Here’s a step-by-step yoga business marketing plan to get yoga studio business off the ground.
Preliminary Yoga Business Set Up
- Choose a name for your yoga business. Go for something brandable.
- Write a yoga business plan. It need not be elaborate – unless you’re seeking financing. You’d be well-served if looking for financing to put in a quality business plan effort the first time to improve being given a loan.
- If you require a loan, get pre-qualified for a small business loan.
- Inquire about yoga insurance. Explain you’ll be incorporating (if that’s the case) when you speak to a yoga insurance broker.
- Decide on your yoga business location. If you’re leasing or buying space, you’ll need to design your studio.
- Incorporate your business. I suggest an online service such as LegalZoom for cost-savings and convenience. If your chosen yoga business name is not available for incorporation, you’ll need to choose a different yoga business name. Why incorporate? Primarily for liability protection. Yoga students can get hurt. Protect yourself. You aren’t being evasive; you’re being smart.
- Buy a yoga insurance policy.
Yoga Business Bricks and Mortar Set Up
- Design your yoga business studio space. Have fun. Visit other yoga studios. Talk to people and check out my free Yoga Studio Design Guide.
- Buy yoga gear at wholesale cost for your classes.
- Start simple. You may want an elaborate studio. Start simple and scale up. Focus on your core offering which is teaching yoga.
- Get a toll free phone service online (I use this service and they are fantastic). There are very reasonable toll free number services available online. You can hook these services up to your cell phone. There’s no need for a costly landline telephone service.
Marketing Your Yoga Business on a Shoestring Budget
- If you prepared a thorough business plan, then you’ll have a marketing plan. If you opted for no business plan, then sit down and put together a marketing plan. START WITH SETTING A MARKETING BUDGET.
- You have to market. How you market is up to you. The rest of this yoga business action plan will be devoted to marketing your yoga business inexpensively with a focus on the Internet.
- Think Internet marketing for your yoga business!
- Create a website. If you already have a website, create more. You can have multiple websites targeting different prospective yoga students. I use many websites to precision-target my clientele. You can create a great professional-looking website for under $100 up front and only $7 per month. How? WordPress blogging platform (free) and hosting with Bluehost (I use Bluehost for all most of my sites. Their customer service is outstanding).
- Get a premium WordPress theme for your yoga business.
- Sign up for Bluehost hosting. I use them for dozens of websites and they’re fantastic. They offer 1 button WordPress website installation. But any website building platform will work.
- When you create your WordPress-based website, read SEOBook and SEOMoz about optimizing your website (aka on-site optimization or on-page optimization) for attracting local yoga students.
- Write some well-written optimized content and optimize your site (read SEOBook – a very good online SEO resource).
- Don’t like or have time to write website and blog content? Hire Custom Content or Need an Article.com. I use both services when I need quality written content. Both services deliver quality content for very reasonable prices. Note that Custom Content costs more and takes longer, but you will not be disappointed about the quality. FYI: I write all the content for Yoga Baron.
- Get your website in the top 10 in local Google Maps (now called Google Places) for your town. How? Read David Mihm’s outstanding article on local Google. Local Google Maps will get you tons of business and it’s … Free! You just need to know how to rank well. David Mihm tells you all about it.
- Advertise on Facebook. Facebook is a massive goldmine of very targeted traffic. You know all the profiles people fill out in detail? Well, you can surgically target your prospective yoga students – by interest, location, education, employment, relationship status, and more. However, Facebook is also very picky about the way you create your ads. I use Facebook ads and they have driven some very targeted traffic to my sites. I learned about creating and bidding with Facebook ads after going through the Facebook Ad Power program. I found Facebook Ad Power very helpful – you can even learn how to use Facebook ads paying little or nothing, yet gain fantastic targeted exposure.
- You need to get your yoga business website on the first page of Google in order to attract yoga students. You do it with great website content (articles and blog posts) and getting quality links to your website.
- Read the seminal 101 Ways to Build Link Popularity for more linkbuilding ideas. This article pretty much covers the entire link building concept – telling you what’s good and what’s bad.
- Write comments on the yoga blogs of other local yoga teachers as well as yoga blogs in general. Look for yoga blogs that have “do follow” links so when you place a link you get a link to your website. You can determine if a website has “do follow” comment links by using the Firefox web browser and installing the NoDoFollow addon for Firefox (it’s free!). Just be sure to write great comments and contribute to the dialogue.
- Send out e-newsletters to your students about once a month. Use MINDBODY software for this (it’s yoga studio software that integrates with e-mail marketing software).
Don’t get discouraged. A website takes 2 to 6 months to start doing well in Google. Be patient and persistent. Do this process over and over. Build several sites, all with a different angle (don’t post the same content). Continuously build links to all your sites.
Don’t forget about cash flow
Cash flow is very important. If you don’t have money coming in regularly, your business will suffer. Two ways to improve cash flow from your existing yoga business are:
- Sell retail in your yoga studio and on your website; and
- Make paying you as easy as possible.
These days it’s easy to set up a store — both online and offline. You have people on your website and in your studio. They’re interested in yoga stuff. Why not sell yoga stuff. You’ll be serving your students and improving your bottom line.
The only trouble with selling retail is setting up the infrastructure such as credit card processing, inventory tracking, and e-commerce software generally. Fortunately companies are rolling out solutions specifically for yoga studios. One software provider I recommend looking into if you want a full yoga studio software platform that includes e-commerce and credit card processing is MINDBODY (I have an affiliate relationship with MBO. Mention YogaBaron and you’ll get your first month free). You can even centralize your e-mail and e-newsletter marketing with MindBodyOnline. It truly is a one-stop-shop solution for yoga studios.
Make paying you as easy as possible
Again this is where software comes in to play. If you require people to sign up for classes, then you’ll need scheduling software. Get scheduling software that forces pre-payment. This way you get paid right away. Moreover, get payment software that enables you to easily create custom pricing for yoga class packages and gift cards. Again, MindBodyOnline offers these features. Say you were referred by YogaBaron to get your first month free.
I promote MINDBODY (mention YogaBaron for a free first month), because you can manage a lot of your yoga studio using this software. The biggest reason is it can help steady and improve your cash flow AND improve your customer service AND speed up your marketing efforts (with e-newsletters). It does more, but you get the point.
Inexpensive Offline Marketing Ideas
- Go old school with flyers pinned up on bulletin boards in public spaces.
- Don’t waste your money on a Yellow Pages ad. I have and it was a massive waste of money.
- Send out letters to local spas, massage therapists, physiotherapy clinics, chiropractors, and family doctors introducing yourself and the type of yoga you’ll be teaching. Don’t do a mass e-mail. I’m always impressed when I get a nice snail mail letter of introduction from a service provider who is relevant to my line of work. I keep those letters and often will contact them if I need those services.
- Offer referral incentives to your existing yoga students. By this I mean give discounts and freebies to students who refer people to your business. If you want to learn all about referral marketing, check out The Referral Engine.
Be creative, read marketing resources, like this website, offer great yoga classes, don’t quit, and you can have a thriving yoga business.