I often meet despondent yoga teachers, taking low class numbers very personally, thinking they are not good teachers. Well good news everyone, whilst there are factors such as location/time/price, class numbers generally boil down to one thing, and one thing only - and that’s marketing. Don’t wait for people to come to you, go out and get them!
Marketing is not some kind of magic, it is trainable in all of us. There is a formula, and if you get it right, you will get good results.
yoga teacher + classes/workshops + marketing + sales strategy = success
We do marketing to generate SALES. It is important to be comfortable with that. Let sales underpin ALL your marketing activity. You can make nice pretty flyers with your name on, but unless they are geared towards generating an action, they are ineffective in marketing terms.
Making a sale for me constitutes two things, one is the actual purchase of an item, but the other is getting someone to give me their email address, that email is then precious data which you ultimately convert to actual sales.
Here are 10 things you can do to set you on the right marketing path:
1. Get comfortable with the idea of selling and taking money
You are offering a fantastic product (yoga) with a highly skilled teacher (you) which will greatly benefit wellbeing (client) and make the world a better place. Please be comfortable with asking people to pay for your service - I have never experienced any client not happy to pay for a class - they are usually delighted that you are running classes that they can go to! When it comes to taking money from people face to face (something many teachers are awkward with) just practice! The more you do it, the easier it gets. As Louise Hay would say, money is an exchange of energy - give and receive with grace.
2. Know what you are selling
Sounds obvious, but have a think about your business, or you the teacher, what are you selling? Classes, workshops? Whatever it is, make a list. then make all your marketing geared towards sales of those items. If something is not going to generate income, then don’t focus on marketing that! Focus your time on those things that generate the most revenue.
3. Keep it simple
Let this be your marketing mantra! Flyers, website, adverts - everything. The more balls (ideas/information) you throw at people, the more likely they are to drop some. If you have one clear message then it is easy to see. Have a good look at your existing materials - is there too much information? What’s actually important? What is going to bring that sale or sign up? Do you really need maps/addresses/life story? People form an impression in a millisecond, so everything you put out needs to convey who you are, and what you want people to know, in that split second.
4. Have a sales strategy
What happens when a new client comes to your class? What happens at the start? And what happens next? Too many teachers just let new clients walk out the door at the end of the first class. Have a strategy. It can be simple. But always follow up. And keep following up! Try and upsell at the end of their first class, with an irresistible and time sensitive offer. You don’t have to be pushy, if they don’t want to, that’s fine, but make sure you email them after (you got their email right?) extending the offer, then keep in touch. Regularly. Have a timeline for a new client. Make a flow chart. And if someone comes and does not return, do not get down about this, keep enticing them back with offers, and niceness :)
5. Have a call to action
Everything you do, and I mean EVERYTHING must have a ‘call to action’. By this I mean each marketing channel you use must prompt someone to take an action. This might mean a prompt to make an actual sale, but it could also mean data capture - someone giving you their email address. Make it clear, make it simple, be bold.
6. Go for repeat business
Existing clients already love you. They want to buy from you. So sell to them! Ask for the salel Create a system that rewards regular attendance. Make offers in your classes for workshops - i.e. buy today and get 10% off. Email your database regularly with all your offerings, send reminders - very often. Be gently persistent.
7. Focus on building your database and email marketing
Still number 1 in marketing terms. Take every opportunity you can to collect emails from clients and potential clients. Use a mailing list manager - there are many on the market now. Lots of people underestimate how powerful email marketing can be on account of how irritating it can be to receive unsolicited emails. BUT your email list is made up of your clients and people you know, so they will read and respond to your emails. Some people think a monthly newsletter is enough. Nope. Effective email marketing is far more regular than that. But be focussed, have a purpose (making sales), and make it happy and snappy.
8. Sell on your website
One of the best things I ever did way back when I started my first classes was put paypal ‘buy’ buttons on my website. Do not underestimate the contribution this will make to your revenue. Put links to your items in all your emails, your website - everywhere. Make it as easy as possible for people to buy.
9. If you are new, do Google Adwords (pay per click)
If you are new in your town, it is likely that your website does not yet feature in the google listings. If you do Google Adwords, you can appear at the top of the listing right away. It costs, but if you live in a smallish town, it can be pretty cheap. Here are 3 tips to help make it work: 1. Do ‘exact match’ search terms only and set a daily budget you can afford. 2. Make sure you have a call to action. 3. Gear your ads to new clients, so a new client offer is perfect for this.
10. Take a look at Facebook Adverts
Facebook ads are relatively new, and really bring out the geek in me! These ads appear in people's news feed, and are targeted according to people's likes. You can get up and running quite simply with a good image and offer. You can run FB ads alongside your email database and create what is called ‘lookalike’ audiences which really target your ads, saving money. You can also ‘boost’ posts - so write a post, and then run it like an ad some more people than just your subscribers will see it. Like Google ads, FB ads are pay per click. Make sure when you direct people to do an ‘action’ that there is a call to action there - i.e if the ad sends someone to your website, make sure they can easily make a purchase/sign up to your newsletter etc etc.
Have faith, marketing works. Put the effort in the top of the funnel, and out will come the people on the mats. And if you do your marketing right, and still low numbers, then you know something else is wrong (class/location/time etc). So don’t take it personally - move on and try something else. Persistence always pays off in the end.
I’ll finish on one of my favourite quotes:
“Success is going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm”