Businesses across the nation were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many small business owners are still dealing with the consequences. While some jobs have been easily adaptable to a work-from-home model, others have not been so simple. If you run a dance studio, you surely understand this.
One thing that the coronavirus has demonstrated for many business owners is the need for flexibility in order to ensure a successful business plan. As we begin to adapt to an unexpected and uncertain future, this is more important now than ever before.
Let’s take a look at these four steps you can take as a dance studio owner to keep your business alive and well during this time (and into the foreseeable future!):
- Check in with your students.
- Offer virtual dance classes.
- Stand out from the competition.
- Reach out to prospects.
By implementing each of these tips, you’ll give your studio a better chance at surviving the pandemic and the consequently upturned economy. Keep in mind that effective dance studio management software will aid you in the process. Ready to get started? Let’s jump in.
1. Check in with your students.
First things first, you’ll want to take the time and reach out to your current students and families during this difficult time. The vast majority of the world has been impacted by the pandemic, and your students are no exception. As you craft your messages, keep these best practices in mind:
- Recognize that some students have likely been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Although the coronavirus has affected everyone to some extent, it’s important to recognize that some lives have been upturned more than others. Some of your students’ parents might be out of a job, students may have lost a loved one to the virus, and so on.
- Ask your students how they’re doing in regards to current events. It’s a tough time for everyone, even for your young students! Give them a chance to express their feelings and know that you’re there for them if they need anything. You can even offer valuable resources to show your support during a difficult time.
Building relationships with students and their families is crucial for maintaining long-term clients and boosting their loyalty to your business. The better customer experience you offer, the more likely you are to increase revenue and sustain operations.
2. Offer virtual dance classes.
As a result of COVID-19 and widespread social distancing guidelines, virtual events and activities have become all the rage. As far as a typical dance studio is concerned, your virtual events will consist mainly of online dance classes. Generally, a virtual dance class can be held in one of two ways:
- Live dance classes: A live virtual dance class is held at a predetermined time and date, with students logging on from their own devices from home. The instructor records themself teaching the class live, which is then automatically transmitted to students’ screens via live-streaming software. This is most similar to a traditional in-person dance class and offers the highest level of interaction between students and instructors.
- Pre-recorded content: Another choice you have is to offer pre-recorded dance classes that students can participate in based on their own schedules. This is convenient for students who may have extra time on their hands due to the pandemic and are looking to get ahead and learn new skills at a faster pace.
Check out this handy guide to virtual events from Pathable for more information and top tips on pulling off high-quality events online. Our top tip? Technology is your friend. Be sure to invest in the right tools so that your virtual classes are just as good (or better!) than traditional offerings.
3. Stand out from the competition.
More than likely, there are at least a few other local dance studios in your area that students and parents can choose from. That’s why it’s crucial that you position yourself as the top choice by focusing on:
- Unique and high-quality offerings. Your virtual dance classes are a great place to start with this. However, you won’t want to stop there. Other studios are likely offering virtual classes as well, so what makes your dance classes stand out? Perhaps it’s the top-tier instructors you’ve hired or the bargain price you’re offering for virtual classes. Find what’s special about your studio and use it to position yourself against competitors.
- Relationships and communication. Your classes aren’t the only way to establish yourself as a top-tier contender. In fact, many students and parents are looking for characteristics such as convenience, a positive learning environment, and strengthened student/instructor relationships. According to DanceStudio-Pro, one of the best ways to make your studio stand out as such is with a dedicated dance studio mobile app.
Even if your studio does have these key characteristics and unique offerings, it’s not going to help much if current and prospective students fail to recognize them. That’s why both traditional and online marketing strategies are so important for getting the word out and bringing in new students to your studio— which brings us to our next point.
4. Reach out to prospects.
Whether you’re looking to boost summer camp enrollment or recruit new students for a weekly class, the most successful strategies are those that take a proactive approach to prospect outreach. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Explore your own contacts. Social media is a great platform for reaching new potential students. Not only can your dedicated dance studio page help you expand your audience, but you can also utilize your personal profiles as well. Perhaps you have friends who are interested in taking or registering their children for one of your dance classes!
- Ask for referrals from current students. Sometimes, your best networking resources are your current students and families. By turning your customers into ambassadors for your studio, you can encourage them to share their positive experiences and urge their own contacts to join.
- Promote your studio online. As a result of the pandemic, everyone is spending a lot more time online than ever before. That’s why it’s the perfect opportunity to market your dance studio and get the word out far and wide. Remember to position your studio and its virtual dance class offerings as a new and exciting socially-distant hobby to keep active.
Regardless of how you discover new contacts and prospective students, it’s important that you take a personalized approach to more effectively reel them in. For example, you might consider offering a free introductory dance lesson for new students to explore your offerings and determine whether it’s a good fit.
Although we know that the pandemic can’t last forever, it’s important to consider the constantly changing world that we’ll be returning to. Not only can these tips allow you to survive a difficult health and economic crisis, but they can set you and your business up to thrive for years to come. Good luck!