Jackrabbit Tips & Tricks

Are You Making These 4 Costly Dance Studio Ad and Marketing Mistakes

I have yet to meet a dance studio owner who says, “I opened my business because I love sales and marketing!” Rather, most of us started with a dream of owning or operating our studio because of a love for teaching dance, choreographing, creating productions and more.

That said the success of any for profit business lies in the ability to have paying customers. It’s sad and frustrating when you spend hundreds or even thousands of hard-earned dollars on advertising and marketing methods that are ineffective today.

Here are four mistakes that dance studios make when it comes to advertising and marketing their programs.  While there are many ways to find new students that can cost either very little or way too much, I’m hopeful you’ll see ways to leverage the efforts you’re making now and avoid these costly mistakes along the way.

Mistake #1: Spending money on Facebook ads (or any ad) without a clear goal.

A studio owner recently told me, “I have spent over $400 on Facebook ads and I have absolutely no idea how it works or if I’ve gotten any new students but we have more people that like our page now!”  Before starting any ad campaign, it’s important to set a measurable goal set so you can track your progress to determine if the ad is successful or needs tweaking.

If your goal is to grow the amount of likes you have on your studio’s page, be sure you’re adding value with the content you’re sharing on social media so that you can gain the interest of this potential student to take the next step to call or register.

Maybe your goal is to draw users to your website for class information or registering. Too often I see Facebook ads direct the reader to a studio website that is not up to date, lacks a call to action, or makes it difficult for that person to take the next step to either call you, come in for trial class, or register.  If you’re using online registration you’re one step closer to making it easy for people to do business with you.

Mistake #2: Using expensive one-time saturation mailings to fill programs before utilizing low cost and free methods first.

I sort my mail over the trash.  The goal is to recycle as much paper as possible and find the few items that are important. Saturation mailings, a direct mailing that promises to reach thousands of households may be a great strategy for lawn care companies, local restaurants, residential cleaning services, or florists – but not necessarily a dance studio.

In fact, a dance studio owner who was about to invest $3,000 in a one-time saturation mailing contacted me to see if I could review the piece.  But we didn’t even get that far. Together, we discovered that her schedule of class offerings couldn’t even support the demand if say, just 1% of the potential reach of this mailing were to actually interest new students.

There were not nearly enough classes for beginners or young dancers offered at the studio. We determined that the investment wouldn’t pay off even after a year.  The text in this mailing was intended to direct people to her studio website. However, on her site there were limited program descriptions, no proper links to social media, no online registration and a confusing tuition page that would turn off any parent of a new dancer.

Lessons to take away: Make sure the basics such as an easy to navigate website and links to online registration and schedules are lined up before you spend any money on a mailing. Do the math! Ask yourself, does it even make sense to spend X on a one-time mailing campaign?

Mistake #3: Relying on newspaper ads as your only source of advertising.

The local paper is not what it used to be!  Have you noticed changes in the type of ads you see there? Better yet, if you’re still spending money on advertising in your local paper what kind of results have you seen from running those ads? Does your target market (such as a busy working mom or stay at home dad) still look in the local paper when making decisions on activities for their children?

We stopped running ads for our studio in our local paper over a year ago; the same goes for the phone book. If you feel compelled to invest in newspaper ads, make sure you have a sense of urgency tied in with the copy such as: Registration deadlines, early bird savings, incentive to hold your spot before the class fills, special guest events such as master classes or intensives. Give people a really, really good reason to contact you.

Mistake #4: Ignoring online reviews.

Most people cringe at the thought of an angry parent or former student going online and writing a negative review of their experience at your dance studio. You can’t make everyone happy, nor will you, but in today’s age of consumer-driven reviews on sites such as Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo and more, you have to take the leadership role and get involved in managing your online reputation. Know what’s being said about you!

Too often I search for local businesses and see none or only one review posted online – and many times that single review is negative and the business owner has no idea if or how to respond.

The Internet has made the power of word-of-mouth (free!) advertising faster than ever. In years past, studio owners would ask for a testimonial for a printed brochure. Now is the time to ask for those raving fans to take their positive comments to a review online. Ask them if they’d be willing to take a moment and share those kind words on your Google Places page as word-of-mouth and referrals mean a lot to growing your dance studio business.

Summing it up…

Make sure you’re maximizing the core no-cost and low cost marketing methods first before you pour hundreds or thousands of dollars into paid advertising. Advertising (paid or otherwise) can be highly successful, but only when the fundamentals are covered.


Suzanne Blake Gerety is not only the very busy mom of two young children but is the owner and co-founder of DanceStudioOwner.com, and the Vice President of Kathy Blake Dance Studios. She is a regularly featured contributor in various pieces for Dance Teacher Magazine including, “Ask the Experts”, business articles, and presents seminars at Dance Media’s Dance Teacher Summit New York City.

Suzanne experiences the ups and downs of studio ownership too, which is what inspires her to help studio owners and teachers keep their passion for dance alive as they grow their business. You can connect with her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/DanceStudioOwner


Share This Post!

Share This Post!

Schedule a Call or Demo

See Jackrabbit PayTM in Action

Fast and easy online scheduling

Choose one of the options below to be directed
to our online scheduler to select a day and time.

Just need some questions answered?
Contact us at any time.