Let’s walk through your journey as a new instructor – be it for fitness, dance, yoga, or meditation. You’ve invested money in your training and now proudly hold a teacher’s certificate in your hands. You’ve taken the time to build a website or start a blog. You’ve put your feet to the street to audition as a teacher at a studio or secured space to teach classes. Everything is lining up and you’re fired up to start teaching classes and share your passion with the community. Your first class rolls around and then… nobody shows up. This can open the floodgates for all kinds of feelings – among them being doubt, despair, and frustration. Rest assured though, pretty much every new teacher faces an empty room early on in their career. It can be difficult to accept the truth that it takes time and ongoing effort to build your class attendance. After speaking to a few experienced teachers, we gathered some tactics for you to try in order to build up your class attendance.
Talk to everyone that you know. Friends, family, and co-workers are a great place to start. They already know you and will be your strongest network of support. Invite them to your classes and ask them to invite their networks. If it’s appropriate, maybe try offering a special “Friends and Family” rate. Expanding beyond your immediate network, don’t be shy with acquaintances like the barista who makes your coffee or the cashier at Whole Foods. If they say something like, “You have any plans this weekend?” and you happen to be teaching a class, tell them that! Sure, they may not actually attend but you also never know where the conversation might lead. For some people, this might be an exercise in stepping out of their comfort zone but the good news is that the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Attend networking events, conferences, and workshops. If you have a chance to attend a conference, workshop, or networking event related to your industry, then do it! Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is not only energizing and inspiring, but you’ll also be able to practice talking about what you do and continue to get the word out about your work in health, wellness, and fitness. These events are also a great opportunity to learn from others and you could even meet your next mentor or accountability buddy.
Update your website and schedule. It might seem obvious but it’s still worth saying. Taking the time to update your online content is really important! Not only does this provide visitors or followers with your latest news and events, but it also builds your credibility. Have you ever visited a website and the information was out of date by a few months or even years? Chances are you didn’t stick around on the website for very long. Additionally, publishing relevant and current information, such as a class schedule or calendar, will help with the overall searchability of your website. Check out this article to dig deeper into SEO techniques and best practices.
Give them a reason to keep coming back. It’s helpful to think about the journey for new and returning students alike. For new students, you might offer a special introductory rate or incentive to give them a taste of what you can offer. For your dedicated students, consider how you can keep their experience fresh and interesting. Perhaps offer a special workshop or series that digs into an advanced method or concept. Get creative! Only you can decide what makes sense given your experience, field, and market. If you’re unsure what your students want, then simply talk to them or send a quick survey. People like to give their opinion and even if they skip the survey, they’ll more than likely appreciate being asked.
Share your unique skill set or knowledge. We don’t mean this to sound like you’re not trying your best because we know you are! Rather, think about whether you have a unique skill or talent that you can weave into your classes. Do you give amazing hands-on adjustments? Do you love incorporating relaxing essential oils during savasana? Or, maybe you just have some really funny one-liners to keep your students smiling while sweat is dripping down their forehead. Think about what makes you different. It doesn’t have to be a huge offering either – it just needs to be authentic. Being yourself will often be enough to bring your students back.
Practice patience. Even if you employ all of the tips discussed in this article, the most important step you can take is to practice patience. Trust that the time you’ve put into building your professional practice is going to pay off. It’s really easy to get discouraged early on but keep showing up, remember why you do what you do, and the rest will follow.
Hopefully, with this list, you’re now equipped with some practical steps you can take to increase your class size and maybe even inspire you to get a bit creative! While only you can put yourself out there, we can help keep your online presence fresh and current. OfferingTree’s suite of business tools includes an easy-to-use website builder with a built-in schedule and booking system. We also offer a blog platform and newsletter tool to help keep your current and potential students up to date. Learn more at offeringtree.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.