Last night, my fiancé, Mike and I decided to have Chinese food for dinner. We wanted fresh, high-quality food so we chose our favorite restaurant, TS Ma. I was passing by on my way home from my studio so I offered to pick it up.
TS Ma is still doing curbside pickup and as I approached the front door, I realized there was a not-insignificant line to grab the food. As I stood there, I realized that not only was the pickup line 5 or 6 deep, but the place was crawling with delivery drivers, headed to drop off orders. It was BUSY.
So in true Nicole fashion, I started thinking. What is it about this business that works so well? It isn’t the beautiful ambiance (there really isn’t any), it’s certainly not sparkly marketing strategy (I’ve lived in town for a long time and have hardly ever seen an ad) and it’s DEFINITELY not cheap as far as Chinese food goes. This place is jamming because the food is really, really f$%king good and people talk about it.
Often, when I speak to Yoga Studio Owners, they’re desperate to know how to create the perfect funnel or how to run an effective ad. They want sales training and pricing strategy. All of that’s important, but they hardly ever talk about their product or what makes it special.
That’s a massive problem. The most effective marketing strategy isn’t paid advertising or strategic partnerships or fancy conversion events. The most effective marketing strategy is making your existing customers really, really happy with a consistently stellar experience.
The demands of running a studio can become so overwhelming that owners forget the basics: taking class in their own space, making sure things look beautiful, ensuring brand guidelines are being met, and reviewing their team members. The problem, of course, is that layering strategy on top of a sub-par product will only yield sub-par results.
This is why, every single time I work with a new studio owner, we start with the product. It makes sense, right? Before I start teaching you how to sell, I want to know what you’re selling. It needs to be good, too. Gone are they days where “yoga for everyone” flew as a niche. The yoga market is fairly saturated, and the online space is even worse. So that means that not only does the product need to shine, but it needs to solve a very specific problem for a very specific person.
When I work with a business owner, I want to know who they are at their core, what their non-negotiables are, and most importantly: how EXACTLY those values are expressed through the product itself. There shouldn’t be any “gray area,” their core values should translate to a super-specific set of guidelines that every single teacher is expected to follow. There’s no such thing as a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach with this one either; quality control is an ongoing process, and one of the most important jobs a studio owner has.
But if you can nail this element of your business (and it’s the fun part, I think) you’ve won way, way more than half the battle.