Are Your Yogis Ready to Go Back to The Yoga Studio?
This month, many countries are lifting certain Covid-19 restrictions, and enabling yoga studios and teachers to start in-person classes again. Some are already prepping to relaunch, running through risk assessments and fine-tuning their health and safety protocols.
And others are on the fence: should we really start teaching in enclosed studio spaces, and is anyone actually going to show up?
The first thing to do, of course, is follow government guidelines in your country and area. But beyond that, if the guidelines say YES but your heart says I don’t know! — try putting the question out to the yogis who love your teaching. This guide might help you prepare.
Try putting the question out to the yogis who love your teaching.
Some simple client research will give you a clear picture of how yogis are feeling, and whether they’re ready to step into the studio again. And by following their lead, you can tailor your offerings to work for them, while at the same time reassuring them that they’re your priority.
Read on for some actionable tips on how to conduct that market research, how to do it sensitively, and how to use the results effectively.
Who’s this for? Studio owners/managers, and yoga teachers who manage their own classes.
What’s the intention? To help both your yogis and your business thrive.
Who to ask?
Instead of being full-on research covering your entire potential market, this should focus on your existing yogis. They’re the people who are going to step through the door (or not) first, and at this moment in time, it’s worth putting your focus into supporting your current clients so they feel good about sticking with you — whether they decide to stay online for now or head back to the studio.
So don’t worry about reaching out far and wide. Aim to connect with people who are currently attending your classes (if you’re teaching online), or who have attended your classes in the past.
Where to ask?
Where do your yogis spend their time online? And where do they most frequently interact with you and/or others?
If you have an email list with good ‘open’ and ‘response’ stats, use that. Send your research letter or poll out with a clear call to action — so those that open it know exactly how you want them to respond (i.e. by clicking a link to access a form or poll, or hitting reply and emailing you).
If you’re active on social media and your yogis engage with you there, check out what features are available to help with gathering insights from them. For example, on Facebook or Instagram Stories you could run a straightforward multiple choice poll — but try to offer an option for more personal, detailed responses too, such as DMs.
If you have your regular students’ phone numbers, you could even contact them directly by text message or WhatsApp to ask for their opinion. This approach might yield the most responses; because it’s personal, and makes it clear that each one of those individuals is important to you.
Make it clear that you understand this is a strange time and everyone’s dealing with it in their own way.
What (and how) to ask?
Be transparent. Ask them the question you’re asking yourself:
If I relaunch in-person yoga classes, will you come?
But it’s important to do this sensitively. Make it clear that you understand this is a strange time and everyone’s dealing with it in their own way — and that you don’t want to put any pressure on anyone to enter a situation they’re not comfortable with.
If you’re currently teaching online, emphasise that you intend to continue doing that for as long as there’s a demand. You’re not going to abandon those yogis who aren’t ready (or can’t afford) to get back in the studio.
And allow space for them to explain their position if they want to.
Collect results and consider…
Collect your results together. They could be in the form of poll numbers, form responses, emails, texts, or direct messages — or a combination of any of the above.
As you go through them, you’ll have that one key question in mind — whether or not people will come if you run in-person classes. But it’s not the only question; instead, you can use the results to tell you what balance to strike between in-person and online offerings.
For example, if 70% of the responses say Yep, I’d come to the studio! but 30% aren’t keen, that’s a great guide for how to divide your time and work. You can focus roughly 70% of your efforts on in-person classes and 30% online.
Equally, if you’re really keen to get back to the studio but only 25% of the responses say they’d be up for it, there’s no point in devoting all of your time, energy and resources to rebuilding in-person classes (which will take more work than usual, as you’ll need to adapt to physical distancing and hygiene measures). Instead, you might take that insight and decide to run just a small number of sessions at the studio, and spend the rest of your energy supporting students online.
Follow the yogis — for trust and efficiency
This is market research at its simplest; but it can have powerful results.
Your students will appreciate you for putting them first, and taking their feelings and circumstances into account during this uncertain time.
As well as gathering information to help you figure out if it’s worth running in-person classes right now, approaching this client research sensitively will help you to build trust. Your students will appreciate you for putting them first, and taking their feelings and circumstances into account during this uncertain time, rather than just pushing on with what you want.
And it’ll allow you to work efficiently: because instead of putting all of your energy into in-person classes without a clear idea of whether your students will come, you can work intelligently, focusing on what you know they want.