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Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Business & Education, Featured, Freelance, Owning a Studio | 0 comments

How to Improve Google Results for a Pilates Studio Website

How to Improve Google Results for a Pilates Studio Website

You don’t have to be a marketing expert to know that being #1 on Google is the best position that your website can possibly be in. One of the common mistakes that a lot of Pilates business owners make is thinking that opening a website is the only thing that they have to do to be found online. Unfortunately, there is a lot more involved than just putting together a couple of images and adding a few paragraphs of text. There are close to 1 billion websites on the internet right now but only a handful of those will ever pop up on the first pages of search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing.

Search engine optimization can become overwhelming easily but in the past couple of years Google (a major search engine in the US) has been trying to make “user-friendliness” and “value of the website to the user” their main ranking factors. Do they do a good job at it? I guess it depends on the search that you are doing and opinions will vary in this matter.

6 Simple Strategies to Improve your Pilates Website Ranking on Google

  1. Add your business to Google Local. Local businesses have an advantage over their web-based counterparts because they can utilize the power of local results on Google that show up on the first page.  Click here to add your business to Google (for FREE)
    You will have to verify your business address, after that you can add your business description and contact details.
    Make your Google page appealing to your potential clients by adding images and asking your current clients to review your services. A recent study showed that most people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their friends.

  2. Be mobile-friendly. As of April 21st, 2015 Google uses “mobile-friendliness” as one of the major ranking factors. You can check whether your website is mobile-friendly or not here. Talk to your developer about creating a mobile-friendly website and test the finished product on as many devices as possible.

  3. Don’t use website-builders. A lot of Pilates instructors create website using Wix, Weebly, Vistaprint or similar website builders that are relatively cheap and are easy to set up. However, soon enough they realize that their websites can never be found online. Google does not like technologies used by these website builders (WB) and 9 times out of 10 will not list WB websites on the first pages.

  4. Use “natural” keywords in your texts. Let texts on the pages of your website speak to both visitors and search engines. If you are trying to rank well under a keyword “Pilates in London”  consider writing a short text that uses those words in a natural way. For example, “Join us for a Pilates class in our beautiful studio conveniently located in the heart of Soho district in London.”

  5. Make your web pages worth visiting. Keeping texts on your pages too short will tell search engines that your website has only poor quality content. Write at least 250-300 words for each page. Break the text down into paragraphs and bullet points that highlight the most important information for your visitors and for search engine bots.

  6. Get links from other websites. Links from other relevant websites tell Google that your website has valuable information. If you write a blog then you are more likely to get external links to your website because you are providing free quality information. Make sure that the content that you write is worth sharing and linking to.

Climbing up the Google “trust” ladder is not a fast thing to do. On average, it takes between 3 and 6 months to see any results from your efforts. The golden rule is making your website rich in unique content that the human visitors will find useful. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see your website jump to the top of Google right away. Patience and persistence pay off in Google optimization as much as they do in Pilates.

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Posted by on Dec 14, 2014 in Business & Education, Freelance, Owning a Studio, Pilates | 0 comments

Where Oh Where Should I Have My Studio?

Where Oh Where Should I Have My Studio?

For many Pilates teachers both new and experienced, there comes a time when they need to decide where they will locate their practice.  A spare room at home? A commercial space? A facility within a health club or medical facility?  What works best and which option makes the most sense?

There are clear benefits to working from home.   First and foremost is cost.  It is less expensive to use a room in your house or apartment  than rent commercial space.  Depending on where you live, commercial space can be exorbitant.  There are other advantages to staying at home.  Says Angela Sassinak Barsotti of Toronto, “I could not afford to live in this apartment if my studio and living room weren’t in the same place; nor could I afford a studio of my own. This really is viable and I’m surprised more folks don’t do it.”  Jean Young another Pilates instructor chooses to work from a home studio due to some health concerns, “I have a home studio because I don’t have the stress of renting space.  However,  if money was not an object I would have studio space.”  So in her case, renting space would be a better option if that were possible.  Karin Gmeiner of Germany loves having a home studio.  “I don’t mind if a client needs to cancel an appointment because I have no extra costs.”   Ellen Wragge of Newport Beach says when asked about moving from a home studio to a commercial space, “My business has increased but so have my responsibilities.”  So as is the case with most everything, there is the good and the bad.

