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I Recently Received An Email From A Newly Qualified Pilates Teacher saying: “I Was Wondering If I Could Ask For Some More Advice Please, From The Perspective of Marketing.”


Below is the email I received from a new Pilates teacher asking for my help. And my advice.


THE EMAIL


Hello George

Thank you very much for the Pilates Marketing Kit. It has given me some great ideas.

I was wondering if I could ask for some more advice please, from the perspective of pilates marketing.

When I trained as Pilates Instructor several of the instructors warned me that the market is now saturated and that I would have to make myself as marketable as possible. At the time I could not see what they meant but since I have been trying to get people to come to my studio or trying to find a venue that has not been snaffled already, I am beginning to understand.

For example, there is a Pilates Instructor that has booked every single hall in and around where I live and does classes every single night of the week. The venues in the main part of town don’t exist or they will charge £100 to hire for an evening. The town just consists of pubs, there are no dance halls and if there are, they are either too costly to hire or the Pilates instructor I talked about has got there first.

All the chiropractors and physiotherapists either already have Pilate instructors working for them or the physiotherapists are trained in Pilates as a side line.

On the positive side the town where I live is growing is becoming a commuter town. It was an army garrison town but since the army have moved out, new houses have been built like mad. However, the infrastructure has not been built to match the needs of the community. There are lots of gyms who already have got their resident Pilates Instructors doing classes every week.

I like the idea of contacting council workers as they normally have a room free to use. I was wondering how you made contact with your council? Did you write to them? Also, there are loads of Solicitors in Colchester (I was one in a previous life) and I did consider contacting them but the problem is venue again. Solicitors jobs are torture for the back as they sit all day dictating, sitting in court, taking notes, going to meetings….Have you ideas how I could tap into that market? This also applies to legal secretaries. I know that courts have lots of rooms spare…perhaps you could come up with a flyer that I could send to them?

I have done loads of Pilates class leaflet drops and have no response. I put an add in the Parish magazine and several women responded near the hall. However, the Pilates instructor I mentioned does evening classes 5 nights a week. So, I have 3 ladies coming during the day although this is not enough to cover the hall hire.

The most success I have had is with the personal contact. I have two men coming to my studio on a Sunday morning, one lady on wedneday, one on Tuesday and a man on Wednesday evening. These are people that I persuaded to come and they really enjoy my teaching. Well, they should do, I only charge £7.50 a session.

I am trying to be positive but it does seem a bit bleak but it is only early days. I am studying nutrition and weight management, lower back pain to make me more marketable. There two primary schools in my area and I intend to make contact with them after half term, using your template.

I have a Pilates website, I’m on Facebook and intend to post more on there. I have delivered over 500 leaflets in my immediate area.

The most frustrating for me is the derision I get from the men that I talk to and this the market that I would like to get into. I was wondering if you could offer advice about how to get past the view that Pilates involves “poncing around in a tutu and leggings”….I must have hundreds of men who are overweight, smoke, drink do demanding physical jobs who have lower back pain. How can I persuade them to come to a Pilates class?

Sorry to ramble on and I expect you can sense my frustration. I just can’t help worrying that I have spent over 2000 and a year of my life qualifying as a Pilates Instructor to find the market saturated.


MY REPLY TO THE EMAIL


Point 1: Council Workers
“I like the idea of contacting council workers as they normally have a room free to use. I was wondering how you made contact with your council? Did you write to them?”

My Response
Here’s how I made contact with my council. I Googled to find their telephone number. And I picked up the phone and called the council saying something like…

I’ve just started a Pilates class and thought the council employees might interested in coming along. The first class is free.If it’s convenient to you, can I pop up tomorrow and give you flyers to put up.”  

Point 2: Approaching Solicitors
“There are loads of Solicitors in my town. I did consider contacting them but the problem is venue again. Solicitors jobs are torture for the back as they sit all day dictating, sitting in court, taking notes, going to meetings. Have you ideas how I could tap into that market?”

My Response
To tap the solicitor market, I suggest picking up the phone and calling solicitors in your area and saying something like…

I’ve just started a Pilates class and thought your employees might interested in coming along. I know that solicitors jobs are torture for the back as they sit all day dictating, sitting in court, taking notes, going to meetings. The first class is free. If it’s convenient to you, can I pop up tomorrow and give you flyers to put up.”

