Proven Actions Based on Successful Industry Campaigns
Marketing is scary, isn't it? I mean, you lay out your hard-earned money in advance, and then you have to sit back and HOPE that money makes its way back into your pockets. In my 15 years of helping business owners with marketing, this is an attitude I encounter quite a bit from most small business owners (who are the ones that really FEEL it when a marketing campaign fails).
It doesn't HAVE to feel this way.
I am the founder and CEO of one of the fastest growing direct mail providers in the country, and for the past decade plus, we have been tracking the results of every campaign our clients send, including the campaigns of hundreds of dance studios (small and large) all across the country. I can tell you exactly what mailing strategies have worked for your peers, which means I can tell you exactly how to get the same results for your dance studio.
And that's exactly what I am going to do!
Target the Right Prospects
We have found that the best mailing list for dance studios is one that targets households with children in the age ranges your studio teaches. This may sound obvious, but many businesses make the mistake of purchasing a low-quality list (one that targets every one in their area) to try to save money. This tactic may save money in the short run, but ultimately it will torpedo your marketing results and waste the money you spend on the postcards.
Of course, if your studio does not focus exclusively on children, you can add demographics to your list that allow you to target the type of adult that would attend your classes (i.e. a certain income range, location, marital status, etc.) This kind of targeting is just as proven to produce results, because you are still getting your advertisements in to the hands of qualified prospects.
Mail More Than Once (Seriously)
Our official recommendation to dance studios, based on the results we have seen, is to mail the same design 3-5 times to maximize your return on investment (ROI) from that postcard order. The reason you can't just mail once and expect a great result is that marketing (all marketing, not just direct mail) requires repetition to yield significant results. General wisdom is that it takes someone seeing an ad seven times before they will respond to it. We find that 3-5 times is all it takes for a well-designed postcard, though, due to how well qualified the prospects are.
Again, people try to save money by mailing less often. And again, they shoot themselves in the foot. Repetitious mailings are not optional. Don't cut corners here. Moving on!
Offer Something They Actually Want
The crux of your postcard design is going to be your offer. This is what will motivate prospects to take action, so it needs to be something that your ideal prospect actually wants. In our experience, there are two offers that have been proven to work for dance studios:
A FREE trial class
A discount on classes
Bonus ideas: host a free open house event that gives guests a taste of your classes and studio culture, waived registration fees or sibling discounts (for multiple enrollments).
You can start to see why this is proven to work, right? It just makes so much darn sense! You have an attractively designed postcard with no envelope to open. You mail it to prospects that are predisposed to react positively to your offer (based on their demographics). You offer them something they already want. What logically follows?
A good number of them redeem the offer and become students. Obviously!
No, it is not rocket science. For the most part it's common sense, but sometimes the simplest solutions are the hardest to recognize. After 15 years and hundreds of thousands of direct mail campaigns, I can tell you with confidence that the information I provided above is proven to be successful. You just need to execute it with diligence (and be amazing at teaching dance!). Then the results will follow.
If you'd like to see real postcard marketing results from dance studios and other education providers, download this free educational marketing campaign report at www.postcardmania.com/marketing-reports/real-educational-services-marketing-campaigns-and-results or request free postcard samples from our archive of winning campaigns at www.postcardmania.com/freesample - Best of luck this Spring!