Yoga Teacher Training Marketing Guide: Branding & Identity 101

The research you do before you start your marketing campaign will make the difference between blowout success and miserable failure. Good marketing is all about knowing who you are, and expressing that clearly to the right people at the right time.

There are so many yoga teacher training classes available--over 6,000 that are Yoga Alliance Certified alone--so knowing how to set yourself apart in the crowd, and rise above the noise is essential to your success.

Having a strong brand, and finding the right audience will help you do just that. In this article, you'll learn tricks and get exercises for both.

BRANDING & IDENTITY

Answering the question: "Who am I?"

Branding is the art of discovering who you are and learning to communicate that clearly. @spookydigital

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  • Set your school apart with a unique offering no one else has. Find your unique selling proposition.
  • Discover your core values, and shape your communication with the world based on those for crystal clear brand messaging.

AUDIENCE INSIGHTS

Answering the question: "Who is my audience?"

Knowing your audience and speaking to them in their language is essential to an effective marketing campaign. @spookydigital

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  • Develop "buyer personas" that represent the various types of instructors you teach at your studio.
  • Research your audience online, so you can speak to them in their own words, and address their real-world needs.

What is a strong brand, and why do you need one?

The average goldfish has an attention span of about 9 seconds.

Why am I telling you this? Because the average human has an attention span of about 8 seconds. 

That's right, a human's attention span is less than that of a goldfish. That means you only have 8 seconds to make a lasting impression on someone before they lose focus. You'll do that with a strong brand, and powerful brand messages.

In just 8 seconds, you need to communicate clearly who you are, what you do, and why the instructor should choose you over any other studio. 

The average attention span of humans is 8 seconds, 1 second less than that of a goldfish! Are you still reading this tweet? @spookydigital

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What is unique and different about your teacher training? What can you offer instructors that no one else can? Why should instructors trust your studio with their education as a yoga teacher?

A strong brand will make answering all of those questions quick and easy.

A strong brand is...

  • Unique and personal to you and your studio.
    Show people what's special about your studio, and why they should choose you over anyone else.
  • Clear and easy for anyone to understand.
    Use simple messaging that anyone can relate to and understand. Branding is all about communication! Your job is to convey who you are and speak to your audience in terms they can easily understand.
  • Emotionally activating, and relatable.
    Most purchase decisions are made on emotion, rather than fact. People use facts to justify their purchase after they make an emotional decision to buy. Activating someone's emotions through powerful language will encourage them to choose you.

Having a strong, clearly defined brand will allow you to quickly and easily drive brand messages home over and over again, creating a strong impression of who you are in the mind of your audience. People can only remember so much about you.

By keeping your messaging simple, and consistent, you become easy to remember for the things you want people to remember you for.

Being more clear in our brand has helped us immensely.

It's completely changed how I communicate what we do, it's given me more confidence in explaining it. I have a lot more possibility in all of the marketing that we do because of the branding exercises we did with Spooky Digital.

We were even able to design a new logo that was more in-line with who we are as a company. I highly recommend anyone with a yoga business try this practice out!

Sara Pierce
Yoga Teacher & Healer - Bluewater Intentions

Branding Exercises to Define Your Yoga Studio Brand

Right now, I'm about to teach you some of the best branding exercises I've discovered over my career in marketing. These exercises are exactly the ones pros use when coming up with brands for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike.

Once we're done with all three exercises, I'll show you how to tie at all together to create a clear, memorable and powerful brand.

The exercises you'll learn are...

  • Discover Your Core Values
  • Image and Color Association
  • Find Your Unique Selling Proposition.
  • How to tie it all together for a strong brand people will love and remember.

Branding Exercise: Discover Your Core Values

In this exercise, we'll find out what's most important to your studio as an entity.

This exercise is for owners, and founders to discover the values that drive their business. When you know what is most important to you and your business, you can easily make sure you're always acting in alignment with those values. 


What are core values?

Core values are the True North of your personal moral compass. They are the things you care about most in this world, and define your views of right and wrong.

You have your own personal values, and your business is likely to have similar values.

When determining values for a business, you'll need to take into account the values of others involved in creating and directing the business. Do this exercise with everyone who has creative input in the business! Each person involved should do their own worksheet.

The example answers below were taken from a real branding exercise we did with a physical therapist, energy healer and yoga instructor named Sara Pierce.


Step 1. Think through and describe the following in detail...

What have been your three greatest accomplishments? What about them made you feel accomplished?

EXAMPLE ANSWERS

  1. Raising 5 amazing children.

    I learned how to be a present and compassionate cheerleader while guiding them towards and into their life path.
  2. ​Creating a healing business and network. 

    I found partnership, true friendship and joy creating and sustaining a business that supports people on their healing journey.
  3. Continually learning new information that supports healing.

    I feel like I have pursued a lifetime of discovery into healing from many perspectives --all ultimately leading right back to being present with who you are in the moment with acceptance as to the content of your life.

What have been three times that you’ve felt fulfilled and happy in your life? What factors contributed to these feelings?

EXAMPLE ANSWERS

  1. Giving birth.

    After a lot of hard work and being very present with the process of birthing, to successfully invite a new precious being into the world is simply overwhelmingly full of grace.
  2. Swimming in the oceans of Hawaii doing healing work surrounded by whales.

    The majesty and and magic of being intimate with clients and living nature.
  3. Being present in nature by the ocean with a campfire and friends/ family.

    Sharing quality time with those I love in a place I love.

