You’re an independent contractor, a small home-based studio or a boutique space with the opportunity to expand and you’re wondering if you need a welcome series for anyone who joins your email list. You are not alone. I get this question and excuses or reasons why people believe they don’t all the time. But, the truth is, if you’re teaching as part of your income, this is not a hobby, then I believe you do!
I know, you’re busy, it’s another thing to do! But, hear me out. You are busy. You don’t have time to respond to EVERY person who joins your list and share who you are, what you do and why you will rock their world! So, by having a welcome email series (did you think I was suggesting a discounted intro pack? I hope not) you can write up a wonderful series of emails (one time) that guides this newbie on a journey that you want so that they get to know you, trust you, see you as the expert in your area and when you say, “take a session from me” they hit that button so fast because they have been waiting for you to ask this whole time!
You have been part of many a “welcome series” or some call a “Nurture Series” and some totally get you excited and others fall flat or make you hit “unsubscribe.” And, while I could write a book about all the nuances and I am doing a webinar on this topic I thought a few quick and easy tips for you to get started today.
A welcome series should:
Introduce You as the guide to getting them where they want to go
Share some background to your awesomeness
Explain what you do
Why You do what you do
How it helps them!
Guide them from “hey, how are ya?” to “Buy my main offer.”
Be automated and spaced out over time until they are dumped into the main newsletter
A welcome series could:
Go on for months (I don’t recommend this for Pilates teachers or other movement instructors)
Have an offer or two in it that gets them to try you out before coming into the studio
Share pics or testimonials
Have a secret offer they won’t find on your site
Be as short as a few emails
Once you put your in place it should kick off as soon as they register for your list. And then when it’s done they should end up on your regular newsletter schedule. Because, a welcome series is a lot of things but it is not a replacement for connection or a consistent weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule.
I’d love to know what you wish clients new before setting up their session? How you want clients to see and experience you and your business and what you want to drive your future clients to buy? You can post in the comments below.
PS the next webinar on this will air June 26th 12pm pst and replay until July 3rd.
It’s another week and you’re still teaching the same clients. You love them but you wish that you were teaching more athletes, more privates, more classes or just more inspiring Or, maybe you’re not teaching any session and you’re freaking out! How are you going to pay the bills? Was teaching a good idea? How come that teachers schedule is full? Whether or not your schedule is full or not has little to do with feeling fulfilled. You yearn to be teaching a particular group of clients and you feel like you’re ready and waiting but where are they? Why don’t they realize that you’re THE TEACHER for them?
#1 They don’t know you! I know, how is that possible? You’re posting away on the social channels, you’re going studio to studio teaching or trying to teach and you’re telling all your friends how much you love what you do. Why then does nobody, or at least the body’s that you are the best teacher for unaware of your magic? Simple, you haven’t told them. Sure, you told your friends and the platforms but you haven’t told the people who know your people. You haven’t blogged so the search engines can’t tell people who you are. You haven’t gotten out to the communities where your client is. And, if you have then you haven’t been clear about who you are what you do and why you rock at it!
#2 You’re not clear on who you want to teach. As much as you want everyone to love you and what you do it’s not possible. And, I know it’s scary to niche down or turn people away but it’s better to only teach the clients you are right for. Because they will refer you more people like them! Say yes to the wrong clients and either they won’t sign up with you or they will and they’ll refer more people like them. And, sure, you’ll be busy but busy with peeps who drain you and make you wonder if teaching is right for you. Can you change your mind? Sure, will everyone in your schedule fit 100% into your box…nope. But, the clearer you are the more people who will hear your awesomeness and over time the more people who will light your fire and challenge your teachings.
#3 You’re not clear on why you rock. Maybe you don’t think you rock? Or, maybe you’re afraid to shout from the rooftops that you are really good at something. Perhaps you think people won’t need or like what you are the best at? And if your answer “LL, I’m brand spanking new how can I be the best at anything?” Well, my newbie, you do something great! Just ask those who you practiced teaching on why they kept coming back. They’ll tell you! And, take that feedback and run with it! Over time your other gifts will reveal themselves.
