Lisa Zahiya I have owned a bellydance studio in downtown Asheville, NC for 12 years. In late February of 2020, I was averaging 100 individual students a week and employed 14 teachers. The studio was thriving and was full of energy.
That all came to a halt as the Corona Virus crisis came to a head and we were ordered closed by the State of North Carolina on March 17th, an order that stayed in place for six a half months.
First I cried, then I panicked. But then I took a deep breath and leaned into my skills from business school and as a business coaching and digital marketing expert. I had always wanted to teach online classes and I always said “Maybe next month” or “that will be too expensive!”
I started teaching online two days later!
And out of an emergency, an opportunity was born. I re-formed my studio as a digital platform that provides live and in person bellydance and dance fitness classes as well as womens empowerment events.
Since March I have enrolled over 150 new students from all over the world and have over 100 members for our business.
I leaned on my background and acquired new customers online. I believe all dancers can do this, so wanted to share how:
There are 5 key parts of creating a sustainable and profitable virtual presence.
**TIP: ALWAYS MEASURE + MANAGE. THE BEAUTY OF VIRTUAL WORK IS THAT EVERYTHING IS MEASURABLE. ALWAYS MEASURE AND ADJUST STRATEGY **
#1 MINDSET & DEFINE YOUR MAGIC
If you are only focused on survival - you will get just that, you will survive.
Online, you can reach almost every person in the world. What an opportunity! Keep your focus there.
Get clear about what you ACTUALLY offer. It's never just a ... dance class, t-shirt, bookkeeping service, etc. Humans are emotional buyers and spend money because you are creating something that meets a deep need.
Do some homework and look at the history of your business. WHAT did people buy the most and what was the easiest to sell.
Make note about what people purchased the most
Talk to customers about WHY they buy from you
Answer this question: WHAT ARE YOU ACTUALLY SELLING?
Define the experiences that people are actually buying from you. Example: people purchase my dance classes because they love the community and my humor.
Brainstorm about HOW you can repackage this for an online experience.
#2 REPACKAGE ONLINE
Once you have figured out what your magic is (aka the unique thing that you offer to you customer), the next step is taking it virtual. Everything can go online!
There are clues all over the internet about how to use it to successfully serve clients. Put on your detective hat and learn from others' success.
You have 1. defined your magic (THIS IS YOUR SUPERPOWER - WHAT DO YOU UNIQUELY BRING TO YOUR CUSTOMER) AND 2. Investigated how successful businesses have offered their products online. It's time to get creative and repackage your magic!
You defined what you are ACTUALLY selling. Get creative and brainstorm how to offer that online.
Pen to paper for 20 minutes. Brainstorm on how you can offer your unique gift online.
IDEAS: e-book, e-course, digital class, delivery, online sales, etc
Decide what you want it to look like...
Using your brainstorm and your math (yay math!) decide which of your ideas will create the income you need in your business
GET CREATIVE! Decide what you want it to look like!
#3 SELL SELL SELL
This is the best strategies for selling your products. PS - if you have a strong aversion to sales go back to step 1. Create a mindset where you believe in exchanging your magic for something valuable ($$!)
Organic social media is posted for free.
Your posts will be shown to more people as your audience shares and engages with them (so create engaging content!)
Paid social media is shared with $$ behind it.
Paid social posts will show up in the feeds of whichever audience you decide to target. You can target audiences based on demographics, location, interests, and more.
People come to social media to be social, not to buy. HOWEVER, it is your #1 tool for marketing. So show up and add value, then create a 1:1 relationship (i.e. don't say the same thing to all people) and THEN offer how your product/service can help them.
#4 WHAT'S YOUR VIRTUAL LANDMARK
Put a pin in the map so your favorite clients know where you are. This is all about getting people to easily find you online.
So you have figured out how to offer you amazing product online. Yay! BUT, do people know where to find you? Your virtual landmark is your SEO (search engine optimization aka optimizing your website to get traffic from search engine results.)
#5 KEEP 'EM COMING
Retain your clients and customers! Mastering keeping them coming back for more.
RETAIN. RETAIN. RETAIN. Once you have an awesome customer, OVERDELIVER an amazing experience for them and focus on the LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP.
Along with being a bellydance and dance fitness teacher, Lisa Zahiya is a small business coach who helps women grow their businesses online to multiple six figures.