Promoting Your New StudioOne expense that you can't and shouldn't forgo is building a snazzy Web site. It's hugely important in creating your image and brand and in providing potential students with the information they need. Says Fields, "Because one of the first things people do is go online and 'Google' the name of your studio, it is critical that you have basic information posted in a clear and appealing way—even if it's just on a one-page Web site."
The Web site of Sonic Yoga features community areas, a searchable library, downloadable MP3s, and an online store where visitors can buy Sonic Yoga-produced videos and DVDs. It would also have cost an eye-popping $25,000 were it not for "a lot of connections," says Fields. For a five- to ten-page high-quality Web site, on the other hand, you can get away with spending as little as $1,000 to $2,000. Be sure to list your studio's name, location, schedule, contact information, and teacher biographies. But take care to post the information in a way that's easy to navigate and looks polished. As Fields has learned firsthand, "the quality of a Web site strongly reflects the experience a student will have at a studio. At least," he adds, "that's the perception."
Perhaps the most important thing to note is that according to many yoga studio owners, approximately 85 percent of their business derives from word of mouth. So if you really want your business to thrive, keep your students talking.
Says Baron Baptiste, founder of the highly successful Baptiste Power Yoga Institutes in Cambridge and Boston, "What I've learned is that it's very important that you have a product, or ministry even, that teaches something that really speaks to people and makes their bodies and hearts sing. You want them to have an amazing experience." If they do, they'll want to tell their friends and family all about it.
Constance Loizos is a San Francisco-based writer whose work has appeared in more than a dozen magazines, including Inc., Fast Company, and San Francisco Magazine. She is currently writing a book about businesswomen.
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