Want More Students? Fresh Ideas! (2)

Want More Students? Fresh Ideas! (2)

browser Screen 1This is Part 2 of the content around growing your studio. We at Studio Helper want to jump start your thinking. Truth: I’ve had enough thoughts that there will even be a “Part 3 of 2” down the road.

This article focuses on ideas that may help your web marketing and use of email succeed.

The goal: Reach as many new  potential students and parents as you can. A percentage of those become clients… there’s your growth.

Use web marketing creatively

It’s not at all unusual for a studio site to be focused on current students and parents. That works reasonably well for existing studio clients (as long as it is kept up to date, of course).

What is on your site to attract the attention of potential students and parents?

Rethink Your Web Site

Make your home page general: Don’t try to cram everything onto the home page. Be specific in welcoming to new visitors.

Move information to other site pages; link to them from the home page. Set up something for visitors! Here’s a sample organization:

  • Student Information
  • Parents of Students
  • Potential Student and Parent Info
  • Special Events and Calendar
  • Pictures of Us In Action
  • About Us (teacher bios, studio history, awards)
  • Contact Us

Home Page Icon

Use photos, art and logos sparingly: Keep text to what fits on a page or a bit more (scrolling down 5 pages is a turnoff).

Keywords on the Home Page: Be sure any “keywords” applying to your studio are used on the home page.  Examples might be:

ballet   studio   private   lesson   class   beginning   intermediate   advanced   Muncie   Indiana  LegUp (studio name)

You can also use phrases like “ballet lessons in Muncie Indiana.” Some search engines match phrases well.

Pottery Wheel 1How might you search for a studio like yours? If you use a keyword multiple times on the home page, that’s even better. Keep keywords singular.

Remember: Organization, Content, Keywords.

Email marketing

There are legitimate and ethical ways to use bulk email to promote your studio.

Bulk email is very different from “spam.”  Here’s a bit of spam background from WikiPedia.  Control over spam in the U.S. was established by the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. It spells out exactly what is considered spam plus defining legitimate email use.

Here’s the actual FTC guideline sheet for business use of marketing emails. As long as you follow the guidelines it is perfectly legal and legitimate to use email

In a nutshell:

  1. If you are providing information and not selling something in the email, it is not considered commercial. That makes a non-promotional newsletter format acceptable. In general, less than 20% of content should be commercial. It is acceptable to have a logo or contact information at the bottom of the message.
  2. There are no restrictions against a company emailing existing customers or anyone who has inquired about its products or services.

The other CAN-SPAM regulation categories to follow include: Unsubscribe Options, Content Compliance (no false subjects!),  and Sending  Behavior. The link above will give you a chance to check over this in more detail. It all comes down to being ethical – a recipient should know where the email came from, who you are, have an easy way to opt out of future mailings.  You can use purchased email address lists, but building your own over time can be better targeted and more cost effective.

The important thing to know is, email marketing is quite doable and legitimate on behalf of your business.

How do I do this?

There are great web-based tools that provide email service and handle the background stuff needed to keep you CAN-SPAM compliant. Two to consider are Campaign Monitor and icontact.

What do I do?

One of the easiest ways to handle email marketing is to provide a regular newsletter to current contacts as well as any you have gathered over time. From my personal experience:

I’ve done a lot of volunteer work for National Wildlife Federation. The monthly Nature Scoop email now goes out to over 1,400 people just because names have been gathered over several years… Plus, a number of organizations resend to their membership list (I have no idea how many others that reaches).

ridingAny time you do a public event, give people the opportunity to sign up for a free “e-newsletter” with useful information. Tell them their email will never be shared or sold. Have a form on clipboards and check that they write the email address legibly. You might only gather a few names at each event, but they add up.

Content: Information can be almost anything.

  • What’s the difference between…
  • Did you know… (trivia)

Build topic ideas by  listing words about your discipline, its background and so forth. Many of those will be suited for a couple or three sentences.

Two or three of those items plus “web links of interest” and an “upcoming events” or “calendar” listing and you’re done.

Newsletter tips:

  1. Write your message, read it several times. Print it, read it aloud. Trim extra words. Spell check.
  2. Keep it short.
  3. Consider your subject line.  Include the month so they know it’s new – Dayton Soccer Kicker (November 2009).Soccer_1
  4. When you’re just starting, identify several people you respect and ask them to give you honest feedback on a test newsletter. Ideas, suggestions, things that work well, things that are turn-offs.
  5. Do test emailings to yourself before a full send. I use Outlook and have test accounts on HotMail, Yahoo and Google.

Stay tuned for part 3 in a couple of weeks. Ensuring your success is our business here at Studio Helper.

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