What would you do if another studio opened up in your town or neighborhood? If panic was the first thought that came across your mind, it’s not surprising. The truth is when a competitor opens up shop, you can face the risk of losing business rapidly. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Keep reading to learn how to market your studio and improve customer service to keep your customers happy and keep them loyal.
Attract New Visitors With Discounts
Notice this advice was not to lower your prices. This is a common mistake that business owners of all types make when attempting to beat their competitors. Unfortunately, when you get into a price war with other businesses, it can easily become a depressing game of “Who can hold out long enough for the other to close up shop?” In the end, the customers may think they are getting a decent deal, but what really happens in most cases at both competing companies is:
- Quality of service and the upkeep of the locations suffer
- The staff gets cranky as they trash talk their competitors, and fear of losing their jobs sets in
- The customers get lost in the war, and are sometimes completely ignored, causing them to dislike both companies
- And, most importantly, no one turns a decent profit (if they profit at all)
Instead, you could bring in new customers with discounts for signing up, a long term membership, or purchasing a bulk class package. Another option would be to offer free bonuses for new and current customers. This helps you keep customers happy without cutting into your profit margins.
Bonuses for the Win
Once you have convinced a new visitor to sign the dotted line, extra bonuses and perks can wow them and your other current customers into sticking around for the long term. Here are a few examples of bonuses you could offer:
- Masterclasses that teach something in line with current paid classes. For example, you could offer a free training on meal planning that only current students are eligible to attend.
- Another bonus could be setting up accountability partnerships with other students. You could pair newcomers with seasoned students, or simply pair students with their peers to hold each other accountable for meeting their goals.
- What if you held a challenge of some kind? If you’re a fitness studio for instance, you could do a spring or summer slim-down challenge for current clients. A gymnastics or dance studio could do a master your technique challenge. Then, you could have prizes for the people that participated the most in the challenge, lost the most weight, improved the most, etc.
Once you start thinking outside of the box, instead of focusing on what your competition is up to, you can truly come up with something innovative your customers will be lining up for.
Focus Most on Your Current Customers
It’s much harder to sign on a new customer than it is to retain a current one. Clients want to feel like you genuinely care about their progress. That’s why you should focus on keeping the customers you already have. They want to know that you are looking out for them, and trying to help them achieve their goals in the best way possible for their unique needs.
This means responding to emails and phone calls in a timely fashion. This also means reaching out to them with feedback, and inquiring as to how they feel they are doing. Perhaps it could also mean customizing meal/workout plans that can help them along the way. Maybe you send them an extra discount coupon once in awhile, or even a thank you note for their anniversary of being a student.
Additional ideas could include giving them a birthday greeting/gift or special t-shirt for other milestones. Little things like this add up to a genuine relationship that can lead to the most loyal of customers. In the best cases, these loyal customers will also be your biggest referrals of new business.
A great way to maintain contact with your current customers is with studio management software that allows you to send branded emails directly to them. With the right program you can also send invoices, marketing campaigns, notices of new classes, and so much more.