Of course, you want your yoga business to succeed. It’s your baby, your life’s passion, your san kalpa! But who knew you’d have to put so much effort into promoting your yoga classes? And, (eek!) yourself!?! You might get over the icky feeling if your yoga promotions were attracting crowds of students. But, well, … crickets. Here’s the happy secret to building a yoga business – offer community and you can skip ho hum promotions.
Skip promotions? Are you kidding?
I spent four years building the brand for a yoga non-profit, and I quickly learned that nobody ever looked at anything vaguely promotional. As soon as I switched focus to serving community, our engagement and followers skyrocketed.
This article tells you why you should focus on building a yoga community and stop promoting yoga classes.
Promotions are boring
The #1 reason you should opt to grow community over promoting yoga classes is that class promotions don’t work anyway – at least on social media they don’t.
Think of social media as a game; you’ll lose that game by promoting classes. You won’t tally up points for likes, shares and saves with a graphic that looks like a grocery store flyer.
I’m not criticizing your design skills – mine are just canva scratchings too.
If you’re splashing class times and locations across your graphic in a big fun font, people are for sure scrolling by.
People come to social media to be entertained, informed or inspired. They’re not looking for future abstract gratification, i.e. a future yoga class that will entertain, inform or inspire. The fact is that reading class times is not immediately gratifying and so they’ll scroll on by. Times and dates are boring.
Yoga community posts makes you stand out
Even if folks are looking for a yoga class, you have a lot of competition if you’re in a city or offering online classes. There are a million studios and yoga teachers offering 60 to 90 minutes of asana, all promising folks to improve their flexibility, strength, and sleep.
So if they can get basically the same yoga class from everyone, (let’s assume people believe this), your unique selling point (USP) is your ability to make folks feel a connection. Other classes promise better abs, your classes promise the warm feeling of knowing they’ve joined a community of people who care deeply about the same things they do, feel the same pains, fight the same fight.
(And that feeling is so intoxicating that folks will read right to the bottom of the caption, where you’ll post your class details.)
Your Yoga Community Focuses on Your Strengths
Offering any old yoga community is almost the same as offering any old Hatha yoga class.
Instead, you need to offer the kind of yoga community that requires a leader exactly like you.
What’s so great about you? No one else has the exact combination of training, lived experience, and teaching voice that you have.
Need help figuring out your strengths? This free worksheet will help.
Community Focuses on Your Students
What makes a good yoga teacher?
One of the most important qualities is that they truly see, hear, and pay attention to their students. They welcome people, ask them if they have injuries or other special concerns, and remember their names.
During class, they adapt the pace and postures for their students’ needs. Cue according to what they observe. Respond to questions, or confused looks.
They do not remind people over and over that next week’s class is Wednesday at 7.
If you think about growing a yoga community instead of building a yoga business, you’re going to be much more successful on social media, and in your newsletters.
That’s not to say that building your business isn’t important. But shifting your intention to growing a yoga community will keep you focused on your students. Your posts and content will come across as genuinely caring, rather than pushy or desperate.
Newbies Don’t Understand Yoga. They Understand Belonging.
Most North Americans don’t understand yoga as a whole and complete system for living. They think of it as a fitness class – one that doesn’t burn very many calories. Or they think of it as physiotherapy for back issues.
So if you’re trying to draw newbies into your yoga class – people that don’t want fitness or physiotherapy – you have to overcome a lot of negative bias.
You know that yoga brings balance mentally, physically, spiritually and communally. But the people you’re trying to reach don’t. In fact they don’t even know what the heck you’re talking about when you mention mental and emotional connection.
People don’t know yoga will help. They feel intrinsically drawn to belonging. So that’s what you need to offer: an opportunity to belong AND to feel like they belong.
(But you can’t come out and say it like that because you’ll sound weird. Use this worksheet to figure out what kinds of things your people want to hear.)
If you’re successful at creating that loving community feeling, your people will do the class promotion for you.
- All their likes, shares, and saves will increase your reach on social media so more people will get to see your posts, and check out your profile.
- They’ll be so proud of attending your class or signing up for your offer that they’ll post their own selfies on social media – “Here I am having a blast with my favourite yoga teacher!”
- They’ll borrow your hashtags and phrases, quoting you and tagging you in their posts.
That community feeling is what’s going to keep your students coming back to you even if:
- they move across town
- You raise your prices
- A competitor comes in with a cheaper membership deal
Sure they can get a hatha class anywhere and maybe cheaper. But the community you offer is priceless. No one else gets them quite like you do. And anyways, yoga class is where all their friends are now. They’ve got to stay!
To Build Your Yoga Business Offer Community
At first it seems counter-intuitive to build your yoga business by cutting back on promotions. But when you focus on serving a yoga community instead, you’ll see so much more engagement on social media. People will thank you for your posts because they’ll feel seen and connected. And all those comments will make you feel seen and connected, so social media won’t feel like such a chore anymore.
Further the conversation with your community by adding a monthly or twice-monthly blog post to your website. New blog content pulls traffic to your website. They come to read your thoughts on how yoga helped you beat your addiction or cope with depression. Then they head to your class offerings page to find out how to meet you in person. People won’t return to your website again and again to confirm that you teach Wednesdays at 7. But they will make repeat visits to see if you’ve added any new ideas to your yoga and wellness blog.
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