I’d already forgotten of the yoga studio which closed down in Camden when I read in yesterday’s FT eye popping stats… Last year 28 million hippies, tourists, city dwellers and anyone in search of the alternative and cool made it to London’s Camden Market (Source: The Financial Times). I then remembered the yoga studio I used to visit in the heart of Camden, that had a great vegan cafe, brilliantly equipped studio rooms and great teachers, yet they had to close down pretty much as fast as they opened.
Running a business is a hard work, and I have all respect to anyone with a courage to embark on such a journey with or without successful outcome, as really there is no real failure if we are open to learn, yet when I read such numbers (28 million in footfall), I can not help but wonder… How do you shut down the studio, in the right place (vegans, hippies, alternatives), in the right time (while yoga is booming) with 28m. visitors to your yoga doorstep?
Of course marketing is important in yoga, one can not always prove it that’s all. Even if you pack yoga classes or sell out yoga retreats due to active marketing and carefully planned strategy, the head yoga teacher will still come around and say it’s because of the teachers workshop s/he attended in the yoga ashram, or due to the brilliant teaching techniques one has developed as a teacher.
Of course being a great teacher is important, and so is the ability to deliver great class, yet do you as a yoga teacher or a studio really need your own marketing? In a rising yoga competition you do. You simply have to Google for a “yoga teacher” in your city to see the level of the competition. Strong marketing systems play important role, as well as the positioning, the edge, the voice your yoga message delivers through clever marketing, the kind of marketing that actually does not feel like marketing.
If I am lazy at marketing yoga, I’ll use same marketing as my fellow yoga teachers are using… basic website, basic flyers etc, such marketing goes with everything. That did not really matter a long time for studios that don’t really have competitors. However, by now even skeptics have grasped the importance of marketing and positioning one’s yoga classes in the marketplace in order to make their classes more identifiable, unique and the one that pulls in healthy flow of yoga students.
Your potential and existing yoga customers ought to notice and recognize the benefits of attending your yoga classes. The message you share has to be crafted and targeted to those who are ready for your yoga, yet don’t lose yourself in the ABCs of marketing so much so that you start to loose your own authenticity.
So the question is, if marketing is so important why did many yoga teachers skip? Because many believe marketing costs too much money, or of course goes against the preconceptions of yoga and marketing being unethical (well, ask staff that lost jobs the yoga studio that shut down if they’d preferred marketing their classes so they could share more of yoga?).
Here are 5 questions to ask, in order to help and determine if you need help with your marketing:
1. Are you growing your classes? Do you have a clear vision how to attract the healthy stream of new clients?
2. Do you track and measure the progress and if so are you satisfied with the outcome?
3. Does your vision support your ultimate goals of running a profitable yoga business?
4. How many ways do you market your yoga classes, studio or retreats?
5. Do you feel you have all the tools to grow? And do you have student building strategy in place?
Asking the right questions can be revealing, but also fun.
Supporting yoga communities grow healthy yoga businesses
Tamara Machavariani Forrest-Smith
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