When we first started offering early childhood and preschool music classes, there were 2 options: a morning class and an evening class. And before every session, I worried that we wouldn’t have enough families sign up, and we would have to cancel a class.
Thankfully that never happened, although there were plenty of sessions with small class sizes throughout those first few months. But with each session, we learned what worked (and what didn’t) when it came to filling classes. Over the last two years, we have consistently filled 5 different classes per session — a huge feat considering where we started.
Before our summer session began this week, my business partner Katey and I set specific goals for class registration numbers. We aimed high because we love a good challenge, and then we came up with a plan to meet those goals.
Katey and I had a little emoji party on Monday after I texted her that not only had we achieved those pie-in-the-sky registration numbers, but we had actually exceeded them with a waitlist for several of the classes. What the what?!
I would love to share with you our specific strategies for maxing out this session of early childhood and preschool music classes, because I know the struggle all too well.
1. Host a free event.
This is the first step in a really successful registration period, as we have seen on multiple occasions. Two weeks before the start of our class session, we hosted a Favorite Song Singalong, which was basically a sample class consisting of some of our favorite songs from the past year. We made it extra special with balloons, refreshments, and having all of our teachers present at the same time.
We advertised the Singalong via Facebook and our email list, and although it was free, we did have people register online so that not only could we keep tabs on how many people to expect, but we also captured everyone’s email address for future communication.
At the free event, we handed out lyric packets and at the very back, a registration form. This resulted in quite a few on-site registrations (especially from new families). Following the event, we emailed everyone recordings of all the songs, along with links to register online for class.
2. Post consistently on social media.
For this particular class session, I created a little music video featuring one of the songs I recorded for class and a whole lot of photos from prior sessions. I also posted several photos in the weeks leading up to registration and throughout the registration period, each time expressing our excitement and the benefits of attending music classes.
For social media (namely Facebook and Instagram) to be truly effective, you almost always have to pay. We usually spend anywhere between $25-75 on ads per registration period, which is easily made back with just one or two sign-ups.
3. Communicate with your email list frequently.
We have a targeted list of people who have signed up to receive information about our music classes, and it is what we rely on most to fill those spots each session. Leading up to a registration period, I email the list once per week to give a heads-up, and then at crunch time, I send more frequent emails especially as classes fill and there are limited options left.
I’ve learned that most people wait until the last minute to register, and even though it feels a bit like overkill, those final few emails are extremely effective. Just keep them short, friendly, and informative — the clear call-to-action should be clicking the registration link.
4. Go outside of your comfort zone.
One thing I love about having a business partner is that the scary stuff is a little less scary when I’m not doing it alone! One such scary thing for me (still!) is live video — but we do it, because it moves the needle forward. Katey and I did a Facebook Live video a few days before the class session began, and it played a huge role in filling even more spots.
Maybe going outside your comfort zone means something different, like sending your first mass email, or dropping off fliers to a local business that serves similar clientele. Playing it safe does not usually equate to exceeding big goals.
We have even bigger goals for our school year music class sessions, especially considering we’ve added two additional class offerings (that makes 7 in total). Success looks different at every stage, and it’s so important to celebrate each and every win as you increase your expectations.
What are your biggest struggles when it comes to filling up your music classes or groups? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. And feel free to share your wins, too!