Welcome to Yoga Musings

Yoga Studios: Teachers Series, Pt. 1

Your yoga studio flourishes with excellent yoga teachers, and suffers when instruction is subpar.  Today, we will cover how you can 1) find great teachers for your studio, 2) balance incoming and transitioning teachers’ classes, and 3) more effectively communicate with your teachers to help your studio thrive!

How to Find Good Teachers:A group of teachers can make or break a studio's success.

  • Post on Facebook Local that your studio needs teachers.
  • Use resources of universities – promote your YTT at a university, and then recruit from your training.
  • Make connections with Facebook groups that are local.
  • Create Instagram ads based on locale and interests.
  • Call neighboring studios and ask if any teachers are looking to teach more.
  • Within your studio sign up algorithm, insert a “Let us know if you are a yoga teacher” section. Give them a discount, flag in system, and then reach out to them when hiring.

Balance Transitioning of Teachers’ Classes

Consider a scenario of the unprofessional departure of a teacher. Perhaps a teacher announced to her classes before she left, and so the announcement did not come from the owner; customers were upset. So, how do you prevent the class from falling apart after their departure?

  • As the owner, send an email ahead of the teacher’s departure.
  • Offer students a free class with the new instructor, for a smoother transition.
  • Let transitions coincide with the month.  So, if someone leaves, ask them to wait until the end of the month so that the schedule can reflect the change.  Customers know that at the beginning of the month, there might be changes—new times, new classes, new instructors.  Be sure to announce the new schedule and any changes each month.
  • Provide an Instructor Guideline, i.e. “20 Steps to Follow for Being a Yoga Instructor at [your studio]”.  Give teachers clear expectations as to the exit process, and what is expected to wow the customer.

Develop Better Communication with Teachers

Often there is weak communication with studio staff and teachers. Listen and have open dialogue with your teachers. Teachers are your front line to the customer. Let teachers know they are valued. Often fast departures come from dissatisfaction of a teacher. So, it’s important to know what this dissatisfaction is to prevent it in the future. Create meetings that stress that you want to know what the teachers think about the schedule, what might be needed, and how the studio can improve the student’s experience—if there is anything the studio can add or do to improve the work environment.  Encourage teachers to share their opinions and ask if they want to contribute, possibly via workshops. Show them that you value their knowledge and expertise—because they will be more vested if they feel a part of the business.

If you are a yoga teacher, what do you think studios can do to help create a cohesive and supportive environment for instructors?  If you are a yoga studio, what practices have you found that help build instructor morale and loyalty?

P.S. on the flipside of things — we like The Clymb’s tips for teachers to find the right yoga studio!


Email Marketing…Where do I Start? Pt. 4

Today, we conclude our series on email marketing with advice on subject matter and email management systems!  If you missed part 1 on who to market to, part 2 on what to market about, or part 3 on when to initiate email marketing, be sure to check those posts out!

Consider the importance of email subject lines.

Subject Lines

Subject lines are so important and need to be experimented with.  Depending on what email marketing software you use, you should have access to analytics.  After running some campaigns, see which ones had the highest open rates.  Study those subject lines, as there was something there that enticed the readers to open your email.  Here are some tactics to use when writing effective subject lines:

  • Heighten curiosity—new class event, new workshop, special guest teacher.
  • Create urgency—expiration dates for promotion/discount, limited availability.
  • Make it relevant to your customer.
  • Show value.
  • Elicit emotion.
  • Personalize your email—use the customer’s first name, for example.
  • Open-ended questions.
  • Schedule them at the right time.
  • Tell a story from a studio member.
  • Short subject lines (between 1-20 characters).
  • Subject lines with free stuff (but don’t use the word “free”)!

There are some words you can use that will trigger spam alerts.  Karen Rubin wrote a great article that included a list of words that can trigger spam.  It’s highly recommended that you take a look at the list before starting your email campaigns.

What System Should You Use?

You need to actually find a service outside of gmail or an internet provider.  Sending group emails is generally not permitted by regular email providers.  Instead, use a company that provides email services for businesses.  These systems are called email management systems.  Email management systems make creating email blasts and campaigns much easier and provide you with analytics.  Analytics are important, as you will spend time creating the emails , and will need to know if they are effective.  You can then learn from your campaigns, and replicate what works.  Email management systems follow the laws set up for controlling spam.  They have features that follow these rules, such as an unsubscribe link within all emails that are sent out.

Common EMS (Email Management Systems)

  • Constant Contact
  • Mailchimp
  • Campaign Monitor
  • Get Response
  • Aweber
  • Infusionsoft
  • Benchmark One

General Email Tips

  • First email should be short, simple, and text-based.
  • Set time aside each month to create email blasts.
  • Send a 1x/week email blast to all customers.
  • Respond to inquiries quickly.
  • Avoid Monday delivery.
  • The best times to send out emails are 5:30 am-6:30 am and 1 pm-2:30 pm.
  • Include “Forward to a friend” links.
  • Be brief, to the point, and respect your customer’s time and inbox.
  • Think in terms of solving a problem for your customer.
  • The primary purpose of the emails is to serve your customers (not sell your customers).  Every email should convey this.

Do you have any email tips that we should add to our list as we finish this series?  Let us know in the comments!

