6 Tips to Gain and Maintain Yogis
In the 2 years of my early career as a yoga teacher, one thing is certain__clients always change their minds. They are very easily distracted by that new fitness trend, detox juice, yoga pants, life itself etc. Especially, with a new system of yoga popping up like mushrooms after the rain, it is becoming more difficult to maintain one’s own student base. While Online marketing has definitely improved our ways to reach people... How come we still keep losing our students?
As a wellness advocate I do my best to inspire people; to reach their potential. I motivate them to push their bodies. I allow them to see their capabilities with much success yet they still disappear at the slightest change. However, I do have a flock of students that continue to promote my work even after their time with me. Some have even drafted their life plan to become yoga teachers themselves. So here I am to share my journey of self reflection and social media study with you.
The How-to-Guide in Gaining and Maintaining Clients
Think about the kind of teacher you want to be. Would you be the tough-love type? Would you want to be the yoga-mom who is more nurturing? Do you think you are the yoga hippie mermaid who takes their students into a visually detailed guided meditation with a soothing voice? Or will you just be yourself and see what happens? Whatever your decide, just be authentic to you. See how you fit into the role model you create. You can dream up every yoga instructor archetype you want but if you have to create a professional character just to be different, you’ll need to play the part 90% of the time. For me, sincerity is always the easier route which will leave you at peace. Once you are done with your self reflection, Ask yourself this: How does your professional identity serve your clients? You could have an amazing teacher persona and even go through a spiritual naming ceremony ( for more information: www.3ho.org ) but if you are not living by it through service to your employees or paying patrons, then it’s not good for much, is it? Pardon me for the bluntness but this happens a lot even in yoga.
2. Growing Organically
In Michelle Fondlin’s book, How to Run a Successful Yoga Business and Not Go Broke: Lessons from a Yoga Teacher, Entrepreneur & Modern Hippie, she said that you need to concentrate on your devoted students. These are the students who need to have yoga with you at least once a week. These are the people who give up their Friday nights to have a class with you, This is that student who pays for private classes with you and still goes to group class at the studio. Yes. your biggest fans. Don´t worry starter teachers, you will have them sooner than you think. With these students, a little effort goes a long way, such as preparing homemade power bars, taking in peak pose or sequence requests, helping them make a nutrition plan, etc. Build a relationship so that you can ask them to spread the word about your work. Believe me. The genuine eagerness oozing out of your pupils as they talk about your classes is gold.
3. Opening Avenues for Communication Paves the Way for Social Media Growth
I usually update and talk to my students via a Facebook group chat. Others prefer WhatsApp. It´s an effective way to learn more about your students, how they prefer the classes, payment options, and feedback. Basically these platforms were intended for menial yoga related work. The thing was, it evolved into something more. Now students share photos, memes, pose requests, aerial yoga sequence requests and sometimes even social events. Eventually I learned about their Instagram accounts and we all started following each other. Now we promote each other on different online platforms which increased my following.
4. Stray From the Formula of Posting
It was a few months ago when I found myself perusing Instagram and found this common description: (Insert name of yoga pose here). Talk about the significance of this asana. Talk about how this pose reflects on your own practice and in your life. (insert inspirational spiel or quote here) Close with catchphrase. plug in 15 hashtags on yoga. When you browse other people’s profiles, there exists this pattern for captioning your pictures. It could be just me, then I found someone else who noticed it too in a way. What does this mean? If I saw this, a lot of people have as well. Don’t be a cliché. You need to find alternatives to promote yourself. Experiment. Look at other profiles. What makes them different? Write a list of the posts that captured your attention with a reference to the profiles you have picked out. Challenge yourself into coming up with one-of-a-kind quotes to set yourself apart.
5. Yes, Keep Your Profile Professionally Focused but Once in a While...
I follow a lot of super yogis and aerialists on IG. I use it mostly for inspiration. I also keep track of the latest merchandise on equipment, new schools, moreover to hear about the latest workshops. I also follow a few independent practitioners just because I like them. What captures my interest in them? What makes me keep on investigating their profiles? They all do the usual stuff like consistency in posting, are visually pleasing, more importantly they interact with their viewers. The uncommon things they do is they give a sneak peak on their lives. They show a picture of their family, pets and latest purchase. They don’t do this very often but when they do they’re suddenly closer to you. These people with their perfect bodies that seem like they always have to be “on” all the time; with a simple pic that showcases them in a more human light, they are transformed into something more relatable. Someone I can talk to. Someone who could be a friend.
6. Really Learn About Your Students and Let Them Learn About You
Let us backtrack to your physical students. We have established that we need to build a relationship with our students on the mat. We have said that we need to concentrate on our serious students. Let´s take it up a notch. Apart from the power bars or asana tutorials, we also need to get to know them a bit more personally. I´m not saying that you should become part of the squad or anything of the sort. At least get find out their other non yoga related diversions. Next, this is where a little intuition is needed. Ask them how their day was. If someone isn't smiling as much as they used to, lend an ear. You can give advice, though nothing too involved because that can blow up in your face later. Besides, sometimes just listening is already a tremendous help. Third, Let them into your life a bit. You can be real with them, although stay away from awkward topics or situations. Again, intuition and cultural sensitivity play a big part because you have to walk that fine line between pro and private. The point is to make them feel like going back to the mat is more than just yoga. Create a safe community where people can be a bit more themselves with you as well as their peers.
Ok. Let´s recap
First, Identify the type of teacher you are. If you already have that down, then great. Ask yourself: How does your identity as a teacher help your clients? Practice what you preach. Next, your organic growth has to be focused. As your practice evolves, so do your clients. Single out your more devoted yogis and center your efforts on them. It´s too tiring to get everyone's attention. Third, Market your organic growth on the internet by creating an online community for your clients through IG, Facebook groups, or whichever you prefer. Follow your past and existing clients on social media. Have them follow you. In congruence with this, post without a formula but have a strategy. Once in awhile present a little bit of your personal life so that your followers see a different side of you. Finally, make a real connection with your students. Create a safe space in the studio that offers more than just asanas but actual camaraderie.
I hope this post serves as a guide for you and your business.