Category Archives: Studio Marketing Tips

Texting for Businesses

If you are a business, it’s important to be able to get messages quickly to your customers. For example:

  • When weather forces a class cancellation
  • To send a reminder for performers regarding which costume they need for today’s appointment
  • To make a last-minute schedule change
    Texting can be an ideal way to do this. It’s something that many business text-hand - LOWsoftware services, such as ClassJuggler, enable business owners or managers to do.

But doing it right –  using smart business  practices  for texting –  can be extremely important to make sure that the recipient  doesn’t tag your text messages as spam, which may result in the recipient or the recipient’s mobile carrier blocking all future messages you send that person. To prevent getting tagged by a customer or mobile carrier as spam, follow these…

Business Texting Best Practices

  1. Don’t include a dollar sign ($49) or percentage sign (15% off) or other finance related marketing language, such as, “Purchase today!” Doing so can get your text message blocked by the mobile carrier as marketing spam mail. Avoid using the phrase free, sale, or buy.
  2. Generally avoid using the text messaging service for marketing purposes at all. Certain government organizations have laws against using text messaging for marketing in order to protect consumers.
  3. Instead, consider texting customers as a great way to send important and timely messages to an individual or group of individuals To help with this, ClassJuggler’s texting feature allows you to filter your recipient list by class, parents versus students, date of class, and many other factors, so you can limit text messages to just those who really need to receive it.
  4. Go easy on the frequency of messages you send out. In today’s busy world, you can quickly annoy your customers by bombarding their phone with messages, which could motivate them to block your messages altogether.
  5. Also to avoid annoying customers, who may be in the middle of other important business, make sure the content of what you’re sending is actually relevant and timely to them. If it isn’t both timely and relevant, it’s better to send messages by email.
  6. Don’t use the phrase “reply STOP”
  7. Make sure to get permission from your customer to send the messages this way. An easy way to do this in ClassJuggler is to include information about your intention to do so when parents are signing up in the Parent Portal to request classes or make payments online. They will pass through screens that require the parent to click a checkmark box indicating their agreement with whatever you have written.

Following these good business practices for SMS/texting will help ensure that your phone number is not blocked by an individual recipient or by the recipient’s mobile carrier.

Learn more about the SMS text messaging in ClassJuggler’s Help. The SMS text messaging features are available in the following ClassJuggler products:

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Get SMART in 2016

Almost a month into the new year now … are you on target with your resolutions and business goals for 2016? If not, the problem could be baked into the resolutions themselves. Using S.M.A.R.T. acronym, you can radically raise the likelihood that you’ll achieve your goals.

The S.M.A.R.T. method of planning business goals or individual goals is popular among leading businesses globally, and there’s no reason not to capitalize on this methodology for your own school and life planning. 

In business, they use the word COMMITMENTS rather than RESOLUTIONS but it’s the same thing; it’s about what you will do to achieve certain standards or improvements in your life or work.

What getting S.M.A.R.T. means

Each letter of S.M.A.R.T. is the key to planning goals and actions that you’ll actually get done. Here’s how.

S is for Specific:

Define specific results you expect as an outcome for the commitment. Example: “Losing 10 pounds” and “Add at least 50 new students” are specific. “Be uplifting” and “Be a better coach” are not specific.

M is for Measurable:

Ensure that your actions can be measured as you progress toward completing your commitment. Can you measure the quantity and/or quality concretely? Example: “Increase attendance rate to 90%” and “Improve customer service feedback scores from Good to Very Good” are measurable; you can measurably check your progress quarterly or monthly to ensure that you’re on target.

A is for Achievable:

Create commitments that are challenging, yet achievable. If it’s too lofty – “Grow my revenues fourfold in 2016” – you’ll only get frustrated or unhappy when it becomes evident that it’s not realistic.

R is for Results-oriented:

Measure success on the results you achieve, not just on the steps you take. So, reduce my body fat from 25% to 23% is about results, while “Eat healthfully every day” is not.

