To grow your school and build your business you need to not only work to retain your current students, but also reach out to past students to try to inspire them to return to your studio.

To grow your school and build your business you need to not only work to retain your current students, but also reach out to past students to try to inspire them to return to your studio.

In this day and age people need constant reminders of why they should study at your studio. Everyone is busy and very often your dance studio is not high on their radar. How many times have you sent a notice or a postcard or important forms to your students or their parents only to have them tell you with absolute certainty that they never received it? You are 100% sure that they did receive the information because it was never returned and you know that other mailings reached them without a problem. The simple truth is it probably got stuck under a pile of old mail or was thrown away as junk mail. That is why it is so important to reach out to any of your customer base with diversity and regularity.

People like to feel important and they love it when you make them feel that they are special. Really anything that you can do as a business owner to that end is going to benefit your business. People also like reminders. I know myself that I often need reminders because it is so easy to get caught up in the daily rat race that very often without a reminder even things I want to do just don’t get done.

For existing students, the key is to give them time-released information. Whether it be for new registrations, costume ordering, recitals or anything else that they need to know about. Just giving one notice is generally not enough because you are dealing with a wide array of types and personalities. Just as with advertising, the more ways that you are able to reach people, the more chance you have of getting your message across to them and the more likelihood there is of them retaining the information and of you retaining them as customers. I still believe that sending people information through the mail from time to time works well, but with the rising cost of postage it is definitely not the only way to get your information out.  Email is the most effective tool because not only does it cost you nothing, but it can also be used on a constant basis. Make sure that when your clients register their children they give you a current email address and that they understand they will be receiving a lot of information from the studio to make their lives easier and to be sure not to block any information that you send. There are always people who fail to open their emails and when we see that a customer is not opening the emails that we’re sending, we are sure to let them know as soon as possible that they are missing important communications.

Your studio website itself is a great way to reach out to all of your customers, both past and present. Making it current and informative is a big plus. Having video on it is a big selling point for those customers who need visual reminders. Past customers can be invited to check out your website and reconnect with what is happening at your studio—this will often get them interested again in what you have to offer their child.

Making your studio a welcoming place is as important as outside advertising for the continued growth of your business. Keep current customers aware of what is going on. Advertise in house by using posters and flyers of the interesting and important events going on at your studio. Make them aware when the studio receives accolades from an outside source, for example, winning Best Studio at a competition or high point scores, write-ups in the newspaper of your students’ success, testimonials from people who have attended your shows or recitals and are giving you rave reviews.  Make them feel that they are part of a large family, invite them and their friends to customer appreciation events that cost them nothing. They will love these events and will not only keep coming back for more, but also telling all their friends about them. What better way to stay connected to your customers? How many other studios in your area give their customers this kind of attention?

The key is to give everyone an incentive to come to your studio and to stay. If someone leaves, try to find out why. Make it your business to always follow up when you hear about positive as well as negative experiences. Be approachable without becoming unprofessional. Make your rules clear for both students and parents. The more you make your customers aware of how much you care about them and the proper running of your business, the more they will respect you and have a longstanding relationship with your studio.