Recently, we created a new eBook titled Dance Studio Ownership 101: Facts, Myths, and Secrets to a Successful Studio. The book is filled to the brim with amazing information to help dance studio owners not just survive, but thrive! If you haven't grabbed your free copy, you certainly should as soon as possible. In the meantime, we’ve been doing a series of posts expanding on some of the things we touched on in the eBook. Below we’re exploring Secret 8 - Automation is your Ally! Read on as we do a deeper dive into this critical element of success.
No Matter Your Level -- Automation is Your Friend
Regardless of whether you just started your dance studio, or you’re a seasoned veteran with an entire franchise of dance studios under your belt, automation is your ally. When you think about your dance studio, are there things you do every single day, or at least quite frequently, that could be automated?
A few of the things you might do often in your business could include things like:
- Scheduling classes (as well as assigning students to different teachers)
- Ordering inventory
- Filing paperwork
You get the idea. There are several tasks in your business that probably have a process you use to make them go a lot faster. Now, imagine for just a moment if these tasks were done for you nearly automatically. How much time, money and resources could that save you?
By using studio management software, you can create procedures that accomplishes your tasks instantly. This is certainly much more efficient than doing them by hand, one at a time, wouldn’t you say?
How Can Studio Management Software Help You Automate Your Dance Studio?
If you’re using the right kind of software you can:
- File paperwork, and do it virtually no less - Using studio management software allows you to transform all of the paper in your office into electronic documents. Suddenly you don’t have lots of paperwork that needs to take up precious space. Everything is filed for you at once, it’s secure, it’s cataloged and indexed, and you’ll always know where it is whenever you need it.
- Invoice your students, and set up automatic recurring billing - If I were to ask you how much a student in your Monday night class owes on her tuition, could you answer it quickly? Perhaps you could guess, but would you know the number to the decimal? With the right software you can instantly pull up the actual answer, and you’ll even know when the next scheduled payment is coming in. Another thing done automatically for you is payment information updates. Instead of having to reach out to your clients with a gentle (or even stern) reminder to update their credit card info, it’s handled for you. When their card expires, they automatically receive a notice to update it, without any additional effort on your part.
- Enroll students in all of your classes, and stop enrollment (and even create waitlists) once classes are full - Picture this - you simply type in the dates and times of the class, and they are filled up without you having to do anything other than promote the classes. Yep, studio management software can handle that for you too!
- Know when you’re low on inventory - You don’t have time to be counting all the items in your studio every week or month. Using software, you’ll have a record of everything in your studio that auto updates every time you mark you’ve removed or sold something.
Benefits of Automation
Among the many benefits of automation, when you start streamlining your business you’ll enjoy the ease it gives your workload, higher productivity, and a healthy boost to company morale. You’ll also have less mistakes in your day to day operations, and have physical evidence of when you need to increase your marketing efforts.
Convenience - Needless to say, convenience is the first and foremost benefit to automation. Using studio management software simply makes running a dance studio easier to do. And, opting for a cloud-based software also enables you to work from anywhere with an internet connection.
Higher Productivity - When bottlenecks are removed from the workload, suddenly productivity goes through the roof. You’ll save time, money and energy that can now be reconcentrated into expanding and scaling your business. Of course, you don’t want to expand too quickly, but we’ll save that for another post!
Increased Company Morale - By using automation in your business, you’ll notice that the pleasure of running your business will come back. Not only that, because things will be running significantly more smoothly, your employees will have an uptick in enjoyment at work as well.
Additionally, because with the right studio management software several people can use it at the same time, you’ll find there’s less work to go around. Not only will this be more efficient, and help keep you from being overloaded, everyone will get to feel as though they are contributing to the running of the business.
Less Mistakes - Even the English proverb says, “To err is human.” When personally executing recurring tasks and scheduled projects, it’s easy for mistakes to get in the way. The monotony that often comes with things we do over and over again can cause us to slip up, blissfully unaware, just happy the project is done. That is until the mistake causes trouble in your business, and you realize it’s too easy to make mistakes doing it all yourself!
One area you definitely don’t want mistakes is in your accounts payable and accounts receivable departments. Not only can mistakes in these areas leave you feeling deflated, it can cost you time and money! After all, it’s far better to know in an instant where you are at financially automatically, than risk overdraft fees, hits to your reputation, and other financial woes.