Did I call out your excuse? If I didn’t don’t worry, there can be endless reasons why you’re teaching your ideal client but don’t let all of them turn into excuses that you get to keep around. Let’s talk about what you are doing and what you can do be doing more.
I’ve heard there is no money in Pilates, Yoga, etc etc. WRONG! And, if you hear someone say that you send them to me. There is money in doing whatever it is you’ve been called to do. But, you gotta let people know! They are not mind readers. They’ve got a lot going on and they need you to shout loud and clear why you’re the person for them.
And an easy spot you can do this is your website! Do you have one? How’s it working for you? I’ve got a 1-hour webinar that will help you break down exactly what you need on your site (and what you don’t) coming up. Let’s make your website work for you! And, if you’re not sure to contact me here.
Social Media isn’t going anywhere! But, it’s a massive beast with many experts in it (more expert than I) who are also in the dark when it comes to the algorithms. So, if they don’t know when changes are happening how are you supposed to? And, is it truly necessary for your Pilates business to have a massive following, tons of likes and shares?
Yes, no and maybe so….
I know, not the most precise answer!
But, the truth is every single Pilates business is different. And, the sooner you acknowledge that your business is different than the Pilates studio down the street the sooner you will also be able to improve your Pilates business because you will stop doing what every Pilates business is doing and focus more on what rocks your Pilates business.
Do I think people need to be able to find you on social media?
Do I think you will get clients from social media? I don’t know. My Pilates business does get clients from social media. But, my friends and many, many instructors and studio owners I know do not get a single client because of their social media. I think your website and SEO is worth more than your IG following.
Do I think you need to promote your Pilates business on social media?
If you are a studio owner with multiple teachers, classes then it is something to consider. You need more than 30 people to love you. But, if you are just trying to fill your own personal schedule then I think you should spend more time in your community.
Do I think if you post and promote on social media you won’t need to promote and collaborate in person?
No! Unless you are a multi-location brand I believe you will catch more clients by being out in your own community. Telling people how you are the guide for them from where they are today to where they are going!
I have so many things to say about using social media to grow your business and so many things to say about ditching social media so you can grow your business.
So much to say that I created a webinar on the topic! And, am bringing on a guest to help me. Julie Driver is an incredible teacher who won the Next Pilates Anytime Instructor competition, beating me and many others who were posting all over the social media channels. Between the two of us, we’ll help you navigate the niceties of social Social media
We’ll be sharing tips on how to use social media (if you choose) to help get your name out and how to see if it’s working or worth your time.
Until our webinar here are three tips
Know who your client is
Know how you are the guide for them
Know what makes taking Pilates from you unique because you are the only person who can teach the way you teach!
I would love to hear your answers!! Share them below.
I’ll never forget the first time I sat down to do my goals. I did the whole 10-year vision and plan with them. I loved it! I couldn’t believe the daring goals I had written down. And, for the most part, all of those goals happened within three years not ten! But, a few didn’t. And, it took me another goal setting experience, a panic attack and a few more years to figure out why. Sure, there was a goal or two that really just sounded good but wasn’t truly my own. But, a couple others were things I really did want to happen. But, they hadn’t and it wasn’t because they were out of my control. Nope, they were totally within my reach. I just hadn’t put them first. I had not put me first!
As Pilates Instructors and Studio Owners it is not always easy to put our wants, needs and desires first. In fact, sometimes it just feels impossible!! But, the thing is while we are in the “service industry” we are not of service to others. If we do not put our goals in our schedule they will not happen and we will lose inspiration. If we do not put our ideas in place and even fail along the way we will wonder why we are doing what we are doing. We will feel the exhaustion that comes from pushing a boulder up a hill. We will start to resent our clients, our work and feel powerless in our circumstances. And, doesn’t that just sound awful?
When I first became a Pilates Instructor I had a very grandiose idea for what I was going to do and be as an instructor. And, just like my goals setting earlier I hit most of them. And a few others I actually denounced and said to those who knew of them that I didn’t really want them or that now wasn’t the right time. Truthfully, I was so busy making others goals happen that I didn’t have the time or energy to give to my own. And, I didn’t believe my goals were possible, I mean, who was I to want those goals?
