If there's one thing we know for certain, it's that the demand for online yoga content isn't going anywhere. As yogis continue to turn to the internet to find solutions and ways to continue their practice from home, the space for teaching yoga classes online is still growing. Which is why now is the perfect time to through your hat in the ring and start offering your services online as well. For experienced yoga instructors who have spent years teaching in studios and gyms to yogis who have recently completed their teacher training programs and are looking for a place to get started, launching your own online yoga classes can help you take the steps to running your own studio and building your client list at the same time.
There are thousands and thousands of yoga students still in search of the teachers and businesses that will help them practise their flow and navigate the current lockdowns and self-isolation. It is more important than ever to give people a sense of community and social interaction even if that means it has to happen through a screen. If you are one part yogi one part aspiring business owner, this is the most opportune time for you to launch your virtual classes and services and help yogis out there become a part of your community.
With that in mind, here are our keys to successfully launching your online yoga business and how to deliver engaging, high-quality online classes.
Launching your yoga business
Launching your yoga online yoga business is not very different from launching a physical studio. Although you will save money on rent, bills, utilities, and extra costs, the fundamental parts of getting your business together remain the same. You need a business plan, a method and platform to host your online classes, and to find and attract clients. Marketing can help you with the latter, but first and foremost you need to address the former and determine the following before getting started:
- Your goals for running your online business
- Who your key demographic and ideal client is
- How you will host your classes and services
- What you would like to achieve for your clients
Identifying these major key points will give you a clear target and objective. Sure you can just start posting on social media that you will be giving yoga classes on IGTV or Zoom a couple of times a week and will charge a fee for anyone who wants to attend. But ultimately that won't help you grow your business, gain and retain loyal clients, or establish yourself a serious authentic business that serves to teach and help yoga students.
Marketing your online classes and services
Once you have your business plan ready and your goals and objectives set you can start working on your marketing plan. Having a clear detailed idea of who you want your clients to be and what types of services and classes you will offer can help you find your clients. Through online advertisements (we're not saying this has to be paid), social media, networking, and referrals, you can begin showcasing what you have to offer the value you intend to bring your clients.
Building your website is a great place to start where you can advertise your classes, let people know who you are and your experiences, as well as give your clients a place to book. You do not need to have thousands of followers and a fancy website to launch your business. Although having that might help get people through the door initially, it's the quality of your services that will help you retain clients. When starting your website, be intentional with what you want to say and what it is you offer. You will want to have a bio or about me page, a list of your classes and services, and most importantly a place for your clients to book. This is where having software and a booking system can help set you apart from the rest.
Investing in online booking software
Studio management software comes with many tools to help you streamline your early admin, automate and collect payments, give your clients a place to book online or via a member app, and it can also add a level of professionalism to your business. Not to mention your software will come with a Zoom integration to give your clients an even easier way to take your online classes. When your clients see that from the minute you launch you have everything ready to go you will not only make it easy for them to sign up but you'll be able to make it easy for them to be a client. And that plus a helpful referral will have people coming through your virtual door before you know it.
With software, it will be easy for you to make important business decisions thanks to the insight you gain early on. Through the reporting tools and activity feed, you'll be able to see exactly who is coming through your virtual door, who has purchased a membership, and who has brought a friend or two along. Having this handy information right from the start gives you the exact power and knowledge and allow you to see what you need to continue doing or change without too much time passing.
Keys to delivering engaging online classes
Once you have your business and marketing plan set and your software ready for clients to sign up and register for classes, you'll be ready to go. And while it may seem like you have been planning and waiting for ages, you're almost there. Here are the key steps and things to keep in mind in order to deliver engaging online classes, ensure that the clients who take your classes come back for more, and set you up for success from the moment you launch.
Let your customers know what to bring in advance
Thanks to your software and marketing integrations, when a customer signs up for a class you'll be able to collect their contact information and automatically add them straight to your customer relationship management tool and email marketing list. Reaching out to your new clients to introduce yourself, who you are, and what they can expect from class will be a great way to make a first great impression before class even begins. In a studio, you might have items like yoga mats, water bottles, and towels for your clients, but at home that's all on them. So let your clients know in advance what they will need and should bring to class, so everyone shows up prepared.
Presentation is essential
Remember that with online classes, especially if you are teaching from home, you are now welcoming a mix of friends and strangers into your sacred space. And keep in mind that they are now welcoming you into theirs. Providing your clients with a comfortable and safe environment where they can feel relaxed and at ease will help you chip away at any level of uncertainty or lack of comfort your clients may have about taking a class online. Don't be afraid to be a little more personal and share more information about who you are and your experiences. The more you let your clients into your orbit the more they will feel comfortable to do the same and those walls will fall down.
