So you want more students, right?
But you also don’t want to destroy your dance scene, right?
Unfortunately, many dance instructors tend to make a few “mistakes” that end up dividing (and occasionally even destroying) the local dance scene.
Luckily, there is a way to get more students, that can completely eliminate your competition (in 99% of dance scenes)…
It will not only avoid destroying or dividing your dance scene, but it will grow and strengthen it…
…AND the other local instructors will love you for it!
Before we get into what that method is, let’s look at how a lot of dance instructors currently try to get new students in ways that can divide the dance scene.
Many instructors try to get new students by appealing to people who are going out dancing at other local dances/events.
Now, if you run the local dance/event where you are talking to these people, then that is great!
Of course, you still want to do my growing scene suggestions coming up below, but at the same time, these are attendees that are going to your event(s), so it only makes sense to tell them about other opportunities they can experience.
But what if you don’t run the dances/events where all these potential students are dancing?
Should you be advertising at those events or trying to talk the attendees into taking lessons with you?
If you have permission from the dance/event owner, then sure, go for it.
If not, then I wouldn’t recommend it.
But no matter whether you have permission or not, if this is all you are doing to get new students, then you are mainly dividing the scene instead of growing it…
…AND you are NOT eliminating your competition.
Because you are advertising to the same students as the dance/event owner. So instead of bringing new students into the dance scene (and growing it), you are taking dancers that are already in the dance scene and asking them to go somewhere else…thereby dividing their attention.
Even if your classes are on a different night, some dancers will choose to only go to your classes and stop going to the dance/event that originally brought them into the dance scene.
And whether they go to your classes or not, you are putting yourself in direct competition with the dance/event owner.
That is not necessarily a “bad” thing, but it certainly isn’t a way to grow a dance scene (at least not on it’s own).
How do you get new students in an ethical way?
…a way that doesn’t destroy (or slowly divide) your local dance scene?
It’s really quite simple…
Start advertising to “non-dancers”.
To do this, you can spend a bunch of money on advertising through facebook and google adwords.
Or you can use a…
We recommend “Dance Bombing” (aka: Lindy Bombing, Blues Bombing, Tango Bombing, etc).
Dance Bombing is when you go somewhere that doesn’t normally have dancing (or somewhere that doesn’t normally have your style of dancing) and then you dance…
…sort of like a flash mob, but it’s usually not choreographed.
Here are the basic steps:
Note: These 3 basic steps are really all you need to get started but if you want to optimize your dance bomb to make it the most effective and have a checklist that you can handoff to any of your partners/students/friends, so they can run an effective dance bomb without you, then download our 16 step checklist here.
Dance Bombing works incredibly well!
People are often very impressed by partner dancing. Even watching beginners dance is fascinating to a non-dancer.
Regardless of your level, most of the time people will come up to you and ask you where you learned to dance.
This is the perfect time to give them a flyer (ideally for a free lesson) and tell them they can learn too! Or better yet, take them for a spin on the dance floor and show them how easy it can be to get started.
Also, don’t forget these…
Here are two more methods that most dancers forget to do, and they are SUPER SIMPLE!
1. Tell your “non-yet-dance” friends and family about your classes.
Teach them some basics so they can see how easy it can be, and give them flyers too! They can be 10-20 times more likely to take a lesson from you because they already know and trust you.
Make it easy on yourself and “pick the low-hanging fruit”.
2. Ask your students to tell their friends/family about it too.
Word of mouth is incredibly powerful, and sometimes you just need to remind your students to tell their friends. Some of them will do it without a reminder, but some of them need that reminder.
This is just more “low-hanging fruit”. Sure, you can do other things to bring in new dancers but…
…this is the easy stuff!
Don’t skip it!
Now, instead of competing with other instructors, you’ve eliminated the competition.
If you go to a “not-yet-dancer” at a farmer’s market and give them a flyer, they aren’t thinking, “Hmmm, should I take classes from this person or that other dance teacher”. Instead, they are now just focused on whether or not they should take dance classes at all, and you are front of mind if they decide to take them.
Your competition is now all the other things they might do on Saturday night (or whenever else you hold your class) instead of all those other things AND all the other dance instructors.
Of course, many people still won’t come but some will, and when they do…
…you’ve just brought a new dancer into the scene, thereby growing the dance scene!
If you do this, you will be increasing the potential pool of dancers that can take classes, and attend dances/events, for not just you, but also the other instructors in town…
…and the other instructors will love you for that!
It really is that simple.
It’s just doing the fundamentals.
Think about it…
Before there was a dance scene in your town, how do you think the local scene got started?
They probably did all the things mentioned above, right?
These are fundamentals!
So just like dancing, don’t skip the fundamentals.
Note: Even if you are the one that started the dance scene, don’t stop doing these. I’ve seen many once strong scenes slowly dwindle after they stop doing the fundamentals.
Note: Don’t forget! You can download our 16 step checklist here.
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Andrew Sutton is a World Champion Lindy Hop Instructor, and one of the original founders of the Fusion partner dance movement. He uses his extensive research in over 244 cities across 38 countries (& 44 dance forms) to help dance instructors be more successful financially during their pursuit to help their students Make Every Dance Amazing! Impossible? Maybe...but if you shoot for the moon and miss, at least you'll land amongst the stars!
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