Yoga Teachers: Yoga is for everyone, but YOUR yoga may not be.
As new yoga professionals, you may dream about the time when every single person around you loves coming to your all of your classes and programs; they are signing up for all of the things that you have to offer and they are deeply connected and committed to you. Sounds lovely right? In the real world, however, we need to admit that even if you are the best teacher in the world, if you don’t effectively communicate your true value to the right people, you are not going to get the results that you hope to.
Throughout the years, I have seen many new yoga studios dive straight into tactics; they make websites, flyers, social media, and newsletters. They dedicate time, effort and money into advertising and they get excited when they start seeing that new students are registering. However, their excitement begins to fade away after they realize that just as new students come, they also go.
When I go to them and ask them who their target market is; who are they advertising to. Before they respond I already know what the answer is going to be ( and I’m right most of the time), they say that their target market is “everyone”. Yogis, I understand that yoga is for everyone, this is one of the things that I always teach to people, but what you need to understand as a new yoga professional is that YOUR yoga may NOT be for everyone.
Let’s think about it; getting students through the door and having them try a couple classes is rather easy, the trick though is to keep them coming back. Industry statistics say that fifty percent of new students will not return to your studio after the first visit. Why the lack of commitment? Well, the truth is; not all students are a good fit for you, and you are not a good fit for all students. But hey, there is nothing wrong with that—unless you resist this idea. The more we align ourselves as teachers with who we are and what we are here to do, the more we feel okay letting go of anything that is incongruent with that.
This means that in order for you be able to build a loyal client base, you have to focus on building a thriving community of students who are truly connected to you. Therefore, you shouldn’t be advertising to everybody, because not everybody is your target market. So how do you identify who is the real target audience for your business? The first step is to be clearer than ever about who you are and what you want to offer.
Get to know your WHY
Your “why” is your purpose. To identify your “why,” you need to connect with your defining moment; the moment in your life when you experienced a deep transformation that may have led you directly, or indirectly, to choose yoga as your career path.
Think: What drove you to choose a path of helping others as a yoga teacher?
Once you identify and connect to your “why,” building your brand becomes easy. Identifying your purpose is crucial because it is what makes you unique as a yoga teacher, and this is the main reason why people connect with you emotionally.
Remember: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Identify your CORE VALUES
Do a self-evaluation to learn what your most important personal values are and then seek to find those students who honor them. Your yoga values do not need to be monumental or impressive, they just need to be personal to you. Defining these will not only help highlight your teaching style but also give your teaching consistency.
Hint: Which qualities would make a client ideal for you? (Punctuallity, respect, kindness, etc). These attributes that describe your ideal client are the qualities that you value yourself as a teacher and that you probably honor as well in your classes. This is the reason why sharing similar values with your clients makes a big difference.
After doing this simple exercise, you’ll start figuring out what is it that you like teaching, what you don’t like teaching, who you like teaching, who you don’t like teaching and so on and so forth. In her article “TEACHING YOUR VALUES AND GOALS AS A YOGA TEACHER” Rumpa M. advices yoga professionals on how to find their own style of teaching. She states that our personal, core beliefs should transcend to our teaching and become our yoga values and goals.
Note: “Find people who share your values, and you’ll conquer the world together.”
As a yoga professional, you need to be clear about who you are (in depth), what you do, and why you do it. Your goal is to decipher how to translate your unique gifts and styles into something students can connect with. Get in touch with yourself, and from your deepest beliefs and values you will create a plan to reach people who share them as well; this will solidify a meaningful relationship in their mind. Once you have people who resonate with you, you will be able to build your yogi tribe; they are your target market and they are going to become your loyal client base.
Remember: “Don’t count the people you reach; reach the people that count.”