9 proven online marketing strategies every yoga and wellness retreat leader should use
If you are a yoga teacher, coach or wellness professional hosting retreats you know how overwhelming it can be to promote your retreats online.
Running a successful yoga and wellness retreat business is tough. There are so many choices out there as well as pressures from competition to bring in more clients. To stand out and get booked you have to have a compelling retreat marketing strategy.
Back in the day, retreat owners found their clients through word of mouth and referrals. But with everyone doing yoga and going to retreats nowadays, you can no longer only rely on your past clients to find new people for you.
In this guide, I share with you 10 online marketing strategies for retreats that work.
1. Your retreat sales page
“Why don’t I get bookings through my website?”
It’s the question that haunts retreat leaders in the run-up to their retreats and one of the most common that I get asked.
My answer is this, putting up a webpage with a few images and a couple of paragraphs of what is included in the retreat is just not going to cut it. You’re not selling a 50 dollar pair of shoes. Your retreat is seen as a luxury item so you need to treat it as such.
It is important to showcase the retreat experience the best you can using a user-centric method while not forgetting search engines. You’ll need to balance user experience and SEO to get the most out of your website.
Your retreat sales page needs to communicate the value of the retreat transformation to the visitor through:
- Copy – the text on the page
- High quality images, video or audio that give them a taste of what the retreat experience will be like.
- Include all the information such as accommodation, food, location, experience etc…
- Showcasing past retreat goers’ experiences
- Make sure the user experience is inviting and inspiring
Of course, in an ideal world your website visitors would find you through organic search. But to even attempt to achieve this you need to create content that is enticing to both readers as well as search engines.
Search engines such as Google use keywords to figure out if your content is relevant to the searcher. However, if you focus on making them happy your content will come across as written by a computer. This in turn creates a bad user experience. Ideally, you should write your content first for your reader and then revise it to include keywords for search engines.
Also, be sure to highlight what makes your retreat different from others and focus on communicating that. Instead of boring descriptions of what is included and excluded, make it your own, add depth and uniqueness to your information.
2. Retreat Directories
Although I prefer you focus on improving and perfecting your own brand marketing as a means of getting direct retreat bookings I also recognise the value of listing your retreat on directories (also known as retreat listing sites or booking platforms).
Learn the pros and cons of using retreat directories.
Filling your retreat is essential to making it a rewarding experience for you and your clients. If you can fill it with word of mouth marketing or from your current network who already love what you do, that’s amazing. However, you’ll also need to get bookings from other sources. This is where retreat directories come in.
Many retreat goers use booking platforms such as bookyogaretreat.com and retreat.guru to book their retreats and the majority of them let you list your retreat with them for free. The commission is only due if the booking is successful.
3. List building and nurturing
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to market retreats. This is because it puts your content directly in front of a person who signed up to your list in the first place. They are already interested in you and your offerings to a certain extent. As a result, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say and offer than if they didn’t know you.
With social media organic reach being so low and only about 15% of your followers actually seeing your posts, showing up in their inboxes with valuable content is a much better use of your time and is way more effective.
But how do you build your email list in the first place?
This is where a high value lead magnet or freebie comes into play. Some examples could be:
- A quiz
- Downloadable such as a guide, resource bundle, checklist, cheatsheet
- Audio file of one of your sound bath meditations
You give the reader something of value, that will give them a quick win in return they give you their email address.
Your newsletter can also be a useful tool for updating subscribers about any upcoming special deals such as a priority list or early bird discounts.
4. Content creation
When it comes to learning how to market a retreat online, content creation is one of the most significant activities you’ll need to do.
Creating informative and engaging content on a regular basis is a key ingredient to getting the word about you and your retreat out in the world. If you have nothing to say, then nobody will find you in the sea of digital noise.
Setting up a content creation and distribution system is one of my 5 marketing systems for more direct bookings. You’ll need to come up with a regular blogging, podcasting or video creation calendar and stick to it to gain any momentum in your business.
5. Get out there
Although it is tempting to hide behind a computer and sell your retreat online, never forget the power of in-person/virtual networking. Your physical presence and words carry energy and that only comes across if you are at the forefront.
