Defining, finding and reaching your market
Find your niche
In books about ‘marketing warfare’ (inspired by actual military strategies such as The Art of War by Sun Tzu) the authors frequently mention the benefits of finding a niche that is small enough to properly ‘defend’ it against any ‘opponent’. In a more practical and business savvy sense, this means that you should choose a Yoga style or program with hardly any potential competition in the vicinity of your Yoga Home Business.
To achieve this, there are a few easy steps I recommend:
- Find crossroads: what you love to do, what you are good at and what you have been trained in. As an example, let’s say you love kids, you are good at making people relax and you’ve trained in classical yoga, then you can offer meditation classes for kids. That is a niche.
- Serve the community: give them what they want, if your target market is looking for a space where they can chill away from their hectic lives, then go ahead and give them that. Talk to them about the benefits of your studio, not the studio itself. Here at ‘xxx’ you will find harmony and peace. That is a niche.
- Be specific: don’t offer just “yoga”, be more specific: restorative, chair, Iyengar, power, etc.
- Disabled or special needs students: for example people in wheelchairs, if you were the only one offering yoga for them, they would travel wide and far to you. With this very small niche it would be hard at the beginning but in the long run you would have very loyal students. Or you might be close to a school of autistic children, then you might offer a special yoga class for them. That’s a great opportunity and a niche.
Know your competition
Knowing your competition is key to the growth of your business. After 4 years of being the only yoga studio in my area, another studio (a franchise renting a large locale) opened just two blocks away! They offered a $35 for 30 days of unlimited yoga as an introductory offer, and guess what, for a whole year all the newbies went to them! So I decided to run the same promotion so new students wouldn’t have to decide between the two studios just because of the price. Now they actually enquire deeper and try my studio, my classes and my teachers before they decide. Now my competition has dropped the unlimited yoga promo, and I get the bigger number of new students!
We have talked about this before but here’s how you can do it in easy steps:
- Google it! Not just yoga, but massage, gyms, health shops… remember about direct and indirect competition… Take notes of timetables, styles, prices, length of classes, teachers, etc.
- Take a class at your competitor studio. Go there and try their yoga classes, pilates, etc. See how they receive you, have a look at the place, the temperature, the ambiance and vibe, the decoration, the number of people attending, how much they charge you, payment methods, environment, friendliness…
- Participate in your competitor’s social network. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… Keep tabs on what they are doing.
- Ask your students. Many of them might have tried a class or two before they came to you, ask them what they thought, how they felt.
These steps will get you close to what they are doing so that you can adapt and change quickly to keep ahead of them.
First your own preferences: restorative, hot, yin, meditation, Vinyasa, fitness, gentle, chair, beginners, partner, pre-natal, private, core, kids, seniors, men, restorative…
Then define your ideal student: this is different from your target market. Your target market actually exists, this is your dream student, describe him/her.
Now define your ideal space: not what you have now but where you would love to do and teach yoga.
Know your students
Your database starts with the registration of new students. We have talked about my precious book where everybody writes down their names as they come in, we will talk about it later, however, the very first time that a student shows up they have to fill in a registration form.
This registration form includes:
This registration form covers the basic information, like name, address, phone, email (super important!) and birthday. I actually use all this information.
Name and phone number for obvious reasons… Address I use to map my students, that way I know where they are and I can target my marketing and advertising. If I were to move the studio I would be able to choose the location with sound information about my students and where they live.
The name also helps with gender, since that way I can know who is coming to my studio and who might be interested in joining.
The birthday also helps me understand my target market, since then I know how old they are. Also, I send a happy birthday email to my students (this is a SUPER TOOL to remind students who have not come to class in a while), so I add this information to my calendar and reminders in my computer.
Email – the most important piece of information after the name!
The email… So important, it is through this channel that I keep my students updated to what is happening at the studio… workshops, events, retreats, holidays, etc. This email database is super important for your business, it will eventually give a great market value to sell your studio (if you decide so and when you reach that state of your business).
State of health
After the basic details, my students have a few spaces in the registration form where they report their state of health, pregnancy, heart or spinal problems, surgery, etc.… so that I can consider this when giving my students alternatives and variations to the yoga poses.
Where you find us
Below the State of Health, there’s a space where my students tell me how they heard about the studio, e.g. word of mouth by a friend or relative, street sign, Internet, etc. Depending on what advertising are you doing at that moment, this info will allow you to know exactly from where your promotion investment is bringing you the most students.
Responsibility and liability
And the bottom of the registration form is a small print of the responsibility of the students of their own bodies, it reminds them that we facilitate but they know better about their own body.
Signature and date
And finally, they get to sign and date the form… since I do allow children in my classes (10 years and over) then I get the parents to sign for them.
Every day I dedicate a few minutes to update my database with all new students, that way I don’t have to do a whole bunch at a time. In my database I include all details and how they heard of the studio and when they joined.
This information will help you make decisions on real data and invest your advertising budget smartly.