Defining yourself as a teacher and sharing that definition through marketing can draw students who need exactly what you're offering. This, in turn, will expand your class numbers and increase your success. Here's how to begin your marketing campaign.
Think It Through
Start by outlining your own definition of success. Clara Hori, who works with yoga teachers through her Los Angeles-based company Yogi Incubator ( www.yogiincubator.com), asks her clients, "Is success to have money, and what for? Is success being able to choose the classes that you want to teach? Is success being able to choose the themes of workshops without prioritizing what is most commercially appealing? To some people success is simply having a lot of time and flexibility. The very first thing is to really understand where you stand, and where you want to go."
Continue your own self-inquiry by considering exactly who you are as a yoga teacher. "Differentiation is important," explains Alón Sagee, who works with teachers and is known as the Yoga Business Coach (www.yogabusinesscoach.com). He suggests teachers choose a niche that they're comfortable with—a type of person or a type of lifestyle—and market and cater your offerings accordingly. That way, you'll attract people who are part of an affinity group—people that network together, that talk among each other.
Then, take active steps to reach your definition of success. Megan McDonough, who has worked on marketing with the Kripalu Center and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy through her company Mindful Marketing (www.beyondclasses.com), says that many teachers take a passive approach to marketing. "Yoga teachers market most often through posters or flyers, word-of-mouth marketing, and advertising. These are passive ways of marketing. It feels safe to hang up a flyer and walk away. There's no rejection." Instead, McDonough suggests, try active marketing, "such as the simple act of talking to people. Active marketing feels more threatening because you directly face the possibility of rejection. Someone could say, 'No, I'm not interested in doing it.' Yet just like in a yoga pose, that edge is where change happens."
Lisa Black Avolio, a senior Baptiste Power Yoga teacher and owner of Shakti Vinyasa Yoga East and West in Seattle, agrees. "The best way to market yourself is to attend community events and [find] opportunities for meeting new people where you can share how much you love yoga," she says.