We all know that a first impression happens in the blink of an eye even when people are first arriving at your studio and standing at the front door. They’re already forming judgments about what your studio is going to be like, how it’s going to make them feel, and what they feel for being there.
So let’s imagine you are visiting your own studio for the first time. You want to start thinking, “If I were walking into my studio for the first time, what would I feel? What would I think?”
Let’s do an imaginary walk-through together, but it’s a walk-through with a twist. I’m going to walk you through the five senses to help you redecorate your studio so that you can truly make the first impression that you desire to make.
So the first sense we’re going to look at is SIGHT. How does your studio look?
This very much comes back around to the studio brand that you’re trying to create. Is your studio the fun, friendly neighborhood studio with lots of color, vibrant patterns, cushions and things on the wall?
Is your studio very elegant, very classical and technique-based, very calming? Does it lovely colors and probably a vase of fresh flowers and a candle burning? Things like that? Is that the impression you’re going for?
Is your studio really innovative and edgy? Maybe you’ve graffiti on some of the walls, artsy kinds of things around, and it feels really modern and fresh.
How can we help the visual look of your studio match your studio brand?
So it’s really worth thinking about your walls and what you are going to put on the walls. Even having things like a Wall of Fame or a Wall of Stars with beautiful photos of your students up there.
Even going to IKEA and getting some big photo frames can make an enormous impact. A few hundred bucks at IKEA can go a huge way to make your studio really start to pop visually.
The next sense is smell. I learned this from Beverly Spell, one of my Studio Elite clients. She said that one of the essential things in her studio is that it always smells lovely. From the moment you walk in, she has candles going and little scented diffusers so that you don’t have any of those kind of smelly dance bags or sneaker smells. It just smells beautiful.
And as you come through the studio, that instantly kind of creates that feeling of, “Wow! This is lovely place where I want to spend my time.”
The next sense that we’re going to look at is touch. Even things like the chairs you have waiting for them when they walk in. Do you have lovely cushions or what textures are you bringing into the studio? How are you making this feel comfortable?
That’s such a lovely thing to think about, all the surfaces, how you can bring more of a tactile sense.
When the younger siblings come to play, is there a toy box for them to be able to entertain themselves? What are the things to engage with?
Even having something like a beautiful studio portfolio, that when a mom is sitting in the waiting room, she can flick through this beautiful visual depiction of your programs and learn more about your vision and your studio values.
It’s such a simple thing but it’s not to be underestimated – the things where people can touch, feel, and connect with that way.
The next sense is sound. What are they hearing when they come through the studio? In that waiting room space, is there some dedicate music playing or is it a more ambient sound? How are you crafting that experience?
Let’s talk about crafting the sound experience even down to your voicemail message. This is not actually in the studio, but the quality of your voicemail message says a huge amount all about your studio and the professionalism that it creates.
We want to be thinking through, what are they going to think about? What impression are they going to get when they listen to my voicemail? All of these things really do add up.
And the final sense, you know it, it’s taste. Things like having a beautiful fruit bowl that offers free apples and bananas to your students, having your tea and coffee station for parents.
Little things like this to make it feel like home is really what makes your studio that place people just love to come to, the place where they want to spend so much of their time, the place where they connect with their friends. Your studio becomes their second home, in fact.
Cultivate a physical environment that makes them want to stay for years.
By going through all of these elements of the senses, you will be able to really start to cultivate the environment that is going to help not only knock people’s socks off when they come through the front door, but also an environment that makes people want to to stay for years – an environment that makes people feel like this is their home.
And so, I want you to really take a second and just a bit of a visual audit of your studio. Stand at the front door and walk around and think, what needs a little bit of a shushing.
Maybe the paint is flaking a little bit. Maybe the cushions on the couch need a bit of a revamp. Just spending a little bit of time to make sure the impression is up to scratch will work wonders to help you create that energy that’s going to attract more students and retain more students in your studio.
Now, you and I know that retention is an incredibly valuable part of our businesses. When we improve your retention, you will see instantly that your revenue, your reputation, and your results in your studio start to skyrocket.