Archive for the ‘Pilates Business Marketing’ Category
As a mind/body professional you’re used to teaching others how to stay in touch with their breath, their body and the way they move in space.
And whether you attend classes to be taught, or just like to hang out at in your own space and practice on your mat - you know how important it is everyday to take “you time”.
Whether it’s to move your body for an hour or so, sit quietly and practice mindfulness or have a well deserved nap between teaching classes.
But, sometimes “life gets in the way” - an instructor is sick and you have to cover the class, you have a staff meeting to attend, you need to chase up the brochures, you have to market your classes, you need to pick up the kids from school…
if you don’t make time everyday to listen to (and hear!) your own heart – to it’s urgings, it’s desires and needs, how can you really make the impact you want to with your clients?
If you’re not hearing your heart’s urgings, how can you influence the minds and hearts of the people you really want to help?
So how can we take “time-out” and make sure we’re listening to our heart, while making sure “everything else” is running smoothly?
Here’s some suggestions:
- Be choosy: Today there is so much information, noise and turmoil around us all. Whether it’s having the radio or TV on, interacting on social media or dealing with family and friends. It can be really hard to find an “escape” from all the noise and demands. So make a choice: choose who you want to listen to; what you want to read and watch; who you want to “hang with”.
- Embrace nature: When was the last time you stepped outside and heard only the birds sing, the wind rustle in the trees or the waves crash on the beach? It may be hard to schedule a “mini-break” right now, but using your mind/body knowledge, you can filter out the traffic noises, the chatter of passing pedestrians and focus on the birds singing to each other. Or maybe you can take time each night to look out your bedroom window and watch the clouds part as the moon and stars emerge. Embracing nature and allowing it into your life will help your heart stay open and warm.
- Do at least one thing a week that makes your heart sing: If you’re teaching mind/body classes on a regular basis, your creative energies can get depleted if you’re not replenishing them regularly. Take some time to consider what you would really love to do, but have put off. Maybe it’s to start a drawing or painting class, maybe you really want to learn how to bake cupcakes, perhaps you want to learn how to belly dance? Whether it’s a singing class, a stand-up paddle class or a walk in the bush every week, make sure you schedule this in your diary and put a “not negotiable” around it.
Hearing and listening to your own heart beat is important - whether you teach a few classes a week or own a studio.
Getting in the habit of filtering out noise will help you stay aligned with your heart-path – and from this, what you create can be anything you desire.
As a mind/body instructor, you feel “in the zone” when you’re teaching your students.
You love seeing your students move with more freedom and feel a thrill when you see how their commitment to the practice changes their life.
But it can feel really overwhelming when it comes to how to market your classes.
After 17+ years in the fitness and mind/body industries, I’ve come up with a 3-step process to help quieten the “monkey mind” that can appear when you want to attract more students.
Step 1: Get grounded
Many yoga and Pilates exercises focus on being grounded . That may be when you lie supine and feel every part of your spine on the mat – or when you stand tall at the top of your mat before you commence your Sun Salutations.
Feeling grounded creates an inward sense of stability and a quietness of mind.
Now use this when you market your classes:
- Write down 3-5 things you love about teaching. How do you feel when your classes are fully booked?
- Cast your mind back to when you had “the best” day teaching. What happened during the day and how did this translate into your life “off the mat”? For example, did you come home after teaching back-to-back classes feeling grateful that you’re making a difference?
- Lastly, think back to the first time you seriously considered being a mind/body teacher. Maybe you were in a job you hated and you realised that if you didn’t follow your heart and enrol in the instructor training, you would never feel happy? Perhaps you had a teacher who made such an impact on your life that you felt compelled to follow in their footsteps?
Step 2: Connect
Connection is a key principle in Pilates and yoga. Whether that’s to your core or to your breath, you know from your personal practice and from teaching your clients that it also helps to stay “in the moment”.
Now use this when you market your classes:
- Who do you want to connect with in your local community? What could you offer them that makes your classes “stand-out”? For example, they may be desk-bound workers who really need help with releasing their neck and shoulders, but are reluctant to commit to a series of classes. Could you offer a one-off workshop at lunchtime or offer to go into their office to show them “5 ways to relieve neck and back stress using Pilates/Yoga exercises”.
- Next, connect with what makes you stand out from other teachers. Think back to what your students have told you after they’ve had a great class – “I sleep so much better after your class…this class sets me up for the week, I feel so aligned and peaceful…If it wasn’t for your classes I would have to be at the Physiotherapist every week!” Including a student testimonial in your marketing material is a form of social proof. It’s like when you’re looking for a restaurant online and you look at the reviews before you ring up and book!
Step 3: Set an intention
Setting an intention in yoga is called “sankalpa” which can be loosely defined as a conception or idea formed in the mind or heart.
