I’m a big fan of online courses, but thanks to new platforms like Interval, Ribbon, and Ubindi, setting up a yoga membership became so much more accessible and I believe that a yoga membership is something that definitely has a place in your online offers.
Let’s take a look at four of the main things you need to know and prepare for before starting your online yoga membership;
1. Plan Your Content
The first step is thinking about what you want to teach in your membership. What can your members expect from you each month? Some people simply add all the recordings from their live Zoom classes into their membership so members can get access to all the recordings. This is what I’d recommend because it’s incredibly easy for you – you don’t have to create any extra content.
You can of course also upload pre-recorded videos. This might be a good option when, for example, you want to take a holiday or a longer break and people won’t get any new content for a while. To keep them from unsubscribing, you could give them a new video every week for that time that you recorded in advance.
What I also like about memberships is that you can add all kinds of content that you wouldn’t be able to share otherwise, for example, special classes on pranayama or meditation. When it comes to live classes, they are sometimes hard to sell because there will be fewer students, and so you would either have to increase the prices or be content with less revenue. This is also why it’s hard for yoga studios to offer classes that might be only interesting for a small number of students. There are economic restrictions that you just have to live with.
In a membership it’s easy – you create a class just one time, and then people can access it again and again. This is a great opportunity to share all kinds of classes where you go deeper or teach different things.
Most yoga teachers I know are always learning, doing new pieces of training, diving into new things like mindfulness, aromatherapy, or yin yoga. Even if most of your students will join your classes for what you teach mainly, like vinyasa, for example, some will like to learn other things from you too and this is a great way to offer that. Then, when you want to offer an online course or a more transformative group coaching program, you can already teach them bits and pieces that go deeper in your membership.
2. Choose Your Platform
When you know what kind of content you want to share, the next step is looking at platforms you can use. Well, I have some great news! It’s seriously never been easier setting up a monthly membership thanks to the great platforms that are available today. You don’t need a developer to custom code something in WordPress for you or sign up for an expensive course platform. Instead, you can use one platform for everything – to teach your zoom classes and for your membership!
I have a blog post guide for yoga studio software where I look at different platforms for yoga teachers like Interval, Ribbon, Momoyoga or Ubindi to name just a few. I recommend that you make a list of your requirements, your must-haves, and then check out some platforms to find the one that’s best for you. There are really great options and I don’t have one that I recommend above all others.
3. Pricing Your Membership
It’s so easy to look at all the amazing videos that are available for free on YouTube or platforms like Alomoves with their sleek professionally filmed videos that cost only between $10 and $20 per month to join. You are not competing with that! Let me repeat – you are not competing with that!
Forget about the free videos and the professional platforms. Your students will join your membership because they want to practice with you. They want to learn from you and join your community. It’s important to remember this – they want YOU, and they want community. So it’s a good idea to think about some things you can add to your membership to differentiate it and make it more valuable.
I don’t think you should offer your membership too cheap ($10/month or less). When you have a price like this (unless you have a huge audience), it will be impossible to generate enough revenue to make it worth your time. It’s not only filming the videos, but it’s also uploading them, managing everything, the setup, answering questions from your members, etc.
You need to think about how much money you want to make each month minimum to make running the membership worth your time. For example, I know yoga teachers who have a membership with 20 students and they each pay $10 per month, that’s $200 per month which really isn’t a lot to pay for your time and effort.
You also have to consider that people will be leaving the membership all the time, and before you know it, you only have 10 students left – then you’re probably going to feel a bit resentful having to put up content all the time. This is something you need to be aware of and to think through.
Let’s say you want to make a minimum of $500 per month with your membership to start with. Next, let’s look at your audience size. How many students do you have, how many people are on your email list? When you have 200 active students, you probably can convert 10% or 20% into your membership. If each pays $25 per month, you earn $500 per month. Obviously when you get more members, your income increases.
I’ve seen a lot of yoga teachers ask for prices between $19 and $29 per month, and I think that’s a fair amount in most cases. You can ask for a higher monthly price when you add more value to your membership.
Here are a few ideas of what you can do to add value:
- Have a monthly theme and then a special class around that theme or a workbook that you share via email
- Send out an exclusive newsletter only to your members with tips on how to incorporate yoga into their daily lives or recipes or whatever you want to focus on
- Create a FB group only for your members to connect and host meetups and Q&A sessions
- Offer exclusive events like challenges and workshops.
People need to be motivated, and they want results. A higher-priced membership can help with that because members will be more inclined to actually show up and practice when they pay more because they want to get their money’s worth, right? A higher-priced membership also works well when you have a smaller audience, because it will be easier to reach your income goals with just a small number of members.
4. Marketing Your Membership
Okay, now that you’ve set up your membership, you need to market it, and not only one time but again and again. As I said, people are going to cancel their membership which is totally normal and will happen all the time (this is called churn rate). This means that you need to get in new members consistently to make up for the people leaving, and you probably also want to grow your member numbers, so you need to create a strategy for how to do that.
Here are a few ideas:
- If you offer a special workshop that will be exclusive for your members, you could market that to your whole audience, and tell them to sign up to your membership to get access.
- You could try a special try-out rate, like pay only half the price for the first month – this is normally a pretty successful strategy.
These are just two ideas, sit down or work with a business coach and come up with more ideas and then create a plan for the next quarter or even year ahead with the promotions you plan to do. You need to plan this ahead, otherwise you’re going to be in panic mode all the time, sending out freaked out emails trying to get new people to join, and it’s not a healthy place to be or a relaxed way to run your business.
What you have to let go of is the idea that you just put it on your website, and then it will sell itself. You need to market it, you need to promote it. You need to talk about it again and again, and let people know about it. I know this can be hard – you just want to teach. I get questions from people all the time, “can you do my marketing?”, “I want to hire someone to do my marketing”. This never works, and I’m not doing that by the way.
You are a business owner, and you need to embrace that role! Until you’re really big and can take on the CEO hat and hire a marketing person and a customer support person and a social media person, etc, it will be you having to fill all these roles. Even when you become the CEO, you need to manage all these people, which will be really hard when you don’t know what they are doing. You need to embrace marketing, and learning these things.
I hope this was helpful and inspiring and you learned a few things to consider before setting up your membership program, or maybe to optimize it.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and send me a DM on Instagram, I’d love to hear from you!