There are many important steps when it comes to opening a dance studio. The whole thing can quickly become incredibly overwhelming if you do not know where your priorities are and what will actually help you jump start your success immediately. Determining how to do so starts with knowing exactly what it is that you wish to achieve.
Every small business needs the same thing to survive: a large and continuous client base. In order to get yourself one of those in this day and age, it all comes down to the internet. Your social media presence is key if you wish to gain interest.
For dance studios specifically, the website is essential for those just discovering your business and for your regular students. Many small businesses have yet to commit to using the internet to carry out business and do not realize how much they are shooting themselves in the foot.
In 2016, a Nielsen Company audience report showed that 81% of adults in the United States use smartphones for over an hour daily to consume media. People are no longer using phone books to learn about local businesses, they are looking online. This is why the way you represent yourself online is so important and the ultimate secret to getting ahead.
Why A Website Is Important For Every Business
A website legitimizes your business. More than 80% of Americans use the internet. These people expect a business to have a website that they can go to and learn everything they need to know about you. If you do not have a website, most people will assume that you are not savvy enough to make one, that you’re lazy, or that you simply cannot afford to do so.
Your website is an excellent marketing tool. Your business’s website immediately gives you a personality and a specific presence on the internet. Here, you can communicate to the world everything that you represent and the services that you provide. The website is also the main hub where you can link people to your other social media engines and your blog.
You can use your website to collect important data. Having a website allows you to give the option for your followers to sign up for your newsletter or the special offers you occasionally provide. This tool lets you know a ballpark of how many people are visiting your website and showing interest in your company compared to how many clients you are actually gaining.
What Should Be Included On Your Website
Your website should define your studio’s mission, the quality and set of values you represent, and include details that will ignite the attention of potential customers. Some ways to achieve this is are:
How you represent yourself visually. You should feel as though your website’s homepage gives a great first impression of your studio and emulates professionalism. A professional design looks striking and unique, but also clean and simple.
Include fun and informative photos. It is one thing to put up a picture or two of the outside of your business and a dancer in the studio, but are the photos impressive? No one cares about a blurry, pixelated image of a brick building on a corner. Putting up poor quality photos on your website can actually draw business away from you and you are better off not putting up anything at all. If you are going to include photos, use: recital and competition photos, images of studios full of dancing students, and some that show the charming qualities of the location. Potential students and their parents look at your photos to get an idea of what it’s like to go to class there, so you should make it seem as inviting as possible.
Make access and navigation easy. Your students should have no trouble at all finding the studio’s schedule, class descriptions, and where to register. When building the website, you have to imagine what it would be like for a first time visitor or even someone who is relatively new to using the internet. If information is not easily accessible, you should consider rearranging your website. The easier it is to navigate, the higher the potential is of you bringing in more customers in addition to keeping your current students.
How descriptive your descriptions are. Your website should advocate for your classes and your teachers. Each teacher should have a bio that shows off their experience and the class descriptions should set you apart from other local studios. You can also include videos of your teachers in their classes or doing their own professional performances within their bios to make it a little extra special.
Promoting an educational and healthy environment. Most of your clientele at a dance studio will be young children to young adults. This means that the people browsing your websites will be parents checking to see how appropriate your studio’s environment seems for children. This doesn’t mean you should solely promote to the young ones, you still want to appeal to other crowds, just keep this in mind as you create your design.
Defining what sets you apart from you competition. Make sure to advertise the specialized classes you offer that other studios do not. Know what makes you exceptional and state it loud and proud. Showing that your studio has something that others do not will boost the appeal it has to prospective students.
When To Know That It Is Time To Make Changes To Your Website
Once you have launched your site and opened your studio you are sure to be caught up in the wind and bustle of running the business. It is very important that you do not forget about your site. It should remain up to date and relevant or you run the risk of looking neglectful and careless.
Ask yourself these questions, and if the answers are negative, you may want to revisit your site’s design:
- Are you receiving compliments on your site?