You can use the Drag & Drop Pilates Planner to create a “Pilates For Lower Backs” lesson plan (or copy one of the Pilates For Lower Backs in the “Shared Lesson Plans” section). Whenever you do this, you can almost guarantee that the student will instantly become a “loyal student – someone who comes to your classes for years and years and years.

Point 3: Approaching Legal Secretaries
“I know that courts have lots of rooms spare. Perhaps you could come up with a flyer that I could send to legal secretaries?”

My Response
You can download the Pilates classes for legal secretaries here. The other niche Pilates flyers such as “corporate Pilates class flyer, County council Pilates class flyer, Football teams Pilates class flyer, Golfers Pilates class flyer and several others are available within the Pilates Marketing Kit.

Point 4: Approaching Legal Secretaries
“I have 3 ladies coming during the day although this is not enough to cover the hall hire.”

My Response
I highly recommend thinking outside the box to get a Free Pilates Venue. And then schedule time in your diary each week to take action on Pilates marketing activities within the Pilates Marketing Kit. When you find one marketing tactic that works repeat it over and over and over and over again until it stops working.

For example, say you take the three steps below and it brings in several new students to your Pilates classes, you’d go to another local golf course, and another, and another, until you had gone to all of them. Then, you’d think to yourself….hmmm if it worked for golf course, it may work for tennis clubs?

Step 1
Google golf courses in your area.

Step 2
Call up and speak to the pro to let them know about your new Pilates class (give your elevator pitch). Ask the pro if you call around, introduce yourself and give flyers to put up in the pro shop and changing rooms.

Step 3
Meet the pro and give him/her your Pilates For Golfers Flyers.

Point 5: Approaching Legal Secretaries
“The most success I have had is with the personal contact. I have two men coming to my studio on a Sunday morning, one lady on Wednesday, one on Tuesday and a man on Wednesday evening. These are people that I persuaded to come and they really enjoy my teaching.”

My Response
You’ve hit on the top secret marketing secret sauce…personal contact. In todays social media world personal contact is still the best way to get students. You’ll notice in the “points” above that I’ve said to “personally go to the golf course to meet the pro”. Make as many “personal contacts” as possible. Forget sending emails. Get in your car and “make contact”.

Point 6: Mass Leaflet Drops
“I have delivered over 500 leaflets in my immediate area.”

My Response
Doing a mass leaflet drop without making personal contact is usually a complete waste of time. Instead of dropping 500 leaflets, drop 5 and make sure each of those 5 drops involved a “personal contact” where you physically drop the leaflet into someones hands and give your elevator pitch.

Point 7: Derision From Men 
“The most frustrating for me is the derision I get from the men that I talk to and this the market that I would like to get into. I was wondering if you could offer advice about how to get past the view that Pilates involves poncing around in a tutu and leggings. I must have hundreds of men who are overweight, smoke, drink do demanding physical jobs who have lower back pain. How can I persuade them to come to a Pilates class?”

My Response
Some people you just can’t reach. Never get disheartened if someone isn’t interested in coming to your Pilates class. Give your Pilates elevator pitch. And if they’re not interested, move onto chatting with someone else.

Point 8: Saturated Market
Sorry to ramble on and I expect you can sense my frustration. I just can’t help worrying that I have spent over £2000 and a year of my life qualifying as a Pilates Instructor to find the market saturated.

My Response
I personally don’t think the market is saturated. I was a business consultant for approximately 20 years, and if someone said something like “the market is saturated”, or “I’ve tried everything” I knew that was just frustration, and not reality. The reality is that the Pilates teacher market is not saturated. The hard cold reality is that you need to keep on experimenting with pilates marketing tactics until you stumble across ones that work. Marketing is all about testing, testing, testing. If you find yourself saying, “The market is saturated” at some point in the future, say to yourself silently, “Ah yes, that’s my frustration speaking and not reality” (then immediately take action on a marketing tactic).

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George Watts

Yoga & Pilates Teacher
This post was lovingly brought to you by pilates/yoga teacher, George Watts. If you have a couple of minutes spare, take a little peek at my Pilates Instructor Lesson Plan Kit.