Owning a yoga business is an exciting and rewarding career, but it brings with it the marketing challenges faced by many small-business owners. In hard economic times, yoga may be considered a "luxury" that gets cut out of consumers' budgets. A successful yoga studio will rely on word of mouth and alignment with the local community to build a loyal group of students.
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Start Out Small
If you're a brand-new yoga teacher, opening your own studio right away may not be the smartest solution, even if you can afford it. Try teaching classes at a fitness center or established studio first to help you build a rapport with students and establish name recognition. Once you become well-known in your yoga community, students may follow you to your own studio. An article in "Yoga Journal" recommends new teachers begin by teaching courses aimed at beginners to help build confidence and gain loyal followers.
Rather than trying to make students come to you, find a way to come to them. Contact local workplaces and offer in-house yoga classes on employees' lunch breaks. If you own a studio, you can use this opportunity to hand out brochures or fliers for your business and mention your early-morning, evening or weekend classes. If your corporate students enjoy your classes at work, they just might start showing up to the studio as well.
Consider the Community
Another article in "Yoga Journal" presents the case study of a yoga studio located near a college campus. The studio sent out postcards to students marketing yoga as a hangover cure and a way to "balance the bad stuff" of college life, like eating pizza and partying. Keep your local community in mind when promoting your yoga business. If there's a large elderly population, for example, offer "Yoga for Seniors" classes. In a large, hectic city? Advertize your services as a way to find balance in a stressful urban environment.
Class packages at a discounted rate and lower rates for seniors and students are one way to get cost-conscious students into your studio. Pay attention to numbers; if one time slot or type of class is more popular than others, make that the target of your marketing. Occasionally offer specials such as "bring a friend for free" to encourage students to tell their friends about your classes.