Written by & under Marketing.

It’s important for any business to keep in touch with its community, which includes all its current and potential customers.  Your community may be your neighborhood, or your metropolitan area, or your online community, or any of the above.

We’re going to look at ways to keep in touch.  Speaking of which, this blog is interactive, and you are invited to add your comments at the end of the post.  Just submit your comment at the bottom where it says “Leave a Reply”.  It is interesting and helpful to hear about your concerns, questions, and experiences, on each topic.

This post is about keeping in touch with your community.  It’s a great time of year to be thinking about this, as the holiday season approaches.  People are looking for gifts, for events, and for plans for the new year.  You can provide all three.  If you would, please do leave a reply at the end of this post to tell us what you have tried in this regard, whether successful or not, and we’ll all appreciate reading about it.

Gifts

You know everyone’s scratching their heads for gift ideas for Christmas.  Any opportunities you have for advertising or reaching out to your community can include offers of gift certificates.  You could offer discounts for classes, or a free introductory lesson or class.  Sometimes even people who would love what you offer are more likely to try it if they can get a deal, or try it out without commitment.  This is a good time of year to offer this.  How about a special event between Christmas and New Year’s?  Or an offer people can purchase in December for classes or events that begin after New Year’s?

Events

A holiday event, celebrating Christmas, New Year’s, another holiday, or just the season in general, is a friendly way to reach out to your community.

Demonstrations can be done in shopping malls by arrangement with mall management.  Sometimes the managers will be helpful and provide advertising; after all, your event promotes the mall, too.  Others may provide space but stay hands-off.  Here’s a story about a hands-off manger:  One demonstration I know about, of dancers at a mall, used a group of tables as a stage for the dancers.  During the show, the legs on one of the tables collapsed while the dancers were on top, and they all slid, somewhat graceful, down to the bottom, like the Titanic.  At this moment, the mall manager was not hands-off.  He immediately whisked them all into his office to sign waivers so they wouldn’t sue!

You can coordinate a demonstration at an event held by other groups, or team up with others such as a restaurant or other stores to do a demo that not only adds to a fun event, but also promotes your studio.

What about recitals?  This not only gives students a good chance to wrap up a segment of their learning with a performance, but allows parents and friends to appreciate the work that goes into the lessons and classes for their child or friend, and for all the others present.  This is a great chance to offer gift certificates or discounts, so that people who already appreciate your studio can reach out to other people they know with their own personal recommendation, via a gift.

A studio party can be an opportunity to reach out to the community with a festive event, hopefully including some munchies or real food, maybe some games or puzzles just for fun.  It’s also a time to offer some in-house demonstrations of what your teachers and/or students enjoy doing.  This can be much less formal than a recital and yet have many of the same benefits.

New Year’s Plans

For some studios, January is a down time as people recover from the festivities and expenses of the holidays.  Now is a good time to start offering people ideas for signing up for class packages, perhaps with New Year’s discounts, to encourage full registrations for January.

Maybe you can sweeten your offer with a complimentary ticket to a related event or activity, especially if the sponsor of the event is looking to expand audiences and wants to work with you.  Many events or activity directors offer free tickets to kids, for example, knowing that those free tickets bring in paid admissions by the parents.  In our area, ski resorts give free lift tickets to all 5th graders for this reason.  Maybe they, or businesses like them, would let you give some out to encourage registrations.

Your Turn

Tell us — what ideas have you tried, or thought of, to reach out to the community at holiday time?  Leave a reply below.  We look forward to hearing from you!