As a booking & business management software for the beauty, wellness and fitness industries, Vagaro is attuned to the needs of its customers, particularly those in the yoga community.
Community really is the best word to use when describing this industry. The relationships that form between many teachers and practitioners through their shared passion for this discipline is integral to the growth of yoga businesses.
Yet, yoga professionals have unique challenges building and growing their communities. Customer retention is particularly difficult. So is visibility and growth in an expanding market. In the U.S., over 34 million people practice yoga. In the UK, 460,000 people take part in yoga classes each week.
Below are some simple fixes to these issues and how Vagaro’s software can help yoga businesses implement them.
Websites, Listings & Standing Out
Competition isn’t as threatening for yoga studios as it is for other business types. This is due in part to how large their market is, but also because of the “cross pollination” between yoga styles. It is common for, say, a practitioner of Yin yoga to up the intensity with some Vinyasa classes, or really challenge themselves with a Bikram class. A little competition, therefore, is a good thing.
However, yoga teachers, whether they own a studio or not, must list their businesses on all the major search engines and review sites. A clean, branded website will further boost their online presence and increase search engine optimization (SEO).
Yoga businesses who use Vagaro’s software have the crucial benefit of a free business profile and booking page on Vagaro’s Wellness Marketplace, a directory where millions of people search for businesses and book classes daily. This booking page functions as a branded website that lists classes, memberships and services, instructor bios, and what clients can expect.
Vagaro users can also use the Marketplace’s Get Featured option to push their business to the front of the crowd and advertise Daily Deals—flash specials that keep existing clients coming back and draw new ones in.
A first-class reputation also draws in new business. Customers are already willing to give sparkling word-of-mouth reviews, so encourage them to do this online. Customer reviews play a key role in how people choose which business they patronise. That’s why they’re enabled on Vagaro’s Marketplace booking pages, as is the option to respond if necessary.
For 7 simple tips on how to respond to customer reviews—good and bad—check out this article on Vagaro’s blog.
Stick the Transition from Booking to Check-in
Providing a transcendent experience for the members of your growing community begins before they even arrive at your studio. No, we’re not talking about a nature retreat, though that’s a fine idea. We’re talking about easy online booking and class check-in.
Think of this in terms of transitions; the smooth, seamless movements from one pose to the next. The sequence of discovering your studio, booking a class and, finally, checking in for that class should be just as seamless for customers as a Warrior II into a Triangle.
If online booking and class check-in were poses, they’d be two of Vagaro’s strongest. Clients can book classes 24/7 through Vagaro.com, the Vagaro mobile app, Yelp, Facebook & Instagram, as well as through booking widgets on your business’s website. The booking software also protects income with a booking deposits feature and automatic fee processing for no-shows and cancellations.
With Vagaro’s branded check-in app, clients can check in for classes on their phones or smart watches with a QR code, which alerts instructors of their arrival immediately. Apps are branded with a studio’s logo and can be configured to include refund policy waivers or other forms.
Simply enabling a fluid booking to check-in sequence creates convenience for your clients and increased revenue for you.
Spread the Word Through Email & SMS Text
According to Yogi Times, word of mouth (WOM) is still the best form of advertising for yoga studios trying to fill classes. While that may be the case, the truth is that many of the yogis filling those spots won’t return. According to data compiled in 2019 by the Yoga Business Summit, most yoga studios will lose 50% of clients after their first class and retain only 20–25% of them by month’s end.
The good news is that yoga businesses can significantly boost client engagement and retention, as well as increase the effectiveness of the holy WOM, through common-sense email and text marketing.
It doesn’t take a marketing guru to deploy timely, effective email and text campaigns, nor is it terribly expensive. Vagaro’s automated email & text marketing tools enable many yoga businesses to send targeted, branded messages to their customers every day. The first step is to acquire the contact information and opt-in permission of as many clients as possible. Vagaro users can conveniently store all this info into customer profiles.
Then, you’re off! Remember that email is best for lengthier messages, such as:
- Announcements for special events, such as a workshop on inversions, or a niche class about the best poses for weightlifters
- Monthly newsletters
- Helpful content, like what to expect from your first yoga class
While text is best for shorter, more urgent things, including:
- Flash promotions and discounts, such as a bring-a-friend class special
- General class reminders
- Last-minute class opening notifications
- Follow-up messages to first timers
Whether advertising class specials or sending out birthday wishes (with a nice discount attached!), your customers will feel appreciated and genuinely excited to return. They are likely to communicate their enthusiasm to friends who are looking for a place to begin, or continue, their yoga journeys.
A Note on Mindful, Multichannel Marketing
Text messages reach clients with mobile devices instantly, have an average open rate of 98% and are generally opened within 90 seconds of delivery. In the UK alone, people spend nearly five hours a day on their mobile phones, according to bbc.com. Their most-used phone service? Sending and receiving emails, says another source.
The lesson here is that, while mindfulness is a difficult concept to teach, much less embody, people are plenty mindful of their mobile devices. However, yoga businesses should also be mindful about the type of content they send and when they send it.
Sporadic, impersonal emails and clunky texts sent in the wee hours of the morning will test even the most loyal client’s patience. This easy-to-digest article on the Vagaro Blog breaks down how to make email and text work together.
Community connection is a cornerstone of growth for yoga businesses. A sound email & text marketing strategy, combined with a strong online presence and intuitive booking across multiple touchpoints, will help increase that growth.
Vagaro has given over 1,000 yoga businesses these tools, and assists with many other aspects of studio management, from inventory and payment processing to staff management. We are proud of the many roles we play in our customers’ communities. For information on how we can help build and grow yours, give us a call
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Vagaro is a cloud-based scheduling software commonly used by beauty, fitness, and wellness businesses to manage booking, credit card payments and processing, marketing, payroll, inventory management, reporting, and much more.