We've all closed up shop. No classes at the studio. Some of us have online classes and video content being released to our students, but no matter how great that content is, we know that it's not the same as being in the studio. So given that we're no longer operating our services as normal, it hardly seems time to be trying to get new students on board. Households are under financial pressure. People aren't spending. No one is planning ahead for future after-school activities right now. So unless you've got an online program that you really want to be signing newbies up to (which is a whole different article), then advertising your regular classes right now is undoubtedly a waste of time, energy and money. I have suspended all my ongoing Facebook campaigns and stopped posting "enrol now" adverts on local community groups.
That DOESN'T mean it's time to stop promoting your business. It just means that it's time to SHIFT the objective.
Rather than banging on about it for too long without getting to the point, I'll put the punchline right here:
When it is the wrong time to be trying to "get more students", it's the RIGHT TIME to "strengthen your brand" (and local brand recognition).
So what I'm saying is, we need to switch it up from ENROL NOW campaigns, where the aim is to get sign ups, and start thinking of creative ways to get more and more and more and more people in our local community to KNOW who we are and WHAT we do, so that WHEN the time comes to start building back up our numbers, we are in a better position to do so.
Here are some examples:
Trying to get more followers on our social media
By posting regularly
Providing great content
Asking for shares and shout outs
Encouraging tags and posts from customers
Sharing to local groups
Getting media exposure
Sending press releases to local papers
Running charity events
Telling your story
Building local brand recognition
Considering a billboard
Sponsoring local schools and groups
You could post some edited footage of your talented students from a past performance on local Facebook groups, with a caption about wanting to showcase the arts during this challenging time when the public aren't able to see shows, and/or for the sake of your students who no longer have an opportunity to perform.
You could post a free "dance along at home" video for parents with pre-schoolers (not aiming it at other studios' students, but for the thousands of pre-schoolers out there that have never danced before).
You could run a competition that asks your dancers to post their 5 favourite dance photos from the last few years, and tag the studio as well as using a hashtag like #imissdancingatblahblahstudio
You could set up a profile picture frame that looks so cool it goes viral within your studio community.
You could write a blog post with suggestions for parents of at home activities, like a "lockdown survival kit" and publish it on your studio website, then share the blog link on social media parent groups.
The mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get as many people in your local community to know the name and reputation of your studio as possible.
Then when the world starts to go back to normal, and one day in the future anyone in your area happens to be looking for dance classes, then your studio is already in the back of their mind (to either join or recommend to someone else).