T is for Time-specific:

With each commitment, establish milestones, checkpoints, and a completion date. If you want to add 80 new students by year’s end, then you can set quarterly review sessions to see if you are one quarter of the way – 20 new students – toward meeting that goal.

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How to get S.M.A.R.T. in your goal planning and achieving

A couple more things to ensure success:

  • Set no more than 5 to 7 commitments – enough to make a measurable difference by the end of the year, but not so many that the commitments are competing with each other for your time.
  • Make sure your individual work commitments align to your overall business vision and that, likewise, your personal commitments align to your vision of who you want to be. For example, a goal to run your first marathon can be good if it’s what YOU want, but not a good goal if you’re only doing it because your friend wants you to do it with her.

Once you’ve set your commitments, also identify how you will achieve your commitments. Plan key milestones – the evidence that you’re executing your plan.

The SMART method works!

Keep in mind that many of the business management tools and features within ClassJuggler’s school management software can help you achieve your business commitments.

If you’re not yet using ClassJuggler for your school-based business, learn more here:

Any questions remaining? Simply contact us and we can answer your questions or walk you through it.

How to Promote Your Business With YouTube

In our previous article, Why You Should Be Using YouTube to Promote Your School, we looked at how video can help you keep customers and generate new business at your studio.  If you’re now persuaded, but not sure where to start or how, here’s a brief primer to getting a YouTube channel, uploading your school’s videos, and more.

A few easy steps will get your videos online

To get your video content onto YouTube, follow these 5 steps.

Step 1: Shoot the video

When creating the content for your YouTube channel, It’s best to not use an “old school” camcorder – one that uses tape. It’s a lot more work to get your media into a form that you can upload to YouTube if it’s not shot “digitally” – recording directly to electronic data. Instead, use a mobile phone’s video recording or a digital camcorder, so that your media is already digital.

Here are ideas on what to record:

  • Class sessions
    • Recitals
    • Meets/Competitions
    • Special events, such as holiday performances or open house events
    • Instructor introduction videos
    • School tours/walk-throughs

Step 2: Prep the video

After you shoot the video, it’s possible that your video is good enough that it’s ready to transfer to YouTube.  In most cases though, you may want to “clean up” the video, or improve it, by using a video editing tool to remove extraneous footage, to tighten it up, or to add transitions between shots (fade in from black, fade out, dissolve between shots, or add titles or branding).

There are many products for this optional editing stage, from free to thousands of dollars.  For a school’s marketing purposes, low-cost or free options are likely sufficient – and may already be included with your computer’s system software. Or, do an online search for “free video editing software” for Mac or for PC, and you’ll find many user-friendly tools to choose from.

Step 3: Create a YouTube channel

To upload your video onto YouTube, you must first create a Google account (because Google owns YouTube), and then you can use your Google account profile to create your YouTube channel.

  1. Create a YouTube profile, so YouTube knows who you are. Do a search for how to create a YouTube account, and you’ll find a few video walk-throughs, or view this step-by-step guide.
  2. Assuming you’ll want to post more than one video, it’s a good idea to create a YouTube channel. Go to YouTube’s Create a Channel screen, or check out this video that shows you visually how to set one up.
  3. Once you have your own YouTube channel, you can either go ahead and start uploading videos to your channel, or you can first customize your channel by add images and info to “brand” your channel so that it is clearly about your school and links back to your school’s web page.

Using channel customization features, you can optionally add:

  • Your school’s logoClassJuggler-YouTube -asthead
  • A custom “banner” to showcase your school’s theme or look and feel
  • Links to your school’s web page
  • Links to your school’s social media pages

See the ClassJuggler YouTube channel for an example of this customization.

Step 4: Upload your video to YouTube

Uploading your video to YouTube is super easy.  Once you’re logged in to your channel, you’ll ClassJuggler-YouTube -astheadsee an Upload button.  Click on it, locate the video file on your computer, and upload.

