4 Ways to Gain New Online Yoga Students
“When you think about engaging with current or previous clients, I want you to think about this question: ‘How can I foster engagement with my current students today?’ That one question can guide all of your marketing.”
— Amanda McKinney
I’ve been asked to talk about “finding new connections online” a lot lately. Because love it or hate it, we live in a digital world.
When I get asked about finding new connections online, I follow it up with a few other questions and what I’ve found is that what you actually mean is “finding more paying students for your online classes”.
That’s really what it comes down to. Whether it’s for your Tuesday class, your next workshop or your private sessions, you want more students.
So we’re tackling this today and I’ve got four great ideas for you. By the end of this episode I want you to focus on just one thing and I’m even going to tell you what that thing is — you don’t even have to pick this time!
Let’s dive in with number one!
1. Give, Give, Give Online In Your Yoga Marketing
Focus on giving in your marketing. Your marketing content should be about 80% value-add content (not promotional) and 20% promotional.
If you look at all the things you do to promote your yoga business over the course of a month, you’d want to see that the majority of what you’re talking about is giving helpful tips, tutorials, advice, and inspiration. This is “value-add” content. Then the remaining 20% can be an invitation to join your class or workshop. This will help you gain that “know, like, and trust” factor with your audience.
Think of your own tendencies online. You probably don’t feel a connection with people that only sell all the time. You experience connection online when people share helpful information, and that’s what your marketing can be.
Show up as your authentic self and share online on a weekly basis so that you’re giving information and not just always asking for people to pay for something.
If you’re stuck for ideas on what to post, here are a few resources that will help get you started:
- 50 Free Social Media Post Templates
- Podcast Episode #84 — This episode helps you come up with what to post on social media.
- Podcast Episode #91 — I talk to Samantha Harrison in this episode about how to have fun with your marketing!
Another way you can give, give, give online is to create a freebie.
Bonus: This helps you grow your email list! And email is the best marketing source you can have. Everyone thinks of social media first, but email is the thing that will really help you fill your offerings.
- Podcast Episode #88 — This episode walks you through two questions to help you decide what freebie to create.
I want you to be able to give in a way that feels really good to you. By sharing content that’s focused on giving, you will not online create new connections, but you’ll also strengthen your connection with existing students.
2. Host A Free Online Yoga Challenge To Grow Your Audience
Hosting a free challenge provides days of value and then leads into an offering, so you’re giving and growing your business at the same time! This is a version of a freebie — so it’s another way to give, just like in idea number one.
You can choose to hold a five day challenge (or three day, or seven day, or whatever you decide on) where you’re providing a certain number of daily yoga tips or yoga classes.
The reason this will help you find more, new connections is because it’s easily sharable! People really do love to share a challenge.
You could say: “Challenges are great, but it’s even more fun with a friend! Share this with a friend today.”
Free Challenge Resources:
- Podcast Episode #72 — This episode walks you through the process of hosting your challenge step by step!
- Yoga Challenge in a Box — Done-for-you templates to get your yoga challenge going. All you have to do is plug in your specific yoga challenge details!
Hosting a challenge allows your students to experience your teaching style AND allows you to grow your audience at the same time.
As your challenge comes to the end, I suggest you say “If you liked this, then you would love this other thing [your paid offering].”
Yes, you’re giving away this wonderful free thing, but then you’re also offering something that’s paid at the end so that you can fill your classes. Remember the formula: 80% value-add and 20% promotional.
3. Use Social Media As A Tool For Connection, Not Just Selling Your Yoga Classes
Like I’ve mentioned several times before (it’s important enough to repeat!), marketing works best when it’s 80% value add and 20% promotional.
I want you to give helpful content instead of always trying to sell something. This is where I see so many business-owners going wrong. We think “I need to make more money in my business” or “I need to sell 20 spots.” Our brain knows we need to sell something, so when we go to write that social media post, it’s tempting to write it in a way that’s promotional.
We do need those kinds of posts from time to time in our business, but need much more of the value-add.
Here are some tactical ideas of how you can do this on different platforms:
- Use the question box on IG stories to engage with your audience. You can reply back to that person directly, or you can share the question on your stories and answer publicly.
- Reels are the hottest thing right now so if you’re up for it, create them and have fun — whatever fun looks like for you. Dance, point, use images, whatever feels right to you.
- Encourage people to send you a direct message and then respond to them and have conversations — this is where you learn and connect in a real way. Your call-to-action can be “Send me a DM!”
- Send voice messages using IG when you reply to someone — it goes a long way.
- Go live! Even if no one is there when you’re actually live, Facebook promotes this more so go live when you can and share tips with your audience.
- Respond to comments and personal messages in a timely manner and encourage people to connect with you through messages.
- Create Facebook events for special events — if you host a challenge or a special workshop, this works great. Start a conversation inside the event.
- Create a pop-up Facebook group for your free challenge when you host one. You can close the group after the free challenge, so it’s not something you have to keep forever, but it’s great for engagement and connection!
WhatsApp / Local Community Groups / Apps
- Send messages to your students letting them know you created a new tutorial video, blog, or freebie so they know it’s available.
- Ask your students to share your freebie or resource (video, blog, etc.) with others that it would help.
Overall, find ways to connect with your current audience as well as new audience members who join you on that platform.
4. Don’t Forget About Current/Previous Clients & Yoga Students
It’s really easy to focus on new people and methods for attracting more, but don’t forget about your current and previous students!
This is the one everyone forgets about. We need to remember that we have people who have already raised their hand and said “Hey, I want to learn more from you! I want to engage with you.”
We often forget who we have in our reach. We already know these people. We already connect with them.
Maybe someone booked a private session with you and loved it, but never booked again. Reach back out to them if you have some spots you need to fill! You never know who needs what you’re offering and they just need a reminder. Think about your life and how busy you are. It’s so easy to forget things.
It’s your job to remind your students that you are there to support them.
I would rather you have 100 followers on social media that truly engage with your content than 10,000 followers who never really talk to you.
When I say engagement, I am not talking about likes. It needs to take longer than a double-tap to count. I mean saves, shares, direct messages and comments. Those are what really matter. That’s real engagement.
I really get on a soapbox about this because of the amount of times I hear “Amanda, I need new people!” But have you tapped in to your current and previous student base? Have you actual done that? If you haven’t, then I don’t want you worrying about new people. I want you to create deeper relationships with the people you already have connections with — and then your business will grow organically!
Your next step
I know it’s tempting to focus on new and more students but for now, please focus on engaging with the audience you currently have before gaining any new people.
Learning from your current audience will help you grow as a teacher and as a business owner too. So ask yourself “how can I foster engagement with my current audience today?” and share that content and message.
Until next time give yourself permission to focus on engagement and grace along the way. I’ll talk to you soon.
For more stories like this, listen to the Marketing Yoga with Confidence Podcast.
About Amanda McKinney (Marketing Coach for Yoga Teachers)
Amanda McKinney is a Marketing Coach with a passion for helping yoga teachers find the tools and the confidence within themselves to build the yoga business of their dreams. She does this through her podcast: Marketing Yoga With Confidence and online offerings. All of which focuses on building confidence and community with an extra dose of encouragement every step of the way.