At your concert, or any performance by your studio, you have a captive audience. So why not make the most of their attention by capitalising on their presence? Your audience is full of your customers (the parents who pay for your students’ lessons and who champion your dancers), potential new students and potential promoters of your business. Don’t only use your concert as a fun performance experience and to show off your students’ work, but also use it as the powerful brand-building and marketing tool that it is. Here are nine creative ways to make the most of your concert.
#1. Ask your students to bring a friend or two to their concert – and not just their immediate family.
Allow your dancers to bring a couple friends for free (particularly friends who don’t dance but are interested), and then offer these friends a free trial class. If you have 500 students, and all of your students bring just one friend, and 10 percent of them decide to try a class and then enroll at your studio, you would possibly have 50 new students for the new school year with very little effort, all because you made the most of your concert. Your students will be so excited to have their friends join them!
#2. Give every young audience member a small gift with your studio’s logo and website address on it.
This might be a magnet, a bumper sticker, a water bottle or even a cute ballerina tree ornament at a Christmas show. People always love to leave with something, and it will give them a warm feeling about your studio. Plus, if these gifts have your brand on them, it could help them to remember your studio when they or a friend are thinking about dance classes.
#3. Have a photo wall at your concert with your studio logo and website address on it.
Encourage your students and their family and friends to take fun photos in front of it, and tag your studio on Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets, and don’t forget to include a fun hashtag. They will really enjoy this, particularly if you provide props, and every photo on social media reminds viewers of your studio. To encourage participation, you could even offer a prize for the best post.
#4. Have a door prize at each performance with entry forms in the theater foyer.
These forms can ask a question such as, “Are you interested in hearing more about dance classes at our studio?”, as well as ask for basic contact information. This will allow you to gather data on all the people who attend your performances and to contact those who could potentially join your studio. The door prize also adds some extra fun and excitement for the audience.
#5. Have a merchandise table in the foyer where attendees can buy cute dance keepsakes, concert t-shirts and studio-branded clothing.
This allows those who’d like a memento of the event to leave with a small something that reminds them of your studio. Little ballerina necklaces, headbands, bracelets and the like are always popular with little girls. Why not even design a charm bracelet with a charm for each year’s concert? Your dancers can look forward to collecting a new charm each year. The money from sales can also help cover some performance costs such as venue hire, lighting or theater staff. To direct people to your table, have the door prize entry forms on it.
#6. Does your studio support a charity or have sponsor children?
Why not teach your students about the importance of giving by choosing a charity to support? Have a donations box at each performance, and tell the audience about the charity and why your studio supports it. Or if you choose to support something like the Kmart Christmas Tree or Operation Christmas Child, have a collection area in the foyer. Help remind your students and their families to give back and to share the joy that dance gives them.
#7. Take the time at your concert to thank the parents of your students.
After all, the parents are who ultimately are your clients; they make the decision to allow their child to dance with you, and they pay for the classes. These parents work hard to get your students to class and to cover the costs of dance training, and although some dance mums may be hard to deal with, they deserve a big “thank you” and to feel valued. If the parents don’t feel appreciated, then the students won’t stick around. Make your parents feel special and loved.
#8. Have a pretty flyer with next year’s schedule on each seat, or given out with each program, to promote your studio.
Include any exciting announcements for the new school year to help get your audience excited about getting back to dance. If you’re starting a new type of class or classes for adults, make sure that your audience knows it.
#9. Have an achievements board in the foyer, highlighting all your studio and students’ achievements that year.
Have you won awards at competition? Did any dancers win solo awards or successfully audition for a full time dance course? Did your dancers perform at any community events or for a retirement home? Did any of your teachers gain extra qualifications, attend any conventions or perform professionally? Your dancers and their parents will be so proud to see their names and photos! And every audience member will know that your studio is successful. Your achievements are powerful for building your reputation and confidence in your studio. Celebrate them!
By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.