It helps to get lighting and sound right
Getting your set up right is a fundamental part of delivery. It will not hurt to take a few practice runs and test out your sound and lighting to make sure that the clients can see and hear you well. It is incredible how much more professional your presentation can be with a little bit of equipment including an HD camera, USB ring lights, and a microphone that you can hook on.
Make sure that if you are teaching in front of a light or dark wall that you are wearing contrasting colours so that you do not blend in. This can happen especially if you are using a Zoom virtual background. We've all been there and with a few online classes of our own under our belts, it doesn't hurt to let your clients know they should do the same so that you can see them well as well. With great lightening and sound on both ends, you'll be able to guide them and recommend adjustments that can help them progress and improve. And they'll feel like you're right there with them.
Don't be afraid of angles
With a one dimensional view or angle, it can be hard for clients to see if they are in the right position or doing the movements correctly. You can fix this issue very quickly if you combine a laptop or notebook, USB camera, and your phone camera at the same time to show your clients multiple views of you teaching. Using Zoom's screen share settings and the app Iriun you can partner up your phone and laptop camera to create multiple views in your Zoom meeting. Your audio will still run from your main device, or it can run through a Bluetooth headset or microphone if you choose to use one.
You'll quickly feel like a tech genius when you are able to navigate between three different camera angles, and your clients will appreciate your efforts in helping them get it right. It might take a few classes for you to get your set up down and feel comfortable demonstrating, but don't worry you'll get there and your eagerness to test and improve will reflect greatly in the value your clients get from your classes.
Remember to emphasize social interaction
When class begins it's just you and a laptop in the room, and it can be very easy to forget that you have anywhere from one or two to 20+ clients watching you from home. One of the best parts of yoga is the community. The friendships and relationships your clients develop with each other when attending yoga class create a bond that ties directly to your business. Remember that although your classes are being run online you still have the ability to foster that same community and bond.
When you start class make sure that your students are all welcomed personally and that you have time to start with an introduction. Using your software you can even adjust the class time and Zoom settings to allow your clients to show up to class early to chat and relax before class begins. Your clients will appreciate the extra time with you and their friends, and it also means that when class begins you will have their full and undivided attention.
Create a welcoming and inviting space
As we said before, your clients are being brought into your space and you theirs, and when teaching online the majority of the time that space is their homes. And right now their lives might feel a little hectic and overwhelming. Spend some extra time before class uncluttering the space where you are teaching so that when they come into the Zoom room they are welcomed by a peaceful and tranquil sight, not another messy environment.
You can also design your space to reflect the type of ambience and decor you'd also like in a studio. This will help create a more familiar environment, but will also feel personal and special to you. If there is special lighting or you enjoy using incense and scents in your classes let your clients know what those are so that they can create a similar vibe in their own home.
Instruct them on how to use your booking system before class begins
From the moment they arrive at your website to investigate your classes and services, your soon to be clients will be very impressed with your professional display and easy to use booking system. When your client signs up online and registers for class using your TeamUp software, they will be sent a Zoom link that they can access from their email or TeamUp member app. When it's time for class to begin, all they need to do is open that link and they'll be whisked away to the Zoom meeting to begin. It's that easy, and although it may seem a little foreign at first, your clients will quickly appreciate the simplicity of being able to open their laptop or mobile device and arrive at class in seconds.
You're well on your way to becoming one of the world's best online yoga instructors
Your clients will give as much value to your classes and services as you do, so give it your all. Ask them what they enjoyed about class and what they think you could improve on. They will appreciate that their opinion matters to you and that they'll be able to contribute to you and your business. Spend some time checking in with your clients and getting to know them and their needs. It will only add more to their impression of you.
And don't forget to ask them their friends and family members, so that your business can grow. Your software can also lend you a helping hand there thanks to the customer referral program tool that will give your clients a referral code they can easily send to their communities, and earn with you when another person signs up and attends your classes.
We know online yoga is here to stay. It may seem challenging or feel unfamiliar at first, and it may even be a little scary now having clients that you are responsible for, but there is nothing more rewarding than launching a business and knowing that you have the ability to make a difference in someone's life. Through online yoga, there is no distance too far to reach any single person and give them the opportunity to grow with you and your online business.