It could be the BIGGEST promotional day of the year at your studio…the open house! You know you want your studio to look its best, and you know you want to positively engage with prospective customers in addition to current customers. This is your opportunity to love on returning clients, WOW potential customers and invite the community to see what your studio is all about.
Among studio owners I know, dance studio open houses are usually two to three hours long on an evening or Saturday, and have a “come-and-go” schedule. Some families will stay nearly the whole time; others will attend just to look around your facility, shop for shoes or obtain registration information.
After you’ve set a date and begun marketing for the event, what can you do to maximize the relatively short amount of time? How can you make this your best Open House event ever? Keep reading for 6 Keys to a Successful Open House:
- SPARKLE up that studio space – I know that you always want to present a clean studio anyway, but for open house, go above (literally) and beyond: clear those ancient cobwebs from your 20-foot studio ceilings, put a fresh coat of paint on the hallways, deep-clean your bathrooms….and if you already planned to have your carpets professionally cleaned, or plants freshened up for fall, make sure to schedule those tasks at least two weeks prior to your open house.
- Be ready to SHARE – A dance studio open house isn’t complete without dancing! Whether you offer full classes to demonstrate each style offered at your school, or 20-minute bite-sized sessions, get people moving and grooving in your classrooms. Hire one or more of your teachers to come up with a fun and easy class agenda suitable for a variety of ages, and invite some of your current students to take the lead in class.
- Meet your TEACHER – Just like at school, prospective students and their parents want to meet their teacher, see their classroom, and learn more about what to expect on the first class day. Having your teachers present at open house not only allows them to introduce themselves and mingle with the community, they can also help guide tours around the studio. This is also an opportunity to give name tags to dancers for the first day of class.
- A REASON to show up – When people show up at your open house, have a studio staffer immediately get their contact information and enter them into your raffle (and make that raffle prize super-fun, like a dance bag full of studio swag)! Also offer an open-house-only, big-value registration incentive, such as a free or discounted recital costume or double-referral rewards for a parent and their friend.
- Hear from other PARENTS – Your open house presents a unique opportunity to have your existing dance families chat with prospective dance families. Think about it: if you are signing your child up for dance, who do you really want to hear from? Other parents! Make a point to invite a few of your most loyal dance parents to share their experiences, and thank them afterward with a small tuition credit or free pair of tights. Be sure to have veterans on hand to help field questions as they arise or consider going the extra mile by setting aside one or two 20-minute time slots during open house to moderate a “Question and Answer” session between those parents and prospective customers.
- Get SNACK-Y with it! – It doesn’t need to be fancy, but it IS a nice gesture to have some kind of food offering or snack at your open house. A fun way to incorporate food into your event is to invite a food truck to attend (and pay that food truck for a minimum number of items to ensure it’s free for your guests). From snow cones to tacos, a third party food vendor can be a huge win! If you are looking to save those costs, consider a simple yet stylish “candy bar” instead: set up a table with five or six different candy options, logo-ed cups, and let the kids (and parents) scoop up what they want to munch on during the event. Just make sure the snacks aren’t near the merchandise. Chocolate and leotards do not mix. 🙂
I hope these keys help “open” the door for you to have the best open house ever! If you have other ideas to share, please include them in the comments below or find me on social @MistyLown. Wishing you a fantastic and fun event full of new registrations!