Increase your Dance Studio Brand Awareness without Increasing your Marketing Costs

Increase your Dance Studio Brand Awareness without Increasing your Marketing Costs
By Tiffany Henderson with Amanda Scott

The thing I hear most when I speak with dance studio owners is they need help with their marketing.

My immediate reaction after owning seven studios in various demographics across the San Francisco Bay Area is you can spend all the money in the world on marketing and getting leads in the door, but if the dance class itself isn’t good they are not going to register. It’s that simple.

A great preschool class means new families come flocking and most likely it isn’t because you spent $5,000 on a postcard advertisement. It is because they heard about it from their cousin’s sister’s friend that your studio has the best preschool dance class and her daughter Emma loves it.

Word-of-mouth marketing is your most valuable tool as a dance studio business.

About 62% of consumers search online for reviews and information before purchasing and 90% of consumers believe brand recommendations from friends.

When I opened my first one room dance studio on Vasco Road in Livermore nearly 20 years ago, I had over 350 students in my first year and it was from good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing. Even with the evolution of using social media boosted posts instead of print advertisements in newspapers, word-of-mouth marketing is still our most effective form of marketing today.

People are 4x more likely to buy a good or service if they receive a positive review from a friend and word-of-mouth marketing generates 2x more sales than paid advertisements.  

Luckily, expanding your word-of-mouth marketing is easier now more than ever with the internet.  

Here are five ways to grow your studio without increasing your marketing budget:

  1. Get dance families to help you generate content
Celebrate your studio with a #hashtag. This can be a general studio hashtag used day-to-day (for example ours is #tdaallday) as well a hashtag for specific events or campaigns. Create a sense of community at your studio by featuring the photos on your website and social media pages. We love sharing videos and photos parents capture from our Holiday-themed dance classes on social media.  

  1. Share current customers’ reviews
In the digital age, people trust online reviews and testimonials almost as much as a direct word-of-mouth referral. Testimonials can be on video or written and are often already available for you to repurpose as marketing. Popular places parents post reviews include: Yelp, Facebook, Google, Mom’s Groups, etc. You can share positive reviews on a landing page on your website and/or post them as content across your social media pages.

  1. Offer an incentive or promotion
Need help generating positive reviews for your studio? Incentivise your customers by offering a limited promotion to encourage them to post a review. This can be as simple as an email campaign out to your current families asking for them to review your studio and holding a raffle for a free month of tuition.

  1. Create a “refer a friend” program
Refer a friend is a promotion we run year-round at our studios because referral programs make it easy for your word-of-mouth marketing to spread quickly. We offer half off tuition for one class for one month when a current dancer refers a friend. Both the dancer and the friend get 50% off tuition for one month. This doesn’t have to be a large campaign or take up a lot of energy. For example, my admin have “Ask me about our refer a friend program” at the bottom of their email signatures.

  1. Offer a unique, shareworthy experience
Owning a dance studio sometimes also means wearing the hat of an event planner - recitals, summer camps, oh my. Use these event opportunities to create fun, festive studio experiences that attendees want to share on social media and invite their friends to. One of our favorite events is Sparkle Day, a combination of a traditional trial class and open house event. We offer Sparkle Day during classes we wish to increase enrollment in and provide treats or goodies following the class. Remember to also offer a limited promotion such as a free sparkle tutu to encourage them to register while they are attending your event.

Quick word-of-mouth wins:
  • Nurture your relationship with your customers, especially your recreational dance families. I tell all of my admin to stay on the phone with a client until they sign up for a dance class or at the very least a trial class. I also tell them to greet every family that walks in the door of the studio.    
  • Ask for reviews. This can be as simple as an email campaign to your families.
  • Use social media to your advantage. Create a studio #hashtag and share organic posts of dancers in class, in dress code, and smiling. Video snippets from dance classes also generate lots of clicks.
  • Go above and beyond with customer service.
  • Implement a preschool dance curriculum.

Want more tips? Join us for “How to Get All Moms Buzzing About Your Dance Studio” a free webinar on Thursday, October 12 at 10am PST / 1pm EST.  

Claim your spot here: