How do I tell my story to engage more customers?
I own my own yoga studio and I know there is an opportunity there to tell a great story. Yoga is an inspiration and healing method for many people. However, I'm having a hard time putting that into words. How do I pitch it? How long should it be? What do I include? All questions I'm struggling with. Any advice is helpful, thank you.
I think there is a lot of wonderful information form some very well-informed people to sift through, don't you?
There is a lot of strategy ideas worth implementing here, including structure, timing and scripting. I wanted to throw in some inspiration regarding storytelling and I hope this helps.
I found that the trend of storytelling centers on two things: sincerity and emotional connection.
People don't have lots of time, so you can't make it go on and on..something I will do here so if you like irony you'll love this. And people will see right through your trying to sell them something. I mean, PVRs sell in part so we can tune out the noise, right? Netflix is successful because we are tired of advertising...it talks selfishly at us to get us to do something for them, namely buy their product or service. It doesn't care what we think and isn't interested in asking. And when it does it makes us work to do it. What a drag.
We know any business wants our money. But successful ones are being real.
Try this: sit with a friend as they film you, as they ask you about this "great story". Why is it so great? How did you come to understand its greatness? And how can all this help them? Let loose. Then watch this video and watch where you come alive. That energy cannot be faked (watch it with your most honest friends if you need second eyes) and that is where you can center your message. Then fine tune it, get to the point i.e. distill it to an easy to sit through length so it can be shared (go for the length of a short pop song video, anything more and you lost them), and circulate it on social media to share, but don't stop there.
If your story is genuinely to inform others to elevate their lives, it will be genuine and sincere, and it will be real. And people will appreciate that. Then you can do the next part...get them to respond. Find out how this relates to their lives. Get curious and get interactive. Do they have similar stories? And if so, what can they add from their experience? What did they learn? Or were they inspired by what you shared? How so?
When they "like" it, ask them why. When they respond, don't just "like" the response, make them feel special, add some words, a few hashtags so they get added recognition. Elevate the experience and reward the efforts. They went to the trouble, so return it in kind.
Oh and when you talk, be natural, the way we all talk to each other. Avoid buzzword, corporate-speak or other jargon that will either bore, turn off or alienate the audience. Cut through the crap the way we all wish the world would do.
I will disagree on coupons only as they are tricky to use effectively. Plus, I keep finding articles validating the problem with coupons. It makes you look desperate and tends to attract bargain-hunters who will, more often than not, go when the coupons do. If you have to take a profit hit to build your business, here is a good article covering this that offers a viable alternative, rewards incentives:
It's better to be competitive. Offer a comparable price and ...um...what are you offering that makes you different?
I'd put together a one page document divided into three main areas:
1) when and how yoga can be beneficial, these days
2) how does it work and may make somebody's life better
3) verbatims of your current participant at your yoga training.
Try to be as compelling as possible, and, in case send me a draft, so I can add my coments.
All the Best
I have learned to use a 2mins "Hero's journey." This includes how you were before (your pains" before yoga, what challenges you faced to move out of pain, what motivated you to try yoga, and what is the status now. This could be somebody's if not yours.
Hope this helps.
I think that you can use the storytelling technique and also think about what is your customer profile to best fit the story to their goals and your yoga studio.
As the customer attention is the most disputed item on these days you should be sweet and short on you story and have some short videos to get people attention, then if the person wants to know the fulls story you can have a larger video, and also some "one page story" to post on blog and social media.
You can get a you tube channel and post some "how to do yoga" videos there along with your story.
There's some great advice on this page, so I'll just add a tip that I use when I help my customers tell their stories.
Don't think of your web copy. Think of meeting up with an old friend and telling them that you own a yoga studio. They say "that's cool, why did you get into that?"
And you respond with ...
And they say, "that's interesting, how has it been?"
And you respond with ...
Just put your words down, or even have a friend interview you and write them down for you. You can always go back and edit for clarity, but all too often "over marketing" strips these stories of their fundamental human power.
I TOLD THEM WHY THEY SHOULD BUY BUT NOBODY BOUGHT-WHY? Here's a few ways to do what you have asked for guidance on that can work.
What you think folks want and the reasons you offer to attract paying customers are often incorrect and unfortunately fail in its objective because of those assumptions you have made.
Missing this mark is preventable as is getting it right very probable with a little up front homework. You can, with a few easy steps and ways of thinking get your messaging right so it does connect with and gain customers.
Try these steps and ways of thinking for doing that:
1. People do things for their reason’s not yours
If you have not done the in depth homework to see how a target audience thinks, what it cares about and how to link what you want to what they want so joining in makes sense, you probably will be disappointed in your results.
EXAMPLE FOR YOU RE HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY SELL, PITCH YOUR SERVICE SO YOU GET LOTS OF CUSTOMERS ( REPEAT CUSTOMERS) :
First off, realize that People don't care about Yoga but they do have issues they want to address that Yoga can help resolve. For instance, begin a conversation or "pitch with an opportunity revealing question.
In a conversation, pitch, sales opportunity, even a presentation, You might start by Asking about stress and its impact on the person, get the answer. Next ask what would it mean for them to be able to negate the adverse effects of stress that they just revealed to you . Now you can relate your Yoga services to undoing precisely what they said was an issue for them, relate how it can do so, results and ask for the "Order'.
Notice the approach and subsequent decision was not would you like to do Yoga becuse YOU say its great, it was, do you want to manage and or remove the adverse effects that you told me stress has on you or not?
See the difference in the setup and then what you are closing for so a person can say yes.
2. Dont think That because your Belief in your direction is so strong in you that you that everyone will agree and want to join in. As my example for effective client acquisition above shows, people do things for their reason's not yours(C) If you get blinded by that belief in what you do or offer as a shared value of everyone else and try to sell that way, it prevents you from being objective about how best to get followers and participants.
Even hearing the communication “experts” saying things like “folks just do not care about that” referring to your pet project, being so caught up in the value of your idea, you resist their expert advice. Its just too hard on you and your deep seeded beliefs, values to accept what they say.
3. You can not just wish things into reality.
If the audience has or sees no real buy in nor reason that, to them, resonates and says “that’s me-that’s exactly what I need to do and I am doing it” your message and recruiting efforts will fail. There’s just to many “you need to do this” messages bombarding us so its critical that you do what is suggested in this step in the way you reach out to folks.
4. Maybe in Looking at our core traits and what we are really good at, we should honestly see what we are good at and not good at and accept it. Then farm out what we are not good at to someone who is.
For instance, If we are not marketing or sales types and we want our idea to connect, get the marketing or sales type to figure out how to do that and even, via some kind of agreement, let them do that for you.
5. Its not ego, its pragmatism that should govern how you and your strengths and weaknesses are played out in trying to make something happen. Allow a consultant to help you define ideal reasons and markets for your Yoga offering
“Why go it alone when you don’t have to?” Why risk failure trying to do what you know you are not good at, especially something as important as gaining willing participants?
This is especially true when you want to influence people, their thoughts, manage your messaging so you do gain traction for your idea or project amongst the many different types of audiences out there.
6. Knowing precisely how to do this type of question-answer type that can link what your Yoga offers to a real perceived, need with differing approaches that resonate with differing target audiences is how you get to “yes, that’s exactly what I need and I want to do it” from the members of the target audiences you have identified as folks who could benefit from participating.
If you are not good at that, be brutally honest and let someone who is great at that help you by doing that part for you and or guiding you on how to do it well.
Failure is a learning experience but you can, especially if you want to create active participation in something like gaining clients or your Yoga offerings, avoid failure if you can adopt the thinking of what’s been suggested here in this post.
And remember a very simple but useful way of thinking as you try to go and gain joiners and participants:
1.”People do things for their reason’s not yours
2. Imagine the prospect or target audience has a sign on their forehead that says so what!” ( copywrite-Neil Licht, Axioms for success in selling, motivating and getting to yes)
Living those two axioms when charting connecting, influencing and getting participants goes a long way to realizing success for gaining acceptance of your idea,event It goes a long way for you in getting folks to participate and willingly join in with your “vision” and, for their reasons, not yours, make it theirs as well.
