It’s that time of year again when sign ups happen for gymnastics and dance classes. But, how do you get to those new students to let them know all about your studio and gym and your class offerings? We have found a whole list of creative and effective ways to get those students registered. Probably, the most effective of all of the marketing ideas for a new season of classes is through the mail with a clever postcard and then with a follow up note through email. This reinforces your campaign. It has been shown that people like to still receive mail at their mailboxes and sorting through a pile of letters and postcards. With a bright and colorful postcard featuring exuberant students rehearsing for a show or a competition, your mailpiece can excite new students and entice parent’s to sign their children up for classes. Incorporate a postcard or letter campaign into your registration campaign and you will see a large increase in student sign ups. The following is a list of some tips and ideas for your mailers.
Obtaining new students is an ongoing task and must be implemented at every event that your students perform or compete. An open house or a registration week are good dates to design a direct mail campaign for new students. Sending out postcards with the specific sign up dates as the centerpiece is easier to get someone interested than sending random general promotion postcards about your studio. People will hang on to the postcard and mark their calendars. New class start dates and schedules are time sensitive and having your direct mail oriented to these dates will help create a sense of urgency and encourage recipients to act immediately.
Designing your postcard is the next step in your mail campaign. Now that you have the purpose of the campaign and the postcard has been chosen as the item you are going to send, you will need to design it to attract the new student. First, you will want a photo, piece of art or some other very colorful graphic on the front of the card to grab the reader’s attention. Using a photo of your students in your studio or gym is always the best idea as it shows the real life situation that you are asking a new student prospect to participate in. Have a headline statement that explains the event that you are asking them to attend right under or over the standout picture.The detailed information can be printed on the back of the card. When putting together the information for the back of the card, include the contact information, email address, website and then the details about the dates for registration or the open house and your class lineup. Make sure to use words that indicate that space is limited in the class and that it is first come first served. They must respond now.
When your postcard is designed, then you can move on to the mailing list. You have to figure out who is going to receive your announcement. For most studios and gyms, you are mailing the information to existing students, past students or prospective students. Prospective students are always a challenge because they have never had an experience with your business and you want this simple postcard to intrigue them enough for them to enroll in classes. To reach these prospects, you can buy a targeted mailing list from a mailing company or you can use the US Postal Service program called Every Door Direct Mail. This is a program that allows you to select a particular neighborhood or zip code near your studio or gym, and send one of the postcards to each and every household in that neighborhood or zip code. You can also use the school directories from the elementary schools in your area and develop a mailing list based on their information.
The other group for student enrollment is your current and past students. Most studios and gyms will offer registration for current students earlier than the general public because the current student is the backbone of the studio. Priority registration is usually a few days before the public and the same postcards are sent out with a different registration date. Some businesses offer an early bird discount or a registration fee is waived. An email blast is also sent every 3 to 4 weeks during the summer informing students of what classes are full and which ones are almost full. After the priority students have signed up, then you can have open enrollment which is open to all.