Congratulations! You’ve decided to lead your very own a yoga retreat. You may be feeling a mixture of emotions now that you've made the commitment. It’s exciting because leading a retreat is an excellent way to boost your teaching and your career, but you may nervous about filling all your spots.
How to sell out your yoga retreat
1. It’s all about that base
We mean your client-base of course. When practitioners shop for retreats, they care about the location, dates, and inclusions, but they also want to make sure the trip has a great leader. People in your base are already interested in the unique qualities that you bring to your yoga practice. They may be eager to travel with you, and even if they can’t come along, they’d probably be happy to send business your way.
Leverage your email list to get the word out to as many people in your base as possible. (If you don’t have an email list, now’s the time to make one.) Make sure that your email showcases your talent. It should be professionally-worded and have lots of great images. Make it easy for people to see the trip’s location, dates, cost, and perks. Incentivize referrals by offering them discounts for friends or family that they direct to your retreat.
2. Find partners in your network
The interconnectedness of all beings is such an important part of yoga practice, but it's also a key to a successful yoga business. Leverage connections you already have within and beyond your yoga community to boost your retreat sign-ups. Co-brand a promotion with a like-minded business. Bodyworkers, businesses that cater to conscious-eating, and organizations that focus on the outdoors or ethically-sourced materials may be great candidates for cross-promotion.
Don’t limit yourself to businesses, though. You can also partner with charities. Many are more than happy to support people making a positive difference in the world. Think about what they’re trying to accomplish and work with them to define a partnership that maximizes your skills and supports their mission at the same time.
Develop promo codes for each partner so that you can determine which partnerships are most mutually beneficial.
3. Include yoga studio(s) in your outreach efforts
Your studio-family may be able to help you get the word out. Fellow teachers can make announcements, and some businesses feature bulletin boards where you can hang fliers. Confirm with studio owners to ensure that it’s ok to promote your retreat in their space. (Don’t forget that you can forge a partnership with them, too.)
4. Make flyers
It may sound old school, but it still works. Things online disappear in the blink of an eye, but if someone picks up a flier, promotional postcard, or business card, it's a tangible reminder of what you’re offering.
Postcards (3.5’’x4.25”) look professional, and they're worth the investment. Printing flyers is relatively affordable, and some companies have in-house designers to help you create eye-catching designs.
One caveat to making paper fliers is to be mindful of your audience. Many places are working to cut down on paper waste, and they may not support having surplus fliers on hand. If printing large numbers of fliers isn't a good choice for you, print a few to be placed in select locations, or rely on electronic versions of your materials.
5. Tell everyone about your retreat
You never know who's going to be able to connect you with someone on the hunt for the perfect retreat. Ask your family and friends to talk about your event. They can share promotional materials, hang fliers, or like and share the details about your retreat on Facebook. Someone in their network might be waiting for a solid referral that your friends and family can offer.
Your fellow yoga teachers would also be great to tell. Word-of-mouth goes a long way in the yoga world, and an endorsement from their favorite teacher may be enough motivation to send potential retreaters your way.
6. Harness the power of social media
Chances are, you’re probably already active on a social media platform or two. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook are great places to post retreat details. Creating a YouTube video may not be for everyone, but if you have the technical know-how, a video is another free and easily shareable way to advertise.
In addition to using your online platforms, you can also purchase advertising from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can target your ads to reach your ideal demographic within and beyond your network.
Get your retreat listed in directories such as the Yoga Retreat Directory. People visiting those sites are already on the market for a retreat.
7. Traditional advertising
If you’re planning a small retreat, then this may not be feasible, but if you need a large turnout, you have to cast a wider net. Places like Yoga Journal, LA Journal, and Common Ground have space dedicated to advertising in their magazines.
Yoga Journal, Elephant Journal, HuffPost, and Mind Body Green offer advertising opportunities online as well.
If paying for advertising space isn’t in your budget, you can still get the word out without placing ads. If you enjoy writing, you can pitch a guest post for a high-traffic blog. Places such as Elephant Journal are very open to having guest authors. These posts give you a chance to show what you know and bring new followers to your base.
Don’t neglect local publications and smaller blogs. They may not circulate as widely, but their advertising rates might be more affordable.
8. Rally brand ambassadors
You may feel the pressure to do most of the marketing yourself, but you can also recruit individuals who share your drive. Put together a street team of dedicated colleagues, students, and friends to help spread the word.
You may not be able to pay them a full salary, but you can still show them lots of love. Offer them a discount, pay for their tickets, or use your fantastic yoga and wellness skills and connections to make their efforts well worth their while.
9. Co-lead your retreat
There's strength in numbers. If you work well with a fellow yoga instructor or wellness professional, you might consider co-leading a retreat. This would give you both a wider reach, and it would allow you to split the workload.
Be sure to keep up and follow up. When people message you on social media or email, be sure to get back to them. Offer frequent reminders about your plans to your email list. Show them how much you care, and they'll be more likely to trust you to take them to beautiful and exotic locations around the world.
You're not alone
At Mindful Balance Retreats, connecting people with incredible experiences is our mission. When you lead a retreat with us, we take the guesswork out of planning. You'll get a website where you can advertise your retreat and we offer support throughout the retreat-planning process. Plus, we're always happy to answer your questions!
Don't sweat the planning aspects of creating your adventure.