As yoga teachers, the #1 obstacle to success is often taking the business aspect of our work seriously.
Valuing it. Getting over apologizing for it, or feeling that it is “unspiritual” or offensive…
I know I have struggled with this apparent mismatch between providing a service that is meaningful and sincere, and engaging in sales and marketing of my events, services and even (at some level) of myself.
When I started teaching I had complete disdain for any kind of self-promotion. I felt that if I just did a good job each time success would surely follow based on something more pure than spreading the word like some kind of used car salesman!
I was wrong.
Perhaps you have had similar feelings, or perhaps you just never expected teaching yoga would include marketing yourself —so I want to do something for you right now. Let me reframe this whole subject for you as we begin this series on the long game of yoga success….
What marketing Is (and Isn’t..)
Marketing is not forcing anyone to pay attention to you, it is not tricking anyone into coming to your class or workshop, it is not being arrogant and self-important.
In its true form, marketing is simply about reaching people who are already looking for what you offer but don’t yet know you exist OR it is about letting people who already like and appreciate you know about ways they can experience your offerings.
Doesn’t that feel better?
Just like teaching, marketing is rooted in the art of communication. Just like teaching, it requires that we get over our fears, get clear on what we want to share and then reach out and connect.
Now here’s the secret you may not know —we live in an amazing time with regard to communication. The profusion of social media, web-based tools, and email marketing allows us to reach out and touch people in ways that not only are specific to their interests, but also (really take this in..) are in fact welcomed on their side of the conversation!
Think about your own social media experience, your web browsing activities, and your email inbox:
When you scroll through your Facebook feed, do you spend more than a split-second looking at anything that doesn’t truly interest you?
Do you click on tweets in your Twitter stream that don’t pique your interest, or for that matter, have you been forced to follow anyone’s Twitter account?
Do you visit websites and read articles there based on coercion? Do you watch YouTube videos at gunpoint? Do you open emails you have no interest in?
Think about this term: “opt-in.” All of the above aspects of modern internet experience are driven by user interest. They are all essentially opt-in. We choose who to follow, what to click on, which videos to watch, articles to read or websites to visit —and for the purposes of my specific topic today, which emails to open and which email lists we sign up on.
You’re a talented, sincere teacher. People like your class. Some people come every time, others can only make it once in a while, some come once with a friend or family member, some live in another town and were just visiting.
Think about the varied situations of everyone who might walk into one of your classes. Let’s be super humble and say that 60% of these people really enjoy your class, but not all of these can come regularly. If they enjoyed their time with you, it might be smart to keep in touch with them… What if you have a workshop, or retreat coming up? What if you decide to add a class on the other side of town? What if you write a book, create an audio program or DVD?
Building a strong email list can make the difference between an enthusiastic, packed workshop and one that is cancelled because no-one signed up. It can mean the difference between barely breaking even on a retreat and making a sustainable profit. It can determine whether or not a new class flops or has a chance of growing and succeeding.
The long game of success as a yoga teacher means that you are thinking beyond just how many people are in your class today —you have your eye on future opportunities to create experiences, share your gifts and make a good living.
Yes, I said it: you want to make a good living!
Essentially, the wisdom of the email list is this: every single person who comes into your public classes is someone you should offer the option to stay in touch with you.
Every single person who enjoys your class is someone who might therefore enjoy a workshop or retreat, might want to know when you add a new class, might be interested in a product you create, and on an even more basic level might enjoy hearing from you periodically in ways that deepen their knowledge, remind them of the value of their yoga practice, and share your particular perspective.
Your email list allows you to form and maintain new connections, let people know what your approach is, offer free gifts and content, and invite people into the experience of everything you and your growing community have to offer.
Best of all, people choose to join and can choose to unsubscribe at any time —so you are always communicating only with people who want to hear from you!
So here’s the take-away: get over yourself and start taking your email list seriously…
How To Do It
This is actually very simple. Two steps:
1) Put out pen and paper every single time you interact with the public and invite them to join your email list.
Here’s what I say:
“Thank you so much for coming in today everyone. New people: my email list is right here if you would like to join. I would love to stay in touch with you, and I think you’ll appreciate what I send out.”
This takes less than 20 seconds.
Sometimes I will add” “You get a free meditation course when you join.” OR “I have lots of exciting events coming up this year..”
But I do it every single time I teach anything, anywhere. That’s the secret.
Most of the time I get between 1 and 5 new email addresses. Disappointing? No way! With 5 public classes a week, that’s between 5 and 25 people a week… which is between 250 and 1250 new email addresses a year!
Think about it: some of these people are visiting from out-of-town, some usually have work at the time they were able to show up only once, some are more interested in a specific type of workshop, or want my audio program for business trips, or have a friend who is looking for a yoga retreat. Some liked the class fine but get way more intrigued and engaged once they start getting articles or videos from me that share my particular point of view…
Having all who opt-in on my email list means that I am not just announcing my new event, product or service to the people who are in my class on a given day —but that I can reach out and connect instantly with as many people as possible who have enjoyed any of my classes.
It’s just as simple as that. Growing your email list is a cornerstone of succeeding in the long-term as a yoga teacher. Get over yourself and start now!
** Are You READY to build your 1-on-1 private business providing your services as a yoga teacher or massage therapist?!
My 3-week online video course Keys To Freedom is NOW OPEN for Registration and runs February 20 to March 13, 2017!