I bet I know what you love most about being a yoga teacher. Marketing! Joking. Most yoga teachers I speak to hate marketing. And I totally understand. When I first started teaching yoga, I felt really uncomfortable putting myself out there. I wanted to share my love of yoga with the world, but couldn’t get over the icky feeling I got when I tried ‘selling’ to people.
I still feel uncomfortable with selling. But that’s ok, because I discovered I don’t have to do the ‘hard sell’ to fill my classes. So how have I filled my classes and grown my yoga business over the years? Through sticking to a key principle of yoga - here’s how.
I know I’m biased, but I reckon everyone can benefit from yoga. But nobody’s going to experience the benefits if they don’t try it. As a yoga teacher, it’s my job to help people do just that. Somehow, I have to:
- Let potential students know the benefits of yoga
- Provide them with opportunities to try yoga with me
- Give them a super-positive experience of yoga that will get them hooked
Let me tell you what doesn’t work in Steps 1 and 2. Hard selling. Unless you have a massive budget for social media advertising, and a sophisticated automated response system for managing the traffic your adverts generate, don’t bother trying to ‘sell’ your offerings. What does work is service (and a dose of creativity!)
Service, not marketing
Instead of telling potential students how awesome my classes are and how doing yoga with me will make them feel fantastic (firstly, that feels awkward and secondly, it doesn’t bring students flocking in), I serve them by offering something that is genuinely useful to them. For free. Here’s how it works:
1. Figure out what potential students need.
I do this by listening to existing students and by joining social media groups that my ideal students are active in. For example, a FB group for people with anxiety. I listen to what people are saying and learn what their needs are. What I don’t do is try to sell or fix anybody. That always ends badly.
2. Create an awesome resource that meets the needs of my potential students.
Based on what I’ve learned from potential students, I craft a resource that is genuinely useful for them. For example, if there’s a lot of chat in that FB group for people with anxiety about insomnia, I might record a short guided relaxation practice that could help people drift off to sleep more easily.
3. Share the offering - for free
Well, it’s not 100% free. What I ask for in return is their email address. I set up a landing page (and it’s easier than you think, more on that later) that explains the benefits of the guided relaxation and asks for an email address so that I can send a link to the recording.
4. Send the recording - and lots of love
I set up an automated system that sends out the link to the recording as soon as somebody submits their email (again, not difficult and I’ll get to that). I then set up three more emails, set up to be delivered in the days after the recording is sent, checking in to see how the student is going with the practice and providing more information and support.
How does this sell my yoga classes?
So, how does all this sell my classes? It builds a trusting relationship between me and the student who gave me their email. Fun fact - over 80% of new bookings for my classes and courses come from people who have already given me their email.
Once somebody has shared their email address with me, I can carefully nurture my relationship with them - sharing information about yoga, asking them what they need and giving them an opportunity to get to know me and how I work. Somebody who has gotten to know me in this way is MUCH more likely to sign up for paid programs.
I’m a techno-phobe. Can I still do all this?
Yes. It’s easier than you think to set up a landing page for your recorded relaxation, along with some follow-up emails. It’s super easy (and free) when you use a platform like Mail Chimp.
With Mail Chimp (and there are plenty of other options- I use Hubspot), you can set up free ‘landing pages’ that allow you to offer a free gift (known as a 'lead magnet') like a recorded relaxation in exchange for somebody’s email. You can also set up a series of follow-up emails that will go out to a potential student, checking in with them and (gently) encouraging them to come and try yoga with you.
The key is to focus on service. Understand what your potential students need, and serve them by offering something that will be truly useful for them. Share that offering in return for their email address, then deliver them real value by following up with information, tips and other useful content that will make them love your work. They may not sign up for your paid classes immediately, but over time, these are the students who will help you build a sustainable and satisfying yoga business.
Want to see how it’s done? Click the link below and sign up to get your free 5 minute guided meditation - perfect for bed time (or any time!)