Basics of Branding Yourself as a Yoga Teacher
Any yoga teacher can give basic cues and put together a sequence, but the passion, perspective, and personality that you bring to each class is uniquely yours. Once you can recognize your unique attributes and what makes you different from other yoga teachers, you can begin to reach out to clients who will be most attracted to the way you teach. This is what personal branding is all about.
It’s not always easy to identify your personal brand; yoga is more embedded in the teacher’s life than say, a salesman or a business consultant. With reflection, discussion, and an objective look at your work as a yoga teacher, you can identify your personal brand and market yourself more successfully to students.
Four Steps To Identifying Your Personal Brand
1. Define Your Goals
Go back to the moment you started teaching yoga. What did you want to see your students take away from the class? What did you want to offer students? Fitness? Healing? Enlightenment? Maybe you want to leave the goals up to the students, and adapt your style to what they are looking to receive. Our personal goals shape the way we create our classes, and make a big difference in what potential clients should expect when they sign up for your class.
Each student has a different goal in mind, and will seek a teacher who can help them reach that goal. A teacher who wants to offer students an accessible and fun flow will not necessarily meet the needs of a veteran Ashtangi who is looking for a strict practice. When you define your goals as a teacher, you will have an easier time finding students that can benefit from your classes.
How do you want to develop your practice, as both a student and a teacher? How do these goals affect the way you approach and teach your students?
2. Define Your Unique Personality Traits and What You Bring to Class
What should students expect when they walk into your class? A great big hug? Jokes? Tough love? A very zen vibe? A kickass playlist?
Students often go to a teacher’s class for the teacher. As a student, I’ve adjusted my entire work schedule so I could make a specific teacher’s class. Teaching yoga, especially as an independent teacher, allows you to let your personality shine through and for you to really connect with your students. Your personality should also shine through in all of your branding and marketing materials. New students will want to know not only what they can expect from your class, but also what they can expect from you.
Think of three adjectives that describe you and your classes. These three words should consistently appear throughout your branded content.
Developing and discovering your personal brand requires you to ask, “Who am I (as a yoga teacher)?” That’s not an easy question to answer on your own. Sit down with past students, fellow teachers, or anyone who is familiar with your work as a teacher. What do they observe about your classes? What types of students are attracted to your classes? What do they think is unique about your teaching style?
Talking to other teachers about their personal brand can also help you figure out what makes you a unique teacher. What will students find at your classes that they won’t find anywhere else? There are so many different approaches to yoga...what is yours?
3. Develop Your Mission Statement
Describe yourself as a yoga teacher in just a sentence.
There are hundreds of yoga teachers in your city or online… you have a short amount of time to grab a student’s attention and get them interested in your class. A mission statement is a short (usually a sentence or two) statement that clearly defines what you offer to students. Your mission statement may also include information about the students who would be attracted to your class, but be careful not to stereotype students or put them in a box.
An example of a mission statement looks like this:
As a yoga teacher, Megan Okonsky creates accessible and quirky vinyasa flows to bring a smile to your face and a sigh of relief to your day.
This mission statement communicates the feeling I want to give students when they take one of my classes, as well as personality traits that I bring to each class.
4. Incorporate Your Brand in Your Marketing Materials
Congratulations, you’ve established your brand and how you would like to be perceived as a yoga teacher! Now you have to communicate that message to potential students and clients.
Teaching yoga, especially as an independent teacher, allows you to let your personality shine through and for you to really connect with your students.
Look at your marketing materials. Marketing materials can include anything that communicates who you are as a teacher: your website, business cards, bio, social media profiles, etc. Your brand may even be communicated through the clothes, mat, or products that you wear, use, and endorse. Are you communicating your brand and your mission through these materials? How does your social media content, for example, show students that you are a serious teacher? Or that you’ll crack jokes during class? Or that you are willing to adapt your style to what your students are looking for?
Keeping your marketing materials true to your personal brand means communicating a consistent message. Each social media platform or piece of branded content should send the same message about what you offer to clients. When this message and mission is consistent throughout your marketing materials, potential clients will feel more confident knowing what your classes will be like and what you’ll bring to the table.
As You Develop Your Brand — Be True To Yourself
Developing your personal brand isn’t done overnight; it takes time to understand what you contribute to the world as a yoga teacher and how you appeal to potential students. Your personal brand may also change as you grow and evolve as a teacher. Be true to yourself, be honest, and let your personality shine through. Namasté!