In the early days of launching our first dance studio, we had put most of our budget into mirrors and floors, leaving limited dollars for marketing. So we got creative, we got scrappy and we had some fun along the way!
In today’s economic climate, we’re all looking for ways to feed the marketing engine without breaking the bank, so we thought we would share some of those creative, scrappy ideas that continue working for us year after year.
Targeted Social Media Ads
You’re probably already using social media to share updates to your followers, but you can also use social media to reach prospects by placing a small, targeted ad buy on social media. Facebook is a great option if you haven’t done this before. You’ll set a budget, choose a distance radius from your studio or even a specific zip code or two and then choose people with kids in the age group you’d like to have in your class.
For example, this would look like: $20 campaign budget targeting people who live in zip code 76012, with kids age 7-10.
Then you create ad artwork just like you’d create a social post.
If this idea intrigues you but you want a step-by-step guide, try this one from Hubspot.
This one is cheap and cheerful, but it does require some legwork because you’ll have to go around town to the various community bulletin boards and post a flyer. You can go classic with a tear-off style or get fancy with a QR code that will direct to your website. Places to look at: coffee shops, community centers, libraries, farm supply stores, salons, church, grocery stores and sports centers (think hockey, tennis, swimming, skating, etc.).
Paper the Town
Use brightly colored copy paper and print simple flyers with big type that can be read from a bit of a distance. Use a staple gun to post them on phone polls around areas where families travel. Fair warning: check your local regulations before you do this one because not every area allows this. Also, be sure to go back to take down the posters after a week or two so those dance class ads don’t wither into ads for your environmental terrorism .
Contact the local grade schools and pre-schools and see if they offer the option to include a flyer in student folders. While this takes a little legwork on your end, it’s very cost effective. The school will typically give you a list of classrooms and the number of students in each and you deliver a package with the flyers broken out by the same. The most organized and brainless you can make it, the more likely your stuff will make it to the folders.
The best leads will come from your own students! Offer an incentive to both the new student and the referring student. We’ve had success offering different incentives including discounts, studio merch, dance gear, and a friendship mystery goodie bag (great for putting small amounts of random swag to use). You could pair this with a friendship week where you let students bring a friend to class.
Create an eye catching visual statement outside of your studio doors to catch passer-by attention. The idea is just to create something out of the ordinary that pulls attention to your location for those who “had no idea you were there!”
- Hit up the dollar store for some pool noodles and balloons to make an arch or balloon towers – there are some great ideas for this on YouTube.
- Purchase some helium balloons from the dollar store and attach them to home-made sandwich boards /easels that you place on the sidewalk or on top of cars parked outside of the studio.
- Repurpose old recital props to create a cool promo installation. Leftover paints and glitter can work wonders for attention grabbing!
- Create a “card my yard” inspired sign/prop/display in front of the studio which can be made easily from leftover recital supplies and some strategic dollar store shopping.
- Or purchase a blowup dinosaur, paint it a funky color and cover it in glitter to hold a sign for you. He’ll need some sort of weights for his feet to keep him stable, but he’ll get attention!
Pop On A Quick Car Magnet
Borrow a page from the service pro playbook and purchase some low-cost car magnets with your info on them. We get ours from BuildASign.com for around $6 each.
So there are a few cheap and cheerful marketing options to get the brainstorm started. What are your favorite budget-friendly marketing tricks for your dance studio?