This is the third article in My Sold Out Retreat Series.
You can read the other posts HERE.
I’m going to cut to the chase.
The best strategy to sell-out your retreats is email marketing.
In my opinion, this is the most effective and powerful way to build your retreat community and sell out your retreats.
It’s not a new shiny marketing strategy.
It has been around for a while now.
It's a marketing strategy that billion-dollar corporations, start-ups, and freelancers use alike.
Ok, I hear you.
You hate getting bombarded by emails in your inbox.
You don’t open many of the emails from people you are subscribed to.
And you unsubscribe to more emails than you can keep track of.
But even so, I stand by this strategy because it has worked in the past and it still works so much better than all others combined.
And here is why it works
Retreat leaders and yoga teachers who use email marketing as a strategy to fill-up their retreats:
Have more ease:
Have an easier time filling up their retreats
Have more control:
Autonomy and control over who gets the opportunity to learn about their retreats
Have more targeted reach:
Greater chance of reaching their ideal retreat client and attracting them into their tribe
Have more intentional community growth:
Can intentionally and effectively build, grow and nurture their retreat community over time
Have more engaged subscribers:
People who have taken the step to subscribe to your newsletter, waitlist or email freebie have decided to hear more from you. Giving out our name and email is not something most of us take lightly (anymore); thus you know these people have given you an initial sign that they are interested in what you have to offer.
Of course, it all depends on HOW you use email marketing.
I’ll get to best practices in a minute, but before I do, let me ask you this:
How much do you rely on social media to fill-up your retreats?
Social media works great to reach more people and to share your message and mission,
But social media should never be the primary way to get people to register to your offering and retreats.
Unless you have a huge following of thousands of people, and you’ve built a robust community on your social platform, the chances of filling up your retreats with just social media are not great.
So you have a choice.
You can spend all your time growing your social media following, or you can take that time and effort to grow your email list.
I’m not saying you should completely stop focusing on social media.
Email marketing and social media are not mutually exclusive; they should be integrated into your overall marketing and community building strategy.
What I am saying is to prioritize - pay more attention to - building a quality email list full of your ideal retreat clients and you’ll have a much easier time selling out your retreats every single time.
Ok, I think I have set the case for using email marketing as a primary strategy to fill-up your retreats.
Now let’s talk about best practices
Quality vs. Quantity
This should give you a BIG sigh of relief:
It doesn't matter how big your email list is, what matters is WHO is in it.
It’s better to have a list of 500 subscribers who are a perfect fit for your offerings and retreats than a list of 5,000 random people who may not be interested in what you have to offer.
It’s better to have a small email list full of dream clients, who are loyal and engaged than a big list full of ghost subscribers who never open your emails (you know what I mean).
The more focused you are on growing a list full of ideal students and the time to build trust with them, the better chance you have to get them to go with you on your next adventure.
So how do you do this?
Here are some essential things to take into account when you are building a quality email list.
Ideal Client Clarity
Having a quality email list starts with you being super clear on WHO your retreats and offerings are for. Ask yourself: who is my ideal retreat student? Who are my retreats a perfect fit for.
Offer Free Value
Invite and attract those dream students to join your list - your digital community- with a fun offer, give them something of value that you know they would love, Think: ebook, free download, free audio meditation, a mini-training, a promo code, or how-to video. Get creative here!
Get To Know Your Tribe
Ask strategic questions to get to know who your people are and what they want. This is what I call community-centered marketing and having an email list will help you really hone in on what types of retreats your students want and need. I talked about this in my last blog post, “The Missing Link To Sold Out Retreats.” Check it out HERE if you haven’t yet.
Nurture, and build a relationship before you sell your retreats. Just like you wouldn't ask someone to marry you on the first date, you don’t want to jump straight to selling your retreats before your people have gotten to know you. You want people to understand who you are and connect with your message. Build trust months before you are ready to sell your retreat - this is a long term strategy not a “magic-pill-insta-pot” strategy.
Consistency with Flexibility
I love this one. You want to communicate with your list on a regular basis. Consistency matters because that’s how people get to know and trust you. That doesn't mean that there is a “perfect” number of emails a week or a month that you need to send out. Do what feels right to you and take into account what you can manage on a regular basis.
click to Download the infographic below!
Email Services Providers I Recommend
If you are a beginner:
MailChimp offers a free plan that is great and it easy to set up. Their platform is easy to navigate and they have a drag and drop email builder that I really like.
If you need to step up your email marketing game:
Convertkit is a bit more advanced ESP. This is what I currently use in my business and it works super great for me. I upgraded to ConvertKit from Mailchimp because I needed something more robust yet at the same time easy and simple to use. I love CK and all the features it offers.
In the next article of my Sold Out Retreat Series I will share some ideas on HOW TO use email marketing in your retreat promo campaigns.
Let me know in the comments below: Do you have an email list? How do you use that email list to promote and sell your retreats?