Help New Students Feel Welcome

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In this article:

  • How creating the right environment will help newcomers to your studio feel welcome, and benefit YOU!

  • Tips for breaking the ice and getting new students engaged

  • How to create a simple but effective welcome package

  • Follow up to increase student retention and referrals

Why is it important to help new students feel welcome? Because doing so will help them feel a part of your studio "family."

Everyone likes to belong, and if your students can see themselves as being a part of your studio, rather than just someone who attends classes there, they are more likely to remain loyal to your business, take additional classes, and bring their friends too!

To help new students feel welcome means helping them feel comfortable in your classes and at home in your studio. Doing so just makes good business sense, as we'll soon see.

Here are three specific techniques you can start using right now to help every new student who walks through your doors feel welcome.

Break The Ice

Helping newcomers make new friends and feel comfortable in class is vital if they are to feel a sense of belonging.

There are lots of ways you can assist this process, but here are two ice breakers that have always worked well for me.

I use them at the start of a new class session, when the students may not know each other.

Icebreaker #1: Ask everyone to introduce themselves by first name, and share one word that describes how they're feeling about taking the class (ie nervous, excited, shy, etc.). You go first! After each person takes a turn, you acknowledge everyone by name, which will also help you remember names more quickly.

This fun little game doesn't take long, helps everyone get to know a few new names, and also helps you gauge the overall mood of the group so that you can adjust your teaching style if necessary.

Icebreaker #2: Have a bar of good dark chocolate ready at the start of a new session. Pass the bar around as you ask everyone to introduce themselves to the group.

This can just be their name, or you can give them a question that can be answered briefly, such as the one word description idea above.

Another question I like to pose while I pass around the chocolate is to ask each person to say what she likes best about her own body (hair, shoulders, eyes, legs, butt, etc.).

After their introduction, each student can break off a piece of chocolate to enjoy. I call this "breaking chocolate together" and it's a very popular way to start a class! Those who don't want to eat the chocolate can just take a nice deep breath of the delicious aroma. . . mmmmm!

This one has never failed me in my quest to help new students feel welcome in my classes!

Use A Welcome Package

Welcome packages are a simple yet effective way to help new students feel welcome. It's an easy way for your newest students to become acquainted with your studio routines and policies, and offers them a convenient way to get to know you, your classes and your instructors. Welcome packages are inexpensive to make up, but will be much appreciated by newcomers.

A simple folder with two inside pockets, like the type available in office supply stores, will work nicely.

Items you may want to include are your current schedule, information on memberships or discounts, flyers on upcoming workshops, bios of your staff, studio hours, contact information and policies, etc.

You may also want to include any promo pieces you have, such as a fridge magnet or a vinyl decal. These custom temporary tattoos are very inexpensive, and they make fabulous little promo gift items if you don't already have a promo piece.

When a new student registers for a class, or purchases a membership, give them a welcome package to help answer their questions and get them acquainted with your studio. They'll appreciate having all the information at their fingertips, and as a bonus, you'll spend less time answering routine questions from new students.

Follow Up

Once new students have arrived at your studio and taken their first class, following up with them right away will help them feel important. When you show a customer that you appreciate their business and care about their experience, you help them understand that the transaction is about more than money to you.

Follow up can take many forms, such as a phone call, an email, or a letter. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, nor does it have to be expensive.

However, in this day of impersonal form emails, sending a postcard in the mail can be a real attention getter, and will really help new students feel welcome. Postcards are inexpensive to print and mail, and you can add a short, handwritten note personally welcoming each new student to your studio.

In fact, Vista Print offers a number of free stationery products, as well as great prices on dozens more. They offer incredibly fast turnaround, as well as a low price AND, a satisfaction guarantee. I use them myself, and highly recommend them.

Imagine your new student's surprise and delight upon receiving a hand addressed card or note along with a stack of bills.

You may just make their day, and they may make yours by becoming a regular at your studio!

I hope these tips on how to help new students feel welcome have been helpful to you!

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