Various factors come into play for studios when it comes to the success rates of retreats. Time of year, demographic of clients interested in attending, and cost are all at play in someone’s decision of whether they will attend your event or not.
Francie Fishman, the owner of Pure Flow Yoga, a retreat company based in Thailand, said some retreats will fill with ease and speed, but other retreats seem to float about stagnant and never gain the needed traction to be a success. However, she has noticed a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to the retreat marketing arena.
The Power of Testimonials
One thing Fishman said always brings success to a retreat marketing strategy is testimonials. She explained from her website analytics it takes roughly six visits to their website before someone will make a purchase. She explained people want to read reviews, watch videos and trust that what you are offering them is of value.
“People like and trust what other people like,” said Fishman. “Booking a destination retreat is a big deal for most people. There is risk involved: leaving home, traveling to a foreign land sometimes, often in a period of vulnerability. People need reassurance they are making the right decision. They need to know other people have done it before, have benefited greatly, and had a beautiful, supported, comfortable and life-changing experience.”
Use Your Email List
Fishman also noted another good tip to keep in mind is to utilize the arsenal that is your email list. People who haven’t been to your studio in awhile or who have considered coming in for a class may be on that list still. While marketing your retreat within the studio and heavily relying on word of mouth are important, so is your email list in order to reach the people still interested in your studio who aren’t consistently inside its four walls.
“I find writing newsletters really challenging for a variety of reasons,” said Fishman. “And yet, each time I make it through the almost ritualistic procrastination and perfectionism stage, I remember the people on our list chose to be there, and I’m simply doing what I promised to do: bring awareness to our products, share our news and invite people to our events. Every time I share a newsletter, we have some unsubscribes from our list, but we also have people who were just waiting for that ‘exact sign from the universe and this is it’ type of situation that ultimately leads us to selling places on our retreats.”
A Social Media Don’t
In addition, Fishman explained it can be easy to go down a social media and blogging rabbit hole when it comes to retreats. While building social media presence is important for your overall brand, Fishman believes it doesn’t have success as a stand-alone conversion tool for retreats.
“While I think it’s important to have a finger in a few of these social media pies, I would recommend you avoid spending too much time and energy on social media and blogging,” said Fishman. “They can lead to oversaturation of information for you and can lead to stress and overwhelm you as you try to master these tools.”
Fishman said the most important thing to keep in mind is it will take time to build up a retreat program, and that overnight success is very rare. “It’s worth noting your first retreat may be small, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. They will build over time and consistently bring in revenue for your business,” she said.