Running a Dance Studio: 8 Best Practices for Businesses
Running a dance studio can often feel like an uphill battle. Between planning class schedules, marketing your studio, and staying on top of finances, the day-to-day tasks can quickly get overwhelming.
As a dance studio manager or owner, you know these duties are critical for the success of your business, but you also probably desire more time to connect with your students and help them grow as dancers and as people. At the end of the day, that’s why you got into this business — to share your passion for dance with others. Luckily, we have a few tips and tricks to help win your time back!
Here at DanceStudio-Pro, we’ve helped thousands of dance studio managers and owners implement more efficient management practices by using our dance studio management software. We’ve compiled eight best practices to run your dance studio more effectively:
- Invest in powerful dance studio software
- Make data-driven decisions
- Streamline and automate operations
- Focus on increasing retention rates
- Track and follow up with prospects
- Simplify scheduling and communication
- Create a custom dance studio app
- Diversify your dance studio offerings
These tips simplify essential tasks and automate others, leaving you with a streamlined core strategy that allows you to make the best use of your time. Let’s dive in!
Invest in powerful dance studio software
Powerful dance studio software is one of your greatest assets for running a more successful dance studio. The best dance studio software simplifies management processes and helps you run a better dance studio with less time and effort.
Treat your studio software as a personal assistant by delegating essential tasks to be automated within the system. Processes that previously took hours or even days to complete, like tracking down missing tuition payments or organizing ticket sales for live events, can be handled entirely by your studio management software. Plus, you’ll save some trees in the process, ditching old-fashioned paper filing systems or sign-up sheets for a streamlined digital system.
As this image demonstrates, dance studio software can take care of a range of functions for you to lighten your load. Your studio management software can:
- Simplify class scheduling and communications
- Manage student and instructor information
- Automate tuition payments and reminders
- Manage new student leads and track studio growth
- Sell tickets for events, recitals, or workshops
Running a dance studio in 2021 requires a full embrace of the technology available within the industry. Using quality dance studio software sets your studio apart from competitors in the market — you’ll not only become a more effective manager but also provide a streamlined customer experience. Your students or their parents can use your system to easily make tuition payments or sign up for classes, reducing hassle and stress on their end.
Investigate your options for dance studio management software to determine the right choice for your business.
Make data-driven decisions
One of the most challenging aspects of running a dance studio is making business strategy decisions. It can be hard to know the right path to take when positioning your dance studio within the local market to attract new students and retain your current students. You may see other dance studio owners offering new classes or expanding their physical facilities, and wonder if you should do the same to keep up.
The right dance studio software can help with this, too. Accurate reporting and analytics reduce the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding your business decisions. With a tool like DanceStudio-Pro’s Dashboards feature, you can collect and analyze data regarding your studio’s:
- Year over year tuition posting to analyze revenue trends
- Year over year enrollment statistics to determine studio growth
- Attendance records to give insight into how many students drop classes
- Leads and prospects to determine where to spend your marketing budget
Use these comprehensive metrics to assess your studio’s growth over time and determine the best course of action based on past experience. You’ll have more assurance and confidence in your business decisions because you’ve completed a thorough analysis and come to a data-driven conclusion.
Streamline and automate operations
Some aspects of your dance studio require your undivided attention, such as customer service emergencies or building relationships with students. But a few elements within your studio management processes don’t require this level of micromanagement. Use your studio software system to streamline and automate tasks like:
- Tuition payments: With tuition auto-pay, customers are automatically billed regularly for dance studio tuition and pay through an online portal. This simplifies the payment process on both sides — you save time by not having to send out invoices and track down late payments each month, while clients easily submit fees through a convenient digital hub.
- Scheduling: Create schedules for in-person and virtual dance classes through your studio management software. Plus, you can assign dance instructors to classes and send text reminders about upcoming classes and events so your staff stays organized.
- Communication: You can automate mass messages to your entire dance studio community or specific groups such as just teachers or parents. Send event reminders, class updates, schedules, and more in minutes (we explore this feature more in a later section).
The moral of the story? Don’t put everything on your plate. By automating and delegating certain tasks, you’ll reduce stress and run your studio more efficiently.
Focus on increasing retention rates
You likely spend a good amount of your overall budget on marketing efforts. Whether you send out flyers, social media ads, local TV or radio spots, billboards, or direct mail appeals, you know how expensive it is to effectively advertise your studio.
Marketing is critical for attracting new students, but it’s also important to focus on retaining the students you already have. Overall, it’s much more cost-effective to hold onto current students rather than having to continuously solicit new customers due to high student-turnover rates. Student retention drives a steady cash flow to your business, so focus on engagement efforts that inspire loyalty in current customers.
Once a dancer signs up for their first class, implement special incentives or perks that keep them coming back time and time again. Offer students:
- Loyalty discounts: Perhaps you implement a system where after five classes, students get the sixth class free or a similar discount for recurring students.
- Opportunities for advancement: As students progress in their skills, offer the opportunity to advance to new levels with more specialized classes.
- Special perks: Offer special prizes to long-term students such as ongoing raffle drawings, free t-shirts, dance gear giveaways, or treats on their birthdays.
