Bring new dancers into your studio with a digital coupon offer.

Debbie Westphal enjoys shopping online and keeps an eye out for interesting daily deal offers from sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial. Last summer, the owner and director of Betty Hill Dance Studios in Greater Des Moines, Iowa, decided it was time to offer a promotion of her own. Through LivingSocial, she offered a 50 percent discount on a four-week session of classes for students in preschool through 12th grade. Fifty-three people bought the deal, 43 actually came in and redeemed their vouchers and 22 children continued to take classes as regular students. “It had a really strong impact on my business,” says Westphal, “and I’m glad that I did it.”

Daily deal companies partner with business owners to offer discounts of as much as 50 to 90 percent off goods or services. Consumers purchase the vouchers online and redeem them at the business. “The folks that are coming through your front door have already paid up front, and as a business owner, you haven’t put any money down,” says Maire Griffin, LivingSocial spokesperson. However, revenue is typically evenly split between the merchant and the daily deal company—which means Westphal made about 25 percent of what she normally charges. But she also gained long-term students she might not have had otherwise. A recent study shows that 31 percent of those who buy daily deals are new customers—many of whom were not aware of the company before the deal.

Dance studios are ideal candidates to offer a deal. “There’s not much incremental cost to adding extra students to a class, so it makes a lot of sense,” says Patrick Albus, CEO of daily deal company kgbdeals.

Before running a deal, make sure you have existing classes with room for new students. You should also think about when you want your deal to become active. Westphal, for example, ran hers during the second week of August in hopes of encouraging new customers to stay into the new school year.

Anna Luckey opened dancemuse STUDIO in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, in 2010. The studio mostly caters to adult students, and to get the word out, Luckey has offered multiple daily deals through several different companies. Because she’s adding students to existing classes and not adding extra classes, she has nothing to lose.

She’s found that it’s most beneficial to partner with a well-known company, which will have a larger number of people registered with its listserv. For example, where a smaller company might sell 200 vouchers, she would expect 1,500 from a large company. Either way, she is pleased enough with the results that she plans on running a deal every three to four months. “Even if we just get one returning student each time,” she says, “it’s worth it.” DT

Keep Them Coming

Perhaps the biggest challenge for studio owners who offer a daily deal is retaining new customers as regular students. Here are some tips.

  • - Limit your daily deal to new customers only, and consider waiving your annual registration fee if they sign up for additional classes.
  • - Collect contact information—e-mails, phone num- bers, addresses—from your new customers. Then include them on any e-mail blasts or mass mailings from your studio.
  • - Make your new customers feel special. Westphal created a web page just for Betty Hill Dance Studios’ LivingSocial customers, to welcome them and

    answer common questions.

  • - But don’t make them feel too special. Do what you can to smoothly integrate them into your classes and studio environment so they feel like a part of the family.

Know Your Options

There are literally hundreds of daily deal businesses, and every single one has slightly different terms and policies. Be prepared to ask about the following—and possibly do some negotiating so you can get a more favorable contract.

  •  - Larger companies tend to have a standard 50/50 split, but smaller companies may be more flexible.
  • - Ask about credit card processing fees and whether you have to sign an exclusivity clause.
  • - Determine how much of a discount you’d like to offer, and when you can expect your payment.

Here is a closer look at three well-known daily deal sites:

Groupon (groupon.com): A certain number of people must purchase the deal before it tips and becomes active for everyone. The tipping point ensures the deal will be worthwhile for you, the merchant. Vouchers are generally available the day after purchase. Groupon works with you to find an arrangement that works best for you, the consumers and Groupon—usually the result is a 50/50 split of proceeds, and there may be credit card processing fees. Expect checks in three installments: the day after the deal finishes, and then at 30 days and 60 days. Consumers can print their vouchers out or redeem them from a mobile app. Groupon is available in 45 countries and 175 U.S. markets.

LivingSocial (livingsocial.com): Vouchers are available the day after purchase, and a unique link is given for buyers to share. If three people buy the deal with that link, the deal is free for the link’s owner. There are no credit card processing fees. LivingSocial mails one check three or four weeks after the offer runs online. Consumers can print out their vouchers or redeem them from a mobile app. LivingSocial is available in over 600 markets.

kgbdeals (kgbdeals.com): Vouchers are available immediately after purchase, and there are no credit card processing fees. Kgbdeals mails the first check (70 percent) within 10 days after the deal runs and the balance within 90 days. Consumers can print out vouchers or redeem them from a mobile app in most cases. Kgbdeals, a Google Offers partner, is currently in 24 major U.S. cities.

 

Hannah Maria Hayes is a freelance writer with an MA in dance education, American Ballet Theatre pedagogy emphasis, from New York University.

