“Does my dance studio really need a website?”
Yes. Yes it does – your website is the primary way people are finding out about you and your offerings, and no matter how much your Facebook page may be rocking, if you don’t have a website to back it up and give information to your visitors, you are quite simply losing potential students.
Already have a website?
Fantastic! But let me ask you . . . when was the last time you updated? If you’re like most studio owners you have been so busy running your business that the website has been pushed to the bottom of your to-do list, and perhaps you last added a newsletter 3 months ago.
This is where your website checklist is going to be a huge time-saver in ensuring you have all the right things in all the right places, and are avoiding the big mistakes so many dance studios make when it comes to this asset.
The great news is that you certainly don’t need to be a tech-wiz to get your website running beautifully and catching the right people’s attention. Just remember these key elements of your studio’s website and you’ll be all set.
OR even better, you can give the job to a professional (either outsource it through creating a brief on elance.com or odesk.com or through a local provider). After all – you wouldn’t hire an IT consultant to run your dance classes, so why should you wear the hat of Website Developer when you can get an expert to do it for you?
Hold Your Visitors Hostage
Well, maybe not quite ‘hostage’, but you DO want to keep them on your page for as long as you can. Your potential clients have incredibly short attention spans, so once they are on your site you want to keep them there long enough to pique their interest (and their contact details), which is very hard to do if they are distracted upon arrival.
And I think we can all agree that everyone’s favourite distraction when they are online is the alluring call of Facebook, which is why our #1 tip to keep people on your website is to ditch your social media links.
Yes, we all want more followers on the socials . . . but the problem is, by overloading your studio’s website with social media live feeds or links you might actually be missing out on enquiries from potential new students.
This happens all the time – someone comes to your website for information on classes, they get distracted by your social media icons and click over to your Facebook page. Then they immediately get further distracted by their newsfeed, and before you know it your studio is a distant memory to them.
Take the icons and links off your website because they WILL find you on your social media sites if they want to.
Become BFF’s With Your Video Camera
In today’s digital landscape, video is king.
A video can really capture who you are and what your studio is about in a way that no other medium can do, and it’s a great way to showcase your studio’s personality. It’s a great student attraction tool to upload videos from classes, teachers, and you, speaking about your vision and why you created your studio.
Video is a fast, efficient way to build trust and credibility with potential students and parents and build engagement and excitement for your current families. They don’t necessarily need to be professional videos either – some candid class snippets from a smartphone also work to give that ‘inside peek’
Show Off YOUR Studio, Not Someone Else’s!
How many studios have you seen using the same generic, stock images in advertising and on their website?
Don’t get me wrong – stock photos have their place (you can check out Shutterstock or Pixabay for examples) but potential clients want to see YOUR facilities, YOUR smiling students and YOUR amazing teachers.
Invest in a professional photography session at least once a year so you can showcase the real deal, and not someone else’s studio that is featured in a glossy stock image.
Fill Your Website With Jaw-Droppingly Good Content
Do a website audit and cull any information that’s not relevant or useful for new students. You want your website to encourage them to take some kind of action, whether it’s to phone you about classes, send an email or opt in for an offer.
It’s also important to give value to people who visit your website so that they can see you as an authority in your field of expertise, meaning they will ultimately choose you over your competition. This could be:
- A regular blog post
- Live chat
- Testimonials from current clients
- Frequently asked questions
- Tour of your studio
- Staff bios
- Your values and vision
Timetables and fees may be included, but remember that this may present a barrier for your potential clients. For example, if a potential client initially wants a hip-hop class and see that the day does not suit, they may look elsewhere right away without giving you an opportunity to cross-sell a JFH class that they hadn’t considered.
For more tips on attracting the right students to your studio and the tools you need to keep them there, join us in the Dance Studio Owners Association.