How to Retain Yoga Students & Maximize Impact on Their Lives

As a yoga instructor, your main aim is to maximize the impact you have on your students’ lives. You want to make a difference, or you wouldn’t be doing it. 

But you know that in order to impact your students’ lives, you need to have students. 

The truth is that it costs you a whopping 5x more to get a new yoga student into your yoga studio than it does to retain an existing student. This means that retaining yoga students is the name of the game if you want to run a successful business. 

If you want to make your yoga business a success (and if you’re still here, I know that you do), then you need to learn to retain your students through the three primary phases that they go through during their time with you. 

In this post, you’ll learn about the three phases of a yoga student’s journey, what a student is looking for during each phase, and how you can deliver giving them exactly what they need each step of the way. 

Yoga student journey: phase 1

The first phase of a yoga student’s journey with your studio consists of the first four months they attend classes with you. During this period, you can expect the most amount of drop-offs. Unfortunately, only 20% of students make it through the first phase. 

There are certain questions students are asking themselves during this period to decide whether or not they are going to continue attending classes at your yoga studio. These include: 

  • Do I like this? – Am I enjoying the frequent practice of yoga, and is the experience I’m having at this studio something that makes me want to come back regularly? 
  • Do I like them? – Do I like this yoga studio, the yoga instructor, the person working the front desk, and those that surround me in class? 
  • Does it work? – Is this yoga practice helping me to achieve my goals? 

While some factors may be out of your control, there are ways to ensure extra yoga student retention during this time. While you can’t make a student enjoy yoga, you can make their experience more enjoyable. 

Ensure the yoga studio is always neat, easy on the eyes, and smells amazing. You can curate your yogi client experience to make it one they don’t want to live without. Be sure to give your students tips if they are struggling with a certain yoga pose. There are plenty of ways you can make the experience a better one for your students. 

Again, you can’t force a yoga student to like you, or your business, but by being kind, friendly, and helpful, you will increase the chances significantly. You can also encourage your students to socialize after class by creating a refreshments stand where they can get to know each other and create a community. 

Next, students are wondering if the practice is working. Each student’s goals will be different, so be sure to check in with them when they start so that you are aware of their goals. This way, you can advise them to attend the right class for them, whether their goals are strength, stability, flexibility, weight loss, or core fitness. 

If students are experiencing a tailor-made experience, they are more likely to feel that the yoga practice is working for them. 

Yoga student journey: phase 2

After phase one, yoga students enter phase two of the journey with your business. The second phase consists of the first year they spend as a student at your studio. During this time, yoga studios lose an average of 75% of their students. 

This means that only 25% of the students that made it through phase one, stay with the yoga studio after a year. But again, there are things you can do to retain as many yoga students as possible during their second phase. Over this period, students are wanting answers to the following questions: 

  • Can I make this habitual? – Is yoga something they see themselves doing well into the future? 
  • Am I making progress? – Are they improving in their yoga practice? 

Whether or not a student can make yoga into a habit is up to them. But you are not helpless in the situation, there are certain things you can do to help them turn their yoga practice into a habit. Offering incentives to students who attend more than once a week is just a small example of how to encourage a habit. 

Again, whether or not a student is making progress isn’t up to you, but you can encourage them in their practice, praising them when you do notice small improvements. This can be particularly helpful for students who are naturally hard on themselves, and struggle to see their own progress. 

Yoga student journey: phase 3

Yoga students that make it past phase three (two years as a yoga student with your business) generally go on to become lifetime clients. This is a huge milestone, as exceeding the two-year mark means you are unlikely to lose them as a client unless they move, or you close down. 

During the third phase, students are asking themselves two primary questions. These are: 

  • Is this part of my identity? – Does this give me status? 
  • Does it give me something I can’t live without? 

Although the above problems aren’t anything you as the yoga instructor can do much about, there is one primary problem that you need to watch out for during this phase. Is there another yoga studio offering the same product for a better price? This is generally one of the main reasons students leave during phase three of their journey with a yoga studio. 

In order to retain clients through the third phase, you need to update your yoga pricing to ensure you are offering a competitive deal. 

Retaining yoga students for the long haul

Every yoga instructor’s goal is to improve the lives of as many students as possible through their yoga practice. And the best way to do that is to obtain lifetime clients, those who will stick with your business through thick and thin because it is a place that revolutionized their lives. 

You can do this through a combination of techniques including creating a powerful yoga rewards program. But the best way to do it is to understand each phase of their journey and ensure you are providing them with exactly what they need each step of the way. 
If you need a little extra guidance on how to retain yoga students, book a free strategy session with one of our experienced Yogapreneur coaches!

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