You’ll know when you need to amp up your marketing efforts - When you’re using software to automatically manage aspects of your dance studio business such as enrollment and billing, you’ll be able to instantly tell when there is a lull in your business. Guess what, studio management software can help you automate your marketing as well!
Automating Your Marketing
When someone goes to your website and finally clicks on a button to get more information about your dance studio, what happens next? Do you have them fill out a form? And, if they do fill out a form, does it get lost in the abyss of your unread and/or un-responded to emails? If you’re like many business owners who don’t have automated email marketing in place, that click for more information may never actually result in a sale.
If you automate your marketing instead, this is what could happen with your prospects:
- Prospect goes to your website, and is wowed by your studio enough to click that button asking for more information.
- Then, once the prospect clicks, they are automatically redirected to a form that triggers your drip campaign.
Wait! Drip campaign? What’s that? A drip campaign is an email marketing method that involves sending an email or a series of emails automatically to your prospects over a period of time. The goal of them is to take your website visitor through a marketing funnel that transforms them from prospect to customer, or at least prospect to referrer.
And now back to your regularly scheduled automated marketing scenario..
- The prospect fills out the form, and you automatically send them an email that includes your studio’s pertinent information.
- If you’re lucky, they instantly head back to your site, and book a class. Otherwise, the next email in your drip campaign will automatically come to your prospect in a day, two days, or whenever you’ve set it to be delivered to them.
Another scenario of your automated marketing efforts could be for your current customers:
- Current customer goes to your website and registers online for their classes they want to attend.
- They are then automatically given an option to pay their tuition. Cha-ching - your studio instantly got paid!
- Then, after paying for the class, your student receives a receipt instantly via email.
- Next, they get a triggered email thanking them for registering, and inviting them to bring a friend.
- Finally, they receive an email that offers them an incentive for inviting some friends to the studio’s website where those new potential customers fill out your form triggering the prospect drip campaign!
Are you starting to see how exciting an automated marketing system can be for you and your studio?
What about an automated marketing message for special events?
You can do that too! Let’s say you want to create a drip campaign for birthdays and anniversaries of your student’s first class - You can create a campaign that sends a birthday wish, or a “happy anniversary” greeting to your students.
The best part about automatic email marketing campaigns is that you can decide how they will look, what they will say, and when they will go out. A good software will have automatic email programs, but a great software lets you create a template for the e-mails that you always send out (such as newsletters). This way, you can save off e-mails that you send out on a regular basis, and you only need to tweak them as necessary to include new information.
You can create automated marketing campaigns for everything related to your dance studio with the right studio management software.
Want to send an email to your students, their parents, prospects and all of your employees with announcements of new hires, events and recitals? Done!
Want to create a drip campaign geared towards your most loyal customers to transition them into brand ambassadors to drum up new business? Do it!
When you create an awesome marketing campaign, you can set it to run on auto-pilot so that you can bring in a consistent flow of new leads, and drum up new business anytime you want or need to.
Are You Ready to Automate?
You’ve seen several ways you can automate your dance studio with the right studio management software. But, what is the right software? Enter The Studio Director. Our software gives you the ability to automate your business in more ways than you can possibly imagine. In fact, this article barely scratches the surface of all the ways we can help you grow your business.
From streamlining your billing, to instantly handling your filing and scheduling, and even automating all of your email marketing - your dance studio can get to the next level faster and easier with The Studio Director. Having our software in your back pocket is the key to higher revenues, decreased workload, and more success over all. We can’t wait to show you all the ways we can wow you in your own studio.
You can try out The Studio Director by checking out our online demo. Click here to get an inside look at The Studio Director with our instant access online demo, or you can schedule a live demo with our team to get a personalized walkthrough.
Don’t Forget to Grab Our eBook!
We hope that you enjoyed this expanded look at the things you need to know for automation in your dance studio. Stay tuned for our future posts, and don’t forget to grab our free eBook that busts even more of the myths, and shares the facts and secrets of running a successful business. And, when you’re ready to put your dance studio on auto-pilot, we’ll be ready to take you to the next level with The Studio Director.