Not too long ago I was driving in my car listening to a radio program. I was half enjoying the passing countryside scenery when I heard the next story was about a local yoga studio that managed to attract 900 new yoga students in a single day.
Naturally as publisher of Yoga Baron I directed my full attention to the story.
Before I tell you the simple method used by this yoga studio, think about whether you and your studio could even handle such an influx. I know many yoga studios couldn’t fit 900 students all standing up.
Answer another question: how much in advertising would you pay to have 900 students just enter your yoga studio to see what you offer? I suspect you’d pay a decent amount of money for that amount of exposure.
How did this yoga studio attract 900 new yoga students in a single day?
Have you heard of Groupon? It’s an advertising phenomenon.
How does Groupon work?
Groupon brings local businesses and local consumers together through e-mail.
Advertising businesses sign up to Groupon. Thos businesses promise to offer an exclusive discount or deal to Groupon’s email list. The special offer is sent out one day.
Groupon’s email list is made up of consumers who sign up for the promise of great deals and coupons being delivered to their email inbox every day.
Advertisers’ get a single day on which their offer is sent to consumers in the advertiser’s local area.
Get it? Local area! This is important. Your sale/deal/discount is sent only to consumers who live near your yoga studio.
This is targeted marketing at it’s finest and largely explains why Groupon is so successful. Granted not all of the consumers who receive the email promoting your business will be interested in yoga. But if your deal is good enough, you’ll get some interest and likely attract a large number of potential students to your studio.
What does Groupon cost?
Not only is marketing your yoga studio through Groupon targeted, it costs you nothing up front. Yeah, I know that sounds too good to be true. But as you probably suspect, there is a catch. You pay Groupon a percentage of the sales your Groupon offer generates.
This is not a bad price to pay. Marketing opportunities where the marketing costs are directly attached to sales are good … to a point of course.
But, your Groupon offer isn’t about the initial sales flux you might enjoy. It’s about exposure and attracting students who stay with your studio.
Benefits of Advertising your Yoga Studio with Groupon
- No up-front cost. You pay when you generate sales.
- Geo-targeted marketing.
- The consumers on Groupon’s list are generally a responsive list to Groupon emails. They voluntarily sign up to Groupon and the email messages sent by Groupon have a relatively high open rate.
Although your studio has much to gain from using Groupon, you can also hurt your business if you don’t prepare.
Groupon Tips for Yoga Studio Owners
Here are my suggestions for properly preparing for your Groupon offer if you decide to give Groupon a try for your yoga studio:
1. Sign up for Groupon as a consumer
Sure, you might find some good deals in your town or city, but the best reason to sign up for Groupon is so you can read the offers sent by other companies. Analyze the following:
- Email subject headings
- The offers – how much of a deal do companies offer (I’ve noticed the discounts are significant)
- The copywriting – what makes for great Groupon copy. If you buy, carefully look at that particular Groupon offer and see why it worked on you.
Also, you might find out if your competitors are using Groupon. It’s always good to know what your colleagues are doing for marketing – especially those studios that are successful.
2. Craft a super offer
The yoga studio I reference offered unlimited yoga for 30 days for $30. That’s a super yoga offer. The reason it’s good is it’s flexible. Yes, people had a one-day window to purchase, but they had 30 days to try the yoga studio.
Other offers I’ve seen, which aren’t as effective in my view, are when you must exercise the discount on a single day. Instead, give your prospective students a large window to try your studio.
3. Be prepared
This is where you can hurt your business. If you had new 900 students arrive at your yoga studio tomorrow, would you be able to properly serve them. Tips for being prepared:
Ensure your website is up-to-date, especially your pricing and class schedule.
Talk to your website hosting server to ensure your site won’t crash with a huge influx of website traffic (Groupon offers attract a ton of website visitors as well).
Ensure that during the sales period you are fully staffed. Perhaps offer some additional classes to handle more students.
Ensure your receptionist is available. If you don’t have a receptionist, consider hiring a temp for the duration of your sale period. Your yoga studio will receive many phone calls.
Clean your yoga studio. Present a spotless premises. Treat your Groupon sales period as a grand opening.
Talk to all your staff before the promotion. You want them ready to perform. It will be a busy time. Perhaps offer some bonuses if your studio manages to sign up a certain number of new students (paying your regular prices). The fact is all of your staff are your sales force. Give them an incentive to be extra helpful and provide top-notch customer service.
4. Don’t be short sighted
Don’t strive to earn a profit from the Groupon discount. If you take the preparation steps above and offer a super deal, you may even lose money after Groupon receives its share.
Instead, Groupon is an opportunity to attract loyal yoga students who will continue attending your studio. If you offer memberships, if done right, you have an opportunity to sign up many new members to your studio.
5. Generate leads
Just because you don’t sign up all Groupon customers as regular paying students during your Groupon offer, doesn’t mean those yogis are lost to you forever. Think of creative ways to get their contact information AND their express permission for you to email them.
Just because they sign a waiver with their contact information does not mean you have their express permission to e-mail them.
Think of an incentive for the people who come to your studio to sign up specifically to receive your e-mail newsletter. Offer a free class after the sales period ends if they sign up. Or you can simply ask them to sign up – but I suspect you’ll have a higher sign-up rate if you give them something.
How about handing out DVDs, CDs, apparel … something so you get their contact information AND their permission for you to continue contacting them
Don’t underestimate the value of having a permission-based email list of prospective yoga students. You can continue sending them offers (without using Groupon in the future) and perhaps 3, 6 or 12 months in the future they’ll arrive at your studio again, this time as a regular paying yoga student.
Also, because your website will likely receive a ton of website visitors, be sure to place a contact capture form on your website.
What if you don’t have e-newsletter software – including capture forms on your website?
Fortunately there are many inexpensive email services that are created for email marketing. A few of the biggies are as follows:
- Constant Contact (partners with MindBodyOnline yoga studio management software)
- Campaigner, and
- InfusionSoft (InsusionSoft is expensive, but very feature-rich).
If your studio is just starting and you wish to attract yoga students out or you’re ready to take your studio to the next level, then give Groupon a try.
The yoga studio referenced in this article is in a city with a greater area population of approximately 1.5 million people. Obviously, results will vary depending on many factors. I, nor Groupon guarantee similar or any results.
Also, the tips I set out above are my ideas and are not officially sanctioned or approved by Groupon. I set out these tips for informational purposes only.