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You’ve completed your yoga teacher training. You’ve got some experience under your belt. You’re ready to take the plunge and turn your passion into a career, and you’ve dreamed forever of owning your own yoga business.But then you see article after article talking about how the yoga market is flooded - more studios opening every day, more teachers graduating by the thousands. You may even begin to believe the popular (but untrue) sentiment that starting a yoga business is a surefire path to failure and financial ruin.
Or maybe you’ve owned a yoga business for a significant amount of time but feel like you’re on the hunt every day for more students.
If you’re nodding your head, “yes,” with eyes wide open, don’t despair. As of 2016, 36.7 million people in the United States alone practiced yoga, and that number is rising. American yogis collectively spend 16.7 billion dollars a year on yoga-related purchases. It’s tough to find an exact number of yoga studios in the United States, but one thing’s for sure: there are plenty of yoga practitioners out there ready to become customers of your yoga business.
But how do you find them? And how do they find you?
People need to know about your business. You need to let your target customers know you exist, what they can expect when they get there, and why they should they should choose you specifically. That’s where marketing comes in.
Luckily for you, the internet provides you with ample opportunities to get your voice out there and find the students that will become your regular customers.
Why is marketing so important?
Marketing is arguably the most significant predictor of success for any newly opened business and the essential ingredient for keeping business booming long term. If you want to turn your passion for yoga into a viable business, you have to get your marketing right. Getting students to walk through your studio doors and unroll their mats day after day is the key to success.
The basics of marketing your yoga business:
• Website - A website gives prospective customers a chance to learn where your business is located, how to contact you, your class schedule, and the types of yoga you offer.
Creating a website can be done for free on sites like Wordpress with a little bit of patience and time, or you can pay someone to create your website for you.
• Blog - Once you’ve got your website up and running, you’ll want to create a blog. Students will get the basic facts about your business on your website, but they will get to know you, your yoga, your philosophy, and your teaching through your blog.
This is your chance to establish yourself as an authority on the subject of yoga, and show students they can trust you.
• Email marketing - You’ll run into people every day who want to know more about your yoga business but then disappear back into the crowd.The best way to turn these connections into customers is to obtain their email address and create a mailing list. From there, you can send out newsletters and regularly reach these people, keeping them interested in what you’re doing and present them with tempting offers.
How do you obtain their email address? You give them something relevant and valuable in exchange. A guide, a resource, a digital training, an eBook… This ethical bribe is often referred to as a “lead magnet,” and the more valuable and easily consumed your lead magnet, the better.
• Social media - You absolutely must be on social media if you want to bring in new customers! It’s a free platform for marketing your business - so take advantage of it!
Facebook and Instagram are the two most effective social media channels for engaging with future customers in the yoga niche, and your efforts should be focused on building a presence on both of them.
To get yourself started on social media, create a Facebook page and an Instagram page for your business specifically.
Being yourself on social media and letting your authentic voice shine through is the best way to gain a loyal following of students that “get” you and what you have to offer. Study what other successful yoga businesses are doing, but always be true to your own mission and values.
• Paid advertising - Last but not least, paying for advertising on the web and social media takes all of your free digital marketing efforts and when done correctly, puts them on steroids!
Facebook advertising is an incredibly powerful tool when used effectively. It allows business owners to place a compelling message or offer in front of their ideal customer, based on interests and demographics.
Instagram also offers paid advertising, and is a great way to acquire followers who will be exposed to you and your message regularly and eventually want to buy what you have to offer.
What not to do?
• Don’t rely on print marketing only - Paying for print advertising in your local newspaper or the yellow pages is a nice way to complement your digital marketing, but you don’t want to rely on print marketing alone. The internet is where most people now go to gather information, and your efforts are best focused there.
• Don’t suppress your personality - It’s tempting to look at successful yoga brands and try to copy their look, tone, and content. After all, whatever they’re doing is working well for them. However, it’s important to recognize that these brands are successful precisely because they stood out from the crowd and differentiated themselves in the marketplace. Stand out confidently, be authentic and don’t blend in.
• Don’t try to appeal to everyone - Try to reach the people who are on your wavelength. Successful marketing is not about reaching every single person, but rather those people who understand and love what you’re offering.
You can totally own a successful yoga business! You just have to use the tools available to create the success you deserve. The internet offers so many ways to find and keep customers. Take the time to establish your web presence with a good website, blog, newsletter and social media presence. Your business will thank you!