- Is it easy to use?
- Do you rank on page 1 in google search?
- Is the content relevant and updated?
- Do you personally like the appearance of your website?
- Are there images and videos that make the studio seem appealing?
- Does it include a chat box?
- Are there parts of the site that can be clearer or more descriptive?
- Is the overall feel consistent and clear?
- Does your website play nicely with mobile browsers?
- Have you integrated with your social media profiles?
- Do you have a blog and/or forum?
How To Become More Visible
If you are still getting to know the nifty tools that the internet holds, you probably have yet to discover these gems. Below are a few search engines that will direct your potential students right to you.
Google Places: If you have a Google Places for Business page, you can add photos and standard directory information in order for potential customers to conveniently view when they google you. Customers also have the option to review and promote your business. Linking up with Google Places will automatically upload your studio’s directory information to Google Maps and your business will pop up immediately when searched for in Google.
Manta.com: Manta is another business directory that functions like the yellow pages. It is possible that you were automatically put into their system, but you also have the option of “claiming” the business profile they have made for you so you can update the information. Don’t pass up the opportunity to make that profile a compelling one.
Yelp.com: Yelp is well known for the publicity it provides to restaurants, but any type of business can actually be listed and reviewed through them. Just like Manta, you may already have a profile created for you. Claiming your listing on Yelp will help to increase your appearances in search results from common search engines.
Studio Management Software Makes It Easy
As you have probably gathered, the different facets of your internet personality is quite the commitment. Running a dance studio was always going to be hard, but social media (in addition to the piles of paperwork you accrue daily) can become overwhelming quickly. Do not let this complex technology intimidate you when there are specific tools created to organize everything for you.
Studio management software knows what you need to keep your social media presence top of the line. It also takes care of all of the other headaches you didn’t foresee in a simple and concise fashion so you can focus on what you do best.
Examples of these things include:
- enrollment management, including payment and closing enrollment
- the management of all of your funds
- the option to plan for unexpected costs with inventory tracking
- the ability to give each student feedback with report cards or progress reports
- management of payroll for instructors and their studio duties
- software that works on mac and PC, that is cloud based and accessible no matter where you are
Using a software like this ensures:
Help from experts whenever you need it. A good studio management software company will have customer service available to you round to the clock to help you with whatever technical difficulties or questions you have. Anywhere from processing payments, setting up online registration, or coming up with a new layout for your homepage, customer service programs should be there to help you navigate their software.
Organization created specifically for the parents of your students. It is pretty common for parents of students to have a lot of questions and need assistance from you. By using the software, parents can get most of the answers they need by going to your website and having: access to accounts, calendars, class listings, schedules, pictures, videos, etc.
Keeping track of your money. Management software notates who has paid their tuition, if there are checks in the mail on the way to you, if a credit card was declined, etc. You are always able to track how much you have collected and how much is still owed to you.
Training anytime that you need. The right customer service team will be committed to giving you a full training on how to use their product. From the get go they should provide you with various materials that guide you through tutorials and videos that brush you up on new details.
Don’t shrink back in fear from technology, use it and benefit from it in every way that you can. It may take some getting used to, but once you have got the hang of it you will see how simple it really is. Know your clientele and find all the ways that you can communicate with them. It is undeniable that, these days, the internet is the way to go.
When you are opening a new dance studio, you have to take advantage of each and every tool that helps you bring in customers. When it comes to the internet, your website is where you need to start, and studio management software will help you arrange it all and more.
Here are a few more tips for your social media presence to send you off:
- know what your goals and objectives are
- keep a human attitude, try not to sound like a robot
- keep your customer’s needs in mind at all times
- put your logo everywhere you can possibly put it
- link every social media profile you have to your website
- share your social media accounts with everyone you come in contact with
- use hashtags generously
- post consistency on social media to gain attention (in a non-controversial way)
- keep up on your research
- always reply to customer complaints, make sure they feel heard, and offer them exceptional customer service