How To Start Marketing Your Virtual Studio Online

In last week’s blog post, we talked all about our favorite offline strategies for getting your first online clients. As we discussed last week, we highly recommend that you start your marketing efforts offline, since that is usually the most comfortable (and the quickest) way for you to nail those first few sales. But, in order to truly grow and scale your virtual studio business, you’ll eventually need to learn the ins and outs of online marketing. Here is a handful of our favorite strategies for getting started. Many are free, but some may require a small investment on your part. As always, choose which tools resonate with you and your business, and leave the others alone (at least, for now).

Our Favorite Free Online Marketing Strategies

Yes, we are calling these online marketing ideas free, but be aware that they do require time and energy. (In business, there’s usually a trade-off between time and money.) Once you have launched your online offering, it is critical that you spend some time sharing it through online channels. These ideas are all about creating an online presence that will over time help expand your market reach. These free tactics are a great investment of your time, as they can reap benefits in the long-run. Remember: slow and steady wins the race.

Social Media Marketing

Hopefully, you have already started to do this when you set up your website (or even before). Social media can be a great tool to do some free marketing within your existing community and it can be an excellent way to raise exposure for you and your brand. Not sure where to begin with social media? These past post should help:

Offering a Freebie

One of the best ways to attract people to your website is by offering your audience the option to exchange their email address for a freebie piece of content. It could be a shorter length video of your current teachings or maybe it’s an ebook of resources they would find helpful. By offering a freebie, it gives you the opportunity to show your audience exactly the kind of teaching you offer. Growing your email list is key for any online business, and this is especially true when you’re teaching online. Before buying any of your paid products and services, prospective students and clients want to know if you’re going to be a good match for them as a teacher or coach. A potential student only needs to come to your website once, for you to have the opportunity to begin connecting with her through email.

Start a Regular Email Newsletter

Sending a regular newsletter (weekly or monthly) to all of your students is a great way to stay connected with your community. This is a simple strategy to regularly share what’s going on in your business and any promotions or new content that you have on offer. It is never too early to start your newsletter. Even if you just have ten people on your list – start with those ten. If you are still unconvinced about starting an email newsletter, read Why Every Yoga Teacher (or Studio) Should have a Newsletter.

*Mailchimp is our favorite email service provider for beginners because it’s incredibly easy to figure out, the help documents and video tutorials are excellent, and the newsletter templates are gorgeous. Plus, MailChimp integrates with Namastream, so if someone signs up for a program on your Namastream site, their email is captured and added to your Mailchimp list. Hooray! (We used Mailchimp for the first 2 years of Namastream and loved it.)

Guest Blogging

Before you spend hours and weeks working on your blog (if you choose to start one), consider becoming a guest blogger instead. Guest blogging can be a great way to expand your reach. Existing blogs and publications are always looking for great content. Here are the links to the submission guidelines for four great sites, where you could share your wellness journey and professional insights:

Not sure what to write about? Here are 108 Blog Post Ideas to Inspire Authentic Content (you’re welcome)!

Paid Online Marketing Ideas

As a business, you are aware that it costs money to grow and expand. If you are serious about growing your online teaching business and have already tried out some of the offline and free online ideas mentioned above, it might be time to invest in paid marketing. There are loads of good options when it comes to advertising online, but we are going to focus on the easiest and most cost-effective ones.

We highly suggest that you choose just one ad platform to use at a time. Pick the ad platform that focuses on where your quintessential student is spending her time. Our biggest piece of advice when it comes to paid ads is to focus on quality over quantity. Running one or two ads that perform really well on just one ad platform is all you need to create a huge bump in your website traffic.  

Facebook Ads

Paid advertising through Facebook is great because it is more likely than not that your quintessential clients are spending time on Facebook. Also, Facebook gives you the ability to really narrow down which kind of people you target with your ads. You can target down to your local geographical area and/or to a niche market or age-range or interests. Before you get started with Facebook ads, it is really important that you have a very clear idea of your quintessential student and the characteristics that make her or him up (gender, age, interests). If you are interested in learning how to do FB ads yourself instead of hiring an expert, we offer Getting Started With Facebook Ads as a 6 lesson course within our Soulful.MBA training community.

Instagram Ads

Instagram ads are still considered a relatively new addition to the online advertising world. Facebook owns Instagram, so when you start doing Facebook Ads, you will have the choice to also share these ads through Instagram. The health and wellness industry is very active on Instagram – and if your ideal student is active on Instagram too, it could be a lucrative place to spend your advertising budget. A helpful tip: first post content to your own Instagram feed (for free) in order to test out new hashtags that could be relevant to your product offering. If you notice higher engagement using these new hashtags, it is a good sign that paid promotion through Instagram could be beneficial to your business.

Pinterest

Pinterest is not just for recipes and DIY tutorials. If your ideal student happens to be female, then Pinterest could be the ad platform for you. (Although men are a fast growing demographic on Pinterest too!) Pinterest has two paid options available for advertising. Promoted Pins, our favorite tool, allows your specific pin to have priority in Pinterest’s search results (similar to promoting keywords through Google ads). These “ads” look almost identical to normal pins, so they blend in seamlessly without screaming I AM AN AD. The second option that Pinterest offers is called Buyable pins. These work well if you have physical products you want to sell. Maybe you have a book, jewelry, or accessories as part of your online offering. Pinterest also offers some great tutorials to help you get started using Pinterest for Business.

YouTube Ads

Bet you didn’t think about YouTube as an ad platform option! The great thing about advertising to a YouTube audience is that they are already showing you that they have an interest in watching online videos. To advertise on YouTube, you first need to have your own YouTube channel. {You might be wondering why you would need a YouTube channel if you have a Namastream site – we get this question all the time here Why You Need a YouTube Channel (+ 9 Simple Tips For Getting Started).}

Back to using YouTube as an ad platform… Because Google owns YouTube, you can improve your search rankings on Google just by your use of YouTube. Also, ads are WAY cheaper on YouTube compared to Google. Trust us we have tried Google Adwords, and it is super competitive and super costly for the wellness and fitness industry. Just like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, you can pick the daily budget, which means you can spend what you’re comfortable with. You can start with as little as $10 per day on YouTube.

Remember, we don’t recommend that you try to tackle all of these strategies at once (and maybe not ever). It is best to start with one and master it before adding more to your workload. If you are not finding success, try out a different strategy from this list, but know that online marketing takes time. (Pinterest, in particular, is a long game. We’ve heard of pins going viral 4-6 months after they were originally pinned!) Good luck and stay persistent, getting your first student is always the hardest, the second, third, and 100th all become easier.

If you found this post helpful, you should check out our Soulful MBA Resource Library — where we have more free tutorials, workbooks, and trainings to help you prepare to launch your online teaching business.

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Here is a handful of our favorite strategies for getting started with marketing your virtual studio or teaching online. Many are free
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