While your video is uploading, you can add file-specific information, such as a title, description, tags (which can help someone searching YouTube to find the video), and “visibility” settings – who can or cannot see it.  For marketing purposes, you’ll want to set visibility to “Public,” which means that anyone can find it.

Step 5: Notify your customers!

Once the video has completed its upload, YouTube provides you with a unique web address for the video, which you can now use to promote your video to your current and prospective customers.

  • Use ClassJuggler’s built-in e-mail tools to tell your students/parents about the fresh upload. You can choose to send it to just those in a particular class, or send it to your whole customer base.
  • Advertise your YouTube channel on your website. Not only can you add it to your list of social media sites (see the top of our pages for an example of this), but you can advertise a class-specific video link with your class description, or add a “See our facilities” video link on your Contact Us page.
  • Use your social media sites (such as Twitter, Facebook, or Google+) to announce each new video you upload.

Also, regularly encourage others to subscribe to your YouTube channel. Subscribers are notified by YouTube any time you upload a new video.  You can encourage subscription on your site, in social media posts, in your newsletter, and in your e-mail signature line.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a motion picture – video – magnifies that by a few million words.  Why preach with words about what your school is like when a video can show them?

Why You Should Be Using YouTube to Promote Your School

Looking for a great way to promote your business? Use YouTube! Here’s why and how…

If your business is a music school, a dance studio, a gymnastics school, a cheerleading camp, an YouTubeacting school, a martial arts dojo, a private K-12 school, or tennis school, one of the best ways to promote your business, and build customer loyalty, is to publicly post videos of class sessions, recitals, performances, and competitions. 

Why your school should use YouTube

If yours is the kind of school or studio that ClassJuggler supports, your business is a natural to benefit from video promotions. Here’s why:

  • Video can build customer loyalty.
    Your current students and their parents, like all people, love watching videos of themselves and their family members. When you post video of little Sally’s first floor routine, you can bet that she and her family will be tickled pink, and they will be grateful to you for it.
  • The video channel extends your brand.
    By creating a YouTube “channel” – a collection of videos of your school and your students’ performances – and linking to that channel from your studio’s website, you give potential customers a whole new, multi-dimensional view into your business. They can see what you do, see the results of your teaching, and can envision themselves or their own child doing it.
  • Videos generate viral marketing.
    Viral marketing means that others are excited about something you have posted online and are sharing this with others. Video is ideal material for viral marketing. Your students and their parents effectively become your marketing team, sharing the YouTube videos you have posted to their friends and relatives, doing advertising work for you.
  • It is inherently easy for your kind of school!
    One of the hardest things for most people to come up with when creating video content is the content itself. But if you have a school related to the arts or physical skills (dance, gymnastics, theater, martial arts, etc.), your content already exists! Think about how naturally, dynamically interesting it is to watch your students and instructors developing or expressing their talents, putting on a show, and competing. It’s colorful, it’s active – it’s inherently GOOD content! Just start recording video and you are on your way.
  • It’s good for search engine optimization.
    One thing that every business can benefit from is good, clean “backlinks” to their site, and your YouTube channel is the perfect way to boost the number of links that go to your website. Not only from the YouTube channel description of your business (with links to your website) but with every post description, you can link back to your website or even to the link of a specific class related to the video post. More backlinks boost your significance in Google’s algorithms, causing you to show up higher in search results.

See ClassJuggler clients’ YouTube channels

Several dozen of our ClassJuggler clients have their own YouTube channel where they post videos of what their school and students are doing. For example:

Thinking about creating a YouTube channel for your school? Good idea!

