Booking Dance Schools: Now’s the Time to Generate Bookings!

If you are seriously considering venturing into the Dance school market, or, are already reaping the rewards in this very lucrative market, there is no better time than right now to force a sales effort, and here’s why.


If a dance school/studio had a bad experience with their current photography company during their Spring recital season—typically, from April through June—the pain of that bad experience is still fresh in their mind.  Poorly executed images, child-unfriendly photographers, slow package turnaround, long waits in line, a lack of preparedness, and a shoot schedule running nearly an hour late are just a few of the issues with which some dance studios may have had to contend.

Right about this time of year, most dance schools/studios are planning their summer hiatus trying to recover from the chaos and long hours that occur annually with Spring recitals.  All the more reason why you should be striking while the iron is hot.

Keep in mind that a dance studio is more similar to a league than a team. A dance school of 250 individual dancers can quickly double the number of individual photo sessions.  How can this happen you may ask? Costumes. By photographing individuals in multiple dance costumes you have the opportunity of selling more photographs of each student. I’ll bet you’ve never had the opportunity of photographing a baseball team in three different uniforms!  But it happens in dance!

In addition, the school director may have had to distribute the finished prints to angry parents and listen to the same lame customer service story over and over again.  This is no way to treat a client!  So here are a few tips to consider when marketing your services to a dance school:

Speak only to the studio owner

Spinning your wheels and wasting time with a studio manager or a dance instructor is not time well spent.  If your initial visit doesn’t include a conversation with the school owner then get their phone number and set an appointment.  Don’t waste time with someone that isn’t the decision maker.

Show them your specialty products


Attitude Panos, Level TwoTM products, and graphic designs created by CCS just for the dance market are all available to you in QuicPost and CORE.  Recognize that these products—and others—will open doors for you, and create conversation encouraging your client to listen to what you have to say.  Most have not seen products like this before, especially for dance.  At one school that our retail division photographed, an additional $1,379 was taken in just on Attitude Panos of “dance company” members.

Also, the recently introduced acrylic products available from CCS make a great presentation and give you the opportunity of displaying a high-end product that will help to raise the price of an average order.  Acrylic products are singularly different than anything currently offered in many different photo markets.  Make a splash by bringing these products to a formal presentation.

Finally, the newly introduced Freestyle Collage Pano is a great supplement to the bread-and-butter products offered in your basic packages.  This new product allows the end customer to create their own Panos and collages using CCS designed backgrounds and graphics.

View First: Your distinct competitive advantage

Using the CCS View First marketing system, with multiple images of each dancer displayed online, you have several advantages that you can sell.

  1. It’s a no-hassle system – No envelopes to be handed out; no money collected up-front; and all orders are shipped directly to the end customer’s home. You couldn’t make it any easier for those involved with the shoot.
  2. CHOICE of Poses – Parents prefer the idea of purchasing photos AFTER they’ve had a chance to view their child’s images.  With a pre-pay system parents are frequently stuck with photos they don’t like.  In View First they get to see ALL images of their child whether it’s individual images, as part of a dance team, or even buddy shots.  Typical sales averages for dance school using View First range from $48-$52 per order, with 30-65% ordering.
  3. Email campaigns – Once you’ve photographed the dance school you can now use the email addresses collected at the shoot (or provided by the school) to remind parents about ordering online.  It’s been proven for years that every time an email is transmitted to potential customers there is a spike in sales.  An email campaign that spans a six or eight month period does the best job of keeping your name in front of your customers; it also creates the best opportunity for increased sales over a period of time.

CCS Dance Marketing Materials

To aid in your booking of dance schools CCS has created some booking flyers.  One version mentions giving the dance studio a commission; another version does not. We have also created flyers to help promote your products and Photo Day. You can find those materials on Candidnet.Candid.com under Marketing/Business development > Marketing Materials> Dance School Flyers.  For more information contact Brian Speers at 800-336-4550 ext. 251.

Dance Schools: A Great Time to Market Your Services is NOW!

Right about this time of year, most dance schools/studios are planning their summer hiatus trying to recover from the chaos and long hours that occur annually with Spring recitals.  If you are seriously considering getting into the Dance school market, or are already reaping the rewards in this very lucrative market, there is no better time to make a sales effort and market your services than right now.  And this is why: if a school/studio had a bad experience with their current photographer company over the Spring recital season—which is typically from April though May—the pain of that bad experience is still fresh in their mind.  Bad photos, child-unfriendly photographers, poor service, slow turnaround, long lines and a schedule that was running nearly an hour late are just a few of the issues with which some studios may have had to contend.

