Solving 4 Major Yoga Studio Challenges
Yoga’s global popularity continues to grow, creating opportunities for passionate yogis who want to go into business for themselves. However, running a profitable studio in such a saturated market can be far more difficult than transitioning from Triangle to Warrior II.
Tarik Celebi and Mena Niakian, owners of GLO Yoga in Livermore, CA, know these challenges well. GLO Yoga opened in October of 2021, a time when many people were eager to resume normal routines, but many others were still apprehensive about returning to in-studio yoga classes due to COVID-19. GLO rose to the challenge and built a safe & thriving studio in just a year.
“It’s all about innovating this ancient art and offering things that will take your studio to another level,” said Celebi.
Below, we’ll cover the four most common challenges that yoga studios face when trying to stand out, and some of the ways GLO Yoga addresses them.
1. Creating & Maintaining Consistent Cashflow
Yoga studios often struggle because they aren’t run like many other businesses. However, there are ways to embrace your better business sense without sacrificing the inherent values of this discipline.
Let’s start by talking about drop-ins. They are always welcome—those words are probably emblazoned on your studio’s front door—but you don’t want to get stuck in a kind of drop-in Samsara. So, how do you convert those short-term clients into loyal members and create recurring income for your business?
By increasing your drop-in rates. Your stomach just turned a bit, didn’t it? Don’t worry, the goal is to set drop-in rates just high enough to make your memberships and class packages seem like a better deal.
Packages and recurring memberships should provide value, flexibility and accountability for clients. The more of them you sell, the better.
GLO Yoga’s membership tiers and pricing structure illustrate how to upsell clients by creating value. Here are three examples:
- A single drop-in class at GLO Yoga is $29.99
- GLO Yoga’s two-week unlimited special, offered to first-time visitors, is $49.99
- GLO Yoga’s renewable Start Membership, renewed monthly at $89.99, is for four classes per month
The math is clear. GLO Yoga’s packages—sold in bunches of 5, 10, 15 & 20—are also priced so that clients get more value if they commit long term. This is the model to follow.
Billing for multiple membership & package types gets tricky without the right software. We suggest one with an autopay feature that can accommodate any billing cycle. All you should have to do is teach and let the income roll in. Namaste!
2. Attracting New Clients
Yoga studios rely heavily on word-of-mouth (WoM) marketing to attract new clients. However, the modern yoga studio cannot survive by the holy WoM alone. Here are 5 other commonsense ways you can market your studio:
Rack Up Those Reviews
Customer reviews play a huge part in how consumers choose. Every business covets those four- and five-star reviews, including yoga studios. Ask your students to do this on your website, social media pages and review sites, like Yelp. Remember—your responses matter, so here are 7 handy tips for responding to client reviews.
Smart Introductory Offers
Offering trials at reduced rates for new members is a great idea, but they should be well thought out. Something like a seven- or ten-day trial may sound reasonable, but how many classes will a new student attend in that period? The average first-time yogi tends to struggle through their first few. A 30-day offer gives them the time to adjust and build their skill and gives them the opportunity to try out different classes.
Offer Greater Class Variety
You and your instructors may specialize in certain yoga forms, but by offering a variety of classes, you’ll attract a wider array of students. For example, what yoga variations are best for older individuals, or those recovering from injuries?
In addition to traditional Vinyasa and hot Pilates classes, GLO Yoga consistently offers several restorative options as well. These include Hot Fusion-to-Meditation and Vinyasa Flow-into-Restorative yoga classes. These are great for people who are beginning their yoga journeys, or who may not otherwise be blessed with the greatest range of mobility. Everyone is different, and if you want the biggest chunk of change, then you need to appeal to a wider audience.
Run Special Events
Hosting fun, creative events is a fantastic way to keep long-time members interested and attract new clients. They also help foster a sense of community among your clientele.
GLO Yoga’s Flights & Flows event is one of these. It’s a nighttime Sculpt yoga class set to 90’s Hip-Hop classics, followed by wine flights poured by a professional sommelier. The event is free to GLO Yoga’s members, and $39 for non-members. The inaugural Flights & Flows was such a hit that GLO Yoga now offers it regularly. Who knew yoga could be such a great wine pairing!
Hint: Have a list of the year’s upcoming events at the sign-up desk and on your website so potential members have a visual of the value you’re offering.
Partner With Local Businesses
We covered the concept of comarketing in a previous article. Comarketing is basically a mutually beneficial partnership/referral program between two or more local businesses.
Flights and Flows is a prime example of co-marketing. GLO Yoga partners with a different local winery each time. These wineries advertise the event to their patrons. After the event, clients on GLO Yoga’s mailing list are given a discount code to use on the winery’s website.
This results in signups for GLO Yoga, and sales for the wineries they partner with. GLO Yoga’s Witch’s Brew event follows a similar formula, swapping local wineries with local craft beer breweries and adding a Halloween theme.
An (alcohol-free) example is GLO Yoga’s 60-minute Rock Your Vinyasa Flow offsite event. For this, the studio partnered with a local outlet mall. Attendees were given the chance to win prizes, including a $120 gift card, or two weeks of unlimited classes.
What should your promotions be? Just be creative and start making connections. There are more local businesses than you may realize who are willing to collaborate with you.
3. Retaining Clients
Client retention is a particular challenge for yoga studios. According to 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 through common-sense strategies. Many of the things we’ve already mentioned will keep your client’s interest piqued. Here are two others:
Add Member Perks
What will entice a perpetual drop-in to become a regular member, or a client to upgrade their membership level? Perks, of course! Depending on the membership in question, consider the following:
- Free guest passes
- Discounts on workshops
- Merchandise discounts (like mats & yoga blocks)
- Free members-only monthly events (as mentioned above)
Use Email & Text Marketing
Nearly everything we’ve talked about involves adding value and a unique experience for your clients. But how do you make sure they know about every new deal, event, perk, studio upgrade and class?
Through email & text marketing. These methods keep clients engaged, show your appreciation and help you build a relationship with them over time.
It doesn’t take a guru to deploy timely, effective email & text campaigns, nor is it expensive. Simply acquire the right email & text marketing tools, like those that Vagaro provides:
“I love Vagaro’s marketing features,” Niakian said. “We’re always sending things out, like our newsletters, or info about promotions and events.”
Use email for lengthier messages, such as:
- Announcements for special events
- Monthly newsletters
- Helpful content, like what to expect from your first yoga class
- A quick Happy Birthday wish!
Use text for shorter, more urgent things, including:
- Flash promotions & discounts
- General class reminders
- Follow-up messages to first timers
4. Standing Out from the Competition
We saved the biggest challenge on this list for last. In addition to the competition’s studios, yoga classes are also offered at certain fitness centers, gyms and meditation centers.
Yoga studios need differentiators and unique selling points that set them apart from everyone else.
What’s GLO Yoga’s differentiator? Hint: It’s all in the name.
GLO Yoga uses in-wall UV-C (ultraviolet light) filtration, which is known to neutralize harmful microorganisms. UV-C light has long been used to fight viruses, bacteria & mold, and even utilized to sanitize surgical tools. Ultraviolet light helps provide a clean & safe environment, which was an especially strong selling point in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wanted to open a yoga studio that would allow people to come back in and practice safely indoors,” Niakian said.
To accomplish this, the studio uses infrared heating panels to heat their studio during hot yoga classes. Infrared heating is said to heat rooms more evenly. It emits dry heat that is said to increase mobility and flexibility in clients and detox their bodies during class.
Infrared heating panels are also said to be energy-efficient and eco-friendly, not to mention cost-effective.
These features they’ve implemented show that GLO Yoga cares about client health and safety. Their lighting and heating elements also combine to offer the signature glow that the studio is known for, which has been a highly effective marketing tool.
“When you create a new experience for people, it makes them rethink what they’re used to, and think more about what you’re offering,” Celebi said.
Starting a thriving yoga studio in a saturated market doesn’t have to be intimidating. Finding a feature or niche that sets you apart is step one. Follow that with a diverse offering of classes priced for long-term value. Combine this with business sense, promotional flare and a sound email & text marketing strategy, and you have all you need.
Vagaro’s Yoga Studio Software has given over 1,000 yoga businesses the tools they need. It also assists with many other aspects of studio management, from inventory & payment processing to staff management. We are proud of the many roles we play in growing the yoga community. For information on how we can help build and grow yours, check us out here!
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.