If you’re not sure how, stay tuned – will be posting a YouTube channel how-to article shortly to help you get started. Meanwhile, check out our own ClassJuggler YouTube channel and subscribe to updates.ClassJuggler-youtube

How Two ClassJuggler Add-on Features Can Build Your Customer Base

ClassJuggler’s cloud-based studio management software solutions for class-based businesses, such as dance schools, music schools, K-12 schools, tennis camps, gymnastics studios and cheer camps, comes with a bevy of “backend benefits” – tools that help you run your business better, such as business intelligence reports, customer records management, full-featured email communications, billing, teacher management, class schedule management, etc.

But there are two popular add-on functionalities you can upgrade to that can actually boost your new customer signups and help you keep your current customers:

Here’s how these functions can generate new business and help you retain the old:

  • Customer self-sign-up for classes. Our Customer Self-Service Center features that make it possible for students or their parents to sign up for scheduled classes right from your website, and without your assistance. Customer self-service features on your site saves you time and energy (the backend benefit) AND puts customer in control of their online interaction with your business. They can browse your course catalogue and choose classes in their own time, doing so from the comfort of their home or office.  The customer self service features turn your business into a 24-7 business, “always open,” even as you sleep, since the prospective customer can sign up any time day or night! This kind of customer empowerment can boost business.
  • Online customer self-pay and profile management. Our Customer Self-Service Center also makes it possible for your customers to go to your website, log into their own account, and add a new phone number, make an address change, or even pay for classes their kids are signed up for. Such services not only save you lots of time (the backend benefit) but helps customers do business with you efficiently. Advertising these features on your site can make your school look and function more professionally, which also makes your school more competitive compared to other schools in your area. This can generate new business.
  • Online electronic customer payments. We partner with two leading merchant processing services that enable you to affordably and easily accept credit cards or debit cards for payment from customers. Face it, most of us do business today using credit cards or electronic payments, rather than cash or checks. When you support this preference, you remove a “barrier to entry,” eliminating something that might block a potential customer from choosing your school. Merchant processing services can also help you retain your current customers, thanks to the ease of doing business with you that electronic payments allow.

You can upgrade your ClassJuggler account at any time with the customer self-service center functionality or merchant processing services, or start out with them if you’re a new customer, Contact us and we can walk you through the rates, the process, and the features.

An Often Overlooked Trick to Get Web Traffic Using Your Social Media Sites

In a recent article, we discussed the importance of putting a link on your studio’s website to your studio’s social media sites. But don’t forget to look at it the other way around.

For instance, let’s say a potential client is looking for information about your studio from a search engine and clicks on a link in the search results to your social media site, will they will easily be able to navigate their way from your social site to your website? The answer is, YES – but only if you take advantage of this one simple opportunity: back-linking.

With most social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, you have the opportunity as a business owner to create an About page (see example from Facebook in the image below) or other kind of info text block on the social site. clip_image001

The good news: We see that many of you are already taking advantage of this to put information about your business but, surprisingly, are not providing a link back to their website.

Make sure you take advantage of this About Us block of space by including the web address of your business.

If you have questions, contact us.

Marketing Tip: Connect Your Website to Your Social Media Sites!

Here’s a quick marketing tip for your studio’s website – one that will also help you connect better with your customers.

As part of getting to know our ClassJuggler clients better, we’ve been researching your businesses online via your websites. The information you post about your business helps us to accurately represent you when we feature you on our social media pages as our Customer of the Week feature.  While doing this, we’ve noticed that many of you who have not only a business website but also social media sites (Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, etc.) do not mention your social media sites on your school’s website.  link-biz-2socmediaIf you don’t do let your website visitors know about your social media sites, you’re missing a grand opportunity.

Whether you put links to your social sites simply in the text of your website’s About page or, even better, put icons that show up on every page (see example to the right from the ClassJuggler site), it’s valuable to put this information somewhere.

Your social sites are not just useful for increasing backlinks to your site (which can boost your search engine results page position) but are also a great way to connect to your students and parents. So, make sure they know about your presence on social sites from your website — the place they will likely use first to find your business!