As we enter 2020, for the first time in history there are more yoga studios closing than there are opening.
Yoga is more popular, and more accessible than ever. People can view thousands of yoga videos online for free, not to mention competition from local gyms and other brick-and-mortars. The market is changing fast, and you don’t want your studio to be left behind. It’s important to set yourself apart and get on track right away.
I’ve worked with hundreds of studio owners to give them the training and resources that they need to run an insanely profitable studio that changes more lives and have a personal life at the same time. I know what it takes to make YOUR studio succeed.
Ready? This is my plan to make 2020 your studio’s break out year!
Make yoga and your studio synonymous in your community.
With all the competition out there, you need to become your community’s go-to for yoga. To do that, you need brand recognition. When you create a brand around your studio and set yourself up as an expert you will have loyal students who show up to class after class.
What is brand recognition? It’s a measure of how often people think of your business and how memorable you are in your market. Without brand recognition you’re operating your studio like an airline. Here’s what I mean…
When you or I decide to fly somewhere we don’t head over to our favorite airline’s website and book a flight. We usually don’t even have a particular airline in mind. It doesn’t really even matter to us which airline we choose, most of us can’t even name them all in under a minute.
To book our flight, we go to a third part site where we put in our information and pick the flight that’s cheapest and most convenient. Why? Because most airlines aren’t successfully establishing a brand. All they have are a few colors, a logo, and a plane. They compete based on convenience and price. Believe me, this is a race to the bottom that you don’t want any part of. That’s why you need to build brand recognition.
So how do you create a brand around your studio and set yourself apart in the minds of your potential students? With a curated experience and high-value content.
Interaction and engagement are your most important metrics. Over this year, your potential clients should receive enough high-value content from you that they recognize you as an expert in the yoga market. When they think “I should really do more yoga” they should immediately think of your studio – and your brand and the experience your studio offers.
For the potential client in your community, yoga IS your studio. This is your goal.
That’s what high-value content can do for your brand. Automation can handle your distribution… but you’re the only one who can create new content. It’s a great equalizer between a smaller mom-and-pop business and a big corporation.
How do you create new content consistently? I recommend using the batching method and blocking out time once a month (or once a quarter) to get it done. On the first day record videos, then write blog posts and finally edit and schedule everything to distribute.
After a few batching sessions, you’ll have a storehouse of content that never goes bad. You can recycle it or atomize it into smaller parts and redistribute it again and again.
Curate their yoga experience.
Yoga is more accessible than ever. I could pull up an online class with any of a hundred instructors right now for free. In the summer there is probably yoga in the park in your community and at least one big gym with a $5 drop in the price of a class. With competition like that, what is going to get students into your studio instead?
For me, as a student, to make the decision to get my butt off the couch, drive across town, find a parking spot and make it into your yoga studio on time for a class is a big action. I need to be properly motivated.
The fact that I even showed up means I’m looking for more than some stretching postures in a room with a bunch of other sweaty people. I’m looking for a yoga experience. Your business says “yoga studio” above the door so I’m assuming you can give it to me.You better not disappoint!
Why do students come to YOU? I can tell you right now, they don’t come to get ignored. My #1 tip to studio owners is this – -> any student coming to you wants specific attention.
If a student just wanted to see someone demonstrate a posture at the front of a room, they would go to an online course. They come to your studio because they want someone to talk to them and make them feel special. They want to get help during class, get a greeting and a goodbye, and have you learn their name. They want personal interaction.
Your students also want an environment in line with your brand. You need to curate a yoga experience for everyone who walks into your studio down to the smallest details… with the understanding that everyone takes in the entire environment.
The lighting, smell, sound, touch and look of your studio are all important and within your control. Make sure your studio smells good and sounds relaxing. Create a high-quality feeling, and a studio that looks nice and is consistent.
You want your students to know what to expect so they can build loyalty and enthusiastically invite their friends. You want to keep them coming back again and again.
Get your staff on board with your brand.
Your staff are key to the yoga experience of your students and the reputation of your brand. One of the biggest pitfalls and frustrations that any yoga studio owner has is staff management. It’s the hidden job you didn’t realize you signed up for when you started a yoga studio. Yet, it’s exceedingly important and ties into everything you do.
Think about this for a second. What is the product you’re offering at your yoga studio? You might say it’s your yoga classes or your environment, but the truth is it’s not. These are part of the puzzle, but in the end your yoga instructors are the product. They’re the ones helping your students move their bodies, clear their minds and feel good in the environment. They build the personal interactions your students crave.
Your ability to structure your staff and get them on the same page – and delivering the curated experience you envision – is more important than ever. If you ignore this, you’re leaving room for your instructors to develop their own personal brand instead of yours – meaning your students will be loyal to them, rather than your studio.
Yoga teachers have struggled to make a living for way too long and they’re trying to take back power through self-promotion. Often, they don’t believe in the studio to the point that they would go to bat for your brand. Convincing them of your vision makes a huge difference in your profitability.
How do you do this? Emphasize why the studio exists and why it’s important. Share what you’re doing this for and how they tie in to your vision. (Hint, you’re doing this for the students.) Enthusiastic staff – from the front desk to the classes – will take your studio to the next level.
Keep track of your data
We are currently in the Era of Marketing, which means your ability to communicate the value of your product is actually more important than what your product is itself. That ties into the ideas of content domination, brand creation and putting high-value content out there.
Where are we going next? The Era of Data.
In 2019, data surpassed the value of oil for the first time as the most valuable commodity on the planet. What we’ll see in the next 3-5 years is more and more power for anyone who controls data. They will be able to make informed decisions and react in real time to what is happening in the market.
As a yoga studio, you’re routinely collecting data from your students when they register and interact with you. It’s important to keep all that data in your control so you can readily make good decisions based on it. Occasional downloads of your entire MindBody list to Excel is a good practice. (Tip: You can do it from the mailing list report.)
But there’s more… When you hire a third-party to do advertising on Facebook or another platform, they gather metrics for how successful different types of ads were, what the click-throughs are and other details and data. Too often, they don’t give that data to you. They continue controlling it and understand what types of ads are successful – rather than you – which means you’re at a loss without them. In my experience, any advertiser worth their salt should give you access to this data. So be sure to ask about this before you hire, and collect this data after you start working with an advertiser. You’ll be glad you did!
Take it in stride
As we head into 2020 it’s really easy to look at these challenges and how quickly the market is changing and get overwhelmed. Keep in mind that although there are more yoga studios closing than opening there are also more yoga studios that are hyper successful than ever before.
More than 10 members in our group have grown their business by over 100K in 2019 – and many have doubled the size of their autopay. We have member studios that are moving from single locations to multi-location because of their success. There is opportunity in this market… you just need to grab it!
For more information on my predictions for 2020 check out my How to KILL it in 2020 – The Business of Yoga video!
An insanely profitable 2020 is available for you too! Looking to maximize profitability and change more lives? Check out our Yogapreneur Accelerator program. You’ll get the guidance you need to build momentum with 1:1 coaching that cuts through the confusion to focus on exactly what will make your studio successful.
Get started by booking your Free Strategy Session today!