You’re ready to market your yoga business – woo! Now you need yoga challenge ideas.
But should you do a contest? A giveaway? A vision quest?!
Yoga challenge ideas are endless, and can be both strategic AND fun. When done correctly, they
- Increase your social media following dramatically,
- Retain and re-energize members, and
- Can be repeated and implemented in the future by you or your team.
But to do a yoga challenge well, you need to make sure you
- Make the participation super-simple,
- Embed business-building strategies, and
- Do the right challenge at the right time of year.
Once you have yoga challenges dialed in, your marketing will feel natural and fun – it’ll also deliver a better return on your time and effort.
(This post is Chapter 3 of Yoga Advertising On Facebook: The Ultimate Guide. See a full table of contents here.)
Why host a yoga challenge?
Controversial opinion: The most lucrative challenges are ones that are free for your clients.
It’s because the easiest revenue grab is to retain your current members. They already like yoga, they already like you, and they’re already coming on a somewhat regular basis.
But if life gets in the way, and their attendance drops for a few weeks or months, they may get stressed out or forget why they love your services so much.
So you want to continuously be reinvigorating your clients. Challenges do just that.
A yoga challenge brings your community together, gives you an opportunity to reach new followers and potential clients, and reminds people why they love your service!
Types of yoga challenges
“Scavenger hunt” challenges
These are “burst” challenges in which you invite clients and members to complete certain tasks or take a number of classes in a defined amount of time.
For example, my local studio YogaOne hosts a summer bingo challenge each year called “Love Bomb Bingo”.
You have 14 days to participate. Each time you complete a line and get bingo, you get a raffle ticket entered into an end-of-challenge drawing for prizes.
If you black out the entire board, you get entered into a separate raffle, which has even juicier prizes like a one-year membership, a cruiser bike, and so on.
To create a challenge like this,
- Define the start date and end date clearly.
- Decide how fully people need to participate.
- Answer this question: “Why should they care?” Why should your clients rearrange their lives to start coming to your studio twice as much, or more?
- What are some prizes and incentives?
Social media challenges
You’ve seen a zillion of these. Yoga challenges online became especially popular through custom hashtags.
The name of the challenge would become the hashtag, and as a result you could see people from all over the world participating in the challenge by exploring that particular hashtag.
Challenge hosts often get a great bump in followers from this as a result.
“Evergreen” refers to something that is in place all the time.
Your welcome email to new clients is evergreen, because it goes out automatically, 365 days a year.
Some studios choose to have an evergreen challenge as well – something that is inherently part of the culture and that everyone is aware of and celebrates.
Arrichion Hot Yoga in North Carolina does this beautifully. They have a series of levels you reach (with corresponding bracelets) for a number of classes taken.
The studio celebrates clients with social media posts, which further strengthens the culture of “take classes and get to the next level”. Their highest band is 1,000 classes.
What type of challenge to do in each quarter of the year
I challenge you (pun intended!) to host one challenge a quarter as a strategic part of your marketing plan.
Your first-quarter challenge should focus on your New Year’s Resolution crowd: clients who are new or are dusting off their yoga mats and getting recommitted.
Your second-quarter challenge should play off of the Spring season and people reaching the end of the school year. For many markets, attendance dives in May because of graduation/start-of-summer travel, consider creating something here.
Your third-quarter challenge can either be something during summer that gives people something to do, or can be a challenge in September that helps clients ride the “back-to-school” energy and get recommitted to their routines.
And your fourth-quarter challenge can help people stay committed during the holidays. Often, clients’ travel schedules get crazy during the end of the year, so consider creating a challenge that has some flexibility to it.
Q1: Attract and Retain the “New Year’s Resolution” Crowd
January is marketing magic for yoga studios. You often see 50-100% more new clients than normal come through the doors with no extra effort, not to mention your existing clients who want to get recommitted.
Here are the two reasons they’re coming in:
First, people feel like crap after the holidays. They’ve attended parties, traveled, and celebrated – sometimes for a month straight.
It’s a long enough period that their unhealthy behaviors, while fun, are starting to become habitual. Maybe they’ve also put on some pounds and their clothes are fitting a little too tight. They need a jumpstart.
Second, there’s a new year – people are contemplative about what they want more of in their life.
While they may not set an explicit new year’s resolution themselves, other people around them are, and there is much more day-to-day conversation about dreams and goals. (Health and fitness goals are the number one new year’s resolution, beating out number two in January Google searches at a 2:1 ratio.)
This group has very tangible pain points NOW, because they look and feel like crap. Your most aggressive campaigns, challenges, and programs of the year should launch in JANUARY.
An example program is to facilitate Baron Baptiste’s “40 Days To Personal Revolution” program at a yoga studio in January.
Example of a studio hosting a challenge during promotion period #1.
This program can be offered at any time, as it’s based on a book. By offering structure at the beginning of the year, you’re more likely to retain and convert your new year’s resolution crowd.
Why the new year’s crowd gives you 40% of annual revenue
Many moons ago, my industry was retail.
I remember the first time we received the holiday planning kit – it arrived in June. JUNE.
I died a little on the inside. I thought it was crazy at first to be talking about Christmas six months in advance.
But then I overheard a killer statistic about retail in general: About 40% of the store’s revenue for the entire year was earned in the three-month period between November 1 and January 31.
Sure enough, that’s how it would play out – usually.
In some holiday seasons, we had all our ducks in a row, we followed the holiday plan and were proactive, and we absolutely crushed it – making insane amounts of money in additional sales.
In other years, we had the wrong people or not enough preparation. It cost us dearly and we missed our sales targets – by a lot.
Sure enough, when I later worked in studios, this was also true on the fitness side – the peak quarter of the year pulls in about 40% of the entire year’s revenue.
For most studios, this is the period from December 15 – March 15. (A lot of December transactions were people splurging on annual memberships, which make a big dent.)
Whether you like it or not, a TRUCKLOAD of new people come through the doors at the beginning of the year.
Lots of people are ready to pounce and spend on the services that will fulfill their new year’s resolutions – as well as get them out of the post-holiday muck as quickly as possible.
Q2: Spring Fever and Prep for Summer
With summer on the horizon, clients either want (1) to get out of the house and shake off the winter blues, and/or (2) lean out and get pool-ready.
For example, If your market resonates more with the “Fit For Summer” message and want to tighten their nutrition and find their pool season body, do a promotional program in April or May.
Businesses outside of the yoga space who run strong nutrition programs or boutique personal training businesses benefit from this approach, but clean eating is yoga too and can be something you help structure for your clients.
Q3: Summer Slump and Back-To-School Campaigns
You have two options for Q3.
One, you can explore doing a summer challenge like the bingo example listed above. This is a great way to break up the summer slump and give people some structure and fun.
If summer is really dead for your business (or really busy), and you need a re-engagement strategy in fall instead, look at doing a challenge in September that plays on “back to school, back to studio”.
People are using the back-to-school energy to naturally settle back in to their routines, so you can use this as a re-engagement opportunity.
I have a suggestion though: Do one or the other, not both. Otherwise it gets too overwhelming for your clients and your team.
Q4: Push Annual Commitments
Your challenge efforts in Q4 depend on your community. If your people travel a lot and are stressed during holidays, consider a simpler challenge.
A word of caution, though: Your Q4 marketing efforts should focus heavily on selling an annual package. This is a one-year package or membership that people buy upfront or commit to.
For many studios, the annual sale is responsible for multiple tens of thousands of dollars. More importantly, your clients commit for the entire next year, ensuring your community is engaged and excited.
If you’re also advertising a challenge during this time, you’re going to direct attention away from your annual sale efforts, which will cost you far more revenue in the long run.
Keep it really simple in Q4. Perhaps you host some events or workshops that are holiday-themed, but generally you want your focus to be on the annual sale, getting people excited for the next year, and making the investment.
Since it’s the holidays, people are spending more than usual anyway – you can ride this consumer psychology wave.
How do I get more people involved in my challenge?
Simple – you advertise.
First, check all your “free advertising” boxes: have teachers announce your challenge in class, keep a signup list at the front desk, put up posters in the bathrooms and announce on social.
If you want to reach more people though, I suggest you run ads on Facebook and Instagram JUST to your email list and followers.
These people have already tried you out. They may already be regulars. And even if they’re not regulars, they may want to jump back into the studio.
They won’t know about your upcoming challenge, though, unless they hear about it.
If this is your flavor, check out the next chapter of this guide, which dips into Facebook ads and will show you how to reach your email list and page likes on Facebook.