Ep. 25: How to fill your yoga classes in 3 simple steps
Do you struggle to fill your classes?
If you’re like many of my clients, this is a struggle for you. I don’t meet many yoga teachers who haven’t struggled with this. Whether it's a studio class, a workshop or class series, I hear “Amanda, how do I get more students?” all the time. Here's my solution...
Focus on one class you want to grow
Let’s not over complicate this. Just focus on one class to start with. If you were to look at your whole yoga business, you could feel overwhelmed, and we want to avoid that!
To clarify, a full class can mean four people, 10 people, 100 people, or even 1000 people. There is no right or wrong answer here. It just needs to be the optimal number of people for you to teach, in that one class.
Ask the following questions to get clear:
What does a full class mean to you?
How many people does that mean?
3 steps to fill your yoga class
The steps we’ll cover are going to help you fill your class. You can tweak things to work for you and your yoga classes. Whether you're trying to fill a workshop or another yoga offering, you can adapt them to suit.
It's good to remember, this is going to be a process, like anything else in life. It's not going to happen fast, but it will happen if you put in the work. Are you ready?
1. Be open to the idea of your dream student
For this exercise, commit to the idea that knowing your dream student for a particular class is a great thing. So let's get started by writing down as much as you know, (or can think of), about the dream student who would attend the class you want to grow. Here are some questions to get you started:
Who is absolutely perfect for that class?
Who is raving about that class and telling other people how great it is?
Who is gaining value from that particular class?
How does that person feel before and after the class?
Does that person have any limitations, medical or otherwise - that makes them perfect for your class?
What is this dream student doing during their typical day? (this will help you decide when to schedule a class)
A fast paced power class is not going to be great for people who have injured their knee. But it would be good for someone who wants to pump out some energy at the end of the day, or to get them started in the morning.
“Not every class is for every person. Yoga is for everyone, but not every class.” - Amanda
2. Decide on the marketing channels
When I use the word marketing, most people (not just yoga teachers) think of social media. I want you to know that marketing does not equal social media.
“Marketing is so much more than social media, social media is important and it absolutely will help you. But we can't stop marketing right there” - Amanda
You cannot rely on Facebook and Instagram to fill your classes, so I do want you to think a little wider. Let’s make this simple by choosing one online marketing channel, and one offline.
Are you with me? Follow the next steps to make the 2 decisions:
Online marketing channel
Think about your dream student. Where are they spending time online?
There's probably a list of places, including Facebook, and Instagram. If they're in the younger generation, they could be on Snapchat. Maybe they're on LinkedIn. They may read a lot of articles, or use forums.
Write down all the online channels you think they are using
Next - align the choice with the channel you are most comfortable with
There - you’ve done it! You’ve decided which online marketing channel to use
Before you celebrate and think you’re done with your marketing efforts, remember…
“Social media is not going to be number one for marketing. It is going to be word of mouth.” - Amanda
Offline marketing channel
To decide your offline marketing channel, use the same process as above. This time, you need to think about where your dream student hangs out in the physical world.
For example, let's say that your dream student is a very busy mom. Think about where she spends time. Here are some ideas:
She spends time in the car, driving to drop off kids, and going to the grocery store
She goes shopping in different capacities; whether it's a boutique or the grocery store
She runs errands, and may go for a coffee with a friend before picking up the kids
Now get specific - where are those places that she visits on a regular basis?
I get it, you might feel uncomfortable with interacting with strangers in person. There's a lot of us who are introverts, but it’s worth pushing through the discomfort. Why? Because word of mouth is the number one source of students. You need to socialise and get out there to get yourself known.
You don't have to do this every day. You don't have to do this all the time, but you do have to do it every now and then and put in the effort. Go to those places, and observe how people interact in that space. Then you can start going or working there every now and then, and get more confident in approaching people.
Think about who can help you spread the word. Talk to individuals and talk to group heads. Here are some tips to help you get started with this:
Think about how to interact, what you will be offering to them
Go armed with talking points so you feel confident
Offer to buy key people coffee, and have a chat
Remember your business cards! If you haven't got yours printed yet, read this for some tips: Ep. 19: What to include on a business card
3. Know your messaging in advance
Most yoga teachers are very excited to welcome people into their class. But then I get the phrase "but Amanda, I don't know what to say."
I get it, trust me. I've been in your boat, and here's the thing; it gets easier. The more you interact with your dream student, the easier it gets.
Here’s your challenge
Commit to talking to five people that are your dream student, whether or not they're in your class. Ask them questions, and listen to their words. They will be giving you all the clues and language that is important to use in your messaging (to attract even more of your dream students).
Questions to ask your 5 dream students:
To make this feel more comfortable, start with someone who comes to your class consistently. Then, find a suitable time to ask them a couple of questions. E.g:
How do they describe your class?
How would they invite someone to your class?
Who do they think the classes are for?
How has it helped them?
Why do they keep coming back?
Listen carefully to their answers, and the words they use, then write notes after you get back in your car, or even better, do a voice recording.
If you’d like to connect with people who are not currently in your class, you’ll need to be more creative in your approach:
Who is that person?
How can you talk to them?
Call people you know to figure out how to get connected
When you've connected, remember to listen carefully and don’t forget to take notes. Use these notes to help you nail down your messaging and language to use in your marketing.
Your next step:
Listen in to the entire replay for 2 extras:
The questions and answers at the end
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I hope these resources will help you gain clarity on how to invite more people to your yoga offering. It’s all about getting closer to your dream student!
Until next time, give yourself permission to keep it simple and grace along the way.
Talk to you soon!