Well, I wish someone had told my newbie teacher self what I know now. If you want it, you do the work and you maintain control over your schedule and needs you can have it all and it will happen. But, the problem isn’t that you don’t know what you want, and it’s not really that you don’t have the skills or deserve it. It’s that you have to make a space for your magic to happen.
But, as teachers and studio owners, it’s easier to say yes to a client, to come in on our day off or to stay for another hour to get a client in. It’s easier to cover for a teacher instead of getting someone else. It’s easier to do it all ourselves rather than delegate it out! Is this sounding familiar?
Last week I had the opportunity to take a couple days off during the week. During days I usually teach. I almost turned it down. But, one of my goals has always been that I can travel more often. That I can have a schedule that is flexible to me taking a trip for work or for fun. So before I hit send on my declined response I remembered my goals. And, I said yes instead.
Sure, it required me to move a lot of peeps. But, my schedule has to reflect my goals. And, it didn’t always do that…hence the panic attack several years ago. I was stressed beyond my abilities because I was trying to do others goals and fit in my own. And, since getting that straightened out I have made a point to always put my schedule together first. But, I know you’re wondering how do you do that? So, let me stop talking about me and give you tips to help you!
Know what you want! If you don’t we can’t create a schedule around nothing
You have to commit and protect it! Your clients, team, family, and friends do not mean to take you away from your goals. They don’t know that when they ask to come in at 5 pm on a Monday that they are asking for you to give up on your favorite class. You have to tell them “No, I am not available at that time. But, I have ___ or ____.”
Do one thing a day towards your goals. If you put off the action items that help propel you towards what you want you can’t magically get what you want. Isn’t the definition of luck where preparation meets opportunity. You have to do the preparation so that you can find the intersection.
Say No more often…I know this is basically a repeat of #2 but it’s that important! You cannot say yes to everyone and You. So, before you respond to something practice artful ways of saying no. For example, “let me check my schedule and get back to you.” Or, “I’d love to but, until the ____ I cannot take on any projects right now.”
Once a week check in and make sure you are putting you in the schedule first. I used to only check on my goals quarterly. But, then I noticed that I would skip a few weeks on my stuff and my stress levels would start to rise. So, I started doing a weekly check-in. This helps me stay on top of what I need to be doing each week.
Get an accountability partner! Tell someone close to you what you are working on so that it’s even harder to say “yes” to someone else and “no” to yourself. If you are really good at putting yourself last get a few accountability partners!
Give yourself a break! If you miss a week, say yes when you should have said no or feel like your goals have changed it’s all OK! Start over where you left off.
Design you Dream Schedule! This is the biggest KEY to all of these tips. And, if you need help I LOVE doing this! You can do it with me one-on-one or take my course here.
Here’s the deal my friend! I am a massive believer in doing business un-usual! I don’t think there is room for you to be the same as any teacher out there or to run your studio the way others have. I believe there is plenty of room and success out there if you run your business YOUR way! With your goals, your needs and your vision in mind.
This week’s blog post comes from a guest blogger and Personal Trainer Tyler Spraul! I love it because I am a big fan of not spending your hard earned dollars on marketing. And, below he not only gives you 4 tips on what to do he also gives you actions to take to make it work! Cannot wait to hear how these work for you. Take it away Tyler!
In this article, I’m going to show you some simple ways to get new customers without having to pay for advertising.
It’s all too common for a fitness business owner to take one chance at getting someone to sign up, and then never try again. It’s like we don’t want to offend people or come off as “salesy,” but the truth is that we are doing potential clients a disservice if what we have to offer will truly make their lives better!
It’s easy to dig into the things you enjoy the most about your business, like learning how to be a better coach and connect with clients, or continuing education to expand your toolset, or spending that quality hands-on time with your clients. But sometimes this fun stuff comes at the expense of the not-so-exciting portions of your business, like building efficient systems, implementing processes that are easy for new hires to follow, spreading the word about your business through marketing, and more.
When it comes time to grow and scale your business, it’s the not-so-exciting things that make or break your chances of success, so you can’t afford to ignore them.
Call them habits or systems — whatever you’d like — implementing just one of the following tactics on a regular basis will help grow your business consistently over time.