Keep in mind that a dance studio is more similar to a league than a team. In a recent school photographed by our retail division, CCP, 242 individual dancers created nearly double the amount of photo sessions.  How did this happen?  Costumes.  By photographing individuals in multiple costumes you have the opportunity of selling more photographs of each student.   Never do you have the opportunity of photographing a baseball team in three different uniforms!

In addition, the school director may have had to distribute the finished prints to angry parents and listen to the same lame customer service story over and over again.  This is no way to treat a client!  So here are a few tips to consider when marketing your services to a dance school:

Speak only to the studio owner

Spinning your wheels and wasting time with a studio manager or a dance instructor is not time well spent.  If your initial visit doesn’t include a conversation with the school owner then get their phone number and set an appointment.  Don’t waste time with someone that isn’t the decision maker.

Show them your specialty products

Attitude panos, Level Two products, and graphic designs created by CCS just for the dance market. Understand that these products will open doors for you and encourage your client to listen to what you have to say.  Most have not seen products like this before, especially relative to dance.  At one school that our retail division photographed an additional $1379 was taken in just on Attitude panos of “dance company” members.

 

 

View First: your distinct competitive advantage

Using the CCS View First marketing system with multiple images of each dancer displayed online, you have several advantages that you can sell.

            1. It’s a no-hassle system – No envelopes to be handed out; no money collected up-front; and all orders are shipped directly to the end customer’s home. You couldn’t make it any easier for those involved with the shoot.

            2. CHOICE of Poses – Parents prefer the idea of purchasing photos AFTER they’ve had a chance to view their child’s images.  With a pre-pay system parents are frequently stuck with photos they don’t like.  In View First they get to see ALL images of their child whether it’s individual images, as part of a dance team, or even buddy shots.  Typical sales averages for dance school using View First range from $48-$52 per order, with 30-65% ordering.

            3. Email campaignsOnce you’ve photographed the dance school you can now use the email addresses collected at the shoot (or provided by the school) to remind parents about ordering online.  It’s been proven for years that every time an email is transmitted to potential customers there are a spike in sales.  An email campaign that spans a six or eight month period does the best job of keeping your name in front of your customers; it also creates the best opportunity for increased sales over a period of time.

CCS Dance Marketing Materials

To aid in your booking of dance schools CCS has created some booking flyers.  One version mentions giving the dance studio a commission; another version does not. We have also created flyers to help promote your products and Photo Day.  For more information on dance marketing materials or to become a customer, contact Brian Speers at 800-336-4550 ext. 251.

Marketing Dance Schools – Prepay vs. Speculation

Dance schools are a lucrative market to photograph.  Tackling your first dance school can be challenging, so it’s important to think through every step of the process, checking every detail.  First, you must determine how you are going to market your dance school.  The challenging aspect of dance is that the students are often in multiple classes, which means you will be photographing them multiple times and in different costumes.  Each costume is an opportunity to make a sale so it is important that you market your images to the best of your ability.

Dance schools offer two different ways to market the images, Prepay(PayFirst) or Speculation(ViewFirst).  PayFirst is the traditional way of selling sports images, using envelopes to collect money and orders on the day of the shoot.  Marketing your event through ViewFirst  means you will be posting the images onlineyou’re your customers to purchase.  There are benefits and drawbacks to each, which are provided on the table below.


 

PayFirst ViewFirst
Pros Cons Pros Cons
Collect Money Day of Shoot Envelopes Can Become Costly Booking Tool – Easy for Dance School Lower Participation Rate
High Participation Rate Orders Have to Be Entered High Average Order All Images Must be “Spotted”
    Multiple Pictures of Each Student are Taken  
    Parents Get to See Images Before They Purchase  

The main difference between PayFirst and ViewFirst is that either you are collecting money the day of the shoot or you are selling your images online. If selling PayFirst all of your marketing will take place before and at the shoot by sending home envelopes, showing samples, and collecting the orders on photo day. When selling ViewFirst your marketing will take place before and after the shoot. Before the shoot it is important to educate the parents on how they can order their images. It is also important to provide you packages and samples ahead of time for the parents to view. After photo day it is important to market your images to the parents and provide access to the images. One way of doing this is through email marketing.  

Candid’s software provides you with the ability to create an email campaign which will send a series of emails throughout the year. These emails are designed to create traffic to your website and allow your customers a simple way to access their images.    

