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.
Another way to reach new students is with flyers. Flyers have all the contact information, class schedules and an exciting list of competitions, but, because flyers have more panels for content, you can add more details about your classes and schedules. Flyers can be mailed using the same mail lists that you developed for the postcards. You can also send these home through the school system if allowed. Print enough to drop them off at various places around town such as convenient stores, flower shops and laundromats. Churches, grocery stores and recreation centers all have bulletin boards that you can display your flyer. Make sure that your flyer is bright and colorful with either strong artwork or colorful photographs of your students. Make sure that in the flyer, you have answered the questions who, what, where, why and how and have the phone number and name of the studio in a prominent place.
Emails are another great way to make contact with students both new and old. Send out emails that are the same as the postcards. Include the same information and the same photos. Be consistent with your marketing by having all of your pieces exactly the same no matter the platform. Continue to follow up with old leads, prior students and current students through utilizing social media. Post pictures of your studio and the various classes and activities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Pinterest.
Once your postcards have gone out, you’ll want to have a way to track the results of your campaign. If you’re promoting an open house event or a separate registration, you can ask people how they heard about it when they register. Have new customers bring in their postcards so you can see how many people you actually reached. Keep track of the phone calls that come in and ask where they heard of your studio.This type of data is essential when it comes to future marketing efforts. If you get a great response from your postcard, you will want to use the same strategy again in a few months.
Following up with your students is another great way to keep your public relations top notch and keeping your students and their parents happy. When a new student starts with your studio or gym, develop a success system so that they feel comfortable with all of the rules and needs of your programs. Send out a Welcome postcard with the class schedule and the special events. The same powerful picture from the direct mail campaign should be on the front of the postcard. For more outstanding customer service, you should develop and have printed a Parent Handbook. Problems can be avoided right from the beginning if parents know the rules and the policies of your studio or gym. Have a Parent’s Appreciation coupon sent out for $10 off the next class tuition. Remember to send out Birthday cards from the studio or gym and Job Well Done cards that compliment the child’s efforts. Anniversary cards are also great customer relations wins.
At Everest Direct Mail and Marketing, our dance and gymnastics marketing postcard designs have a proven track record of success. Other Dance and Gymnastics Studios have had amazing success with not just postcards, but Letters with Real Stamps, HANDWRITTEN envelopes with a special card inside guaranteeing 100% open rates. Our in-house design specialists will work with you every step of the way, ensuring everything from the mailing list to the design is completely covered. Also consider adding Everest Integrated Marketing where we combine Direct Mail, Facebook and Google Advertising for just pennies more per piece and increase your ROI by 200%