What Yoga Teachers Can Learn About Marketing from SoulCycle

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via soul-cycle.com

Happy Souliversary!

Okay, I am going to be honest. I cannot believe I am saying those words. I cannot believe that I woke up at 5:20am this morning to make it to a 6am SoulCycle class. I cannot believe that I am excited to do that again on Thursday. My coworkers love SoulCycle and, through lunchtime conversations and a general attitude of realizing that my life is always improved upon trying something new, I went to my first class in October.  I did not go to my second class until February. Since then, I’ve been going fairly regularly (about once a week). It has been a joy to go to class on Monday night before graduate school…it feels like going to a dance club in the middle of the day.

What impresses me most about SoulCycle and, to be honest, consistently blows my mind is their marketing. They do it with soul, with heart, and with a business and technological acumen that screams professionalism and effectiveness.

As a yoga teacher, I am constantly looking for ways to upgrade my marketing practices. It is also something that I struggle with, and know many other yoga teachers who struggle to find a marketing protocol consistent with what they want to offer the world with their practice. To celebrate their tenth anniversary, I want to offer up what I’ve noticed through doing my “fieldwork” (tapping it back while taking some serious mental notes in my yoga teacher brain). All – literally, all – of these can be applied in a yoga teaching practice as well.* SoulCycle is just another type of asana. Same intention, different forms.

* Please note that while these steps are related to SoulCycle, they are by no means products of SoulCycle, just their process. Be mindful when adopting any of these that it’s all authentically you and not the content of anywhere or anyone else.

  1. Hold students accountable through consistent e-mail communication.
    • I receive multiple emails from SoulCycle. The following are the types of emails (and they work for every yoga business as well).
      • Weekly Updates: discounts, various themed classes, a small note
      • Special Occasions / Celebratory: announcements of big events, workshops, + more
      • Reservations: Every time I book a class, I receive an email that has a calendar attachment inside to make my life that much easier.
      • Social Media Campaigns: where to find the business using various hashtags related to different themes
      • Event Alerts + Reminders: what gets sent out ahead of time to make new events known
  2. Offer a free class once they’re hooked.
    • My free class was not my first class; it was my second…and it was a lovely surprise that made me appreciate the customer service that much more.
  3. Maintain a gorgeous and light-hearted website.
    • Their website has unbelievably awesome content, with mini simple interviews with instructors that share light-hearted facts such as guilty pleasures + fave karaoke songs (*Again, do not copy these actual prompts; make your own!).
  4. Be extremely beginner-friendly.
    • I can always count on there being someone (or four people) to make me feel welcomed when I get on a bike. At first glance, the studio seemed over-staffed. But then I realized that it is hugely important to have people there who can make modifications for the beginners. And, when the instructor asks if anyone is new, it is always to cheer them on. At the workshops I teach this summer, I would love to pull in a friend wearing a Harlem Yoga Studio t-shirt to help welcome in the beginners.
  5. Welcome everyone.
    • Have a smile on, and a warm voice, and be prepared to answer questions. It’s really that simple.
  6. Offer amenities.
    • The gum, towels, toiletries, pins, and hair ties – fully on display – are such a nice touch. In yoga, handouts and mini Lara bars have done the trick for me in the past.
  7. Publicize what’s happening behind-the-scenes.
    • As you can tell, I love learning about the business aspect of the studio, and seeing what’s going on behind the scenes through social media posts and interviews on their great blog is a huge part of that!
  8. Create specials, keep up with trends, and cultivate themed classes.
  9. Make signing up a ritual.
    • If it’s 12pm on the dot on a Monday, the faculty lounge at my workplace is abuzz with people signing up on the very nicely-interfaced app for all their classes for the week. Then, their schedule is built around it and everyone walks around with the satisfaction of booking the reservations / bikes they wanted. I try to do this with my Laughing Lotus app too. Oh, the simply pleasures.
  10. After doing Steps 1-9, charge what you deserve and round up.
    • SoulCycle prices are no joke. They are steep. Yet they also offer a robust scholarship program and, I’m assuming, pay their instructors well so I don’t complain and I don’t hear other cyclers complaining either. As professionals that deal with the body, what we do is no joke. It’s important for us to value ourselves, by truly gauging the population we can serve, so that we can provide for other populations we’d like to serve. Often, this involves rounding up.

What are you waiting for? Tap it back, write up a blog post, or update that website!

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