Love it or hate it, Halloween is becoming a bigger and bigger thing here in Australia, and overseas it's a 9-billion-dollar industry.

So here's a plan to LEVERAGE Halloween next year to make the most of the consumer excitement around it, and get it working for YOU.

HALLOWEEN WEEK Weeks work better than days for dance studios, because many of our students are only at the studio one or two days a week. Running a Halloween week celebration, and inviting the students to dress up is a fantastic opportunity to bring some real FUN into the studio. Most primary and high schools tend to steer clear of Halloween, so it's up for grabs in terms of association, and what a cool celebration to link to dancing. How brilliant would it be if generations of your students looked back on their dancing experience with your studio and thought of wacky fun adventures with dress ups and decorations?

So what's the action strategy? >> 1. About three weeks before Halloween, release an online poster and send an email letting all of your customers know they can dress up as anything they want. >> 2. Ask on your Facebook group if there are any volunteers to decorate the studio on the Sunday before Halloween week begins, and if anyone has some Halloween decorations they'd like to donate to the studio. Set up a time when the volunteers will decorate the studio - it will probably only take a couple of hours. And if budget is tight, utilise things like draped toilet paper, orange streamers and old sheets. Pinterest "cheap Halloween decorations" and you'll see thousands of ideas. >> 3. Buy some Halloween candy for the teachers to hand out in class, but make the kids say "Trick or Treat" before it's given out. >> 4. Make sure you get LOTS of photos and some video of all the impressive costumes, the kids having fun, and the studio all decorated with the theme. You'll end up with a MASSIVE week of social media content and maybe even a special promo video to share on your local Facebook group letting everyone in your community see how FUN your studio is and how much your students LOVE being there. >> 5. Remind staff to dress up too, and make sure YOU also dress up... because that's DEFINITELY going to be a special highlight for your students. Especially if it's out of character for you. Just think of the conversations in the car when mum does pick up after dancing... and the excitement in the telling of the stories.

HALLOWEEN NIGHT This is the night to get your local community involved. Your studio (which is already decorated by the parents, and full of happy kids having fun) could become THE BEST HAUNTED HOUSE for trick or treaters. Advertise all over your local Facebook groups, put up a bunch of big signs (garage sale style) saying that the BEST trick or treat is at your dancing studio. Bonus points if the signs themselves look awesome and Halloweeny. Another big sign outside of your studio saying Trick or Treaters WELCOME and you're good to go. Make sure you've got loads of candy ready (but really it's not all that expensive) and a couple of volunteers or staff to be ready to great the guests to your studio. With every bit of candy, give out a flyer and a free trial pass. You could even offer double the candy if mum or dad put down their email on your mailing list.

WHY would you go to the trouble to feed candy to half your neighbourhood? Even if it costs $1000 it might be the best $1000 you ever spend on marketing. First of all, Halloween is all about KIDS and TEENAGERS. They are your target market. It's also about imagination, creativity and spectacular... PERFECT to link to our brand. Not only are you getting people IN THE DOOR of your studio, to see the space, see your students dancing, take a flyer, know where you are, meet a friendly face etc... but you're also creating brand awareness within your community. You would be setting yourself up as that cool studio that did the awesome Trick or Treat Haunted House. So maybe only a small small percentage of the random people from your community that some and take some candy might even be potentially interested in dancing... that almost doesn't matter, because one day they will know someone who does want to start dancing, and if asked for a recommendation then it's likely they'll think of YOUR STUDIO, because it might just be the only dance studio they've ever been to.

Want to get MORE people in? AND... want to leverage those random local strangers in your studio even more??? Advertise that you've got 5 awesome INSTAGRAM-WORTHY PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES... and set them up. One could be a pile of dozens and dozens of pumpkins. One could be a large skeleton in a Ballet tutu holding the barre in front of the mirror. One could be a cute puppy dog dressed in a Halloween costume. One could be just a red wall painted to look like blood. People FLOCK to visit anything that they think will provide them with a cool Instagram photo. AND you can put your studio logo in the background of the scenes (cleverly if possible) so that your studio branding is then shared across their entire followers list, and maybe with some encouragement they'll tag your dance studio in the post or add the location. THE HALLOWEEN DISCO This is the dance party to beat all dance parties. Your studio is already decorated. You have a big empty space just waiting for some funky lights and a bunch of people to fill it. Do it, but do it right... hire a DJ that brings proper laser lights and the full set up. Don't spend more than $500 though. Charge $10 per ticket, advertise in advance to your students, and get the bookings done on something like Trybooking so that you can keep track of numbers. Give INVITATIONS to your students to give to their friends from school. (You could even put an ad for your studio on the other side of it!!!) Promote it on the local community Facebook groups and try and promote it at the local schools. It's a big open-to-the-public disco dance party for kids!!! First of all, you could make some money on it. An easy $500 at least. And you could make more if you hold a BBQ and sell some glow sticks and lolly bags. But again, it's not even about this... or even just about your own students having a really fun social night together where they can attach positive associations with childhood memories and your studio... it's also ANOTHER chance to get more people into your studio. Another opportunity for your business to be a well-known fixture in your local community.

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