As we start a new season you will be looking at where you are in terms of student count. Each year we evaluate where we are this year compared to last year. If everyone has not yet signed back up for classes dont panic! If you have been doing this long enough you know that this will happen each and every year. Many times it has nothing to do with you. It may be that the student is now involved in some other activity that will engulf most of their free time. Some of these activities are only for the first few months of the season and after that these students will be looking for something new to do. Here is a formula that we have used over the years that has helped us keep our attrition in check. I recommend that you try this simple and effective approach.

As we start a new season you will be looking at where you are in terms of student count. Each year we evaluate where we are this year compared to last year. If everyone has not yet signed back up for classes dont panic! If you have been doing this long enough you know that this will happen each and every year. Many times it has nothing to do with you. It may be that the student is now involved in some other activity that will engulf most of their free time. Some of these activities are only for the first few months of the season and after that these students will be looking for something new to do. Here is a formula that we have used over the years that has helped us keep our attrition in check. I recommend that you try this simple and effective approach.

One thing that we have learned is that when you reach out to people, they feel important. They feel pertinent and that you care. The reality is that most people dont care how much you know, your expertise does not become important until they know how much you care about them! What we have found out over the years is that many of our students that did not sign up again felt that they were not noticed. That they really didnt advance and that they didnt have the facility to be able to learn. It is important that we get to these students and their parents to let them know it is ok if they are not perfect and that we welcome them as much as the students who excel. If we are not careful about the way we treat these students, the illusion will be that we only care about the good students. The best way that you can convey this message is through contact, a lot of contact. Here are some of the ideas we have used to reconnect with those students.

Make a list of all the present students who have not signed up for classes this year.

Send them a post card that says Its not to late! We have a spot reserved for you in the classes we recommend for you. You dont have to put any individual information on the post card just make sure that your front desk person knows who you have sent them to.

Create a list of classes for each student that you recommend. If you have a web-site you can direct them to check out the newest schedule online.

Call each one of these students. This can be a bit time consuming but it will be worth your time. You may not always like what you hear from these parents but you can get very valuable feedback and if you are doing something that your customers dont like you can then find ways to fix it!

Send out a letter. We like to send this out in late September or early October. The tone of the letter will be to emphasize all the exciting things we have planned for the season and to let them know that we miss their presence at the school. Reiterate to them that it is not too late to join in and that you are eager to hear from them. Include a schedule and a coupon for some special discount. It could be as simple as waiving the registration fee.

Send out a holiday greeting card. There are no special messages here. Just a way to let them know that you are thinking about them during the holidays and that you wish them well.

You could even go back a few years and compile a list of all former students and complete 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the numbers above. It may be a bit awkward to call someone you have not seen in a few years but a large percentage of the time people are happy to be recognized and called.

Every year we get a nice flow of students coming back in to re register by using this simple and inexpensive method. A post card is easy to produce and cost effect. So are a letter and a phone call. You already know that at some point these children had an interest in dance lessons, so why not use some of your marketing dollars on getting them back. Once you complete this portion of the formula dont give up! Put them on a past student list and send them out information about future registrations and events you are having at your school. Part of building your business will be keeping what you already have. You have invested money in getting them to sign up in the first place, so you might as well spend some time and money trying to get them back!