1. Find something to give away before you ask for anything from potential customers.
People love free stuff! Offer something your ideal customer can’t resist before they have to give you anything. To keep this simple, you can offer a “free sample” type of session on a regular basis.
This session would provide a low barrier of entry for potential customers to meet you and see what you have to offer.
It also provides an easy way for your current clients to invite their friends. They don’t have to think about selling their friends on your service but can simply invite them to give it a test run themselves, totally obligation-free.
Offer a FREE sample class or two every week on a day that fits your schedule. To keep it really simple, you can start with once a month.
2. Make it easy for existing clients to promote you.
What if your favorite clients went out of their way to hunt down more potential clients for you? What if they were excited to do it? This can be a huge win if you have never gone out of your way to ask for referrals.
You may even want to go as far as incentivizing those referrals.
Part 1: Make sure clients know the best way to refer their friends to you.
Do they just need to give you the correct contact information so you can reach out?
If not, where should they send potential referrals?
To your email or mailing list?
To your website?
To your once-a-week class that’s 100% free?
Wherever it is, make sure that you communicate it clearly and it’s as simple as possible for your clients!
Part 2 (optional): Figure out a sustainable way to reward your clients who refer customers.
You can position it as a fun monthly contest or challenge to see who can refer the most new customers.
You can then offer prizes and rewards to your top referrers. You can announce your winners each month or once per year.
If you just want to keep it super simple, that’s no problem. You can offer a discounted month or class voucher for each new customer a current member refers.
3. Make the most of your existing lists with a regular “ask.”
Your lists can be any social media channel, email newsletter, physical mailing list, etc.
Wherever you’re providing value through your content, you need to be consistent with your “ask.”
You must have a clear call to action (CTA) that prompts your ideal customer to get out of his or her routine and come do business with you. Before we get too carried away, we don’t want to make the mistake of using these tools to only sell all the time.
80% of your content should be helpful material to enhance your customers’ lives. Then once you’ve provided value consistently, you can point them to your specific calls to action.
Example: If you post 5 days a week on Instagram, one of those posts should be a CTA, while the others should be adding value, sharing client successes, etc.
What makes a good call to action? I was hoping you’d ask!
A good CTA:
Only asks for one clear action. Don’t ask for a comment, and a share, and a like, and a text message to friends and loved ones.
Provides the exact steps needed to take action.“Enter your email below.” “Call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx to book your appointment.” “Click this link to book your spot in our FREE Saturday session: [LINK]”
Gives a reason to take action now instead of later.“Our first 3 reservations each month receive a free water bottle.” “Book today, and we’ll include a free session voucher.” Don’t abuse this one, though. If you have a deadline, stick to it, and don’t make up pretend deadlines for the sake of having one.
Brainstorm 5-10 CTAs you can plug into regularly scheduled programming for social media, emails, etc. Make sure each one checks all the boxes for the requirements above.
4. Follow up, follow up, follow up!
Now that you’re giving value before asking for anything, incentivizing referrals, and moving people to take action with clear CTAs, it’s time to create a regular follow-up system.
How many times have you had a hot prospect get cold feet and duck out of a commitment, only to never see them again? You know your service would increase their quality of life, but it just didn’t work out the first time.
Do you say, “Oh well!” and give up all hope of getting them signed up?
Your follow-up system will help you make the most of the people who already know about your business and have expressed an interest, but aren’t currently paying members.
We are going to separate these follow-ups into 2 categories:
For leads who expressed interest recently
To follow up: Call them within 2 days of their most recent contact. If you don’t hear from them within a week, try again. For the first month, follow up once per week. Once they’re on your “1 Month+” list, give them a call once per month until they sign up or request that you stop calling.
Previous customers and any others you haven’t heard from in a long time
Determine the best way for you to make a personal follow-up with these people who already know about you but haven’t gotten on board just yet.
Keep it simple! It can be as easy as a Facebook message, but the key is to keep it personal. Check in with them, let them know you’ve been thinking about them, and ask how they’re doing.
We don’t want to just copy and paste a sales message with a link here — that’s not what I’m saying at all.
Whether it’s a phone call, handwritten note or postcard, or even just a Facebook message, following up while staying polite and persistent will keep you on the radar and let your potential clients know you care.
