In terms of competition, the fitness industry is fierce. “There’s so much competition out there, not only among yoga studios, but we’re also competing against every other lifestyle and fitness brand,” said Larry Santiago, a co-owner of three studios — Yoga Vibe Los Feliz, Yoga Vibe Glendale and Black Dog Yoga. “You have to get your message out there. Otherwise, you get lost in the clutter.”
Marketing can be a useful tool when it comes to making noise in an already loud industry. To stay organized with his marketing efforts, Santiago creates a yearly content calendar that breaks down monthly promotions and establishes certain benchmarks. The calendar enables him to utilize social media and plan events in a way that flows together.
Rozanne Englehart, the owner and director of Yoga Sol Studio in Yorba Linda, California, also puts a great emphasis on marketing in her business. “We are always looking to reach out to people in a new, creative way, to let them know that we are doing engaging, vital, quality work,” she said.
Englehart’s marketing strategy is simple: continuously market — while sticking to the budget, of course.
As for Urban Yoga Phx, the studio’s strategy uses a wide array of marketing tools, like emails and a website. Michelle Osife, the marketing and off-site coordinator, explained how social media reaches a wider audience. This is especially important in Arizona, with its high rate of tourism. She said the studio will typically post about anything that needs a special announcement, from upcoming workshops to new classes.
Inside the studio are two bulletin boards that contain hardcopies of flyers and announcements. Osife said that the images on flyers should be visually stimulating, with wording that is to the point. Typically, the flyers can translate to images used on the web as well. “Relying solely on word-of-mouth marketing is no longer sufficient,” said Osife. “In order to stay relevant, we have to stay visible.”
In terms of marketing outside of the studio, Urban Yoga Phx partners with local businesses and organizations, as well as donates time and services to local non-profits. For example, a relationship with the Desert Botanical Garden has led to the studio heading up the Garden’s seasonal yoga classes. This type of marketing gets the studio in front of different parts of the community, and Osife advised to be open to various types of exposure, even if it means you won’t be paid.
Ultimately, what events and community involvement a studio has depends on the demographic. Santiago said between his three locations, the marketing strategies are different. One studio, Yoga Vibe Los Feliz, serves a younger demographic while another, Black Dog Yoga, has a broader population of members made up of young clients to suburban families. “A lot of people try to be all things to all people, and that typically waters the message down too much, so you have to identify your target, hone in on it and serve it,” he said.
Overall, marketing takes work to connect with the local community and your studio’s demographic. “Because it is a competitive industry, we do need to do our best across the board,” said Englehart. “Do the print, do the quality website, get involved in your community, reach out to clients, do special events, do the social media — without making yourself crazy — and make a difference.”