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A Yoga Teacher Marketing Toolkit: How to Promote Yourself

A Yoga Teacher Marketing Toolkit: How to Promote Yourself

Being a yoga teacher is a great job. You’re doing something you love, and teaching other people to love yoga as much as you do. But there’s a lot more to being a yoga teacher than just teaching yoga.

Students don’t just turn up by magic – sadly. In order to get students through your door, and then keep them coming, you need to do some marketing. Which for some yoga teachers is a thing they love to hate.

If you have a background in marketing then congratulations, you’ve got a big advantage! But most of us don’t, and have to learn from scratch how to keep our classes full. So here’s a basic ‘how-to’ of yoga marketing, just to get you started. And who knows, you might even start to enjoy it!

Your Yoga website

Some teachers maintain that they don’t need a website, and use Facebook and other social media to get their details out there. Others think that having a website means that there’s a more structured way that potential students can search for you and find out information. It’s up to you, but as a way of controlling and updating your ‘brand’ image, as well as coming up in Google searches, having a website is very helpful.

It’s worth bearing in mind that having a website is an extra cost, as you have to pay an annual fee for the domain name, the site, and fees for other ‘add ons’ (for example, you opt for an email address to go with your website).

Squarespace and WordPress are popular website platforms, but there are loads of well-designed platforms out there that make it easy to build and maintain your website. Wix and Mailchimp are also currently offering a free website-building service – although it’s worth noting Mailchimp’s offering is pretty basic at this stage as it’s not their core product (see Mailchimp Emails, below!).

The key is to keep it simple. Look at other yoga teacher’s websites that you admire, and take notes. Keep your home page uncluttered, clear – and don’t forget to keep it updated.

A Yoga Blog

A regular blog is a great way to keep your students engaged, and it should also mean that your website goes higher up the Google search list. The key is to keep it regular though, so once you’ve decided to write one, think about how often is realistic. For example, publishing a monthly blog can fit into most people’s schedules. It also means you’re not filling up the inboxes of your email list.

Mailchimp Emails

And talking of email lists, Mailchimp is a pretty essential marketing tool. It’s also free up to a certain amount of people. Find a way of collecting every student’s email address. For example, you could use a medical form that you give to every student who attends your classes. As part of the form you can ask for their email address, just make sure to add a clear paragraph about them agreeing to be sent information, in line with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that came in in 2018.

You could also add a landing page to your website, perhaps offering something for free in exchange for an email address. That way you can grow your mailing list from online sources.

Use your Mailchimp email list to notify students and prospective students about upcoming workshops, or send out your blog to your students before posting it on your website. Regular contact using high-quality content will keep you in mind and mean that they’re more likely to get in touch.

Taking Online Bookings

The current crisis has highlighted our reliance on the internet, and this is set to increase, especially as cash is being avoided at the moment. As up-to-date yoga teachers, it’s worth working out how to take online bookings for your classes.

In order to set up online bookings for regular lessons, you can use scheduling apps that link to your website. Many yoga studios use Mindbody as an external booking system for the classes. Or, using Paypal or Stripe, for example, you can set up a ‘products’ page on your website, so that people can pay for each class separately.

Posting on Social Media

The main social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Each one is used in slightly different ways and attract different users.

Starting your own Facebook page is a useful way of reaching out to local people, Instagram is about the yoga community, and Twitter is more about interesting info on the subject.

Once you get into posting on social media this is when the small job of marketing can consume your every waking hour. It’s helpful to pick a platform that you feel the most comfortable on – being aware of your target market too. For example, if you’re going for slightly older students, then Facebook is probably the platform.

Once you’ve decided which one to focus on you can start to get organised, using a scheduling tool such as buffer. Due to the algorithms that these platforms are run on, you have to keep up a regular stream of posts in order to come high up in people’s news feeds.

However, there’s a balance. Some experts would have you posting twenty times a day, but personally I feel this would make me come across like some demented egomaniac. Be consistent, engage with your audience, and make sure you believe in the content that you’re putting up; quality is important.

Leaflets, Flyers, and Posters

This may not be relevant just yet, but once we’re out of lockdown, people will be out and about again and possibly desperate to get back to in-person yoga (when it’s safe to do so, and when you’re ready). This is when good old-fashioned flyers can do the trick, especially if you’re hoping to get new students in your local area.

Keep your posters, simple, colourful and with only the KEY information – don’t write an essay, no one will read it and it will distract from your eye-catching image.

To design your poster you can use apps such as Canva and Adobe Indesign in order to give your finished piece a professional look. Canva in particular is a great tool for non-designers, as it’s extremely easy to use and comes with lots of (free) templates.

Images

Before you do any of the above you’ll need to have some good images. You can, of course, buy high-resolution images (please don’t use low-res pixelated images on your marketing material) from websites such as Shutterstock (as well as some good free ones on Pexels), but having some great pictures of you in action will be worth the money.

Check out images of other yoga teachers that you like and ask them who took their photos. It’s helpful to find a photographer that specialises in yoga photography as they’ll be able to guide you on the shoot.

Have a wide range of photos taken in different outfits and with different backgrounds. If possible, having a few with a plain white background is very useful for flyers and as background pictures.

Word of Mouth

Marketing is important. But it’s also about putting the time in. Once you’ve been teaching regular classes for a few years you will find that you’ve developed a yoga community of your own. You will have regular students who tell their friends about you, and suddenly you’ll find that you haven’t had to do a hard marketing push for a while.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s time to rest on your laurels. There are always reasons why people stop coming to yoga, and you’ll always need new students coming through your doors.

Poppy Pickles

10 Top Tips to moving your Yoga classes ONLINE

10 Top Tips to moving your Yoga classes ONLINE

The global COVID-19 crisis we’re experiencing has changed everyone’s lives overnight. Just a few weeks into being told to stay at home, the impacts are being felt on a personal, national and global scale.

But how is this affecting the yoga industry?

Just like every other service, yoga teaching has had to stop in real life. We are no longer allowed to gather together and teach or learn yoga all together in one room. The only people we can practice with are those that we live with – and they might not be so keen on doing yoga!

 

But what about all our students?

Like many yoga teachers in this country, I felt I had to cancel all my classes after Boris Johnson made the announcement that any unnecessary socialising should be avoided. I felt that from that point I was duty-bound to protect my students and myself from further social contact.

I spent that first week frantically researching how I could transfer my classes online. Since then I have moved all my classes online, and most of my students have made the transfer with me. This process hasn’t been easy and I could have done with a Top Ten Tips to move your yoga classes online – which I why I’m doing this for YOU!

 

1. Attend some online classes

The age-old adage ‘try before you buy’ applies here in spades. Before embarking on a completely new way of teaching, make sure you attend at least one online class, preferably in the same style as you will be teaching. Take notes afterwards to remember what you liked or didn’t like about the experience.

 

2. Choose your platform

If you’re not that ‘techy’, this is where it can start to get intimidating. But don’t worry, there are a whole host of ways to teach yoga online, most of which are pretty user-friendly. Here’s a sample of the most popular apps and platforms out there:

  • Zoom – the most popular due to high-quality audio-visual and connectivity. The free service allows 40 minutes per meeting and up to 100 participants.
  • Microsoft Teams – to access this meeting app, you need an Office 365 account.
  • Google Hangouts – many yoga studios have used Hangouts for a while.
  • House party – Possibly better for group games, and there have been hacking issues, but also a good live interface.
  • Whereby.com – offers ‘meeting rooms’ rather than minutes allowed per meeting or numbers of users.
  • Facebook Live streaming – this would be good for sharing previously recorded classes with your Facebook followers.
  • YouTube videos – another way to share recorded lessons with your students, but wouldn’t be an interactive experience.

