How to create wonderful events through logistics, locals and listening.
From chocolate and cheese tastings to yoga on a horse farm, Diane Sutrick looks to get creative with events at Peace Yoga Studio.
“I like to do a lot of things that are in my community,” said Sutrick, the owner of the studio in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. “So I’ll seek out a lot of other businesses that I can collaborate with.”
For example, Sutrick said a popular event has been at a local Italian bakery where they hold a yoga class in the restaurant, and then have a wine and Italian food tasting after. Or, it can be as simple as Sutrick attending a boutique’s ladies night with one of her massage therapists, building a relationship with the owner and those in attendance.
Hosting events like these reaches a different demographic. “Some of the events attract people who’ve never been to the studio,” said Sutrick. “Some people only come to these kind of events.”
Yoga Bird in Fort Myers, Florida, also takes advantage of relationships with local businesses. Director Anna Withrow explained they have a great synergy with the surrounding community, connecting with gyms and massage therapy studios who will share information with their clients. “We have well-established relationships with them where they know they can promote what we do with confidence,” said Withrow. “We don’t ask too often, just when it’s clearly a great fit.”
But it’s not just local businesses you can partner with to put on wonderful events. Sutrick also shared she reaches out to her members. For example, a couple owns a property with a labyrinth in the backyard. Peace Yoga Studio will host an event out there, talking about the use of a labyrinth and its meditative qualities. Then they’ll flow into an outdoor class. Sutrick has also hosted a yoga class at a member’s farm with horses.
When figuring out what kind of events to have, Withrow shared it comes down to being committed to listening. “We are constantly talking with students about what they want and need,” she said.
Sutrick will listen to her staff as well, evaluating what they are great at and then building a workshop or event around them. But, she will also use past experience. Keeping a binder of past registration and profit from events, she can see what worked and what didn’t. For example, she saw last summer she had too many events happening. So in 2017, she tried putting on fewer. “I would rather put my energy into several great events rather than 25 that aren’t going to be much,” she explained.
In terms of marketing for events, Sutrick will send out newsletters via email as well as social media. She also uses flyers and the downtown area’s resources to promote events.
Withrow said everything from in-studio flyers to in-class announcements and social media can get the word out. “We create Facebook events and share about our events in other social media posts,” she said. “We get a lot of organic sharing via social media because people are excited about learning and trying new things. We have a free community class at a local farmer’s market every week, so that’s a great opportunity to share. We also post in the daily newspaper’s calendar of events. For major community events, like fundraisers, we get our partners involved in helping spread the word as well.”
And when it comes to the actual event itself, Withrow explained you need to view it from the attendee’s eyes in order to create something successful. “Look at the event from the perspective of the participant,” she said. “What will he or she walk away with? How will what someone learns impact him or her in a year? Make these benefits the central part of your message.”