Ok, so before you start spending your money, it’s important to decide where you are going to get the best out of it.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Where are your potential students located, probably think about 5-10 kilometers around your studio and consider all suburbs within.
- Where do your potential students go? Church, school, gyms, cafes, hospitals, and so on.
- What activities do they have? Kids after school activities, work, shopping, movies, doctors, hairdressers, and so on.
- What type of social media do they use? We will address this issue later in this Module.
Once you have this information you will be able to choose the best way to reach them, some good places are:
- Swimming schools
- Local schools and kindergartens
- Health care professionals
- Community centers
- Community boards at: corporations and businesses, supermarkets, councils, shopping malls, supermarkets
Then you can choose how to do it: This is written and graphic material (think visual) and stick to your corporate image.
- Business cards
- Personal and direct mail
- Free class passes
- Social media
Now this is important, what your message should and should not include! Plus keep it simple, short and to the point. Remember: most people don’t read all the info, just the headlines, slogan or fix their attention to the images.
- Attractive images of yourself and/or your yoga studio ideally with students in poses (if your studio is not yet ready, you may use royalty-free stock images)
- Your mission statement (BENEFITS)
- Your contact details – IMPORTANT! I choose not to give them my phone number, my email is enough and that way people can ask and I can reply when I have time, I try to be nice, quick and thorough with my email responses
Should not include:
- A whole bunch of useless information about you, or your studio, or your logo, or your image…
- Extra words and paragraphs, keep it straightforward
- Your curriculum and/or certification
Maybe (subject to space):
- Your prices
- Your timetable
- About yourself and/or your studio (be brief)
- Your promotion (a special discount for having found you this way)
Once you have this copied or printed, jump on your bike and visit all the places that you established before. Always offer them something in exchange; it is about helping each other in our community. You might offer them to display their posters, flyers or business cards in your studio.
This requires patience and some of the places won’t do it, but always remember to ask your students how they found you, so you can keep that in mind.
Some other good ideas are:
- Start telling people you know about your new studio, post it on Facebook, Twitter… We will talk about social media later in this Module.
- Give your friends a discount on their first purchase or a couple of free classes for them to try yoga and see your new studio, and of course, spread the word.
- Do a Grand Opening! I even invited my guru Swami Shantananda and she came, she gave a speech and we did a short meditation with her, it was great. Invite everyone. We will talk about this later in this module.
- Write a newsletter and start building databases of people who are subscribe to it. Read more in this chapter ‘Building your priceless database’
- Get your flyers to your nearest Lululemon store and introduce yourself. I became an ambassador for them just after opening my studio, and remained an ambassador for the next two years and they were great at spreading the word and promoting my studio. I also taught classes at their store for a month twice a year, that way many of their customers got to meet me and started joining classes at my own studio.
- Get your website started. I explain more about this in this chapter ‘Website design and content’
- Put an ad in all local schools’ newsletter, they are usually very cheap and you can even offer a discount to the parents. I was renting two different venues to start my own classes before I opened the studio. One of the places was the scouts hall right outside my daughters’ school, so I started a class right after school drop off and very soon I had moms joining my classes.
I soon realized the beauty about having the classes close to my daughter’s school. Advertising was so much easier, just with the school newsletter and for very little money. Everybody at the school knew about my yoga.
However at the other venue, it was so much more difficult to find and reach the people.
- Signage, remember what I said about the bicycle before, just get creative so you don’t have to pay for it. Also, I have a notice board outside my studio with the timetable and the latest news. Read more in this chapter ‘Street Signage’
- Events – organizing an event can attract a lot of people. Read more here ‘Events, workshops and retreats’
Before I opened my own studio I decided to organize an event, for example the wide world famous Yoga Aid Challenge, which is a fundraiser where yogis perform 108 sun salutes and raise money for different charities in October of every year. One of my teachers was organising it at her studio and I decided to invite my students to prepare for it.
This helped me realize that people like to have an objective and they were very motivated to join me, so during the training they were so much more committed, and this brought more people to my own classes.
- Offer free passes in your local schools’ auctions and trivia nights, in fact wherever you can, remember you want people through your door, as soon as they try your studio and your class, the will be hooked!
- Unlike many other businesses and services, yoga spreads through word of mouth as the most steady and permanent way of gaining students. So be patient, allow your studio to settle, teach great classes, pay attention to each of your students (this won’t be too hard, since you won’t have that many!), learn at least their names, and wait, they will come!