Telling a Story to Market Your Dance Business
I’m sure you’ve read a thousand blogs on marketing. They all usually tell you the same things; find your demographic, take good photos and video, and make a clear and legible website. Though all of those things are VERY true they won’t suddenly boost your business to stardom.
Why is this true?
15+ years ago business marketing worked like this: Make cool product or service, tell people they can buy it. Think of the ads of the 50s. Enjoy this catchy Kool-Aid commercial and try to not get it stuck in your head. However, ads like this just don’t work anymore. Marketing surrounds around story, emotion, and seeing one’s self in the values of the business. Whether you agree or not, think of Nike’s most recent ad campaigns. They center around their values and truths of their company. An older example (and when you really saw a shift in marketing) was Apple’s “Think Different” ad campaign. Times and attitudes have changed. People care about what companies they invest their time and money into.
How did we apply this to our dance business?
To start, let’s break this down into steps.
What are you values?
Values are described as your “truths”. For most dance businesses, this can be as simple as “providing dance space for all shapes and sizes”, “engaging cultural awareness” “education through dance”. They can be as long or as simple as you’d like but make sure they align with what you believe. Think “why” not “what”.
Once you have your values in line you’ll have a guide line of who you are marketing to. Your demographic is described as “A statistical view of a population, generally including age, gender, income, schooling, occupation and so on …”. I like to think of my demographic as a real person. I know her as well as I know my friends. I know her exact age, occupation, where they live, likes, dislikes, economic status, and family life. I recommend creating a profile for your person and using that as a guide for all of your marketing. If you are unsure of what your demographic is, look at your current clients. What on average do they look like? Does this type of person align with your values?
Now comes the time for actual marketing. What’s your story? What’s the story of your business? Your students? What’s the history of your dance? Through every photo you share, every video, every blog post, and social media post make sure you are telling a story with it. This is an indirect way to make your sale. You are not asking for the sale, but you are investing in your values that would align with your demographic.
Education based content.
Content is King. Creating content that your audience can invest their time in only helps you in the long run. I know dancers in specific hate feeling like they are giving things away for free. I’m here to tell you that you need to get over that. You are not creating for just exposure, you are indirectly asking for a sale. Make time in your day to create education based content. This can be as simple as a quick step combo video, or a history lesson post, or a blog. Don’t think anyone is seeing your stuff? Keep going. They are.
Collaboration is one of my favorite ways to market your business. It builds relationships business to business and only gives value to your potential costumer in the long run. Perform for a living? Collaborate with a new and upcoming music artist. Perform to their song or use it to create a combo. Marketing your upcoming dance fitness class? Reach out to your local farmers market to show healthy eating options to make your class the most effective. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box on who you can collaborate with. Just make sure who you’re collaborating with aligns with your values and is good for your demographic.
Kat teaches, dances, and produces shows in Tacoma, Washington. You can find out more about her belly dance classes, belly dance performances, and belly dance shows at www.tacomabellydance.com