First off, drop the "pitching". Especially as a Yoga instructor. It's more about storytelling. Your story is about your "WHY'. THAT is what you have to dig deep for - your dreams and fears. You have to accept not everyone is going to like you and you are not going to like everyone. With that said, focus on YOUR target market - your ideal clients. Tell them your story. Then you don't have to sell anything. You don't have to prove anything. Now,,, once upon a time a long time ago when I was very young I learned (hopes and fears),,,,, And I share this now with you through Yoga because (healing, educating, community, etc)
Begin with a heart felt story that impacted you and this story also helps people in similar situation. Or a video would be even better. Put it in your website and promote it in all social medias. Keep it about half page of the word doc at 10 pt type, make sure the headline is compelling. Good luck.
Why, What, How, Who.
Write loads on each. Boil it down to 4-5 sentences for the elevator pitch (in order Why, What, How, Who). Use the long version for a sales page.
In fact before you start - work out why you are writing this. What's the purpose?
Elevator pitch - grab attention, connect, resonate
Sales page - get results
About page - build credibility, position yourself in your market
Blog or Newsletter - to stay in touch, and remind people of how they can access your services.
Here are some prompts to get you started.
Why do you do what you do? What do you believe in? What do you know that would really resonate with your audience? Why would they choose you over another yoga teacher? Your story goes here.
What results is your ideal client specifically looking for? What is the outcome you can offer? What will people feel after they have tried your service?
How you deliver those results. How you will help them? (Yoga) and how will they access that service? How is your service special?
Who - who is it for? This is for you if you X and you want X. It's not for you if you X. (This can also appear at the top - or at the bottom with your call for action.
This blank or lack of direction is common because like anything we start, create or design starts with a blank space, paper or not and then we want it to be the best we can make it, so where do we start?, is a typical starting point. Good idea to reach out. Your story gets better and better the more you elaborate on it and revise it. You will find yourself scratching entire paragraphs, and discovering issues of redundancy, maybe, but you get the idea. Refine it as you go, before you know it, you will become an expert story teller. These are positive ideas that your reader might already have in mind about Yoga; specialty source, advice and guidance, preventive, environment, escape, hope for progress. My anxieties might be, how convenient will it be, should I lose more weight before joining? Is there a time period commitment? Is this for people already doing Yoga? Can I afford it? What do I wear? How much time is needed out of my week? What are the benefits of Yoga? Etc. And then again, a lot of prospects have already read articles about Yoga and seen videos on YouTube. So anyway that's my contribution to your questions.
STOP thinking pitch...start thinking in terms of Passion and Authenticity and telling others stories. The goal should be to let them tell others for you not you telling them how awesome you are...even if you are. The difference in exposure and credibility is huge. Designing a system that creates this is far more valuable than figuring out how to promote yourself or sell your services.
Think of it this way...is there another yoga studio in your area? Of course. Do they provide similar services? Of Course. Do they talk about the same benefits as you would? Of course. What differentiates you...your stories...your passion about what you do...your customers...your authenticity about good and bad. Talk about that and customers will want to engage and create a dialog.
Michellyn, good questions. In my opinion and experience, it's more about engaging your potential customers/clients with information that will be helpful to them more than talking too much about yourself. This can consist of inspirational and healing methods, videos of yoga poses they can practice in the morning or at their desk etc... The more you speak to what will be helpful for people vs. necessarily talking or telling stories about yourself will then lead to trust and engagement from them to you. And this is a forever marketing plan which you will need to do on a consistent basis. There are various other layers to this but this is the gist of it. Best of luck and feel free to buzz me if you'd like to discuss further.
The story that's most compelling and easiest to tell is the story of someone you worked with (i.e. taught them yoga) who got great results.
Check out my profile for the URL to my free online tool called the Elevator Pitch Creator. It takes less than two minutes to answer a few questions and we'll send you a fully formed Elevator Pitch.
In those results you'll see a great way to pitch, a good length for the pitch, and the key elements to include.
Let me know your thoughts!
For starters think of why you got the yoga studio yourself. What inspired you to get into this business and what benefits did you get from doing yoga yourself? Then explain the benefits of yoga you would like to introduce to the clients and how these benefits will affect/better their life. Then give testimonials of existing clients or experts on yoga.