                                                                                                                                                        Each email provides a thumbnail with the individual’s image embedded in it. It also has several links throughout the email which will take your customer directly to their images.                                                                                                           

Another way to market the images to your customers after the shoot, is be sending out a paper proof. Candid’s software generates paper proofs with thumbnails of the various images of each individual. These proofs can be customized with your offer. It gives your customers the ability to mail in their orders, fax them, or go online to order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Whether marketing your dance school shoot using PayFirst or ViewFirst it is important to focus on your marketing plan. Premarketing affects your sales both at photo day and after your done shooting. The better premarketing you do the better sales you will have. Some key elements to remember are to place samples in the dance studio two weeks prior to photo day, always collect fresh emails, and send out emails within 24 hours of completing the shoot.                                                                                                                                          

Shooting a dance school and need some help with your marketing plan? Call us at 800-336-4550 and ask for Customer Development.

Dance schools are a great revenue opportunity!

Photographers do not often discuss Dance Schools with the same excitement as the highly coveted sports or activities such as football. Many photographers stick to the basic, and familiar, sports such as soccer, football and basketball. I would like to suggest that all sports photographers take a very close look at dance schools as a potential source of great revenue. Here is why…

I base my suggestion on recent dance shoot experience. These results (if not better) were also confirmed by other photographers who offer  similar products, pricing and the same marketing method.  To hop right to the numbers, we achieved a $45.39 sales average (subtotal without tax & shipping). The sales average with shipping included was $49.59. This is an important number because in our scenario, shipping is a profit center for the photographer. In addition to a healthy sales average we experienced a 74% buy rate. Here is a more detailed look at the sales from a recent dance shoot:

•       Subtotal (Product Sales )$9,125.00

•       Shipping $842.50

•       Total Revenues $9,967.50

•       Tax $731.51

•       Total Event Sales $10,699.01

•       Average Sale/Customer $36.92

•       Average Sale/Order $49.59

•       Sales per Image Shot $2.33

•       Average Sale/Order without shipping     $45.39

•       Gross Profit $6,659.88

•       Gross Profit Margin 66.8%

The buy rate and sales average were definitely a result of shooting several images of each dancer. Here is a closer look at the number of dancers and number of images involved in our example:

•       270 dancers photographed

•       Many students were also in multiple classes or had multiple routines/costumes for one class

•       We shot 75 routines plus additional solos, buddy pics and sibling pics

•       # Images shot 4,280

•       Average images per customer 15.85

•       # Images ordered from 474

•       % Images ordered from 11.1%

•       # orders placed 201

•       % of customers ordering 74.4%

The above sales average and buy rate were achieved with a View First™ or speculation marketing method. Here is what we did:

·         the dance studio helped us to advertise/ promote photo day

·         we shot each dancer in multiple poses

·         we emailed a link (within 3 days of the shoot) to each dancer’s proofs for online ordering

·         we created a printed proof for each dancer showing their images

·         we mailed (within 5 days of the shoot) the proofs to each dancer

·         we sent a series of follow-up emails as order reminders

We did NOT require any order forms or money be turned in on the day of our shoot. This means that the dance studio did not have to handle money or pass out order forms prior to the shoot!

The email campaign that we used in the above scenario was a key to our success. We thought that orders might trickle in over time and the numbers proved our theory.  Here is a look at when our sales occurred after the initial proofs were emailed:

·         0-7 days               $1,076.50             10.8% of sales

·         8-14 days             $1,712.00             17.2% of sales

·         15-30 days           $6,922.00             69.4% of sales

·         31-45 days           $177.00 1.8% of sales

·         46-60 days           $80.00                   0.8% of sales

You can see how important the additional communication beyond the first email or proof can be. We sent additional emails at the 5-day, 12-day, 15-day and 21-day mark. These emails do not go to everyone. Several of the emails are triggered for only those who have NOT purchased at that point.

The sales information outlined above is not the only reason to consider dance schools. Dance Schools are typically a large concentration of students which is more like booking a league than a team.  Parents of dance students also have a large financial and time commitment to this activity for practice, costumes, recital fees and sometimes competitions. This level of commitment and the elaborate costumes make this group likely to spend more on photos. Dance Schools often have some flexibility on when they can be photographed. Some schools are photographed on a weekend in conjunction with their spring recital and others are photographed during the week with the regular class time. Other opportunities come with photographing dance schools such as photos at the recital, photos of the instructors and even competitions and winter ballets.

 

I encourage you to quickly put dance schools on your to-do list. Dance schools plan far in advance and most began fall classes in late August or early September. Dance schools can be photographed as soon as their costumes arrive in the spring. The time to book dance schools is now.  For more information on dance schools and guidance on how to book them, please contact the Candid Color Systems customer Development department at 1-800-336-4550. Check back next week for a detailed look at our product and pricing mix, labor and lab costs.

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