This weeks post is all about sharing the love! When it comes to being the business owner we sometimes get caught up in the running of things; organising and delegating tasks, coming up with new ideas for the studio or even teaching classes ourselves. Our studios or businesses of dance at the end of the day are a business yes, but they are also a community. A community of individuals dedicated to creating a positive, safe and fun place for dance education. And in order for this atmosphere to take place, everyone must come together as a team and community to facilitate the best experience possible for both students, teachers as well as the parents of the students. Today I want to go over my top tips of how to bring together your studio family and form a community!
Having good communication is so important when running any business but especially for a business to be shaped into a community. A great place to start is with something as easy as emails. To start with having a newsletter is really great for keeping your studio family up to date with all the latest features of your studio, class changes, announcements, as well as event information. It keeps all the parents in the loop with what is happening, giving them a sense of the experiences their child is having, providing them with a sense comfort. Now you can also extend this those in the community who may not currently attend your studio, but have participated in a workshop, maybe took a class in the past or even just enquired but never booked a trial. It can be super beneficial to keep everyone who has ever been to your studio in the loop at all times. This is you extending your arm to a wider audience pulling the community in closer, so that your studio is not forgotten by anyone. You can set up these emails in mailchimp or any email hosting site of your choice which can be automated and send out all at once which will save you and your team a heap of time. Another great way to stay in touch is to create a private studio FB group. This ensure you can communicate directly with your families and messaged are more likely to get to those people that you need it to get to.
2.Bring a parent or friend week
It may seem simple, but having a member of your community who isn’t a member of your studio drop in for a visit can be very beneficial as it gives others a sneak peak of what it is like in your studio. Having a parent or guardian of a child watch their children not just in concert, but in a class installs a feeling within them which confirms their choice for having their child participate in your studio. They can see all the amazing work their child is doing, how far they have progressed as well as the how the values of the studio are benefiting their child and their specific needs. Over the last few years we have made a transition to “Parent participation week” where parents that come to watch are required to get up and participate with their child for a portion of the class. Not every parent attends, but we ensure all kids have a partner. We find this is a great ice breaker, a great bonding experience for the students and parents and we feel like they have a better understanding of how difficult the steps are that we are teaching their little ones. With bring a friend week, this friend can actually participate in the class which can help them to feel included in their friend’s activities and passions as well as the studio itself. This can in turn generate more enrollments and brings the community even closer together as you widen your studio family.
3.Host a free workshop!
Now this can vary for everyone based on where they are with their studio, but hosting a workshop either for a holiday, end or beginning of a term or when first opening your studio can not only increase more signups but attract those may not even have thought about taking a dance class before. After all people hear the word “free” tend to get kind of excited. Another great option is to host a workshop in a local school, town hall or for a special event to show your community your presence in your local area. This can give others a sense of your values, why dance education is important in child development and show that you care about helping the quality of lives in others where you live. Just a little tip – if you generally only want a class of 15, “sell” (on Trybooking, Eventbrite etc) between 20 – 25 tickets as unfortunately with any free event comes a few no shows.
This can also be a great opportunity to get siblings, relatives and other friends involved to experience all the wonderful things your studio has to offer!
4.Integrate your studio family into your social media.
Being consistent with your social media posting is another great way to keep your studio family in the loop and keep them on their toes with all the amazing content you are generating. This can be as simple as posting on your studios instagram stories what happens in one of your classes that day, or a routine etc. This gets others excited about what is happening at your studio, and also gives your students a chance to share posts around as well. Another option is to integrate teacher and student features or spotlights on your website and blog, which can again be shared on instagram as well as facebook. This gives the student or teacher extra confidence within all the hard work they have done in the studio, as well as make them feel more included and valued as a studio/community member. This can even extend in posting testimonials on your website from your facebook page, or emails from parents. Having these kind words with the name of the parent on your website ensures that others who visit your website know you have personally enriched the lives of others, giving them the incentive to sign up their own child.
5.Host a picnic, party or parent night!
Another great community building activity is hosting a picnic, party or parent night. Each term we make it a focus and priority to host at least 1 free event for our students that could include a disco, movie night, games afternoon, Halloween party and the list goes on! We also need to keep in mind that we shouldn’t forget the parents! A wine and cheese social evening, trivia night, or even a themed dress up event is a great way for parents to let their hair down, socialise with other members of the studio and fall in love with your studio and all of the experiences you have to offer!
Those were my top 5 tips on how to share the love with your dance studio community. It is so important that everyone who comes into contact, attends, or teaches at the studio feel valued, and included in the community which you have created from your business and love of dance. Even applying these easy steps you can ensure your community will generate positive feedback, more signups and referrals for your studio, which gives others a sense of trust when looking for the classes/services that your studio provides.
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