Coping with Copycats

Q: Our studio is located in an area that is extremely competitive. We have nine other dance schools within a 10-mile radius. Ours is the largest. Within the last 10 months, we have begun to notice a trend that is upsetting and disturbing. Other local schools have been copying what we do on our website and our class schedule. Any advice on how to deal with this?

A: While it is tempting to publicly call out another studio’s unethical behavior, remember that you will attract more students based on the traits that can’t be copied easily: the quality of your programs, your professionalism and the relationships you build by offering outstanding customer service. Wherever there are successful businesses, you will also find copycats who take the shortcut approach, choosing not to come up with their own original offerings. You can be the best in your area when you continue to invest in yourself by attending dance-related conferences or business training.

To further differentiate yourself, consider bringing in a guest artist, enter a piece into a competition or host special classes that emphasize your faculty’s specific training. Highlight testimonials with specific mention of your teachers or performances. Create a short promotional video. Consider starting a blog or newsletter to share studio happenings and teacher tips. You can easily link this content to your website and share it on social media. Doing so can help your website’s search engine optimization, making it easy for others to find. For information related to the question “Can I copyright my website?” visit copyright.gov.

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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