Keeping students loyal is a challenging task. Every student in your studio has a different life with different wants and needs. Below are some tips on things you can do to keep your students loyal.
Rule #1: Listen to the pulse of your studio!
It is very important to have an open-door policy at your studio to make sure YOU are the first to know when parents or students are upset. You need them to come to YOU not the other parents. You do not want to find out before it’s too late, that Ms. Jane is leaving and taking 15 of your top dancers. Consider having team meetings with both your dancers and their parents. Once the rumbling starts, it’s hard to stop.
Rule #2: Cater to Both Recreational and Pre-Professional
Dancers in training fall into two main categories: recreational and pre-professional. Recreational dancers are learning about dance for various reasons but do not plan on having a professional career. Pre-professional dancers are those training in hopes of having a professional dance career. Both types of dancers are important to the success of your business; however, these two types require different types and amounts of training. Hold separate classes for recreational and pre-professional dancers.
Rule #3: For Recreational Dancers
Recreational dancers are looking to learn in a fun environment. Be sure you are not over critical or pushing them in a negative manner. In these classes, include fun games and go at a pace that works for everyone. These dancers should be taught the basics while learning to enjoy dance.
- If your recreational dancers are having fun, feel comfortable, and learning they will stay loyal to you unless they lose their interest in dance (unfortunately not everyone will always love dance).
- It is important to have kind and nurturing teachers so dance is about FUN!
Rule #4: For Pre-Professional Dancers
These dancers are looking to you for the skills that will lead them to a successful career. If a dancer has enough passion, the training of a dancer is often what makes or breaks them in the industry. To keep a pre-professional dancer loyal, you must ensure you offer enough classes to challenge them in every style as well as provide various levels with increasing difficulty. Pre-professional dancers are looking to start their career; if they cannot find the tools they need at your studio, they will move on.
- Offer privates if a pre-professional student is serious and excelling in all of their classes. Make them affordable so every dancer can have a few a year, or offer discounts on multiple packs.
- Offer every genre you can; consider hiring teachers who are advanced in the areas your current teaching staff is weak.
- Bring in Master Teachers; there are many resources that bring professional dancers from NYC and LA to your studio! We recommend Stage Door Connections: They will customize a package for your studio and bring Broadway choreographers and casting agents to your studio!
- Attend conventions. Attending conventions is a wonderful way to allow your dancers exposure to some of the best in the business.
- Schedule extra performance opportunities. Whether for local nursing homes or at half-time for local schools, the more performances the better. It is very important that your dancers gain enough “on-stage” experience.
- Teach them how to apply to conservatories or jobs: For example, Telsey + Co. is currently running a Youtube project where performers can submit three minutes of material to Telsey which they will view and consider for potential hiring. (Telsey is a casting agency in NYC)
- Advise students on how to make a resume.
- Help students get headshots. See if a local photographer will give your students a discount rate for your business.
- Help them create a reel. Advise them on what dances they look best in and encourage them to make a dance reel. There are many easy-to-use programs that come with computers; most students will be familiar with how to make videos, but they need your advice on what they look good doing!
- These students want to get ahead! Offer your top students the most challenging classes you can create. If they do not feel they are challenged, they will look for a challenge elsewhere.
- Explain not only how to do things, but why to do things. This will show them you know your stuff and even if they take it with another teacher, they will see that you have more knowledge. For example, talk about why the plie helps with turns and why keeping their knees over their toes will keep them healthy.
Keeping students loyal is a lot of work! But it’s worth it; your dancers may be looking to you to help them achieve a professional career, or you may be their sole source of dance exposure. STAY EDUCATED! Try to find a way to update your knowledge once a year, or find an employee who can keep your studio current.
Worried about attrition? Make sure you have a waiting list! Perception is reality when advertising your studio. Is your website as awesome as your studio? Make sure it portrays how great you are. It should make future students want to pick up the phone and call you!