It doesn’t matter if you have been teaching for five days, five months or 20 years, empty slots in the schedule happen! Clients move or go on vacation, change jobs or have kids. As a Pilates instructor, it’s important to have a hand out there welcoming in new clients even if you think you don’t need any. In a perfect world, we would arrive, and the clients would be lining up down the street to get into our studios, the phone would constantly be ringing, and our inbox would have multiple emails of people asking for two or more sessions a week. But the truth is, (even if you are a skilled teacher in your area), if people don’t know about you, your Pilates business or even about Pilates in general … that door will have no line, the phone will not ring, and that inbox will remain empty. Let’s change that TODAY!
I know you’re thinking, “But Lesley, I don’t have the extra money to pay for marketing.” You don’t need any extra money to get clients. You also don’t need money for what I am about to have you do.
Or, maybe are you thinking, “I don’t have time!” If you have empty slots in your schedule, you do have time. Also, these five tips are actions you can begin today and add into your daily routine.
Ready to make some simple changes to grow your business? Here we go!
1) Be “Google-Able”
Clear your browsers cache and search history and then start to think like your future clients. What are they searching? My future clients would not know to search me by name if they didn’t know it, so instead of searching “Lesley Logan Pilates,” I would search “Pilates West Los Angeles.” I am looking to see how far down the list I am. Try it for yourself. What comes up? Search Pilates in your area. Do you come up? If not then it’s time to take a look at your website. Is it optimized to be mobile friendly, (ahem, can you see it well on an iPhone)? How recently have you updated your site? Do you blog consistently? This blog post can dive deeper into SEO and if you’re wondering if your website is doing everything it should be read more here.
2) Be Yourself
Just because the studio around the corner looks hopping with its back-to-back classes doesn’t mean you need to offer classes in your location. If you desire to work with one-on-one clients, focus on gaining private clients. Or maybe it’s the opposite. Your studio is set up for classes, and you love teaching classes. Own that! What is the focus of your website? What is the message that you are sharing? Does it only tell people the general benefits of Pilates or does it explain the specific benefits of Pilates with you and your studio? Stand out in a crowd by showing off what makes you unique. Check out your about page and think of it as a letter to your future clients. Be specific about what you offer so they can make the best decision. You can’t, (nor should you), be all things to everyone, so highlight your sharp point(s) to build loyalty and retention.
3) Know Your Neighbors
During those late cancels or empty slots, you wish to be filled with clients, take a walk around and participate in your community. How can you invite them in to know who you are and what you offer? This is by far my favorite way to gain clients. I love it so much I created my “Elevator Pitch” workshop, and I’ll be leading a webinar all about how to rock talking to those around you about who are you, what you do and how they can take Pilates with you.
4) Howdy Partner
If you are clear on who your ideal client is, you can spend time thinking about what that client is doing when they are not with you. Are you a Pilates instructor to athletes? Where are these athletes? Where are they shopping? Can you join forces with that store and give them an offering to share with their clients? For example, if you are hoping to work with more golfers, go and introduce yourself to the driving range, golf course or golf store in your area. Give them a Pilates offering they can share with their VIP’s. Stores are regularly looking for a reason to contact their customers. You are giving them an offering that they can share such as, “Spend $200 this weekend and receive a gift certificate for a Pilates class for golfers at Your Pilates Studio,” is a marketing gift for them! A win-win for both you and the store. Even if you only get one client from that, it cost you nothing but your time and when their golf game improves their friends will be calling you!
5) Tribal Council
You know those friends and family members who get excited for you and what you are doing? Create an email that explains what you do, who you are for and how people can find you. Attach your information, and you can even give them tweets, Facebook posts or an email they can copy and paste and send to those they think fit what you offer. Make this email personal to them but the attachments something they can easily share by pressing “forward.”
I hope you’ll choose one or all of these tips to implement this week. It’s your Pilates business. You can do more of what you are already doing, or you can take control, focus on your business goals and enjoy doing more of what you love with teaching Pilates.