Nearly every day I’m amazed by how effective and transforming yoga can be - both in my own personal practice and in my students attending my classes and workshops. I often still ask myself after 17 years, “What is this?”
Most teachers are passionate about yoga. But how does it feel when you turn up to teach and there are only 2 or 3 people in the room? It takes a lot of energy to teach and share yoga and it’s a two way street. We all need to give and receive in order to grow.
If you’re wondering, “Where are all the students?” then it may be that people don’t get what you’re offering. And there’s a lot of yoga on offer out there - from local yoga studios to online yoga classes, retreats, workshops and intensives… All delivered by equally passionate, capable and highly trained yoga teachers.So the thing is: Being passionate is just not going to cut it.
Separating the what from the why
When it comes to marketing for yoga, one of the most common mistakes I see across the board is that people tend to focus on the ‘what’. The number of hours, the qualifications, how long the class is, what to wear, etc... all the details. This is important but when it comes to attracting new students - and we all need new students - you need to start with the ‘why’. And not your why either, but their why: Why they should try yoga with you.
Cast your mind back to your first yoga class - because, after all, we were all beginners once. How did you feel after that first class? And after that, how did yoga help you deal with the stresses of modern day life and affect your relationships? It’s these feelings that you need to speak to first and then dive into the details of what to wear and how to find the studio.
Shifting your mindset
Another way of looking at this is that your marketing shouldn’t be focused on you and your qualifications in the first instance - it should be focused on how yoga can help people live better lives. I’m not saying you don’t put the class details or your qualifications on your website - all of this is necessary. But, start with your audience’s why and then show how you use yoga in your own unique way to solve the problems people are struggling with.
What’s your why, Guy?
I was having a WhatsApp call with my dad the other week and he asked me, “Guy, why do they come to your class?” We were talking about my Saturday morning yoga class here in Stockholm which is fully booked every week with a waiting list. I couldn’t really give him a straight answer and realised that I didn’t know what my why was.
The next morning I took some paper to class and asked people to give me feedback. It was a really worthwhile thing to do and I learned something new about what people liked and wanted more of. This led me to make changes to the class format to make a good class even better! The point I’m making is that we can all do better and get clearer about our why. You also don’t have to wait more than 3 years to reveal your why!
Spelling out your why
Here’s a simple exercise to get you started that you can use in your own yoga marketing. Let’s break it down into 2 parts.
- Part 1: Identify what unique value you create in people’s lives. If you’re not sure what this is then it’s a good idea to ask your students for feedback.
- Part 2: Take the feedback you get from your students and reflect on what it is you do that makes people feel the way they do.
The next step
Write a couple of sentences that explain why people will love your classes using the words your students use to describe how they feel. The trick here is to try and convey your awesomeness before people have actually met you. This is harder than you might think - but it’s a very worthwhile exercise.
Don’t worry about getting it perfect. Give yourself time to refine this. Normally the first few drafts can be quite long and wordy. Stick the text up on your fridge and keep looking at it until you can find a shorter, simpler way of saying it.
We’ve seen yogis struggling with technology and feeling uncomfortable about marketing. Our mission is to help yogis share yoga with more people.
And we do this by lifting the lid on these uncomfortable topics to give you a fresh perspective.The very first yoga marketing course we suggest people start with is naturally: Revealing Your Why.
Ready to reveal your why?
If you want to discover and clarify your why so that you can share yoga with more people then take a look at our intro video on Revealing Your Why.
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P.S. Keep an eye out for our next blog post by AYM co-founder David Keil: “Wait, I'm running a yoga business?”