I was talking to a yoga-teacher friend recently, who’s just moved house. Now living in a different neighbourhood, she’s faced with having to find enough students to fill the new classes she’s set up. “What’s a girl to do?” she asked. “Are there any simple online marketing tricks for attracting new yoga students, you can tell me about?”
The subject of how to attract new yoga students using online marketing follows on nicely from a guest blog I wrote for Yoga Trail, about how to deal with the increasing amount of ‘competition’ in the yoga world. In fact, employing a few free online marketing tricks was one of the tips listed in that post.
Before going any further, however, cast your eyes over the checklist below. It’s non-negotiable; you need to know these answers before you can make good use of social media. The harsh truth is: if you don’t know exactly what you’re promoting and who to, nor will anyone else.
Very important pre-marketing checklist:
- Have you checked out the local ‘competition’?
- Have you defined your Unique Selling Point? What is it that makes your classes different?
- Have you established a clear vision of your ‘ideal client’?
At the risk of making this read like one of those stories you used to get, where you decided the fate of the protagonist… If you answered ‘Yes’ to all of the above, proceed to the next paragraph. If you don’t know the answers, don’t panic – just subscribe to this blog, where I’ll be looking at these questions in more depth in future posts. But start thinking about your answers now!
5 free online marketing tricks for attracting new yoga students
1 – Online listings: This is probably the easiest place to start and it doesn’t require much maintenance, but you will need to do a bit of Googling to locate your local listings (try searching ‘What’s on in XXX’ – ie. your town – and check if your local council has a leisure page you can submit some info to). Aside from that, make sure you’ve set up a free profile on Yoga Trail, and check what help you can get from whoever you trained with – for example, I get a free profile with the UK Yoga Alliance because I qualified with them and I take out my teaching insurance with them.
2 – Twitter: Twitter allows you to localise your searches and start interacting with people in your area who are talking about yoga, or stress or any other relevant term – without seeming like a weirdo! So, once you’ve set up your account (with a profile which includes the words ‘yoga’, ‘classes’ and the name of your area, and a way of contacting you), start befriending your neighbours. With a few persuasively written tweets, they might just turn into students. Here’s how:
- Go to the search box and type in the name of your town/neighbourhood. Check out all the ‘Accounts’ with that word in their name – follow all these people, unless there’s an obvious reason not to (and when they follow you back, send a tweet to thank them).
Now find the people in your area who are talking about things related to yoga, or which suggest they might need some.
- First, click on ‘More options’ to perform an ‘Advanced search’. Then, in the ‘Any of these words’ box, type a few search terms people might be using, which could suggest they’d be interested in a yoga class – eg. yoga, stress, muscles, relax, sleep.
- Now scroll down to ‘Places’ and let the app detect your location, before clicking on the map pin and selecting your particular town or city.
- Follow the people sending the tweets you see in your search results, join in their conversations (it’s twitter, you’re allowed to talk to strangers!) – and don’t feel you have to start with the ‘hard sell’, just offer some useful advice to begin with.
3 – Facebook: It’s a good idea to have a separate Facebook page for your yoga teaching business, rather than using your personal page (but you can, of course, share stuff from your yoga page on your personal timeline). Spend some time making your page interesting and informative (post photos, insights and info about your classes, and share content from relevant websites, which your ideal clients will find useful) and then start expanding your circle. Like this:
- Search the name of your area, see what groups and businesses there are and request to join those that are of interest.
- If appropriate (you may want to check by sending a message to the group administrator), post information about your classes on their pages, and perhaps consider making them an offer they can’t refuse – eg. discount rates for groups of 6.
Make sure that every new student you get, through whatever means, knows about your Facebook page – it’s going to come in handy a lot in the not-too-distant future… (subscribe to this blog to find out how!)
4 – Cross-fertilise: Include your Twitter handle and your Facebook name on everything you make which has your business name on it – promote each account on the other, put your social media links on your emails and invoices… Even include them on things made of actual paper, like business cards, flyers and posters! Tell your Twitter and Facebook followers about any profile pages you might have created – and make sure you mention your profile hosts’ Twitter and Facebook accounts, so there’s a better chance of them sharing your tweets/posts about them with their many followers!
5 – Blog: Yes, yes, I know you’re more interested in teaching than writing blogs, but blogs can bring you students! So whether you have a website or not (if not, you can use Tumblr or set up a free WordPress blog if you’re a bit more technically-minded), start writing one, or get one written for you (based on your own ideas), ASAP. This is a great way to get an audience with people who are searching for classes in your area, and it’ll give them a sense of what they’ll get if they come to your classes (ie. your expertise). They might even share your blog with other potential students…
If you do use WordPress, be sure to install the brilliant Yoast plug-in to help optimise your blog’s potential for coming up in a Google search. It’ll show you where you need to add your keywords and phrases (eg. ‘yoga classes West Yorkshire’, ‘beginners yoga Bristol’) so that your pages can be found more easily.
Keeping the momentum going…
There’s one important thing to remember about social media and online marketing: you have to be consistent. Okay, two things – you need to be persistent, too. It can take a while to reap the full benefits, but you will build awareness of your classes if you use the free online marketing tips for attracting new yoga student, listed above.
Over the coming weeks and months, The Cat on the Mat will be looking at all these free online marketing tricks for attracting new yoga students, in lots more detail. Subscribe now and find out how to build and sustain a thriving yoga teaching business. Or contact me now, if you’re interested in getting some help with the online side of things – whether it’s a blog you have ideas for, but don’t feel confident writing, or some social media management you need to hand over, while you focus on your lesson plans.
What’s your best free online marketing trick? Share your ideas in the comments box below – together, we are stronger!