GET THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS WORKSHEET IN OUR MASTERMIND FACEBOOK GROUP.


Step 2. Refine these experiences into words...

Take the experiences you described above, and condense them into single words.

For example: If one of the times you felt most fulfilled was when you graduated from college, after struggling for a long time to get through school, you might list the words ‘education’ , ‘perseverance’ , and ‘hard work’.

Make a list below, in no particular order, and don’t worry if they’re repetitive or similar, just list them all out.

EXAMPLE LIST

Grace
Family
Presence
Compassion
Healing
Perseverance
Teaching
Creation
Gratitude

EXAMPLE LIST (Continued)

Lifetime of Learning
Supporting
Presence
Self Discovery
Friendship
Appreciating Change
Appreciation & Awe
Nature
Sharing Time & Space
Present Time​


GET THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS WORKSHEET IN OUR MASTERMIND FACEBOOK GROUP.


Step 3. Prioritize the list...

Take the list above, and start prioritizing.

Move the values that are most important to you up the list.You can do this quickly by highlighting the word, and pressing CTRL X on your keyboard to cut; then click on the spot you want to drop it, and press CTRL V to paste.

This step is probably the most difficult, because you'll have to look deep inside yourself.

It's also the most important step, because, when making a decision, you'll have to choose between solutions that may satisfy different values.

This is when you must know which value is more important to you.

Work from the bottom of the list up, and compare each two values as you move them up the list. Ask yourself: "If I could satisfy only one of these, which would I choose?"

It might help to visualize a situation in which you would have to make that choice.

For example, if you value family and stability, you might imagine a scenario where you must decide between taking a high paying, stable job in a state that’s far from your family, or staying close to your family but not knowing when you might find stability.

Do this until you have 3 values at the top of the list, that none of the others below can beat out.

EXAMPLE 3 CORE VALUES (From list above): Grace, Family, Presence​.


GET THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS WORKSHEET IN OUR MASTERMIND FACEBOOK GROUP.


Branding Exercise: Image and Color Association

In this exercise, we'll get all of the ideas you have for your yoga studio brand out in the open where you can look at them and see what the most common themes and colors are.

This exercise can help you find more words that describe your business and determine what colors you want to use for your logo and marketing materials.

You will need a Google Drive account for this exercise. It's free, and you can sign up here.

NOTE: This exercise should be completed as a joint project with all of the people involved in creating your studio's brand. It should reflect the answers each individual gave in the core values exercise, in a combined way that feels right for everyone.

This exercise is where you take your own personality, and values and merge them with your business.​

Step 1. Open a new Google Slides Document

You can edit a Google Slides document from multiple computers at the same time. That means if you're collaborating with others on this branding exercise, you can easily do so by sharing the document with them (create a new slide, then click the big blue 'SHARE' button in the upper right hand corner of the screen).

You can create a new Google Slides presentation by clicking here.

Step 2. Start Adding Images That Represent Your Studio

The images can be literal (as in pictures of people that make your studio unique and great) or they can be abstract (ideas and concepts represented by other things). The easiest way to do this is to think of words that come to mind when you think of your studio, then find images using Google Images that match those words.

Since you just created your core values, finding images that express those ideas would be a good place to start! Try to organize each page on your slideshow by theme so you can get the most out of the space you have available.​

Drag and drop images directly from Google Images onto your Google Slides document.​

Step 3. Come up with words based on your images.

When you're done adding images, look at all of the images as a collective.

What do you see? What themes are expressed? What colors are most common and stand out to you the most?

Add those words into the 'notes' section on each slide page (below the images).​

Putting it all Together: How to Make a GREAT Brand

What you have when you're done with these branding exercises should be an abundance of "on-brand" words and images that truly express who you and your studio are at the core.

Think of this as your "branded vocabulary".

All of your outgoing communication should be filtered through this before going out. Everything you say, do, write, or get involved with should be relevant to your brand in some way. Every communication you have (whether verbal or nonverbal; intentional or non-intentional) should reflect your brand.

EXAMPLES OF HOW YOU MIGHT USE THIS INFORMATION...

  • ​Come up with a new logo that symbolizes and expresses your core values, and mission.
  • Use the most common colors from your image association exercise to come up with a new color palette for the design of your marketing materials (logo, website, email design, etc).
  • Come up with a 'mission statement' that expresses what you do in a simple, easy-to-understand way. This statement should cover all of your studio's core values.
  • Decide if a corporate partnership is right for you by determining if their values and mission are aligned with yours.
  • Use powerful, emotional words you discovered in the word and image association exercise to write highly effective (and on-brand) web copy (articles, emails, landing pages).

CONGRATULATIONS! You now have a strong brand.

Next time, we'll talk about: finding your unique selling proposition (why people should choose you over any other studio); find and research your audience; and create a teacher training niche that you can dominate.

JOIN THE YOGA MARKETING MASTERMIND GROUP ON FACEBOOK!

Join Spooky Digital, and the top teacher training yoga schools in our private Facebook group! Get marketing support to sell more teacher training, and fill classes at your studio; connect with experts who regularly fill their classes; get instant access to our best resources, and training material before anyone else!

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Dan Sevigny

Dan Sevigny is an entrepreneur, digital marketing expert, and the CEO of Spooky Digital. Dan's work has been featured in: Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, FOX 5, PIX 11, News 12, among others! Dan is most interested in using entrepreneurship as a way to promote health, happiness and positivity in the world.

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