When you’re planning your classes for the week ahead, you are consciously and subconsciously setting intentions.
From class structure, to researching contraindications for clients, to creating a theme for the week.
Now use this when you market your classes:
- Before starting any marketing, sit quietly and drop down into your heart. When you feel ready, quietly ask, “What do I really want from marketing my classes?” The first answers that come up may be from your head. You may notice things like “I need more students so I can pay my rent easily…I would like more students so I don’t feel like it’s a waste of time when only 5 people turn up in a room that fits 25…” Notice what is coming up, without judgment then breathe deeply. Now, allow the answers to come from your heart. You may notice things like, “I want to market my classes so I can help more people in my community improve their health…I have amazing tools to help young mothers stay present, so they can be peaceful and balanced when they’re parenting…”
- Lastly, ask yourself how you want to feel when you’re teaching. Again, allow the answers to resonate from your heart and watch the “head stuff” without getting caught up in it.
Marketing your classes goes hand-in-hand with teaching classes.
Start slowly, be kind to yourself and most importantly, allow yourself to enjoy the process.
Have you noticed how much louder and busier things get around this time of year?
As the end of year celebrations get closer, stress and anxiety levels rise, grumpiness becomes a default setting for some and there’s a sense of “time running out”.
You may even hear yourself saying things like, “Once I get through these next few weeks, then I can relax…”
The end of year means different things for all of us, yet there is a common feeling that it’s a milestone to aim for.
In a studio setting you may notice that your clients are getting tired, forgetting the simplest of exercises, not turning up to class or turning up in such a stressed out state that you spend most of the class just trying to get them to breathe!
So what to do?
With that sense of rushing towards December 31 comes an internal pressure to “get things done”.
It may be wrapping up your classes for the year, organizing an end of year party or making sure your home renovation is completed by December 25.
And with so many people feeling this way, is it any wonder that so many people world-wide feel like they’re just about ready to explode?
As a mind/body practitioner, it can be challenging to stay balanced and calm at times like this, so here’s some tips to help you and your clients out:
1 Reflect on how far you’ve come this year
As a Pilates and Yoga instructor, it’s almost second nature to set intentions, both in your business and personal life.
Go back in your mind to January 1 this year.
What were your intentions?
Maybe you wanted to increase the number of classes you taught a week?
Perhaps this was the year you branched out on your own for the first time?
Or maybe, you had a goal to expand your reach in your local community by marketing your classes more?
Now quietly, consider how far you’ve come since January…
Maybe your intentions changed mid-stream – and that’s perfectly fine because this is your life; your journey will take little twists and turns along the way.
2 What have you learned this year?
Did you have a goal to learn how to cook cupcakes like a professional?
Maybe you wanted to learn how to meditate?
Sit quietly and consider all the lessons you’ve learned so far this year.
In a class setting, some of the most life-changing lessons can come from seemingly inconsequential moments.
Many years ago, one of my clients suffered a relapse – she knew the secondary pains in her back and hips weren’t muscular, and so did I.
One day, as I was adjusting her reformer straps she quietly mentioned this was her last class.
Instead of putting her body through endless medical treatments and procedures, she had decided to spend her last few weeks at her beach house – surrounded by her dogs and family.
This 3 minute conversation still has a profound impact on me today (as I’m writing this, tears are rolling down my face…)
So stop for a moment, because sometimes the smallest lessons can produce the most profound results.
3 Helping your clients
Your clients come to class to move their bodies; to improve their strength and flexibility – but you are giving them so much more.
Over the next few weeks, take the time to remind your clients how far they’ve come this year – how they’re moving without pain, how they’re stronger and more energized.
Your classes are a perfect space for you to help them slow down – to feel the stress melt away and to appreciate every moment.
So with a new year approaching, take the time to appreciate and celebrate where you are now.
Inhale the possibilities of each new minute, hour and day – exhale the busy-ness, stress and anxiety.
As a Pilates and Yoga Instructor, you know how important the abdominals are.
Whether you refer to the abdominals as “the powerhouse” or “the core”, you teach each movement with the understanding that abdominal connection is vital.
But there’s a deeper layer to the abdominals that isn’t really spoken about – your “gut instinct” or “intuition”.
So what’s your gut instinct got to do with marketing your Studio and classes?
More than you first think!
And the more you lean into your gut instinct when you go about broadening your reach in the community, the easier and sweeter life becomes.
To help unravel how your “gut instinct” works, I recently spoke to Helen Thomas, a world-renowned intuitive healer.
Here’s what she has to say about using your intuition in your business:
Question: How can we access our gut instinct or intuition?