Email Marketing…Where do I Start? Pt. 3

Today, in the third part of our email marketing series, we cover strategizing and timing for email marketing.  We even offer a couple of sample schedules that you can try out for your campaigns!  If you missed part 1 on email lists, or part 2 on types of emails, be sure to check those articles out!

Strategizing Content and Timing of Emails

Crafting the content of your emails, deciding on your subject line, and scheduling the delivery takes attention, strategizing, and practice with timing.  Consider what your customers find value in.  What group are you emailing to—new customers, regular customers?—they will need different messages.  Either way, you still want to provide valuable, useful information.  For example, articles that establish your expertise, information they can apply to their lives or their practice, schedules, etc.  Consider the “pain points” for your customer, such as addressing common questions

new yogis might have, or explaining proper etiquette and procedures when entering a yoga studio.  Take the unknown out for them.  Schedule daily emails for the first week of a new customer to encourage them to return.  However, an existing, loyal customer may only need emails that notify them of class changes, new teachers, special events, etc.

Keep email marketing simple and focus on timing to encourage customers to return to your business!

Sample Email Strategy for New Customer

  • Day 1: Welcome to the studio.
  • Day 2: About you, the owner, and info about different classes.
  • Day 3: Suggested classes for the student who is new to yoga, the athlete, or for stress reduction.
  • Day 4: Tips and recommendations to the new yoga student.
  • Day 5: Free class pass for a friend.
  • Day 6: Resource-oriented establishing experience.
  • Day 7: Upcoming events.
  • Day 14: Checking in.
  • Day 21: Helpful tip (general, yoga-oriented, health, recipes).
  • Day 28: Class suggestions.
  • Day 35: Helpful tip #2.
  • Day 42: Free class pass for a friend.
  • Day 49: Resource-oriented.
  • Day 56: Checking in.

After this point, your new customer will have established themselves in the habit of coming to your studio.  Now, you can rely on Blast emails.

As a part of your strategy, keeping the timing of your campaigns to under 90 days is wise.  There is a lot that can change in a studio and in life that might prompt you to change your messaging.  Keep it fresh and current.  Make sure you schedule time in your calendar to re-write campaigns every 90 days—this comes about faster than one thinks!

Sample Email Strategy for Opt-Ins

  • Day 1: Thank you for visiting the website, an introduction of yourself and your studio, free class pass.
  • Day 10: Interesting yoga-related article.
  • Day 20: Drive to website/blog.
  • Day 35: Testimonial of student.
  • Day 35: Helpful infographic of Yoga in America (Yoga Journal 2016 research).
  • Day 45:  Workshops and Events
  • Day 55: Yoga for Everybody article/email.
  • Day 60:  Free class pass.

Can you think of some emails to help capture a new student’s attention, and encourage them to come back to your studio?  Let us know your ideas for strategizing and timing your email campaigns in the comments!

Email Marketing…Where Do I Start? Pt. 2

Last week, we touched on the many benefits of email marketing, as well as how to begin building an email list.  Today’s second part of our email marketing series is all about utilizing different kinds of emails for effective intention and messaging.

Types of Emails

Auto Responder — These are very effective.  You are working while you aren’t working.  You can set one or a series of emails off at scheduled times.  These emails can also be event based.  For example, if someone opts in on your webpage, then an email is automatically sent to welcome them.  Another option is to have drip campaigns that get started, and every so many days, another email will follow.  You can string these emails with various types of marketing: start with a welcome email, share class schedules, give introductions to studio teachers, give free passes to share with friends, etc. (Check out this blog post from Campaign Manager for some great auto response email campaign ideas!)

Blast Emails — These are one-off emails that are typically time sensitive (whereas auto responder emails are not time sensitive, and can be started at any time).  A blast email will go to your entire list, all at once.  Once a week is a good frequency for keeping touch points with your customers.  Examples of email blasts could be:

  • Studio events such as workshops, trainings, and special guests.
  • Offers, such as discounted packages for a limited time.
  • Changes to studio class schedule.
  • New or departing teacher announcements.
  • Newsletters.

Be clear about your intention when creating email campaigns.What is your intention or message?

When creating emails, you need to be clear on your intention and objective of sending the email.  Everyone receives far too many emails, so it is vital to make sure that what you send is of value to your customers.  Part of this is addressed in knowing what group you are targeting.  If it is irrelevant to the customer, you have a higher probability that they will unsubscribe.

Emails can be used to encourage opt-ins to come in and try out the studio.  You can use a campaign when a new customer arrives as a way to encourage them to keep coming back.  You can share with them other aspects of what your studio has to offer—encourage them to explore different classes, and share upcoming events with them.  Perhaps you provide useful tips about the practice of yoga.  Within the first 30 days of using a new service, a person is more likely refer their friends to the new service.  While they are boasting about your studio, make sure to provide them with free passes for friends!

Email campaigns or auto-responders are continuous and ongoing.  You will have a string of emails that can be sent to someone in September, and someone else will get the same series if they join as a new student in November.  Thus, these emails need not be time sensitive.  On the other hand, email blasts are time sensitive—these are one-off emails that are relevant to what is going on in the studio right now.

Consider your intent for a potential auto-response email series…Maybe it’s for new customers, or someone who hasn’t visited the studio in a while—how can you hook them?

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