In January 2003, a survey went out to over 2,000 Yoga teachers. The intent of the survey was to research the marketing skills and needs of Yoga professionals. If the answers from the 200 respondents represent the larger Yoga teacher community, there’s a clear opportunity to focus and target resources to improve marketing results.
Whether you work in a Fortune 50 conglomerate or as a solo practitioner, the resources available to invest in marketing—including time, money and knowledge—are limited. As such, targeting a specific audience can help you make consistent, incremental progress in building your business. Yet, over 80% of practitioners surveyed responded that they did not target a specific audience.
Although Yoga can benefit everyone, marketing to the whole world can be exhausting (and impossible). Picking an audience to focus on can bring clarity and sanity to the sometimes overwhelming task of marketing. Here are some examples of targeting:
- Geographic target: this works well for a small, close knit community. Draw a radius around your studio that’s big enough to support your practice but small enough to effectively network.
- Demographic target: appropriate for large, metropolitan areas. An example of demographic targeting would be seniors or stay-at-home Moms.
- Specialty Target: effective for reaching a national scope or a specific regional audience. Examples would be women with eating disorders and/or body image issues, pregnant women, or cancer patients.
If it feels like focusing on a target limits your work, remember a great yogic truth: everything’s interconnected. A person’s neck pain may be caused by hip tension or emotional trauma. Marketing efforts are interconnected as well: focus on pulling one thread and the knot starts untangling, bringing personal and business clarity.
Another theme that came out of the survey was that marketing tasks were uncomfortable for many Yoga teachers to implement. Some representative comments include:
• “Self promotion is a bit anxiety-producing.”
• “I guess I might feel a little awkward or embarrassed marketing myself.”
• “I feel insecure.”
• “I feel I need to be out there more, yet don’t consider myself a “sales” person.”
One of the strongest comments showed that marketing was viewed as the antithesis of Yoga, “Maybe it would be more comforting to send us news about positive world news and meditation, rather than marketing strategies for Yoga and $$$.”
Marketing is simply finding a message that resonates with others about the service or product you wish to share with the world, whether that something is selling widgets or using Yoga for liberation. At it’s best, marketing is a process of gaining personal clarity about what it is that is uniquely yours to offer the world. At it’s worst, marketing is manipulative ploy used for the sole purpose of making a sale. Marketing is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. It is just a tool that you decide how to use. Expanding your awareness to include your mental framework of marketing can be as revealing as opening your hips in Trikonasana.