“We’re born with intuition; it’s our gut instinct and the initial response we have to anything in life. It’s a Yes/No, Good/Bad and is very different to emotion. But if we’re not used to listening to intuition our ego gets involved and says, ‘You shouldn’t listen to this, what if…..happens?’
Our gut instinct couldn’t care less about judgments because it’s the spiritual heart and is who you are; it’s love and understanding without judgment.
By learning to slow our mind down and carving time out to be quiet we can connect with our intuition.”
Question: How did you decide to use your intuition in all areas of your life?
“As a really logical and responsible person, I was taught to work hard and ‘make something of yourself‘. My head was saying ‘work hard and be smart and the success will come’ but my heart and gut instinct was saying, ‘why don’t you check this path out?’ (setting up my own business as a healer).
I was working in a great job (in PR and marketing) and was university qualified. So I ignored my gut instinct and endured 5 years of conflict with this war going on between my head and intuition.”
Question: Is it possible to use intuition when creating a business?
“I was told to do a business plan and knew I had to. But every single time my head wanted to take charge there were blockages. Then I realised that stressing about business and marketing plans was going against what my gut was telling me.
I believe that life is like a magic car ride. You can tell the magic car where you want to go; what lifestyle you want, what people you want to be with, what feelings you want to have, but then you have to jump in the passenger seat, not the driver seat. Because when you try to drive the car, you just want to get there fast! But by allowing the magic car to take you there, life opens up in ways you could never ever imagine.
The head tries to plot and plan but this over-rides the magic. The head can be useful but it doesn’t allow the blinkers to come on. And I’ve found that getting centred and grounded in my heart and intuition has allowed me to make better decisions in my life.”
Question: What are 3 ways to connect with our intuition?
1 – Allow yourself quiet time to “be” who you are
2 – Write down your gut impressions and date them. Note where you felt the intuition in your body and what caused you to feel like this.
3 – TRUST yourself; be comfortable with who you are and don’t worry about others.
And everyday, aim to make choices and decisions that make your heart sing!
It’s happened again!
You made a list of promotional, marketing and administrative tasks but you haven’t even crossed off the first one.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Being a professional Pilates and Yoga Instructor and Studio owner takes up a lot of time, energy and resources.
So when you do make the time to sit at the desk and “get focused on marketing”, you need to be as productive as possible.
And yet, this can be really challenging!
Even though you teach balance, alignment, focus and concentration to your Pilates and Yoga clients, practicing these mindsets at your desk can seem impossible.
The following mindset strategies will help you step into a new way of working.
Step 1: Focus
When you prescribe exercises and movements to your clients, you have a specific focus in mind. You may want your client to access deeper muscle groups or to connect with their breath.
Use this principle when you sit down at your desk, and ask yourself, “What am I really trying to do here?”
Take a few moments to work out exactly what you want to achieve out of the 10, 15 or 45 minutes you’ve scheduled for administrative or marketing tasks.
Once you’ve defined these, write them down – this helps you stay accountable.
Step 2: Be aware of your “ping”
As you’re looking over your new brochure copy or writing an eNewsletter, you may notice a “ping” that goes off in your head.
It may say:
- “You’d better check your email again,” or
- “Did that client re-book when they said they would?”, or
- “I should update the Facebook page with the latest class information!”
And the more “desk-work” you have to do, the more your “ping” will pop-up!
The “monkey mind” is telling you that there is something more important outside of yourself than what you’re doing now and it will try to create a very convincing argument that it’s correct!
Be aware of what your traps are: checking email, social media pages, answering the phone or checking your text messages.
Taming your “ping” will help you stay on track.
Step 3: Monitor what you’re reading, watching and listening to
There is so much information in the world now, competing for your attention.
From early morning, to late evening, your mind receives thousands of messages everyday – from radio, TV, and newspapers to social media updates.
Being conscious of what you’re “consuming” can help you stay focused.
Ask yourself, “What am I curious about? What resources will help me reach my goal?”
Drawing resources and information into your world that supports and nourishes you is as important as eating healthy food and drinking clean water.
Use these strategies to stay focused on your core intentions whenever you market and promote your Pilates and Yoga classes.
I was recently interviewed by Marguerite Ogle from PilatesAbout.com.
Topics that we covered included:
- Why copy-cat marketing doesn’t work,
- How to cross-promote your services without stress, and
- Why more training won’t necessarily result in more clients,
Falling in Love with your Business…
Have you ever had the feeling that your Studio has a mind of its own?
Maybe you’ve felt like your business isn’t listening to you?
You invest so much time, effort and energy into your Pilates or Yoga business, BUT you’re not being appreciated!
Did you know that the relationship you have with your Pilates or Yoga Studio is exactly the same as your personal relationships?