So, now that we’ve gotten through the list of these action ideas and examples, it’s time for a call to action of your own!
Pick one of these ideas right now (start small), and set aside 1 hour to work on it this week. Make sure to block off the time on your calendar!
Leave a comment below with the action you have planned. I’ll read every one!
Tyler Spraul is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and the Head Trainer at Exercise.com. He played college soccer, then coached the men’s soccer team for five years at Columbia International University, overseeing all aspects of strength and conditioning. Over the years, his focus has shifted from performance first to moving well and getting stronger without injury. He loves helping people and encourages them to practice mindfulness. The little things matter, and consistency is key!
Big thanks to Tyler for sharing these tips and actions you can take! I second Tyler leave a comment below telling us what action you will take this week.
Client retention is as integral to your Pilates business as you are. If your clients are not consistent not only does that affect how much you make each week it also can cause you to have to constantly get new clients or manage more clients than you have time to teach. Does this sound familiar to you: A client says they want to come in three times a week and then they move a session here, ask last minute to switch another session. Cancel the next two sessions because they have lunches or dinners, can’t get into the studio because they have this, that and the other. They want to do Pilates three times a week but they are trying to fit Pilates into their life. This song and scheduling dance is not only frustrating for you it’s also exhausting. And, to add more stress about it if they don’t come in consistently then they will not enjoy all the benefits of Pilates and so then of course…bye bye Pilates!
So, how do you manage your client’s schedule and yours? Well, first let me just tell you that you do not have to manage your client’s schedules like you manage yours. But, if you can motivate your Pilates clients to schedule their life around Pilates instead of the other way around then your Pilates business will not only be healthy it will continue to grow. Client consistency is key for Client Retention and their consistency equals reaping the benefits of Pilates which means their friends will notice how strong they are, how well they stand and want some of you too! Hello, client referrals!
Create a strong teacher client relationship by-
1) Know what your client does when they are not doing Pilates.
2) Remember events that are important to them.
3) Schedule them in advance. Tell them to book their sessions a month in advance to ensure they don’t miss their sessions
4) Remind them to “make up” missed sessions by rescheduling vs canceling
5) Let them know when a time they like becomes available
6) Look ahead at holidays and vacations that may affect them and get suggest times they can do to reschedule in advance.
7) Don’t be afraid to be unavailable! People like a busy restaurant!
8) Remind your clients of their goals and why they come
9) Don’t offer every available hour you have. Use the “which” rule. “I have this time or this time which would you prefer?”
10) Be more than the hour-long entertainment. If Pilates is integral to them feeling good then you won’t have to work as hard to get them to come in regularly.
Look, I get that many of these are easier said than done. But, I promise you managing your clients is easier when you teach them from the beginning that you are not just sitting around waiting to teach them. That, even if you have all the time in the world, you are not a beck and call teacher. Studies show if people are given too many options they have to “think about it.” But, if they only have a couple options they can make a decision. If you tell a client they can come in anytime on a Monday then they are going to go and plan their whole Monday and fit Pilates in. And, chances are they will be running late or not be able to get in because they are “too busy.” But, if you tell them two options that are near times you know they like then they will schedule their life around the session.
I get it, it’s not easy to say no to a client or to hold your clients accountable but it’s essential in your self-care as an instructor, making it easy for you to manage all of your clients, and will create a strong relationship with them. If your clients are getting their Pilates in regularly with you because you keep them consistent they are going to realize that you are more than a person they see in their week. You are the person who helps them do their week. When you remember life events they are going to feel special and more than a name in your calendar. And, all of this helps grow your Pilates business.
Which one of these things are you going to work on? Let me know below in the comments. If you have any questions feel free to contact me here. Let’s make your client schedule consistent and as full as you want it!
PS for more on creating an optimal learning environment check out this blog and this one for motivating different personality types.
But, how do clients purchase classes? In the most recent (and first ever) Pilates in America study, they discovered that the majority of class participants purchase their classes by the package. With a small percentage purchasing one class at a time. Even fewer buying into unlimited packages. When I first became a Pilates instructor I started out teaching Mat Pilates classes. I rented space in a studio, picked my times and set my own class rates. And then I set a package rate. Why? Because packages keep a client committed! And if a client is committed to coming to class then they reap the benefits of Pilates and then they continue to come package after package. Packages may seem like the way to save money for a client but they are key for client retention in your Pilates studio!
