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I Recently Received An Email From A Newly Qualified Pilates Teacher Asking For Marketing Advice.


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


THE EMAIL


Hello George

I’ve been a subscriber to your Pilates marketing info which has been invaluable.

Please can I ask for you advice?

I have managed to get quite a few classes going (thanks to your brilliant marketing methods) and, as you have warned against doing, and these are in village halls. I had no choice because all of the large venues in my home town are either to expensive to hire or taken by other instructors (who warn me off if I so much as sniff near their classes) so I had to go down the village hall route. It’s still early days though and I’m hoping they’ll develop but you are so right, there’s no real money in teaching classes in halls.

I am now exploring Pilates retreats, weekends and days. Please could you help with a few questions that I have:

How did you get the commission for the Pilates holidays that you organised? I have been in touch with several holidays companies and they’ve offered 5% reduction for a group of five which is plastered all over their websites. So, I’m wondering if the people that I am hoping will be interested will see this on the website and wonder why they’re not getting the reduction themselves even though I’ve done all of the work.

How did you get to keep the commission yourself?

I have been exploring Pilates days and that’s great idea but as all my venues are pretty scattered and my students hate travelling out of their villages. How did you get people to your venues? I guess as they are/were in the centre of your town I suppose it wasn’t an issue. I could hold a Pilates day in their village hall but I’ve only got about 7 or 8 people in my class. Any ideas how I collect enough people to come to a Pilates day? I’m getting posters printed and leaflets, perhaps its too soon for me.

I’m really not earning enough from the classes despite the fact that I have heavily marketed all of my classes…village magazines, facebook, leaflet drops and really need to find another income stream.

I’m finding it really hard to get people to part with their money, it’s a battle to get some students to pay six weeks in advance for the hall hire so I’ve got some leverage. They say things like I’m on holiday, or I can’t guarantee I’ll be around for the whole six weeks…I loved your idea of paying for the year but if I can’t get people to stump the cash for six weeks. What sort of discount did you offer for the year? I don’t charge top whack for my rates either even though I provide the equipment and mats.

I totally agree about your suggestion of give, give, give and give more but I seem to be doing a lot of giving! I always give the first class free before getting students to sign up for the six weeks.

Did you experience these difficulties in the beginning George?

The best success so far for me has been my private studio which, in the early days was a complete disaster. I used to charge about £7 for a private lesson at my studio and, as you say, you get burnt out. I closed my studio and pursued various classes around my County which is petrol heavy, expensive hall hire and limited classes. However, I stuck a decent price on my website for private lessons at my studio and left it to stew. But now I earn more in two private lessons than I would two village classes.

I’ve only been qualified since September 2017 and have really worked hard to get my classes going and maybe I just have to be patient and let them grow. I can’t help but be a bit concerned when I read about your experiences though.

I would dearly like some of your advice please, if possible.

Thank you.


MY REPLY TO THE EMAIL


The best advice I can give you is to “experiment” with new Pilates marketing tactics often. And when you find a tactic that works, make sure you keep on doing it over and over and over and over again until it stops working.

Here are my answers to your questions…


PILATES HOLIDAYS


The Question

“How did you get the commission for the Pilates holidays that you organised?” 

My Answer

“I don’t recommend organising a Pilates holiday on a commission basis. Pay for a venue, organise the holiday, and keep 100% of the profit. But don’t start with week long holidays. Start with day workshops, then weekend workshops, then week holidays. Gain confidence and experience before jumping into organising holidays. They take a lot of work and preparation.” 


PILATES DAYS 


The Question

“Any ideas how I collect enough people to come to a Pilates day?” 

My Answer

“It may be too soon? I recommend a gradual process. Stick with teaching classes for a year or so, then do day workshops, then weekend workshops, then holidays. Experiment with as many marketing tactics as you can (Posters, Facebook, etc). You may find my Yoga Retreat Kit useful (even though it’s Yoga, the tactics in the Kit are also ideal for Pilates). You can find out more about the Kit here.


ANOTHER INCOME STREAM


The Question

“I’m really not earning enough from the classes despite the fact that I have heavily marketed all of my classes…village magazines, facebook, leaflet drops and really need to find another income stream.” 

My Answer

“In 2018 I plan on releasing ‘Online Pilates Classes’ for our members. Pilates teachers (my members) will be able to use their tablet, smartphone or computer to film themselves giving a Pilates session in their own homes. You’d then be able to sell the “video” and “lesson plan pdf” (that you create using the Pilates Lesson Planner) as a package on our site. You’ll have your own free storefront. You can also offer a ‘Skype Pilates’ service. This is great for busy professionals who don’t have time to come to a Pilates class.” 


YEAR MEMBERSHIP 


The Question

“I’m finding it really hard to get people to part with their money, it’s a battle to get some students to pay six weeks in advance for the hall hire so I’ve got some leverage. They say things like I’m on holiday, or I can’t guarantee I’ll be around for the whole six weeks…I loved your idea of paying for the year but if I can’t get people to stump the cash for six weeks. What sort of discount did you offer for the year? I don’t charge top whack for my rates either even though I provide the equipment and mats.” 

My Answer

“Think of it as a ‘membership’ for your students. What extras could you include in the VIP Student Member Package? For example along with the ‘year of Pilates classes’, they also get: 2 private sessions with you (they come to you or do it via Skype), 50% discount off a sports massage (arrange this with a local masseuse), etc, etc, etc. Use your imagination to come up with more member benefits. The thing is you don’t need many of these “Year Members” (2 or 3). They will quickly become raving fans and tell their friends and family about your classes. You can build a thriving Pilates business off 2 or 3 raving fans.”  


PRIVATE YOGA STUDIO 


The Question

“The best success so far for me has been my private studio which, in the early days was a complete disaster. I used to charge about £7 for a private lesson at my studio and, as you say, you get burnt out. I closed my studio and pursued various classes around my County which is petrol heavy, expensive hall hire and limited classes. However, I stuck a decent price on my website for private lessons at my studio and left it to stew. But now I earn more in two private lessons than I would two village classes. I’ve only been qualified since September 2017 and have really worked hard to get my classes going and maybe I just have to be patient and let them grow.”  

My Answer

“Sounds like you already know that £7 is way too little to charge for a one to one session. The norm is anywhere from £30 to £70 for a private Pilates session. If you use the Pilates Lesson Planner, you can give them a print out of the Pilates Lesson Plan for their “home practice”. That’s one bonus. Maybe you can think of other bonuses to give someone who comes to a private session (e.g. record audio of the session on your smartphone and email with the lesson plan PDF).”

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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.