I had an idea late last night...
"A TRIBUTE TO [INSERT YOUR TOWN HERE]"
My studio is in Smeaton Grange, a light industrial area situated between Narellan, Mount Annan, Currans Hill and Harrington Park. But all that is under the "Camden" council area, and Camden is a beautiful much-loved little country town about 9 minutes drive from my studio.
(Adding to my list of things I'll hopefully one-day get to), I want to create a concept dance video featuring some of my best students, dancing around the town, in the main street, in iconic local businesses etc. I've chosen "Another Day of Sun" - the opening song from La La Land. I want it to be old-fashioned, and picturesque. Professional, and evocative of classic cinema, with a costuming and production effects that tie in a little bit with the era of the town's history.
What's so exciting about this? Why would I even post the idea on here?
I think the idea of making a "tribute" to the local town, is the PERFECT way to get the eyes of the local community. Facebook community groups move so fast nowadays that posting ads on there last mere minutes before being too long of a scroll from most eyes. And so paid advertising aside, the hardest challenge we are all facing as dance studio owners is how can we be seen by lots and lots and lots of people in our specific area. I think I've found the solution.
Leveraging town pride, along with general "oh-isn't-that-cool-I'll-share-that" virality, I'm *hoping* that it becomes locally viral. And given that it's not technically an "advertisement" in the strictest sense, I'll be able to share it to all of my local groups - even the ones that don't allow promotional posts. Because it's just art and entertainment. And it's so specifically relevant to the target audience.
A chance for my dancers to show off their technique and performance skills, for my team to show off their choreography, and for hopefully thousands of locals residents to have a reason to watch.
I'll post it from my studio Facebook page, with a blurb along the lines of "A Tribute to Camden: Featuring the talented students from Commotion Performing Arts and choreographed by our teachers." And nothing more. No call to action to enrol, or anything that triggers the whole "it's-an-ad!" reaction of scrolling quickly past. If it impresses someone out there, they'll see that it was posted by my studio page and will click that to seek out more info.
So I put the challenge out there to you. Make a "tribute" to your studio's town, as a concept dance video, and see if it doesn't become the BEST marketing tool you've ever produced. It's a great project for older students to be working on right now, in these eisteddfod-less, toasted-sandwich-less times. I'm wanting to go all in on this one... because I believe it has the potential to be game-changing for further establishing the reputation of my studio within my local area.
I'm just going to say it one more time. LOCAL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IS EVERYTHING!!! For our industry, it is all about trying to get every single person in a 10km radius of our dance studio to know WHO we are, WHAT we do, and HOW well we do it! Instagram followers are irrelevant if they're not close enough to the studio to potentially be a customer. Smashing eisteddfods only shows off to dancers and parents who have already got a studio. It's all about the local community. This is why the best marketing initiatives are things like - Shopping centre stalls - Performances at fetes, festivals and local events - Working with local schools - Fixed long-term local signage around town
Letterbox drops and image-based ads on Facebook have one major flaw. There's no true way to communicate the quality of the product and service that we offer. No matter how well-designed that flyer is, it's still just a promise without anything to back it up. Have you ever been frustrated that the people in your community (or even some of your own students and parents) can't seem to differentiate between your studio and the really below-average [awful] studios in your area? (The ones you wouldn't send your child to even if they paid you to). Our greatest challenge is to educate our local area to the quality of our work, and to help even the clueless non-dancers out there see that we are the BEST at what we do.
I think, if done well and done right, a video like this could help. How much would that video be worth to you if it got 8 new students this year (...and helped grow your reputation which ended up bringing in a further 12 students over the next two years)?
Average student at say $30 per week = $1200 per year, plus another $300 profit from incidentals like uniform, costumes, DVD, photos, concert tickets etc. = $1500. Average retention 3 years = $4500 per student x 8 = $36,000... add the 12 students and it's $90,000... then factor in that every new student is arguably worth 1.4 of their value because at least two in five will bring in another student due to word of mouth, siblings/cousins, bring-a-friend week etc. So then we're actually talking $126,000.
Do it! Even writing this post has got me a lot more excited to get this done than when I wrote the first paragraph. A TRIBUTE to your town, as a concept dance video - produced to a high standard and featuring your most impressive students (and maybe even staff).