Now, at first glance, you might be like yep! But, what this information doesn’t tell us is how many people have the opportunity to buy unlimited but forgo it to purchase the packages. Or, if people are buying individual because they cannot buy a package.
So, what does all this mean for you Pilates studio owners? What should you be taking away from this bit of info?
Do you offer packages for your classes? If yes, which packages are the best sellers? Which are the least sellers? I know the norm is to offer a few levels of class packages but if most people are loving your ten pack and almost no one is buying the five or 20 then why even offer them. Save yourself the time of explaining all the package types and just keep the most popular and best for your business. The few options the less confusing it is for a new client determining what to do next. If no, why? Is it a tracking issue, a platform issue or a personal choice? Clients who have packages want to use their sessions. They are less likely to check out the classes down the street if they are already in a committed package with you!
Are you offering an unlimited option? What I have discovered is that an unlimited class membership while tempting for both the client and the studio there is a good chance if you don’t have the numbers to support it that you may end up paying for people to come to your classes. So, if you are offering this do a double check and make sure it’s worth it. If you are not offering it but have been contemplating keep in mind that this works great IF you have a ton of people that buy into it and many who don’t take the full advantage of coming every day and all day! This membership works great for yoga studios and gyms where they are not limited by the number of reformers in a studio or the number of towers. You may discover that a limited monthly membership is more beneficial to both you and your client.
How many of your clients use their packages in a timely fashion? You may be thinking, “LL, I’ve so got this. All my peep’s buy packages!” And, I will high five you! That is great news. But, if they are buying a ten pack and only coming once a week but it takes them fifteen to twenty weeks to use that package then that is not good. The key to client retention is that they feel the benefits of coming to your studio regularly. So, are you offering enough options that allow people with big packages to use them in a timely fashion? If you are not because you cannot then maybe slightly smaller packages to keep your income consistent. Or, if you are but they seem to not be able to make it to Pilates consistently how can you incentivize them to come extra when they are going to go out of town or to use their package up by a certain time?
Pricing, packaging and class times are works of art! There is no perfect time, number or amount that I can give you. Everybody’s business is unique to them and their community. But, it’s nice to have some evidence to back up what you can do to support your business and retain your Pilates class clients. For more on filling and marketing your group classes check out my course. Dive into your numbers and make sure they are working for you!
PS for more on client retention check out this course here.
Who decided your teaching schedule? Who set your personal goals? Who influenced your professional goals?
If the answer to those questions isn’t You, You and You then we need to talk my Pilates pal! Here’s the deal, and I am going to get pretty honest with you if you do not set your own goals someone will be making sure you’re working towards their goals.
You’ve got your Pilates website, your facebook page, your Instagram handle, and you’re posting and liking and following, and your phone and inbox are silent. No new clients are coming through your social channels. Sure, teachers and friends are loving what you’re doing. But, their love isn’t putting money in your bank account and bodies on your reformers. So, what’s happening? What is the disconnect? Are you doing it all wrong?
How much is Pilates teaching too much teaching? Can you really teach too much Pilates? Well, this week let’s talk about Pilates teaching and what it means. What really is happening in your Pilates teaching schedule?
Have you ever found yourself defending a rule you may no longer need? As instructors rules are important but what about when you need to break a rule? Can you? I have a Yoga teacher who talks about following the rules as much as you can when you are first starting out. Why? Because as you advance you’ll need to break them. That is why when this week’s guest blogger Holly Furgason approached me with this blog I had to share it with all of you! Do you know when to be consistent and when to be innovative?
As I’m about to dive into my newest webinar on Group Pilates classes I thought it only fitting to have Joel Crosby owner of Vitality Method in Atlanta, GA shares the importance of multi-level group classes. Afterall, I know many teachers do not often have the space for group classes or perhaps you only have one piece of each apparatus? Offering group classes can be essential for getting more students in a room, offering options for clients to get more sessions in a week and for some at rates they can afford. But, are you limiting yourself by offering classes where everyone does the same exercises at the same time?