIRL” – I had color images made of a list of the qualities I was looking for and then it said “and you’re IT! Congrats on making the team.” Our staff made late night deliveries leaving the boxes on each girl’s porch so they’d find them this morning with instructions to send a picture of themselves in the shirt to accept their spot. It’s generated lots more buzz around team placement this year! The girls are loving it.”
8/ Keeping Your Team Motivated!
We mentioned earlier the importance of showing your team that they are valued, but it’s equally as vital to keep them engaged and motivated year-round. Do you have trouble getting your teachers to attend meetings and participate in group discussions? Of course you do – we all do.
That is, we all DID before Elizabeth Beman dropped this value-bomb in the group which has transformed the way we engage with the heartbeat of our studio – our staff.
It’s time to start spoiling your staff and what better place to kick off by passing around this fishbowl full of chocolates, candies and iTunes vouchers for everyone to take a dip in at the start and during the session. It’s win-win and you’ll find that you’re no longer going to be begging your staff for attendance!
9/ Know the REAL numbers
It seems pretty simple and something you’ve known from Day 1 in your studio – the most important number in your business is the number of enrolled students, isn’t it?
Our DSOA and SSF members know that this isn’t quite the case and Nancy Green has been responsible for so many studio owners within our community to open up their eyes to consider numbers in a whole new way. Nancy’s game-changing question that lit so many lightbulbs for us?
“Who else is tallying their enrollment by the number of students as well as the number of spots they fill (units)? For example – when students are taking two or more classes, you may end up with 228 students filling 325 spots”
The reason this simple idea is such a huuuuge moment for a lot of studio owners is because it also opens up your eyes to a lot of things you could be doing differently, improving or reconsidering in the business.
Are you losing money due to discounted multi-class packages?
Do you need to add, remove or merge classes?
Are the classes breaking even and profiting once you consider the ACTUAL cost per class that your students are paying?
I’m sure you’re now starting to see just why this shift in thinking can have a huge impact on the planning and growth of your studio – and it couldn’t be more simple!