The Secret To Getting More People To Want To Learn Yoga
Every month, I get emails from yoga studio owners with specific questions. Some questions seem to come up again and again. So this month, I'm going to go in-depth in answering one.
I'm also going to expand on it to show you how you can bring in lots more students using a commonly overlooked strategy. By the way, this works even if you have a new studio or are just a teacher without a space of your own.
Dear Coach Al,
Thanks for all the free materials. I listened to your intro teleclass and got so much out of it. I am doing something a bit different. I am linking the yoga community to the elderly community. Instead of having my own studio, I offer on-site yoga for senior citizens at places like senior centers, retirement homes, etc., and have been doing pretty well with it. I'm wondering if I would benefit from your Home Study Success Program as I am not running a studio.
Also, I want to reach more people than I do right now. I mean I want to provide on-site yoga for more people. Do you have any suggestions for how I can get people (not just seniors) interested in on-site yoga?
Good to hear about your success. I'm glad you wrote, as it's good for people to hear how successful onsite yoga can be. You can do it without a studio (and often earn more than if you had the overhead of studio), or you can offer it as an added service of your studio.
To answer your question about what the Homestudy Yoga Studio Success Program will give you, it covers all the main areas of running a yoga business. Including overall business strategy, marketing through business alliances, referral programs, internet marketing (lots on this), financial management, and a lot more. These are areas that are an essential part of every yoga business, whether it is a physical studio or an onsite program. The general idea is that the program will tell you what works and what doesn't so you don't need to waste time and money re-inventing the wheel. Chances are, you can learn a lot from what has worked well for others.
What you wrote about specializing in senior yoga is great, and I'm sure it is responsible in a big way for your success. Let me explain.
It's great that you've decided to work with a very specific niche like senior citizens. So many studio owners (and onsite yoga folks) feel that they need to offer classes for everyone, or they'll “miss out” on potential students.
This couldn't be further from the truth. For example, suppose you owned a Toyota and it needed to be repaired, but there are only two auto repair places in town. First there's “Bob's Auto Repair – We fix everything: foreign, domestic, late model and classic. We do it all.” Then there's “Joe's Toyota Specialists” Who would you bring your Toyota to? Most people choose Joe's place.
There's a powerful lesson here, and it can make the difference between a really successful studio (or onsite program) and one that just gets by. Here's the deal. We believe that people who specialize in our specific needs must be able to help us better. And we want the best we can get for the price. We make the assumption that Joe's Toyota knows our Toyota better than Bob does. We assume that someone who specializes in Yoga for Seniors knows more about teaching yoga to older folks than someone who just teaches “Gentle Yoga.”
It doesn't matter which is true, just what people believe is true.
And this is how about 80% of the students of a typical studio feel (the rest don't care much either way). So what does this mean for you? In particular, it means that you should choose multiple specific niches. These are classes like “Yoga for an easier pregnancy”, “Yoga for seniors”, “Yoga for back pain relief”, “Weight loss yoga”, “Muscle Toning Yoga”, “Yoga for athletes”, “Yoga for rock climbers”, “Yoga for mom's”, and lots more.
Don't worry, you shouldn't do all of them. The idea is to end up with 2 or 3 that really work well in your community.
How do you know which to pick? There are two answers:
Pick based on the kind of people in your area and what they want
Try it! Business is experimental.
This means that you first ask yourself “Who are the people in my geographic area?” Are they young parents? Are they old folks? Do you know that there are a number of successful chiropractors in the area with full patient loads, suggesting that there is a good source for referrals of people with back pain? Do you live in a place that caters to specific activities? If you live in Veil Colorado (the popular ski spot), you might have a “yoga for skiers” class (and do it on-site at ski resorts). You get the idea.
Once you start offering classes like this, you'll see which ones fill up. I wish I could tell you they would all work, but they won't. You need to experiment. A good way to do this is to come up with a general plan for the class. Know that you or one of your teachers can teach it, and allocate a time slot starting in about 4 weeks. Then start marketing it. Try to get people to sign up. If they do, then it's a go. If you only have a few people, you then decide whether to run it anyway (because you think once it gets going you'll get more students). Or, you may choose to cancel it and try another niche. This approach helps you avoid wasting time on classes that don't work out, and instead, focus on the ones that do.
So to summarize, in the end you'll get more students by choosing a few specific niches than just trying to offer yoga for everyone. Note, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced are NOT niches! The key is to realize that people don't take yoga just because they like yoga. They practice yoga because it helps them with something. Maybe they want to lose weight, find a deeper spiritual connection, relieve stress, have an easier childbirth, etc. Understand what they really want from yoga first, then offer it to them.
This basic idea of finding what people want, then offering it very specifically is one of the single best things you can do to increase the number of students you serve, as well as differentiating yourself from the competition.
By the way, the whole idea of determining what people want, selecting narrow niches and marketing effectively to them is covered in great detail in the Studio Owner's Success Program.
Best of luck to you.
Coach Al Lipper
P.S. If you try any ideas from this newsletter, please email me and let me know what results your getting.
About Coach Al:
Al Lipper is a master business coach, business teacher and writer. For free resources on running a yoga studio as a successful and fun business, visit www.CenteredBusiness.com.
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