Need to grow your Pilates business and start filling classes? Here are 10 Pilates marketing ideas and tips that will get you going in the right direction.
#1: Develop a Pilates Website That Converts
Today, expect your website to be ground zero for your marketing material, in particular with people on their phones. Your business card, brochure, and advertisements become your website content. People searching for Pilates instructors online will get their introduction to you on your website.
You want an attractive, professional looking website, but first and foremost make sure it’s functional. Be clear about where your studio is and/or where you do lessons. Your contact info should be impossible to miss. Make your navigation clear and natural so people can learn about your classes.
Make sure your website is mobile responsive, meaning it automatically formats for phone screens. Expect at least half your traffic to come from phones. The mobile design should have a click to call button at the top and short, easy to fill out contact forms.
Be explicit and clear about your location and service areas on all pages of your website. One of the first things you do to orient your visitors is to make sure they understand you’re in their area. If people feel unsure or confused on a website – even for a moment – they’ll hit the back button.
#2. Have a Compelling Call to Action
The goal of getting into shape through Pilates is admirable, but it won’t always be enough to get new clients to try you out. You need to motivate them to contact you and schedule that first class. For example, you might offer a free introductory lesson:
Your website’s main job is to recruit new people into your classes. A strong call to action is central to achieving that goal. To compete, you may need to get creative and offer something unique. Keep an eye on what your competition is doing and be sure you stand out in some way.
You’ll also want to funnel people towards scheduling a class online. Make sure that call to action is clear and the sign-up process is easy, even on a phone.
#3. Diversify Your Images
Most Pilates websites are good about using hero shots, which in this case means showing students engaged in a Pilates class.
However, most websites also tend to show – almost exclusively – extremely fit women doing intense workouts. There is a good reason for this. These same fit women are the main demographic that does Pilates.
But remember that your website’s main job is to attract new clients. Someone who isn’t fit (and therefore needs you the most) might be intimidated by images of nothing but super toned bods. Likewise, imagine being a man interested in a class, except when you check the website all the images are of women. A guy might think you’re a female exclusive studio.
If you want to attract a diverse group of students, make sure you’re communicating with them. Be clear that you have classes for beginners and make sure your content makes them feel welcome.
#4. Include Pricing
The Pilates businesses we work with at Marketing 360® convert better when they include pricing on their website.
One of the main pieces of information potential students want from your website content is your pricing structures. You should list prices for everything from a single class to monthly memberships. Give prices for different types of classes and private lessons. Note how people can save when they sign up for more classes.
Potential students will appreciate the transparency and the fact that they don’t have to call just to ask you how much classes cost.
#5. Master Search Marketing
As we said, most people looking for a Pilates studio will check out your website first. And the majority of them will find you on Google or Bing search.
There are three places you can show up on search results pages, and each has value in its own way.
The first is pay-per-click advertising. These ads are run through auction-based systems like Google Adwords and Bing Ads. The main advantage here is that you show in the top positions (reserved for paid ads) and that you can control the ad copy and landing page. For example, you might want to run an advertisement on Pilates for beginners. Your ad and the page it goes to on your website can match that offer.
Next, you need to set-up and rank for Google My Business. This is the maps listing and review platform Google uses for geo-targeted searches. It’s a free listing you can optimize with your descriptions and by getting customer reviews.
If you don’t have a physical address for your business, either use your home address or set up a PO Box. To rank for these searches, it’s helpful if Google knows where your business is located.
Then you have the organic website listings. These are also free clicks, with ranking gained by optimizing your website for keywords, gaining links, getting social media traffic, and adding content to your blog.
With diligence, you can show up in three places on page one.
#6. Social Media Marketing
Pilates is the type of business that benefits a lot from being on social media. You’ll want to set up accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
If these platforms are new to you, create personal accounts first and get a feel for them as a user.
Then, start by creating a Facebook business page and Instagram account. Start taking images of your studio and classes to give people a feel for what you do. Share success stories from students. Start curating healthy lifestyle tips on exercise, diet, and mental attitude.
And have some fun! People enjoy unusual, quirky – even stupid – material on social media. You need to catch their attention if they’re going to share your posts. Here’s a fun Instagram post:
Your Facebook business page is almost like another website. It has all your contact information, a messaging feature, and can be set up so people can book appointments directly from Facebook.
Instagram and Pinterest are more visual. These are good places to provide “mini-lessons” with images and short videos that will let students do some Pilates on their own.
Social media is a really strong tactic for keeping your current students engaged and getting them to share material that exposes your brand to potential students. The platforms are all free to use, so it’s just a matter of taking the time to create and post the content.
If you don’t have the time to get this done, look into hiring a social media management service.
Pro Tip: Social Media Ads
You can also target potential students and run ads directly on Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook has truly impressive targeting technology that allows you to target people not only demographically but also based on their lifestyle and interests.
This means that you can target people who are interested in Pilates, Yoga, or related health topics. You can also create lookalike audiences, where you use an email list of your current/past students and target ads to people with similar characteristics.
Few people today who visit your website or find you on social media will convert on the first visit. People surfing online are rarely that determined to act. Rather, they’re mainly drifting around, just getting ideas or seeking entertainment.
This is why retargeting ads are so useful. These ads show for targeted periods to people who previously visited your website or social media channel. So after visiting the website, you’d see an ad like this:
These ads tend to be low cost and high return, so it’s a tactic worth trying.
#8. Develop Video Content
An effective but often overlooked tactic for Pilates studios is video. First, create a short promotional video that introduces people to your classes. For example:
You can also create a short instructional video that offers tips that will help newbies start Pilates and give experienced students new tips. These videos also make excellent social media content.
For the promotional video, you’ll want to hire professionals to shoot and produce it. But for the instruction videos, you can just use your phone. This content will also help you show up on YouTube and video searches, driving additional traffic for your brand.
#9. Reviews and Testimonials
Some of the most influential content you’ll use for Pilates marketing isn’t created by you. It’s created by your students.
Reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, Top Rated Local, and Facebook have a big impact on prospective students. People want to hear what your students have to say about working with you, and they’ll take review scores seriously as they compare their options.
The easiest way to get reviews is to just ask happy students. You can also use an emailer if you need to try to get more reviews on a certain platform.
It’s also a good idea to put testimonials on your website, and even more effective when you include them in your videos.
#10. Use Email, Marketing, and CRM Software
Email marketing is an effective way to nurture leads and keep all students (both active and inactive) in the loop about new classes and offerings. Be sure to get emails from students and keep all their personal information in customer relationship management (CRM) software (we offer free CRM software). This will allow you to send a newsletter as well as personalized emails (like on someone’s birthday). These tools are great for client retention and nurturing new leads.
Managing all these marketing channels quickly becomes overwhelming, which is where marketing software comes in. Software like Marketing 360® brings all these channels together on one easy to view and manage platform. With the help of a dedicated marketing executive, your marketing will be updated and effective so you’ll spend your time teaching full classes instead of chasing leads.