Getting yoga students into your studio is the first step in building a community and thriving business. Keeping them there is just as important and can be more challenging. Local competitors, natural attrition due to students moving or being too busy, and lack of communication on your part can all lead to lost students. Retention rates are a major factor in your future revenue so you can’t ignore them. In fact, as much as 80% of your future revenue will likely be generated by 20% of your current students*. This means retaining a core group of connected students is an excellent source of revenue.
Your studio’s retention rate is the percentage of your students who remain students (instead of leaving) over a period of time, such as one year. You can track your annual retention rates using software programs, like MindBody. Marketing your studio online can contribute significantly to keeping students happy and in class. Here are just a few ways to use online marketing to improve your student retention and keep your studio thriving.
Build Trust through Education
When your students see you as an expert, a bridge of trust is built. Educating your students in class is inherent in what you do, but don’t let your efforts to educate end there. By using online newsletters and blogs, you can continue to teach your students from a distance.
1. A website blog gives you a chance to engage in a conversation with students about a wide range of topics, from FAQs to what is new in the world of yoga. When you allow comments on the blog, your students can respond to what they see. Regular blog posts also keep your website content fresh, which is beneficial to the SEO of your site.
2. Newsletters also give you a chance to educate your students. Send a monthly newsletter on a specific topic, such as a commonly asked question to which you provide an expert answer. Your students will begin to see you as the expert on all things yoga in no time. When you educate students, you improve your relationship and increase the chances they will continue to visit your studio for classes and other services.
Create Relationships to Fill Classes
Keeping in touch helps you to stay top of mind with your students. Whether it is through a monthly newsletter or an automatic birthday ecard sent to her email inbox, a student who hears from you will be reminded to come in for a class. Email specials and other routine contact also help you build a relationship with students. With regular communication your students will feel like a part of a community, making their retention more likely. Just don’t abuse your students’ email addresses – too much communication can start to seem like spam.
Monitor Your Mentions to Manage Your Reputation
Even with all of your efforts to keep students happy, sometimes you may see negative mentions of your studio online, including social media sites and Yelp. Check your mentions on social media every few days and activate a Google Alert for your studio name online. When you respond publically to a negative comment in a professional, empathetic manner, you can help mitigate some of the effects of a less than flattering review. A current student who was alarmed by the review will also see your response and recognize that you are a responsible studio owner who addresses issues with your students. This naturally helps with retention.
Of course, you should also thank any students who leave positive remarks as well. Making your students feel appreciated for leaving a great review online or positive comment on your Facebook page can keep them coming back to class.
Your current students are an excellent source of income and can even recruit new students to your studio. Keeping your relationship with students strong through regular contact, education, and social media interactions will go a long way towards building strong retention rates.
Lara Vukelich is a Marketing Content Editor at iMatrix