New Media Has Changed The Way to Market Dance Studios.

13 Sep

We had an amazing interview with Suzanne Gerety, owner of DanceStudioOwner.com, an amazing resource for those of you who own a dance studio.

We hope you enjoy! Make sure to read until the end for some useful tips Suzanne shared with us…

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What is DanceStudioOwner.com and how did you come up with this idea?

DanceStudioOwner.com is a comprehensive resource and membership site with information on everything related to starting, running, or growing your dance studio business.  We like to think of it as having your own personal advisory team at your fingertips 24/7.

As for how we came up with the idea… as the daughter of and now the second-generation owner of a large performing arts school in Southern New Hampshire – my entire life has been focused on the dance studio.

The idea for DanceStudioOwner.com came when my son was a newborn; it wasn’t easy – in fact it was nearly impossible, to leave the studio or travel to a big city for a live event to meet face to face with other business owners and dance colleagues.  Determined not have to navigate this business alone if something were to happen to my mom suddenly, we decided to create a place where dance studio owners were able to collaborate no matter where they were in the world.  It was especially important because this is an industry that can be lonely and at times the competition fierce.

Everything we work on with our members is relevant to studio ownership today and it’s based on tried-and-true experience from having over thirty five years of consistent growth in the face of changing trends, personal losses, studio splits, and economic ups and downs. Kathy Blake, my mom and co-founder and I are actively running our own studio of over 900 dancers, 25 faculty and staff, on a day-to-day basis as well so we can relate to and help our members with managing the million details it takes to keep your studio thriving.

Our members often say that they don’t know what they would do without the personal support they receive from us and the other successful studio owners on our discussion forum.  We do everything we can to help our members leverage their unique gifts and talents and expertise.   This is a very personal business – dance studio ownership – one size does not fit all.

Ultimately our focus is in giving our members and readers information that not only saves them time and money but also contributes to growth in their business both financially and artistically.  In a business where it’s easy to burn out, we help people keep their passion for dance alive as they grow their studio.

DanceStudioOwner.com would have never been possible without the use of new media. How do you think new media has changed the dance world and what do you think we should expect in the near future?

I’d say that new media has had a big impact on the ways that dance studios and schools market their classes and programs.  It used to be that you could print a nice looking brochure, send it to your mailing list, wait for the phone to ring and people would call to register. Or you could run an ad in the local paper and people would know you were open for classes. There were a few direct paths for people to follow.

Now we have online registration, automated billing, instant website updates, social media interactions, video sharing/critique from our teachers, email groups for communicating, text messaging, automated messaging, and much more.  Students and parents are taking their good…and at times bad reviews to sites like Google, Yelp, and Merchant Circle.  New media calls us to focus on customer service now both offline and online.  Compound that with mobile check ins on Foursquare or photo and location tagging on Facebook; there are so many places that people can go to get and share information.

Not only do the dance studio owners have many, many more marketing channels to communicate with current and potential students, they have to learn how to compete against the information overload to keep their business running and growing.

Would you like to provide a quick tip for the studio owners reading our blog?

Whether your studio focuses on ballet, Middle Eastern dance, classes for adults, ballroom, musical theatre, Irish step, dance fitness, or general performing arts – we all need students in order to stay in business.  Although the dance disciplines, teaching methods, and personal student concerns can vary widely, I find that each studio owner has a lot in common with one another when it comes to starting, running and growing their studio.

But just like in dance, it’s important to practice the fundamentals consistently over time.  Try not to get overwhelmed by having to do everything all at once or get trapped in feast or famine marketing attempts.  Focus have a professional looking website that is updated regularly with your schedule, make it easy for people to do business with you, use feedback as an opportunity to grow.

William Faulkner said it best “Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

Do you have a question for Suzanne? Post a comment below this article.

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