Share your retreat and how it can benefit people whenever you can and is appropriate. Don’t be shy, you believe in its transformative value and you want to help people. Come from a point of genuine willingness to help and it won’t come across as salesy.
6. Retreat testimonials
The holy grail of copywriting is using genuine and believable testimonials. After all, a raving review from a past retreat goer is invaluable in the process of convincing someone to book with you.
Therefore you should ensure you have a robust testimonial collection process set up:
- Collect testimonials from clients whilst they are still on the retreat – the energy is still strong and life won’t get in the way of giving you a retreat.
- Although written reviews are helpful, videos are even better! There is no doubt about the authenticity of the review.
- Ask the right questions – make sure your questions translate into a story. The person reading it will want to know why they attended the retreat, what it was like, and what they learned from it. In other words, what was their before and after transformation? Readers will want that too!
- Lastly, ensure you use those testimonials in future retreat promotions. On the retreat sales page, in your social media marketing and in your emails.
7. Quality images
One of my top tips for marketing a retreat which is often a neglected area is ensuring you use high quality images and videos where you can.
A picture speaks a thousand words and can communicate the experience so much better than text. You want the images to reflect the quality of your retreat, so make sure they are of a high standard.
Avoid blurry, generic images and instead make sure they are inviting and create a wow factor for potential customers.
Video has been one of the fastest-growing marketing trends in recent years. The number of people who watched digital videos increased by 3.2% to 244.4 million in 2020.
Retreat leaders can use video as a marketing tool to effectively reach their target audience. With four in ten online users watching videos from brands they are thinking of buying from, now is the time to get in front of your potential retreat clients with video marketing.
Here are a couple of ways you can use video in your retreat marketing:
- Live video on social media – You can build and strengthen your relationships with interested people using live video. Live has an air of exclusivity because people have direct access to you and your brand.
- Behind the scenes videos – you could give your viewers a sneak peak into what it’s like getting things ready for the retreat. E.g. if you visit the retreat venue you could record a video of the facilities, the chill out areas, yoga shalas, you could tell your brand story, interview collaborators and suppliers etc…
- Educational videos – Educational videos help your audience, and potential clients understand how they can benefit from your retreat. What will they learn and how will they grow?
Videos help people retain information better than text by providing a visual experience that’s entertaining, engaging, and educational, with viewers retaining 95% of a video.
9. Be unique
Lastly, and by no means least important. Be unique. My philosophy is: If you want to fill your retreat help only a few.
This is the cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy. Everything stems from owning your uniqueness and not blending in with the rest.
In a competitive market, being unique matters. By defining the things that your retreat does above all other retreats, it allows customers to realise the potential it offers to their relationship.
Think about it this way, if you are a person who has recently divorced, which retreat would appeal to you:
A yoga and wellness retreat for everyone
A yoga retreat designed specifically to give you the tools to work through your emotions. You will emerge feeling empowered and ready to move on to the next chapter of your life.
Probably the yoga retreat for divorced people, am I right? The offering is specific, it connects you, offers you the opportunity to meet people in a similar situation and it can help you overcome a challenge.
From a marketing perspective knowing who the retreat is for and what they are struggling with opens up infinite possibilities of creating content that will help your target market. Check out my blog…. To learn more about this.
It’s exciting to think about the wide range of options that online marketing has given us. However, it’s also challenging because our minds tend to get overwhelmed.
Relax. Don’t freak out.
Take it one step at a time, and be consistent with whatever action you take. If you commit to doing it for the long haul and stay focused, eventually your efforts will pay off big time.
YOU’LL ALSO LOVE . . .
- Building Trust and Credibility: Your Golden Ticket to Booking More Yoga and Wellness Retreats
- Early Bird Pricing: Is it Right for Your Yoga and Wellness Retreats?
- How to Establish a Strong Referral Program for Your Wellness Retreats
- Dealing with Last-Minute Cancellations: A Comprehensive Guide for Wellness Professionals
- Harnessing the Power of SEO to Market Your Yoga + Wellness Retreats