The COVID-19 crisis has put all non-essential businesses in a bind. Yoga studios pre-crisis operated almost entirely in-person at studios or designated locations. We recognize the changing landscape and how important it is to transition to a diversified physical and digital presence in order to survive and thrive in this new environment.
We have put together a list of resources to point yoga studios in the right direction as our new reality comes to fruition. This post is a guide for yoga studios to get online, hold remote classes, collect payments, and market their business effectively online.
We are running with the assumption that most yoga studios currently have a website, or at least the start of one.
You may be too busy or don’t want to take the time to build a site. If this is the case, there are people you can hire to craft one for you.
If you have the money, we highly recommend this route. The price for a site can range anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000+ based on complexity. Building a website has many nuances and cannot be explained in one post. If you need advice on this matter, reach out to us for a free consultation.
If you’re a small studio owner or individual teacher and don’t want a full website, you can create a simple one page site/landing page using the platforms mentioned above. On the landing page, have a button that links to your scheduling platform or event. Having an online presence helps demonstrate authority and is a valuable asset to your studio.
Now that your studio is online, how do you host virtual classes?
Hosting Virtual Classes
A few pieces of equipment and software will be essential to run a virtual class.
First, you will need a computer with a camera. This allows participants to see the instructor in the same way they would in-person. Most modern laptops will be able to handle this. If your laptop is from pre-2010, you may want to look into a newer one or have the instructor bring their own device to ensure the streaming quality is adequate.
We also highly recommend having a proper microphone connected to the computer. The Blue Yeti is a phenomenal microphone for a fair price. This will allow your customers to hear the instructor clearly and improve the quality of the experience. If you want to get extra fancy, look into some wireless lapel microphones.
You will also need a video conferencing platform to hold live sessions. Zoom is an affordable option ($14.99/Month) and the easiest to set up from a user perspective. The technologically inept can figure out how to set up Zoom with this clear guide. This platform also allows you to create a unique meeting ID for each class. This minimizes the amount of users who try to manipulate the system and get free classes. If you do not want to use Zoom, there are other live streaming platforms you can experiment with such as Vimeo livestreaming.
30 minutes before the class starts, you will need to send the unique meeting ID via email to all of the participants that signed up. By sending a unique meeting ID, you steer clear of people joining the class for free. There is no automated way to do this through Zoom as of right now. If it is a free class, send out the same link to everyone.
Once you have these components, you are ready to run an online class! However, you should test your equipment and run a mock class or two to assure everything functions properly. The customer will be expecting a reliable experience, so make sure you address possible issues beforehand.
Now that you have the ability to hold classes online, how do we accept payments?
Collecting online payments
If you are an established studio, chances are you already have a scheduling platform integrated into your system. If you don’t, mindbody is a great platform that will simplify both your life and the studio's operations. If you choose this option, attendees can pay directly through their mindbody account.
You can also use different platforms such as Schedulicity, Eventbrite, or Facebook. These are solid options if you only run a few classes a week, but at the end of the day if you have multiple classes per day, a robust scheduling platform like mindbody will be well worth the investment.
If you are an individual and running a donation based class, try using Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle with your participants. This will give them the option to donate electronically and all you have to do is set up an account on each platform. Of course cash is always welcome too!
Now that you have an online presence, virtual classes, and payment collection figured out… How do you get people to show up to classes?
Marketing to your audience online
Getting people to show up to a class is easier said than done. Testing different marketing strategies will be essential to the success of your online transition.
In our day and age social media has become a must. You do not need to direct all of your resources towards it, however, you should have an Instagram and Facebook page where your students can find out information about the studio and classes.
We also highly recommend making a LinkedIn account if you haven’t yet! Many professionals in your network will be looking for a way to blow off steam both during this quarantine and after it ends.
A great tool to schedule your posts ahead of time is Hootsuite. Not only can you set it and forget it, but it saves you time by only having to create one post and being able to deploy it on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The best part about social media marketing is it allows you to stay in front of your customers at all times free of charge! It is a no brainer for individuals and yoga studio owners.
Email marketing is a powerful tool. If you have an existing email list, you need to leverage it for educational and communication purposes. Send informative emails about how to sign up for classes, how to download the software, and of course some at home yoga tips to show authority.
In addition, sending out a weekly schedule of classes - physical and online - is a good practice to keep your faithful informed. If you don’t have an email list yet, you need to start one today.
Looking for an email management system? Mailchimp is a great place to start if you are new to email marketing.
If you’re looking to generate new first time customers, paid ads can be a useful resource.
For example, with paid ads allow you to target specific audiences on Facebook such as females (24-54) in the Greater Boston Area. You can get much more detailed in your targeting as well including their hobbies, interests, demographics and more.
Facebook, Instagram, and Google Search are the most effective paid media platforms for yoga studies. Paid ads can be complex. If you have a DIY mentality, check out Surfside PPC’s Youtube Channel for valuable information on the topic. If you’d like to outsource your paid ads, reach out to us and we can help.
The only constant in life is change. Although this crisis is unfortunate in a multitude of ways, it has revealed to us the necessity to adapt to change. For some, it may be a change in perspective. For yoga studios, it’s the realization that the current business model needs to be diversified to withstand future potential obstacles.
We sourced this information from yoga studio owners as well as from our own experiences. If you have any questions or additional resources you’ve found helpful, please drop them in the comments below!
Would you like to explore value focused marketing campaigns to help grow your business with AuthentIQ? We can help you rethink your marketing as a way to produce value for your current and future clients, developing deep relationships that last. We love forms, but you can also leave us a voice message below. We can't wait to hear your voice!