Article by Melanie A. Bell
Remember those high-energy commercials with brightly smiling salespeople urging you to buy their sets of knives that could cut through ANYTHING?! You may have watched with minimal interest… UNTIL … you were offered another set completely free!! Aaaahhhh….that added value was all it took to jump up and get your phone and credit card in hand, ready to buy. We all like the idea of receiving something for free. Little “bonuses” surprise us, and put smiles on our faces.
In the yoga studio, we may not always have the opportunity to discount our rates or give away tons of classes for free. But, it’s the perfect location to surprise loyal participants with little “extras” that add value and keep them coming back for more!
Giving back to participants is wonderful karma yoga; it makes them feel valued and special. When people feel appreciated, they are more likely to remember you and return to your classes. It doesn’t take a lot of money – choose a percentage of your pay (3 – 5% works for me), and consider it an investment, as well as a way to foster customer relations.
All that goodwill has a boomerang effect that benefits not only the recipient, but also you as the studio owner and/or instructor.
Ways to Add Value:
1.) Birthday Celebrations: At the end of each month, celebrate all the participants who had birthdays. Have the class sing “Happy Birthday”, then present each one with a small gift or free class. It’s a great way to make people feel remembered and appreciated.
2.) Free Compliments: Once in awhile, offer participants a free “compliment” they can choose, based on their mood or need that day. These compliments are printed on business-card-sized stock, and can range from cute (“PLEASE tell me you’re single!”) to uplifting (“You are a fabulous human being.”) These creative mood-boosters are fun to make, and participants are asked to pass the compliment along to a friend or stranger when they are finished with it. This allows them the fun of making someone else’s day!
3.) A Cuppa “Cosy”: Offer a selection of individually-wrapped tea bags in a charming basket for participants to bring home after practice. Chamomile is a relaxing choice after an evening practice, and green or peppermint teas offer energy boosts post- morning or afternoon classes.
4.) Group Giving: People love to feel needed, and donating to charitable causes is a simple way to have yogis experience karma yoga. Every so often, ask the class to choose an organization to donate to. Ask participants to contribute small items or loose change (keep it easy and affordable). For example, bring in a pack of pencils or markers for students in need; a small dog toy or can of cat food for the SPCA.
5.) Trivia Questions: Print out a fun, interesting, or challenging question with three possible answers, and ask participants to write their name and answer on a slip of paper. After class, offer the winner a small prize or free class. This is a fun way of imparting information and getting people to think!
Once you take baby steps towards adding value to your classes, you’ll find the process creative, fun, and not as challenging as you may have feared! Let me know if you have any imaginative ways of surprising and giving back to your classes!
Melanie A. Bell is a triumphant cancer survivor, passionately sharing her love of life and well-being with others through the practices of Yoga, Reiki, and Aromatherapy. She would love to hear from you and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org