How to Build Class Numbers
- Created: Friday, 28 October 2016 09:17
By IICT Member Ginny West, Spirit in Business
Want to build numbers in your current classes or start a new dance, yoga, pilates, tai chi, or holistic fitness class? Here are a few tips that will make a big difference to you, and the amount of people you can help. Because, well, that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day isn’t it?
Choose a great venue that will support your classes as they grow. Somewhere that is accessible, clean and has the vibe that you want. If you can choose somewhere that has a mailing list already, that can be a huge help to bringing in the numbers. Try community centres or wellbeing centres in your neighborhood. Keep your audience in mind too, for instance if you work with seniors you may want to hire the local senior citizens hall or bowling club. If you work with Mums, maybe the school has a hall you can use. If people are shy to try a class, going to a venue they know may help bridge some of that gap.
Best times are generally any day around 9.30am after school drop off, and early evening classes from 6pm on. You could try a back to back evening class to cut back on teaching at night, for instance try 6.00 – 7.15 and 7.30 – 8.45. Evening classes generally do better earlier in the week. This is just a basic guide, so experiment by all means, but keep your audience and your own lifestyle in mind. How you start is how you intend to go on, so if you don’t want to be teaching three evenings a week or Saturdays in the future, don’t start them now. You don’t have to do a particular time to be successful, keep your classes to weekday mornings if that’s what supports you.
Pay By The Term
The best thing I ever did to build my yoga, pilates and dance classes was to only offer places by the term without a casual option. Clients could pay $15 to come and try the first class, and this would be taken off the balance of the term if they continued. Now this may not be practical for Yoga studios, but don’t be surprised if you see a shift to this model in the future. Paying by the term means commitment, and it means you get paid every week (especially in the winter). It means better results for your clients, and an incredible sense of community and connection between participants. You can promote it more as a ‘course style’ and have a theme for each term too. If you must offer casual, then don’t offer a million permutations and combinations that stretch on for terms. Keep the energy and money clear and clean so it can build. Boundaries are healthy for everyone.
Get Out There
If you want people to know you’re here, you’ll have to show yourself! Get out to markets, expos, festivals and events where you can be seen. Have a stall, do a demo, talk, and make connections. A social media campaign is fantastic, but seeing you in the flesh, being able to chat and have their fears laid to rest, will be the tipping point in whether people sign up for your classes or not. It’s also a great opportunity to build your mailing list, practice explaining your craft and promote any coming events. You need to do this at least once a month, so start making a list of where you could engage and keep it fairly local to your classes. Think places where wellbeing peeps would hang out like organic markets etc. While you’re at it hit the local cafes, community pinboards, offices and councils with your fliers. There are people out there in the real world too and the trick is to balance your social presence with a tangible presence.
Contact your local media and see if they will run a free article for you about your coming classes. They will be far more likely to engage if you tell them a heartwarming story about yourself and your journey or if it is tied in with a current or hot issue. Try lifestyle magazine editors for papers too as these get a great response. You could also ask if you could write a regular wellbeing column, they may not always pay, but often offer an advertisement in lieu, and an opportunity to have a blurb and website links, so this can help raise your profile too. Or you may pay for an ad and be offered a free editorial. In my experience a print ad alone is not enough so push for the editorial as well.
Video and Social Media
As we all know now video is now on the rise and fed to more of your social media followers than regular posts so it’s a powerful way of building your numbers in class. You can make pre-recorded or live videos breaking down some of the component moves, demoing a pose, a dance track and moves, talking about the philosophy of your craft, about yourself, who you are and why you love what you do, some testimonials from students, a video live from a demo and so on. The possibilities are endless so write a list of all the ways you can let people know who you are and what you do. Be responsive to any comments and start building connections.
Start Small Grow Big
When I taught my first yoga class I had two beautiful people, and I’m sorry to say my mind was on full chatter for much of the way through class; this is so embarrassing, why aren’t there more people here, I’ve worked so hard, the universe isn’t behind me blah, blah, blah. Perhaps you’ve heard a little something like this in your own head. Thankfully I held faith and kept going. Within 5 years i had nine classes a week with 20 people in each and people on the waiting list, I had contract classes with the local council, regular festival and expo gigs. It takes time, hard work, faith and persistence. Despite all the get rich quick language out there at the moment, that’s the truth. Plug away and you’ll get there I guarantee it.
One Last Thing
Often I hear teachers say I’m exhausted trying to do this, but when we talk about what they have actually done in terms of consistent action every day, week and month to get their classes up, it amounts to a few facebook posts, or one action they have pinned all their hopes on. Thinking about getting your classes up and running can be a lot more exhausting and defeating than actually getting out there and doing the work. If you love it, if you really want it, don’t give up. Make a plan and follow through.
Remember not to let your ego get the better of you and sabotage your success with its internal ramblings. This isn’t about you from the ego sense, it is about fulfilling your purpose to bring joy, peace, love, health, self expression, love and light to as many people as possible. And in the process to yourself. Be sure to meditate on it too, and ask the universe for signs and synchronicities to take you to the perfect place or community. I was once in a library in an area I hadn’t previously considered for classes, when I had the urge to ask if they had meeting rooms. I asked, they did, and of course that was the beginning of incredible success for me. I found a thriving community, great connections and incredible sense of fulfillment. Later I moved down the coast, but I still look back on that wonderful community with deep love and appreciation. They wholly supported me as I supported them. So take a deep breath, rev it up and get out there.
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