For additional clients:
Offer a "groupon" where they get let's say 10 classes for $20 but have to finish the classes within a short period of time, thus introducing your classes to a new group of people.
Offer unlimited classes for a monthly fee where the price of the class will come to less than price of a single class.
Offer the opportunity for people to purchase a single class to see if they like it.
Give them a free class for their birthday or a special discount because it is your birthday
Offer weekend workshops
Start selling some yoga related items from your studio (books, yoga mats, belts, CDs with relaxation music, aromatherapy oils, even inspirational jewelry)
Additional thought: All medical insurance companies who insure people over 65 also offer a free program to the members which is called "Silver Sneakers" you may want to investigate and have these classes offered free to the members while their insurance pays for them.
Hope I have helped some. Good luck with all your endeavors.
One technique for your 30 or 60 second pitch (or elevator pitch) is to start of with relevant issues that your target customers are experiencing.
Is the stress of your day preventing you from enjoying your life?
Is your life so hectic that you never get anything significant accomplished?
Would you like more flexibility in both your muscles and your outlook?
(Or some questions better suited for your Yoga approach). Then go into something like:
Hello, my name is Michellyn and I am a yoga instructor. I help (describe your target clients) (describe the problem they want to solve or challenge they want to conquer) even if (list some common challenges they have for achieving their goals) . I have a knack for (enter what differentiates your studio from others)
At the end of the day (your tag line)
Before you tell your stories via different media, I recommend to study your client data that until today you have stored, there is intelligence to applied to your business behind that data. The scope of your 'story' in written, video etc...should in my opinion include all demographics and lastly and most importantly should target your client needs. The client data you have stored over time should tell who your clients are, what is their need profile and why your Yoga Studio is the place to go.
Your story should be interesting, engaging, useful and memorable. You can do that by making your story personal. Why you got into the business, what makes you different, your beliefs about yoga. You mentioned some of that already.
As far as constructing your story, you should begin with a hook – "What is the greatest source of healing around the globe?" – or something along those lines. Make sure you don't give them the answer in the hook. You need to get the reader interested and then back it up with facts. Eventually you need to make a pitch, the reason the reader needs your services and how you can help them. This is the most critical part. After all, you do want the reader to use your services, right? Then, end the story with a nice tie back to your original hook.
Hope this helps.
Tell your story, not the story of yoga. How did you come to yoga? Why have you stayed? How do you see the instruction of yoga? Why are you different?
This is what people want. It's how they will relate to you, your methods and your studio.
Hmm..you could always just start writing. See where that process takes you, as a good first step. You'd be amazed at what comes out when you just sit down and write (without being concerned of how the information is being used). I think the key will be for it to be authentic.
If the story really is an emotional journey, then perhaps consider a short (2-3min) video. The value in vocal tone, expression, etc, is astronomical vs. reading text. The key will be that it'll need to be well produced, but you can do this cheaply with the help of a student.
As a side thought, if your focus is to build your business (..make some cash and pay the bills :) ), then you'll need to drive your point home to convert your prospect into a sale. Most yoga studios (that I've worked with) usually use certifications as a way to increase their revenue and staffing. The classes make money too, but the competition can be high. I see that you have a wellness program, so perhaps relate your story with why your program is great and what value it brings to your prospect.
Telling your story is an important part to getting people to buy into your business, a few ideas:
On your website:
Share your story, share a picture of you and a bit about you personally. You could have your picture (as you have on your profile here) in the sidebar and a little bio, similar to one you would use in Twitter, and then a fuller, more indepth story in an "About" page on your website.
On social media:
Share your story in social media, add it to your LinkedIn profile, tweet little tweets about why you chose yoga, or why yoga chose you. On Facebook, ensure your about section includes your story, there is the ability to add this to your fuller section in your page.
I think you need to include something about why you chose yoga, did it heal you / inspire you in particular - if so, how? What was the point that made you decide yoga was what you had to be a part of?
I hope that helps!
PS perhaps you could create a story in your movements? So start with a simple downward dog, moving all the way to the crow/bakasana as you are doing in your profile image? Sharing how yoga can be a simple starting point moving you towards a full control of your being.