Photo copyright istockphoto.com

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Success with Just for Kix
Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

Running a dance studio is a feat in itself. But adding a competition team into the mix brings a whole new set of challenges. Not only are you focusing on giving your dancers the best training possible, but you're navigating the fast-paced competition and convention circuit. Winning is one goal, but you also want to create an environment that's fun, educational and inspiring for young artists. We asked Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner with over 40 years of experience, for her advice on building a healthy dance team culture:

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun
Via Instagram

Happy Father's Day to all of the dance dads in the world! Whether you're professional dancers, dance teachers, dance directors or simply just dance supporters, you are a key ingredient to what makes the dance world such a happy, thriving place, and we love you!

To celebrate, here are our four favorite Instagram dance dads. Prepare to say "Awwwwwwwweeeeeee!!!!!!"

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Insure Fitness
AdobeStock, Courtesy Insure Fitness Group

As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

You'll benefit most from an insurance policy that caters to the specifics of teaching dance at one or several studios. Here's what to look for:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

If you're a studio owner, the thought of raising your rates most likely makes you cringe. Despite ever-increasing overhead expenses you can't avoid—rent, salaries, insurance—you're probably wary of alienating your customers, losing students or inviting confrontation if you increase the price of your tuition or registration and recital fees. DT spoke with three veteran studio owners who suggest it's time to get past that. Here's how to give your business the revenue boost it needs and the value justification it (and you) deserve.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by World Class Vacations
David Galindo Photography

New York City is a dream destination for many dancers. However aspiring Broadway stars don't have to wait until they're pros to experience all the city has to offer. With Dance the World Broadway, students can get a taste of the Big Apple—plus hone their dance skills and make lasting memories.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Margie Gillis (left); photo by Kyle Froman

Margie Gillis dances the human experience. Undulating naked in a field of billowing grass in Lessons from Nature 4, or whirling in a sweep of lilac fabric in her signature work Slipstream, her movement is free of flashy technique and tricks, but driven and defined by emotion. "There's a central philosophy in my work about what the experience of being human is," says Gillis, whose movement style is an alchemy of Isadora Duncan's uninhibited self-expression and Paul Taylor's musicality, blended with elements of dance theater into something utterly unique and immediately accessible. "I want an authenticity," she says. "I want to touch my audiences profoundly and deeply."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

Teaching arabesque can be a challenge for educators and students alike. Differences in body types, flexibility and strength can leave dancers feeling dejected about the possibility of improving this essential position.

To help each of us in our quest for establishing beautiful arabesques in our students without bringing them to tears, we caught up with University of Utah ballet teacher Jennie Creer-King. After her professional career dancing with Ballet West and Oregon Ballet Theater and her years of teaching at the studio and college levels, she's become a bit of an arabesque expert.

Here she shares five important tips for increasing the height of your students' arabesques.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo by Jennifer Kleinman, courtesy of Danell Hathaway

It's high school dance concert season, which means a lot of you K–12 teachers are likely feeling a bit overwhelmed. The long nights of editing music, rounding up costumes and printing programs are upon you, and we salute you. You do great work, and if you just hang on a little while longer, you'll be able to bathe in the applause that comes after the final Saturday night curtain.

To give you a bit of inspiration for your upcoming performances, we talked with Olympus High School dance teacher Danell Hathaway, who just wrapped her school's latest dance company concert. The Salt Lake City–based K–12 teacher shares her six pieces of advice for knocking your show out of the park.

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Q: I'm looking to create some summer rituals and traditions at my studio. What are some of the things you do?

A: Creating fun and engaging moments for your students, staff and families can have a positive impact on your studio culture. Whether it's a big event or a small gesture, we've found that traditions build connection, boost morale and create strong bonds. I reached out to a variety of studio owners to gather some ideas for you to try this summer. Here's what they had to say.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Sam Williams and Jaxon Willard after competition at RADIX. Photo courtesy of Williams

Self-choreographed solos are becoming increasingly popular on the competition circuit these days, leading dance teachers to incorporate more creative mentoring into their rehearsal and class schedules. In this new world of developing both technical training and choreographic prowess, finding the right balance of assisting without totally hijacking a student's choreographic process can be difficult.

To help, we caught up with a teacher who's already braved these waters by assisting "World of Dance" phenom Jaxon Willard with his viral audition solos. Center Stage Performing Arts Studio company director Sam Williams from Orem, Utah, shares her sage wisdom below.

Check it out!

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Dance studios are run by creative people with busy schedules, who have a love-hate relationship with props and sequins. The results of all this glitter and glam? General mass chaos in every drawer, costume closet and prop corner of the studio. Let's be honest, not many dance teachers are particularly known for their tidiness. The ability to get 21 dancers to spot in total synchronization? Absolutely! The stamina to run 10 solos, 5 group numbers, 2 ballet classes and 1 jazz class in one day? Of course! The emotional maturity to navigate a minefield of angry parents and hormonal teenagers? You know it!

Keeping the studio tidy? Well...that's another story.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox