As a Yoga or Pilates Teacher I’m sure you know the feeling.
The January New Years Resolutions are passed and your classes are booked up weeks in advance. Old faces are back after Christmas, and new faces, shiny and keen, arrive on the mats.
But as January drags on, and we slip past the infamous “Blue Monday”, the enthusiasm starts to wane. Empty mats appear as pre-booked clients skip sessions, and bookings for February and beyond are slow.
So how can we maintain that January momentum and enthusiasm, in both ourselves, and our clients?
Try Something New
Make sure you keep your classes fresh as it will help maintain the enthusiasm of both you, as teacher, and of your students. Introduce new poses each week and progressions to make poses more challenging. Show your students that you care about their progress, and that they ARE making progress, and they’re more likely to keep coming back.
Cut A Deal
One of the big issues that can cause students to drop out of class towards the end of January isn’t always lack of motivation, sometimes its purely financial.
At Christmas many people get paid early. As January draws to a close, finances can be stretched, and booking their next set of Yoga classes can be low on the agenda.
If you offer monthly block booking, check if any of your regular students haven’t yet booked and don’t be afraid to approach them individually. It could be as simple as offering to reserve their space until they’re able to book on payday, or offering them a drop in price for a couple of sessions till they’re ready to book their next block.
It shows students that you care about their attendance, and offers motivation to keep coming.
If you followed our advice about keeping students engaged over the holidays then you’ve probably got an email list or Facebook group set up. As it gets busier in the New Year it’s easy to let this side of things slip, but these channels are the perfect way to keep all those new faces engaged.
Make sure you’ve added Januarys new clients to your group or list (with their permission) and keep them up to date with class bookings.
Another big reason that people drop out of fitness programs is their disappointment with a lack of progress. Don’t just teach a class, help your clients set goals so they can see progress and achievement.
You can do this through your social media channels, or one to one whilst walking around a class. If a student can’t touch their toes, then be sure to let them know if you can see that they’re an inch close to the floor or if their legs are a fraction straighter. Offer them advice on how they can work to improve this at home between classes, and suggest a time frame for finally getting those fingertips to the floor.
If setting specific goals doesn’t work for your students, or your style, then consider offering advance notice of what a class might contain to maintain students interest in the class.
If you finish a class with Shavasana, then as students are returning to a seated position afterwards, before they start gathering coats and bags, is a great time to mention what you have planned for next week. Will you be introducing a new asana or do you feel some of your students are ready to advance a pose that you are already working on? Mentioning this in advance gives students a sense of continuity and that sessions are a progression, rather than an isolated practice they can drop in and out of.
Some level of drop out is inevitable with classes, but its worth putting as much effort into building a regular, engaged, and loyal body of students in your classes as you do to reaching new ones.
Maintaining these relationships can be valuable for both you, and your students. We’d love to hear any methods you have for student retention.