Focusing on amplifying student retention will increase your studio’s revenue over the long term, save money on marketing efforts, and foster a thriving, close-knit studio community.
Track and follow up with prospects
On a similar note, be sure to focus your marketing efforts on those who are most likely to actually register for a class. Prospect management allows you to keep track of new student leads and be more deliberate with your advertising appeals. Use DanceStudio-Pro’s leads and prospect management system to:
- Store contact information for prospective students to follow up with them.
- Manage lead sources and learn how new customers are hearing about your business.
- Make online registration easy to convert leads to actual students.
- Track conversions to gauge marketing success.
- Integrate with MailChimp to entice leads with professional email campaigns.
Prospect management empowers you to not only acquire insights about leads but immediately act on the information to gain new students. For instance, if you discover through your research that many new clients hear about your business through targeted ads on their social media pages, you can put more marketing dollars into that channel.
Also, if you discover that certain demographics are more likely to convert to students, such as girls between the ages of 9-15, you can focus your marketing efforts on connecting with parents of these prospective students.
By tracking and following up with leads through prospect management, you ensure you’re acquiring new students who are more likely to stick around long term.
Simplify scheduling and communication
As previously mentioned, communication is a major aspect of running a dance studio that your management software can simplify. Through a system like DanceStudio-Pro’s robo-texting platform, you can immediately connect students and parents with the information they need. You can also segment out communications to certain groups, such as students in different dance levels or specific classes, so everyone only receives relevant information.
Additionally, simplify scheduling by allowing students and parents to sign up for classes online with an easy-to-use platform. Post your student registration links across your social media platforms to quickly get the word out.
DanceStudio-Pro’s system also gives parents real-time class and tuition information before they sign up so they know exactly what they’re getting into. Transparency in your communications about tuition and fees is key to earning customer loyalty.
These communication strategies streamline the registration process for students and parents, ensuring customers don’t have to set aside hours to sign their students up for classes or investigate the total cost of their tuition and fees.
Create a custom dance studio app
Take your studio communications up a notch by creating a custom app built specifically for your dance studio’s needs. Students and parents appreciate having all virtual interactions in one place on an easy-to-use mobile app.
DanceStudio-Pro’s MyApp-Pro makes it simple to create a comprehensive app for your studio with no coding necessary. From your mobile app, you can complete these activities and more:
- Update and share weekly dance class schedules
- Quickly send messages with touch-to-call
- Send push notifications
- Allow parents to submit secure mobile payments
- Share videos
- Facilitate a studio message board
By giving students and parents access to your dance studio app, you offer them something they won’t find at many other studios and provide a chance to engage more deeply with your studio community. That generates a greater sense of camaraderie and loyalty within your studio.
Diversify your dance studio offerings
Our final tip for running a dance studio more effectively is to broaden your class offerings. By offering unique classes or classes that appeal to niche groups, you differentiate your studio from competitors and attract a wider audience of new students. For example, consider offering:
- Ongoing virtual class options: Many studios are turning to virtual dance classes now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but consider maintaining this option going forward. There are some students who simply prefer online learning and others who might live farther from your studio and appreciate the elimination of a commute. Ongoing virtual class options fulfill these customer desires.
- On-demand virtual content: Students might have other commitments on their calendars, such as after-school jobs or other extracurricular activities. In that case, you can offer on-demand virtual content for students to work through in their own time. Also, some students appreciate having access to pre-recorded content to return to specific lessons and practice at their own pace.
- Different class sizes: If you’ve only ever offered group lessons, consider adding solo lessons to your repertoire. Solo lessons give students the instructor’s undivided attention to help them work through specific moves or skills. This is a great option for serious students looking to advance to higher skill levels.
The more you respond to consumer demand and expand your services, the greater success you’ll have going forward. There are likely plenty of other dance classes in your area, so it’s crucial that you offer special features students won’t find anywhere else to draw in a larger customer base.
We know running a dance studio isn’t easy, and if you’ve struggled along the way, you’re not alone. Plenty of dance studio managers and owners have been where you are and experienced the same challenges. We’ve seen how these tips have improved their management practices and empowered them to run their studios more effectively.
Ultimately, dance studio software is one of the most important components of a successful studio strategy, and investing in the right provider can make or break your business. Be sure to thoroughly review your options for dance studio software to choose a system that aligns with your business goals and strategy.
If you still have lingering questions or concerns about running a dance studio or investing in studio management software, here are a few additional resources to explore:
- Dance Studio Business Plan: 7 Steps to Get Started. If you’re just getting your dance studio up and running, it’s best to start with a business plan to guide your decision-making. Check out this guide for the seven essential steps to create your plan.
- Student Management. Students are the heart of your dance studio. It’s important to maintain accurate student data to keep track of information like emergency contacts and skill progression history. Find out how DanceStudio-Pro’s software system can help manage this.
- Dance Studio Software. DanceStudio-Pro offers a powerhouse dance studio software option to create an all-around improved experience for studio owners, managers, instructors, and students. Check out the top features of this product here.
Laura Cole, CEO of DanceStudio-Pro
For more than 15 years, Laura Cole has focused on strategic planning and project management for SaaS organizations. Laura became the CEO of DanceStudio-Pro in 2020. Laura is a wife, mom, yogi and volunteer.