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How to market your pole studio

Pole studios share much with gyms who offer deals and promotions on a cyclic basis. Unlike most traditional gyms that often focus on losing weight or getting a “summer body” those tropes likely won’t work for your clientele. Check out some ideas below to increase your membership and merch sales while building a thriving and supportive community.

Promotions to do:

  1. Bring a friend! Pole is super social. Encourage your existing clientele to bring a friend to your studio through special workshops and deals. Run a “couples class” or a “bring your best friend class” where they pay one price for two people sharing a pole and get the significant other or friend introduced to the fun in a non-threatening way full of other newbies also attending with their supportive buddy. Offer a discounted rate on memberships, class packs, or on your awesome merch to encourage the not-yet-a-client part of the duo to come back and take more classes.
  2. Offer discounted memberships or offers for special populations: Near a college, military base, or hospital? Offer special discounts to students, military, first responders, nurses or any other group nearby your studio who could use some stress relief and fun!
  3. Create themed classes for your special populations: Maybe you offer specific daytime classes available only to new moms or a special class for “pole pumas (40+)” only. Adult students are busy and if they don’t feel like your studio is meeting their needs or helping them find their “tribe” then they might move on. Put like-minded people together and they’ll be part of your crew for life!
  4. Feature a student of the month! Everyone likes to be recognized. Start a student of the month program and highlight what your student loves about your studio. It helps build community through genuine recognition and also provides you with awesome testimonials you can use in your marketing such as on your website or a newsletter.
  5. Bribery: Have one bad Yelp review dragging down your score? Offer discounts on memberships, classes, or merch to actual students who publically share why they love your studio in a public way (on GroupOn, Google, Yelp, your Facebook page, etc.). Sure they say it in class but who takes the time to write a glowing review? Most people only take the time when they have a bad experience. Don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch!
  6. Corporate Challenges: In a busy, metro area? Ask your students about their day jobs. Many corporations do fitness challenges to get people up out of their desks. Your studio could organize those challenges and offer instruction before the workday starts! Or offer group discounts for employees of corporations to use your studio as a location to participate in their intra-office challenge. Sell these discounts as bulk memberships directly to the corporation’s human resources department.

No corporations around? No problem! Make friend with any local business and see how you can support each other through joint, official referrals and discounts or simply having fliers in each other’s store/studio.

  1. Be involved: Being involved in your local community such as participating in city/county fairs, charity events, parades, etc. will help you get new potential customers who likely have never poled before. Also be involved in the pole community – online and in person. Encourage your teachers and students to compete and then go cheer them on! Go to major pole events and network. Participate in conversations online. Being a positive force in the community will attract existing pole dancers to your studio when they move to your area or if they are just visiting. Do it right and you’ll hear those magic four words: “I follow you on instagram!” from your new student.

Promotions not to do (or perhaps to review with more thought):

  1. Don’t do promotions too frequently: running promotions or deeply discounted sales too often can condition your clientele to only buy at those deeply discounted prices. You may also be accidentally devaluing your services or even confusing your clients. If you have several competitors in the area and your classes are selling at $2/class and theirs are consistently selling at $10/class, people will start to wonder how you can sell your classes so low? Is there a quality difference? A student to teacher ratio difference? Don’t make them guess!
  2. Vary your promotion schedule: running a specific-timed sale like around a certain holiday is great! Running it every single holiday without a specific reason can be a detriment. If you always run a “spring cleaning” sale right before you’re about to get new product in then that might be a great way to encourage your clients to buy and make room for new merchandise. If there isn’t a specific benefit to you for slashing your prices but rather you’re doing it because “you always have” then think twice about the real value it’s bringing to your business.
  3. Beware of unintentional exclusion: if you believe you run a warm, inclusive environment take a hard look at your marketing materials. Does your website, your printed fliers, and your social media reflecting the diversity in your students? If it doesn’t – take immediate steps to fix it. Representation matters. The same student posting and hashtagging? Ask to take a photo of one of your more shy students when they learn something awesome or achieve a goal. Make sure they know you’re going to share it on social media first. Most people don’t believe they are “share-worthy” – make sure they know they matter!

Test and Track

Whatever promotions you decide to do, make sure you are tracking their effectiveness and their cost to you. It’s getting easier and easier to target specific demographics using modern marketing through social media and search engine optimization techniques (both paid and free). Only want the moms to see your discount? Great! You can only sell their discount to them. Track what you’re doing to notice trends. Perhaps your ad for a bachelorette party deal gets the most attention on the weekends – then you should probably just run those ads on the weekends!

Not doing a lot of digital advertising? Consistently asking new clients how they heard about you will give you insights on where to continue marketing or possible new areas to grow into.

Always Test. Test. Test. Then adapt and change as needed to keep your interactions fresh and attracting new people to your studio.

Marketing takes time! Be patient =)

Much success!

 

 

originally published on the Bad Kitty blog. Reposted with permission.

Colleen
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Colleen

Colleen Jolly is an AFAA-certified personal trainer, elevatED-certified pole teacher, entrepreneur and pole dance competitor. She has been poling for seven years, is the CEO of the International Pole Convention and teaches pole dancing online for 123Poling.com and in the DC metro area at FIT4Polers and MyBodyShop. She is active in leadership roles and Board positions in arts and association non-profit organizations; and is also an award-winning pole dancer, artist, writer, and speaker on visual communications and general business topics around the world.
Colleen
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