Tips For Navigating The Virtual Marketplace To Connect With Customers & Grow Your Business
The Costume Gallery team had a blast at Dance Teacher Web Live, taking the virtual stage to showcase our latest collection of competition and dance recital costumes -- and to share our marketing expertise with dance educators, choreographers and other industry leaders!
Whether or not you attended our DTWL session, you’re most likely facing some of the same challenges when it comes to marketing. COVID-19 has changed the marketplace, probably for good, presenting new challenges for all business owners trying to promote their services, build their brand and connect with existing and potential clients.
How can you, as a dance teacher or studio owner, navigate this unstable landscape and “choreograph” effective marketing strategies that set you up for sustained success? It seems like an overwhelming project, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You just need to know your audience, have a plan and do simple things well.
In this post, the second installment in our How To Market Your Dance Studio series, here are some helpful tips to fall in step with the demands of the virtual marketplace.
SETTING THE STAGE
Moving your marketing efforts online is the first step to success in the age of coronavirus. You need a quality website! This might seem obvious, but in truth, many small business owners overlook important details when it comes to their web presence. Just having a website isn’t enough.
Your website is your business, in the eyes of the public. You must provide a positive experience online, the same way you would if a customer physically walked into your studio. When your social media posts or email marketing campaigns send customers to your site, you have to provide the information they need, in a way they can immediately and easily access -- on a desktop or mobile device. If they can’t find what they seek right away, they will “bounce.” You’ll “lose them at the door.”
The key is to keep your website design simple, easy to navigate and, most importantly, up-to-date. Answer these basic questions before adding any extra bells and whistles to your site.
- Are you open?
- Where are you located?
- What classes do you offer, and when?
- Are they virtual classes?
- How can someone participate in or register for classes?
- If you’re holding in-person sessions, what steps have you taken to make your facility safe from COVID-19?
- How can you be reached? Always include a clear Call To Action with relevant details so customers can get the service they desire, quickly.
Just as a dancer must maintain flawless focus to execute a turn, so must a business plan its outreach efforts via social media or other marketing channels. Once you’ve solidified your foundation with an informative, user-friendly website, identifying your target audience is a crucial next step. What segment of the population are you trying to reach? What does their online behavior look like, and which platforms will be most effective in getting their attention?
Don’t launch any widespread social media campaigns or unleash an onslaught of email campaigns until you’ve identified exactly who you’re targeting. Marketing to the masses will just waste time, energy and money that’s already in short supply.
As every dancer knows, you have to spot your turns, or you’ll end up dizzy!
CONNECTING WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
The goal of any marketing campaign is to connect with people and get them excited about what you have to offer. COVID-19 has physically disconnected us from our communities, making virtual connections all the more crucial to our personal and professional well-being.
Cultivating relationships will always be at the heart of a successful business. The challenge now is to find creative new ways to give customers that “personal touch” in an impersonal world.
Here are some suggestions to spark your creativity:
Your current customers also can help you connect with new ones, through virtual “word of mouth.” In fact, happy customers are arguably the most valuable marketing tool you have! According to research, 77 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase something if they learn about it from a friend. So, encourage members of your studio community to tag you in their own social media posts and post positive reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook and other platforms. That type of “positive press” will serve you well now and for years to come.
COVID-19 has irreparably altered our world, but the basic principles behind building clientele and growing a business will never change. You don’t have to be a seasoned marketing guru to understand what’s really important in promoting a dance studio or any other type of business: consistent messaging, regular communication and personal attention will go a long way.
We hope these marketing tips will serve as a helpful guide as you strive to build a better future for your studio, your community and your family. Please stay tuned to our blog for more timely and entertaining stories from the world of dance, including exciting updates on our costume collections!