Welcome to part 2 of my blog series which breaks down three of the MOST important guidelines, tools and their implementation, thus making Instructors as successful as possible. These tools are a small glimpse into my Training Manual, “PWA’S: How to Successfully Build Your Pilates Business.” Buckle up, it may seem like a bumpy ride, but I’m here to walk you through these steps in a fun and enjoyable way! You can catch up with Part 1 of my series here!
I’m excited to share my experience with you because running your own small business can be an intimidating and exhausting undertaking and it’s nice to have someone to relate to. It’s especially important to know—you are NOT alone! Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, if it was, everyone would be doing it. However, if done well, it’s the most rewarding and priceless thing you could ever do for yourself.
Whether you’re just beginning your Pilates career/adventure or getting ready to open or expand your business, one of the most important things is how to Gain, Maintain, and Retain your clientele. It’s taken me almost a decade to figure out what works and what doesn’t, but throughout this process, I always remind myself, “failure is nothing more than a chance to revise your strategy.” (Anon)
I’ve managed to successfully book my studio Pilates With Ashlee solid in just under a year by implementing and adhering to these 3 important topics. I’m going to tell you what tools I used, how you can apply them in any client retention scenario and break them down per category to keep you fully engaged. First, how to gain your clients?
Gaining Clientele: These are key things you want in your “arsenal” to self-promote and market your business. Whether you’re teaching in or own a studio, and/or both, these are a necessity, and they are FREE! Use the following as your check list and don’t underestimate the power of having each one of these in your toolbox:
- Business cards: (resource: Vista Print)
- Website or landing page: (Resources: Wix, GoDaddy, Shopify: All user-friendly templates)
- YELP Account
- Google My Business Page
- Social Platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
Think of each of these as pieces of a whole pie. Having each of these will create more visibility regionally for you and make you more “viewable” to potential clients.
Once you have these tools set in place, they start building on one another like blocks. Each platform has its own unique qualities & features making it useful for you and your brand or business. Once in place, you can then first determine what your goals are and then decide how to prioritize the following, helping you GAIN clientele.
- Promotions: Offer first time clients a deal, (free session, ½ off, intro package). Think of longevity vs. the dollar amount. No one starts out with 25 clients making 80k a year. You have to give to get until you’ve reached your desired clientele.
- In Person Networking & Outreach: Hang up flyers in local parks and/or your neighborhood. Host free events/specialty demo classes/workshops/Pilates in the park! I’ve given my card to bank tellers, grocery store clerks, people I’ve met at the bar—and they’ve ALL come for a session! You ALWAYS want to make sure you have your cards on you at all times, that they are visually appealing and present well. A good business card, much like a great press kit, goes a long way.
- Word of Mouth: WOM is your strongest marketing tool. You can’t pay for it, you can’t cheat or manipulate it. A very large percentage of your clientele will be WOM. Never underestimate the power of connection! When you spend 2-3X a week with a client, you’re bound to become friends or form a certain bond. They trust you and your practice, generating loyalty. Plus, the more you reward and respect your clients, the more likely they will bring their loyalty to you in the form of referrals.
Next step is to prioritize and make a checklist on who you’ve reached out to and where you need to spend your time in following up! By the time you’ve accomplished some or all of the above, I’ll be back with my next installment on ways to Maintain and Retain the clientele you’ve now gained!
PWA’S workshop for Instructors & Entrepreneurs: “How to Successfully Build Your Pilates Business” is NOW available! To book hands-on Training with Master Trainer, Ashlee Carignan OR to purchase the 2-Part Manual, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Pilates With Ashlee will also be featured on CBS’s trending show, “This Is LA.” Filming June 12th, make sure to keep following my series for updates on its air date & all things PWA!