Then there are the pets.  I always tell my clients that you have to love dogs before starting a practice with me. Although I always put my 84 pound Jessie into ‘Jail’ (our bedroom with the door closed) he does bark at times and sometimes likes to kiss the female clients when they first come in.  Of course I have a few clients who don’t  care for doggie kisses so the dog is not around when they show up.    If it’s not dogs it’s crying babies, ringing phones and kids running around.   Working from home isn’t for everyone.

Then there are the advantages of renting a commercial space.  In a home studio no one walks by and sees the reformers or a room full of people vigorously working out in a mat class.  In my own case, clients have always come from word of mouth and sometimes, sadly, that isn’t enough.   Another advantage of a commercial space is having clients treat you differently.   Denise Maffia of North Carolina says,  “I choose to rent space and take on the extra overhead because when I did run the studio out of my home I felt that the clients did not respect the fact that I was still a business owner and still working to make a living.  I find clients to be much more receptive and accept me more as a professional in a rented space than when I was teaching out of my home”  Yet that may not always be the case.  Belkis Rutchland of Maui says:. “I never had an issue with people not taking me seriously or crossing professional boundaries nor disrespecting my policies because I worked from home.”  So it could go either way.

There is also the option of renting a small space in a medical facility or health club and then paying a percentage of the revenue to the owners.  It’s a nice option that keeps the costs down and allows the teacher greater exposure.  Lori Evans of Washington state started out renting space at a large gym, “One advantage of working for a gym is the access to hundreds of people day-in and day-out and the sales, marketing, and educational training.  As a newbie, you can’t get that experience in your home”  Now with that experience under her belt, Lori  is very happy to be working from her home studio.

The two biggest advantages of a home studio are lower expenses and as Sunni Almond of Temecula says “the commute is amazing.”    Last minute cancellations become less of an ordeal.  The advantages of having a commercial studio is that there can be more space for group classes, fewer challenges bringing in new clients and greater exposure. Advertising is easier when one has a commercial studio as signs can be displayed in busy areas and business listings can include phone number and address (many home studio owners do not want to advertise their address).  It also appears more professional to the prospective client and some people just won’t go to a private home.

So where do you decide to move your studio?  It depends.  Just make sure to weigh all options before making a final decision.

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Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 in Becoming a Teacher, Business & Education, Featured, Freelance, Owning a Studio | 0 comments

Are You Giving Yourself Enough Credit?

Are You Giving Yourself Enough Credit?

Are you a Pilates instructor that is passionate about delivering the best Pilates you can to your clients?  You watch on in admiration as your clients improve their bodies and minds in life changing ways, yet you still have a niggling feeling that you’re not good enough?  Stop for a moment and ask yourself: Are you giving yourself enough credit?

The thing is, we can learn, read books and go to workshops until the cows come home, yet with all this knowledge it’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking: ‘there is so much more to learn, so much I don’t know and so little time to learn it all’

What’s more, as an industry, I’m going to hazard a guess that we have an extraordinary amount of perfectionists when compared to the general population and although striving to be the best you can be is healthy, falling into the ‘perfection-paralysis’ trap, is not.

So I’m going to encourage you to stop for a moment and think: 

  • What have I done with my clients today that has inspired them to live happier more fulfilled lives?
  • What have I done to put someone in a better mood?
  • What have I taught someone today about their bodies that they didn’t know yesterday?

The work we do can have far reaching benefits for our clients that they may never mention to us, maybe because they don’t consciously realise how their lives are better and more balanced with Pilates (and you as their teacher), or because they are too shy to articulate it out loud.

Being OK with not knowing all the answers and trusting our intuition can be difficult, so in those moments, it’s important to remember the things that we do that help our clients.

This is often more than just the exercises we give them to make them stronger and more flexible. It can be the time and attention that they get, that they don’t have elsewhere in their life. Or by simply being a role model of health for them when there is a lot of negativity going on in their lives. Or as the only person that reminds them of the importance of taking a deep breath.

These things may seem small, but they can have huge repercussions in the lives of your clients in ways that you might never fully grasp.

So stop and give yourself some credit, OK?