Whether you’re single, attached, married or “just looking”, the dynamics that exist in your personal relationships also exist in your business relationship.
So it’s always good to step back on a regular basis and assess if the relationship you’ve got with your business is healthy!
Questions to start with include:
- Is it meeting all your needs including financial?
- Is it giving you the return on investment (of energy, time, money and effort) that you expect?
- Is your relationship with your business healthy, thriving and full of passion?
But like all relationships, it’s easy to let familiarity and “being comfortable” creep in.
In your Pilates or Yoga Business this shows up when:
- You’ve lost your passion for what you’re doing,
- Your original intention for the Studio is long forgotten, or
- You feel like you’re “going through the motions”
How can you “fix this”?
Resolve right here, right now to create a new direction for your relationship.
- Where would you like your business to be in 6 months time?
- How do you want to feel in the business relationship? and
- Could it be time to create a new direction that reflects where you are now?
Now look at how you’re communicating with your business!
Like all personal relationships, the communication you have with your business does have its “highs and lows”.
Stop for a moment and check in with yourself:
- Are you listening and hearing what your business is telling you with the cash-flow statements, the client feedback forms, the marketing statistics?
- Do you have clear intentions, backed up with strategies and plans that will help your business achieve what you want?
The relationship you have with your business is personal – it reflects back to you exactly what’s going on in your life.
Your business is an extension of your energy – if you’re tired, it will be tired.
BUT – if you’re passionate, with clear intentions and vision, your business will thrive!
So what could your business relationship be like if you changed the way you communicated with it?
Life moves pretty fast…
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller
One of my all-time favorite movies is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
And the recent Super Bowl car ad, featuring Matthew Broderick, prompted me to watch it again!
In typical Ferris Bueller style, I decided I wouldn’t do what “normal people” were doing on weekday afternoon.
I decided to “crack my routine” and sat down to watch it – because I knew I needed to give myself a break.
Yes, I still had many things on my “to-do” list to action and like you, I have commitments.
But you’ve seen first hand how habits, patterns and routines affect your clients lives – in a negative way:
- The client who has spent years at a desk and now has the “office worker” posture (forward neck & rounded shoulders),
- The client who always places their handbag in the same place, and
- The client who jostles for the same spot in your class.
We get taught from a young age that routine is “good for us” – and maybe it is, at first.
But when was the last time you questioned the habits, routines and patterns in your business?
You have some very important routines:
- Paying wages,
- Returning email enquiries, and
- Working on marketing your Studio.
But are there other routines that have become a part of who you are, that you don’t need anymore?
These strategies can help you “crack your routine”:
- Stop and observe what you’re doing on a daily basis: at home, in your business and in your relationships,
- Notice what actions, patterns and thoughts feel good and that are serving you,
- Now look at any of the routines you’ve got in place that don’t feel so good and that may be hindering you,
- Specifically, look at how you behave, act, feel and think in your Studio.
- Do these routines help you move toward your personal and business goals effortlessly and in alignment with your values?
- If not, it’s time to stop and replace this routine and pattern with a new one.
Taking time out of your daily routine (like Ferris did!) can seem like a “waste of time” – but what if it wasn’t?
What if shaking up your daily routines helped you create better outcomes?
Have you got a crystal clear vision for your Studio?
Or are you like most Studio owners and Instructors who just want to teach and run a business…so stop talking about getting a vision!
Yes, you can create and develop a Studio without a vision, but:
- Will it attract the types of clients you want to work with?
- Will your marketing reflect the results your clients get from you? and
- Will you stand out from the crowded marketplace or be seen as like everyone else?
A vision for your business is the foundation on which everything else is built: marketing, promotions, class schedules…
The benefits of having a clear vision for your Studio?
- Your marketing becomes effortless and joyful,
- You lose the sense of anxiety and confusion when marketing your business, and
- All your marketing is in alignment and makes the impact you want.
Your vision is the driving force of your business.
Here’s the first steps to creating a strong vision for your Studio:
- Where do you see your business in 3, 5 or 10 years time? Take a walk into the future and throw open all the doors to possibility…
- What do you want to be known for? Do you want your Studio to be the “Number 1″ in pre-natal Yoga in your community?
- Sit quietly and ask yourself, “Why do I get out of bed every morning?” HINT: take the time to dig deep on this one, it’s not that you “just want to teach”!
Once you’ve developed a strong vision statement, ask for honest feedback and give it to a trusted friend or mentor.
Remember that your vision must be strong and in alignment with your values. It needs to feel passionate, alive and “you”!
Your vision is like your GPS, a map to your future.
It needs to be used as the basis for all of your business and marketing planning.
So place your vision statement where you can see it every day.
It’s the life force energy of your business and your guide for the future.