Ask Lindsay- Marketing Spells You Can Cast

0How do I get more clients through the doors of my studio? My studio is fairly new; we opened in February and while I’m excited by the growth that we’ve seen already, I want more! Can you please share how you’ve made your studio a success?! What were some of the pivotal decisions you made that helped to drive up your clientele? My retention rate has been good, and I am confident in my skills as an instructor, but I need your help on how to infiltrate my market and create a strong community of lifers!  ~Anonymous, New York

Getting people in your doors (or on your mat) can be tough when you’re just starting out. Over the past 10 years of my practice I’ve built (and re-built after various moves), from just a handful of loyal clients to today’s bustling studio with a wait list for new clients. Sadly, there’s no magic to my process, just hard work, consistency, faith, and LOADS of patience. Allow me to be your fairy princess of marketing. Here are four spells you can cast on your market to drum up some interest in your Pilates practice:

  1.  Do That Voodoo That You Do So Well The first step is to concentrate on the clients you already have. What can you do to make them absolutely fall in love with you? How can you make their experience like none other so that they gush to their friends and family about how ah-maz-ing you are? Check up on them after your session together. Make them a little homework video. Throw them a party in appreciation and ask them to bring their friends. Offer them a free TY session for referring you to their sister. I’ve gotten 75% of my own clients that way, which proves word of mouth is powerful. Either that or I’m damn good at casting love spells….
  2. Look Into the Crystal Ball Do you even know who you’re marketing to? Casting a wide net may get you a few little fish, but aren’t you going for the big catch? The only way to do that is to identify who your ideal client is and market accordingly. Look into the future…who do you see sharing your space two or three times a week?  Which clients do you just jump for joy over teaching? Write out this fantasy client. Give them a name, a specific job. Know where they live, what they read, even their favorite meal. Then look into the ball and see what their fears are, and how you can solve them. Put that knowledge into your marketing and they’ll come running to you saying, ”Wow, you must be psychic.”
  3. Do a Fly By Get on your broomstick and get out of your studio space! Go to where these ideal clients are hanging out. Concerts, readings, plays, restaurants, clubs. Go there and bring your best self (oh and some biz cards). Chat up everyone and if it feels right share what you do (chances are they’ll ask you anyway). This is a great way to get clients. I once found a lifelong client in the cosmetics department at Barney’s!!! Make sure you have an email sign-up list prominently displayed on your homepage so people can sign up for correspondence with you, which brings me to my final tip….
  4. Spellbind Them Often Send regular correspondence, email newsletters, blogs, and/or video blogs (aka vlogs:) will keep you in the forefront of prospective minds. Don’t be afraid to be a little pesky. Research has shown it takes at least 5 interactions before a potential client actually makes an appointment. Shorten that time by offering new email subscribers a free consult with you or a discounted intro session. Remember that you have to be able to “look” into their eyes often to astonish them!

How do you get clients in your doors? I want to hear from you! Leave your comments below and share with your friends!

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Consolidate, Equilibrium, Bravery

In true New Years fashion, my inbox, Facebook page, and twitter feed suddenly became inundated with the particulars on how to set and keep a resolution. Most of it melded into the din of data I’m flooded with. A LOT of it ended up in my advice-happy spam folder, or in the trash- all but the exception of one. Chris Brogan, a media marketing and PR guru, has an interesting take on making good intentions stick. I was lead to his article and philosophy, My 3 Words for 2011, purely by proximity.

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Chris shelves the tradition of making resolutions and instead swaps it for 3 valid words to use as a touchstone to get him where he wants to go. The belief behind focusing on words initially instead of goals, is to allow you to have something to mull over, get you thinking, and make objectives. He uses the SMART (Specific, Measureable, Acheiveable, Realistic, and Timely) to define the actual goals, sound familiar?

Here’s my 3 words that are the backbone of my goals:

Consolidate
In my therapy sessions (yes I go to therapy thank you very much), I have been exploring my yearning to feel safe and stable. My life often feels like it’s water running through a sieve and I can’t hold onto anything solid for any length of time. In trying to get to the bottom of my plight, I discovered actual evidence that I had the ability to nourish and support myself- plug up the holes, so to speak, and it was right in front of my eyes. I’d catch a glimpse of it, which would be eclipsed as quickly as it arrived by my nay-saying gray matter. Betsy, (my AWESOME therapist), suggested that every time I identified an instance where me, myself, and I did the “care taking” effectively, I should write it down and put it in a vase or bowl. This way I could have a tactile method of calculating my abilities. The word Consolidate means- to make something physically stronger and more solid. My first goal in my journey to become more solid, is to make my strengths materialize in a vessel on my desk. Finding a vase or bowl-no problem, I love to shop. Write down my good deeds, cake. I’m a writer.

Equilibrium
Ok- who doesn’t need more balance in their life? For me, my need for Equilibrium is specific to my career. I own my own business, which means I’m the head honcho, the big cheese, the boss lady. It also means that if something needs to get done, I’m the one who has to do it. I’m a one woman show, so I am responsible for answering the emails, phone calls, balancing the books, and scheduling the clients. It’s a full time job, and I find myself having difficulty turning off, tuning out, stopping the hamster wheel. Some days I book myself so tightly that I scarcely have a moment to pee, let alone stuff a hurried meal in my pie hole. The madness has to end. My journey to Equilibrium is initiated with two goals. First- I’m setting designated times of the day to check and answer my emails and calls. Otherwise it’s ignore, ignore, ignore, and make room for something else. Secondly, I’ve made up my mind to become a 9-5er. I will designate a quitting time for my day, after which I will be DONE with anything that resembles my “day” job, making room for other things like seeing friends and maybe even my a date night with my lovely boyfriend.

Bravery
This new year has big changes pending. Although I welcome them, they are still piggy backed by doubtful thinking and restless nights. The definition of being courageous is to not be deterred by danger or pain. Not knowing what’s in store for me makes it so hard for me to move boldly forward, (see my need for Equilibrium above), but, that’s what we ALL must do. No one can see what life has in store for them- we can only pay attention to what’s in the moment. This year I will move ahead with my plan to open my own Pilates studio without being dissuaded by my insecurities. I will write down the steps, and put one foot in front of the other without trepidation (or at least less of it). If my path seems to be going left instead of right I will follow it courageously, with confidence that it’s exactly where I need to go. Physically, I will dare to try new activities like rock climbing, boxing, and tennis. Emotionally I will continue to set free the remaining butterflies in my gut and courageously grow in my relationships with everyone I hold dear, despite my timid tendencies.

Even in re-reading this piece, I am flooded with inspiration instead of desperation. In the old days of resolution setting- I would unknowingly set myself up for failure and disappointment by creating unrealistic page-long expectations for myself. Having three key words to focus on creates hope and possibility. I’m thrilled to see where I’ll go.

Make sure to post your 3 words in the comments below! We want to hear from you!

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