Please tell me, do you forget sometimes to give yourself credit for the work you do? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

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Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Business & Education, Dana Auriemma, Freelance, Owning a Studio | 0 comments

An Instructor Guide To Social Media Marketing

An Instructor Guide To Social Media Marketing

Madonna once told us we’re living in a material world. Now almost 30 years later, I have to say I think we’re living in a social-media world! And thanks to businesses, social media sites now offer much more than status updates from friends. Businesses everywhere offer the public a daily dose of education, inspiration and information through social media – and fitness studios are no exception.

But what’s most interesting about fitness studios when it comes to social media is this:

In the fitness industry, instructors become the product that clients purchase. It is the instructors’ expertise, skills and service that clients come to love. And as a result, clients develop great relationships with their instructors. These instructors are on the “front line” at the studio, inspiring and helping clients on a daily basis. Therefore, they should do the same online!

Instructors can help build interest and attendance for their classes and their studio by actively contributing to a studio’s social media presence. With the right kind of social media posts, instructors can:

Entice potential clients to come try out the studio (showing a fun environment with great workouts).

Help more clients get to know them and want to take class from them.

Encourage current clients to stay consistent with their workouts and/or increase their attendance, try more classes or attend special events.

What exactly can instructors do on their social media sites to help market themselves and their studio? Here is a guide that will help:

On An Instructor’s Personal Page:

Share personal updates on their teaching or education 

EXAMPLE: “Looking forward to a full schedule of teaching tonight at [studio name/link]. Hope my students are ready for a killer class!”

EXAMPLE: “Anatomy workshop in the city this weekend with [teacher name]. Can’t wait…she/he’s supposed to be amazing.”

Share studio news, events and offers

EXAMPLE: “For anyone interested, my studio [name/link] is offering a beginner workshop next Saturday, no experience required! [link to website flyer]”

EXAMPLE: “My studio [name/link] is having a fundraiser next month for [organization name]. Here is the information, hope you can join us for this great cause!”

Share a little fitness education, inspiration or personal reflection

EXAMPLE: “I’m always talking to my clients about good posture! [link to article] Just had to share.”

EXAMPLE: “Found an old manual from my first teacher-training workshop 3 years ago. Wow, time flies. Still can’t believe how lucky I am that this is my job [photo of studio, manual, etc.].”

And update their profile with work information (studio name and position)

Personal page posts can be casual, occasional and simply driven by the instructor’s genuine passion for their teaching. Instructors are role models and a gateway to fitness for their friends, family and community. By sharing a little bit about their work on personal social media pages, instructors are promoting their classes and studio…but also showing they are an accessible resource to anyone who has questions about fitness or looking to start a new workout.

On The Studio’s Business Page:

Instructors can and should post on their studio’s business page (as themselves) to communicate with their clients. In seeing these posts, clients will begin to more actively visit the studio page to read and respond to messages from instructors. This will not only help class attendance grow, but also build a stronger and more loyal client community.

Compliment students after class (be specific)

EXAMPLE: “My 9AM students were amazing this morning! I can’t believe how much progress you’re all making on the [exercise example].”

EXAMPLE: “So many laughs in class today. You guys were so much fun to teach!”

EXAMPLE: “Who loved the crazy leg series tonight? You’ll thank me tomorrow!”

Preview and promote upcoming classes

EXAMPLE: “So excited to teach tomorrow night! I’ve got a fun new ab series I can’t wait to show you.”

EXAMPLE: “My new Pilates 101 class starts next week. If you are new to the studio, this is a great way to start. I hope to meet you soon!”

Provide general encouragement and inspiration

EXAMPLE: “The holidays are just around the corner but I know that won’t deter my dedicated students from coming to class. You guys are inspiring! Keep it up.”

EXAMPLE: “A saw this article yesterday about using exercise to manage stress [link]. Come join me for class tomorrow morning and soothe whatever stressors you’ve got going on this week.”

Endorse studio events, classes or instructors

EXAMPLE: “Looking forward to the foam roller workshop next week. Hope to see you there…your hard-working muscles will thank you for the massage!”

EXAMPLE: “I hopped into Sarah’s yoga class last night and I’m feeling amazing today! What a treat. If you haven’t tried class with her yet, you definitely should. Thanks Sarah!”

Now that you have plenty of examples, go have fun with it! If you’re a studio owner, share this with your instructors. Get your clients connecting with you on social sites a little more when they’re away from the studio…and you’ll get them coming into the studio more for years to come!

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