Last month I read an eye opening post about marketing strategy + psychology on Psychotactics.com. As soon as I read the opening paragraph I immediately thought “hmmm interesting, I should tweet this shit out.” I never did – it’s their fault, they didn’t add a share link to their post. Seriously? Who writes professional articles about marketing + advertising and doesn’t add a share link to the page? WTF. Anyway. The article flips the idea of competition on its head. Once you wrap your brain around the concept its logic is so very obvious you’re wondering why you didn’t come up with it yourself.
Cliffs Notes version: the article redefines the narrow application of your competition. The example they use in the article is a ‘kitchen designer’s’ perceived competition is other kitchen designers, when in actuality, their real competition could be a car salesman.
Get it? No? Ok, let me explain by bringing it into our yoga world. I am wordy, so this may take a while, bear with me…
Your biggest competition isn’t the yoga studio opening up 5 miles away, its the Coach Store. It’s the Gap. It’s Antropologie, Ann Taylor, Home Depot and those god damned emails from Joss & Main. It’s what ever that potential student is spending their money on instead of your classes and your studio.
While we all think everyone should practice yoga and it should be available to the masses, the dirty little secret is that it’s expensive. Those that can afford it (I’m not talking uber rich 1%ers, I’m talking average middle class people with mortgages and student loans) do so because they have made yoga a priority in their life. Their priority is your benefit. I know at first pass, that sounds uncomfortable, but YOU were put on this planet to share your gift of yoga. You can’t do that if you’re stressed out over your bottom line and paying your bills.
The students that ritually purchase 10 class packs or annual memberships at a yoga studio are your bread + butter. Keep doing what you’re doing in class to retain these students, you don’t need to market to them, you need to keep them happy. The new students, Groupon users and the student that pops in once every month or so? They’re different. These are the ones you have to convince to go to yoga (regularly) instead of buying a new Coach bag. This is why your biggest competition is not the studio 3 miles away or even be the other local teacher offering killer privates at stupidly cheap rates.
Your biggest competition is whatever else that potential student is spending their money on.
The challenge is to shift your marketing and sales pitch to persuade students to go to yoga instead of buying that Coach bag. This is a no-brainer because it’s not risky. You won’t lose any loyal students by testing this theory out. They already know what’s in your awesomesauce, they’re drinking the kool-aid and they want more. This shift will only impact the PRFs (Potential Raving Fans). Now don’t assume switching up a flyer or interacting with your Facebook fans a little differently is going to be enough, you need to follow through to seal the deal. A successful follow up will convert Groupon purchasers into Raving Fans who will come to class instead of going shopping. WIN WIN.
An amazing side effect to this shift in marketing is the energy associated with your prosperity. Shifting your ideas about what your competition is in reality will allow you to release competition, insecurity and even jealousy. Letting go of this kind of negative competition makes room for effortless prosperity and abundance. This naturally builds community. When you stop hating on the new studio that opened up down the street, you can work together. Maybe you can plan a kick ass event, bring in your favorite “guru” or yoga celebrity that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford on your own? We’re so much more powerful when we’re united.
Next week I’ll talk about conversion and creating a sales culture in your studio without feeling totally gross.