by Erin Myers
Marketing can be a boon or bust for your bank account. Here are some things to consider before putting together your marketing plan.
Who is your target audience? Most Pilates studios attract clients living within a 10-15 mile radius around the studio. People most likely will not commit to driving further than that. So, if you are spending a lot of money on a TV commercial, what mile radius around your studio is that ad hitting? It’s probably not going to do much good if it’s reaching someone 50 miles away. Be sure you know how far flung the ad will be and if the cost justifies the potential new client(s).
I know I’m going to create a bit of controversy by giving this advice, but I’m going to say it anyway… stop holding free, full-length classes. If you’ve been giving away classes, think about how many clients sign up for regular classes or privates at that time. Is it worth it to continue offering “introductory” sessions? If you are able to make back your investment in new clients, great, but take a look how successful this really is. You can always try holding demo classes or abbreviated group sessions to give people a taste of what Pilates can do without investing time and money into full-length sessions.
Think about the people who sign-up for something just because it’s free. Once they have to start paying for it, a percentage will not continue, particularly in many high-end businesses. I know it’s common for studios to have built free intro classes into their business model, but have you ever not tried that? You might be surprised at how many people will sign up without having been offered a free class.
Pilates is quite a niche market. If someone calls, emails, or walks into your studio, they are already looking for your services; 99% of the clients who do so are willing to pay for it right away.
Over and over again I see that when people are more invested in Pilates they appreciate it more and hence, spend more money on it in the future.
After trying out expensive paper and ink to make brochures, you might be surprised at what I discovered. I had used many different variations of colored paper, ink, and thickness and type of paper to land on the most effective and yet cheapest form of brochures. Clients preferred thin colored paper from an office supply store! I printed these brochures in plain black ink using the printer at the studio. It also turned into a regular task for the front desk staff – making sure the brochures were always stocked and printing more as needed. They were just as effective as professionally printed glossy, tri-fold, beautiful brochures, but much more affordable. This simple brochure for prospective clients included a sales pitch of the studio, information about how the studio dealt with first-timers, listed the classes, and gave the prices.
Another advantage of having your “printing press” in the studio is using it for other purposes. Whenever you change your group class schedule, change the color of paper so your clients know the schedule is changing. It’s that easy. Soon your clients will catch on to what you are doing, making it easy and simple for them to keep track of the schedule.
Because there are so many ways to spend your money on marketing and advertising, be selective of the methods you choose.
Erin Myers, a former Radio City Rockette, came to Pilates after suffering pain caused by dancing. After seeing and feeling the benefits of Pilates, she trained at the Kane School of Core Integration, based in NYC. She is A.C.E. and P.M.A. certified and is also a faculty member of Balanced Body University®. She opened, grew, and sold a booming Pilates studio in Nashville. Erin also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Managerial Entrepreneurship from Pace University.