Q: I have an issue with parents not reading their e-mails or our studio bulletin boards. It’s like they just skim through everything really quickly and then need to be told exactly what to do. Help!

A: You may need a new strategy for your studio communication. While a studio bulletin board is a nice display, it rarely reaches your full student body. Put a statement in your registration packet that clearly states what your primary medium is for delivering important notices and dates, such as e-mail or your studio management–customer portal. At our studio, we find that we have to transmit messages across all communication channels: e-mail, website, phone, text, social media, in the studio and in-person announcements from teachers. Be certain to let parents know it is their responsibility to access the channels you use. We suggest you provide families with an annual calendar at the start of classes (and post it on your website) to indicate important dates throughout the year, such as costume ordering, ticket sales, recital dates, vacations and visitors’ weeks.

Make your e-mail more effective with shorter messages and bullet points. E-mail services such as Constant Contact or MailChimp will make your message more visually effective. Most studio software programs allow you to send targeted individual class messages, and automated text messaging and calling services like Remind or TutuCast can send urgent messages or weather cancellations. Utilize private Facebook groups to send information to studio personnel who need to share frequent updates.

Always give students and parents an easy path back to you by including a phone number and tagline in your e-mail signature that links to a customer portal login or website. While not everyone will read every message, you can create a strategy to make necessary communication updates at your studio more effective and efficient.

Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.

Photo by B Hansen Photography, courtesy of Suzanne Blake Gerety

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