 

3. Tech comes first

Once you’ve chosen your platform and whether you want to pay for it or not, then you’ll need to work out what device to use. The platform you go for may be dependent on what devices you have available. I attended a class where the yoga teacher has done online classes regularly before, he had a huge up-to-the-minute computer, a light, bright studio space, and lighting set up.

It’s easy to feel intimidated by all the technology and think that it’s not for you. But I also attended a class with a teacher who’d balanced her laptop on the mantelpiece and had no fancy lighting or sound. I got equal gratification from both classes.

If you only have your iPhone and a small space then maybe Zoom classes aren’t for you. But you can record and edit classes on your iPhone and send them out to all your students using a YouTube video.

 

4. Test and test again

You can’t test too much. The issue here being that time is of the essence especially if yoga is your only income stream. The week before I went ‘live’ with my classes I did three tests with some very kind ‘guinea-pigs’. Each time I learnt something new, e.g. the wifi wasn’t good enough in one room, the phone was too small for me to see the other person and that I needed to check the light before teaching.

 

5. Choose your times

You might just want to transfer all your live lessons into online lesson slots, sticking to the same time and group of students. This works for them as they feel they still have the same routine, as well as get to see the same faces. Or, if you were teaching for a studio, you could have a daily slot at 8 am every weekday so that it’s simple, and any of your students can join any (or all) of the lessons on offer. Think about what works for you, ask your students, then be clear and decisive.

 

6. Decide on a payscale

For some teachers, the income is a secondary one, and the money isn’t important. For others, it’s their main source of income and at the moment, every little helps! Don’t be afraid to ask for payment. You will have outgoings if you decide to go for a paid-for platform, as well as the time and energy that you will spend on the administration side of moving everything online  – as well as getting to grips with the new way of teaching. Many students are grateful that you are putting all this effort into still being able to teach them and want to pay for it.

However, it’s important to be mindful that this is also a huge financial crisis. People’s jobs may well be at risk, or they may be facing worrying bills. You could ask for pay-what-you-can donations, or let your students know that they should get in touch if money is an issue. You could also offer the first online lesson for free so that they can be sure they enjoy the experience before committing to paying for it.

 

7. Prep your students

Email all your students well in advance to let them know the changes. Be very clear about what they have to do. It’s all new for them too, and the more detail you can give, the easier it will be for them.

For the first class ask your students to come online 15 minutes before the class starts. That way you can interact with them before muting them (if using Zoom), and give them some feedback on whether you can see them or not before the class starts.

 

8. Get organised

Once you’ve decided on where you’re going to teach from, set up your ‘studio’ so it has everything in it that you will need for your class. Make sure it looks neat and clutter-free so your students won’t be distracted by looking at all your messy belongings. Give yourself plenty of time before the class starts so that you can be in position when they start to come online – and not frantically clearing furniture!

 

9. Be flexible and improvise

As yoga teachers it’s in our nature to be flexible – both physically and mentally. And we must be the same in our online teaching too. It might be that a class you’d planned isn’t working as the students are too tired, or don’t have the right equipment. Read the students and respond to them. In this strange and lonely time, a yoga class is all the more important, so make sure you put their needs first.

 

10. Ask for feedback

Once you’ve taught your first online lesson or sent your first recorded yoga lesson, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. We’re all new to this! And even if they all say how much they loved it, well, that’s also really nice to hear. More likely you’ll find that some students struggled with the tech, couldn’t see your legs because of the light,  couldn’t hear you at one point because someone had forgotten to mute their mic and their kid came in – and so on. But then you know for next time!

 

And finally…

…Remember that what you deliver doesn’t have to perfect. We’re all doing our best in what is an unprecedented event in all our lives. And if we can keep sending yoga out into the world, then that HAS to be a good thing.

 


You might also be interested in the Cheeky Yogi’s experience of taking her classes online

Poppy Pickles