We all know that having a loyal community is the key to succeeding with your retreats.
A loyal retreat tribe means one REALLY IMPORTANT thing:
Instead of having to continually be looking for new clients - which takes a lot of time, work and energy - we can rely on the clients that know, love and trust us already.
These are the clients who will rave about our retreats and bring their friends and family with them.
These are the clients that help us grow our community organically with "word-of-mouth marketing”.
So how do you build a loyal retreat tribe?
Let me share 6 tips with you so that you can start building a loyal retreat tribe. If you make a point to intentionally implement these into your retreats and retreat business, I know you will get some great results.
#1 Understand your people
Having a loyal retreat tribe starts by understanding who your ideal retreat clients are.
I talk about this all the time in my FB community and with my clients. This is where we all need to start when it comes to building a great community.
Who are your retreats for?
Moms with newborns who need self-care?
Burned-out high performing career women?
Nurses, who want to start a meditation practice?
Yoga students, who want to learn more about Ayurveda?
Think about what problem or desire you are helping your students solve with your retreat.
Once you understand who who your CORE students are + what you are helping them with, you can start attracting more of those students into your community.
Take the time to learn more about your students’ preferences, wants and needs so that you can refine how to attract the right type of students into your tribe over and over again.
Recommended Strategy: Your Website
Your website is a crucial tool to convert people into members of your community. Here is where they get to learn more about you, your services and offers, and ultimately join your email list with a newsletter or a freebie opt-in.
Make sure you have a clear call to action on your website inviting people to join your newsletter or download your freebie so that you can start building your email list. Your email list is the main place to “house” your loyal retreat tribe.
Remember, the better you understand your ideal retreat clients, the more quality your community will be because you'll only attract the people you are meant to help.
#2 Build Relationships
When you are building a loyal retreat tribe, it's crucial that you set up systems to continue building your community.
You want to communicate with your people regularly because this is how you create long-lasting relationships.
Recommended Strategy: Email Marketing
Email marketing is an easy way to stay relevant with your tribe and share content with them on a regular basis.
Here are two blog posts I wrote about how to use email marketing for your retreats if you want to dive deeper:
Strong relationships are at the core of your community because you build trust with your people. People need to know, like, and trust you to go on a retreat with you. It's that simple.
Building TRUST is essential when it comes to growing a loyal community and having successful retreats.
Think about ways you can get to know your clients and have them get to know more about who you are.
Use email marketing as a way to stay in touch with your ideal clients and continue building that relationship.
Here are the emails you should think about when getting started with email marketing:
Automated Welcome Sequence -
The beauty of email marketing is that part or most of it can be automated. I love this podcast on how to automate your welcome series or nurture sequence inside your email service provider.
Regular Weekly, Bi-weekly or Monthly Emails -
These can be in the form of a newsletter or (what’s recommended by the experts) a regular email format where you share some wisdom, tips and your most recent content (blog, podcast, youtube video, etc.). Note the word “regular” in the title. This is the key to building your tribe and your list - having constant communication with them. Staying relevant in their lives.
Retreat Promotion Emails -
This is a sequence of emails highlighting your retreat when you are in the process of marketing and selling it. It’s great to write out these emails in advance to have a good strategy in place and set these up to be automated to save you tons of time.
#3 Your Retreat Experience
If you create a beautiful transformative retreat experience that your students love, they will come back over and over again.
A happy retreater = a loyal retreater.
But how do you create an exceptional experience?
It helps to think about the main experience-structure of your retreats:
Is your retreat theme, what your students want and need? Content is what draws people in; it's the SOUL of your retreat.
Do the activities you planned align with your content? Extra activities are not to be added just to fill the itinerary. They need to be included intentionally to elevate the entire retreat experience for your clients and support your main content.
Accommodations and Location
Lodging is a "make it or break it" factor, so be incredibly intentional about picking your accommodations. Do the lodging, and the venue fit with the overall experience? Does it make sense for the type of retreat content you have planned for your students? We have a blog post about choosing your accommodations where you can read more about this topic.
Who doesn't love food? The meals you'll be serving your retreaters will have a significant impact on the overall retreat experience. People want to feel nourished and taken care of, and food is how most of us experience that. Also, keep in mind that because food is fuel to our bodies, serving quality meals is very important to make sure people feel happy, healthy, and energized throughout the day.
#4 The Pre-retreat experience
To build a loyal retreat tribe, you must take care of your students, and that means customer service is everything.
I always remind my clients that your retreat experience really begins months BEFORE your retreat starts.
It begins the day your student signs up for your retreat- and that's when your customer service should start as well.
Recommended Strategy: Student Onboarding Process
You want to have a really good plan on how you will onboard your new students to keep them informed, and excited until you depart on your retreat.
Think emails with useful and inspiring retreat info, one-on-one calls to touch base with each student, a pre-retreat book club, or dinner for your retreaters to get to know one another before you depart.
The more effort you put into your pre-retreat experience, the more it will pay off when it comes to building a strong community.
So if you take away anything from this post, consider this:
Your pre-retreat experience will directly affect your retreat experience, and your retreat experience will directly impact the vibe of your community.
#5 The Post-retreat experience
If your pre-retreat experience matters when it comes to building community, then your post-retreat experience matters as much.
You don't want to drop the ball on your students after having spent an entire week with them on your retreat.
Think about creative ways to keep the retreat feeling alive.
How can you keep supporting your students in their transformation once they are back home?
What tools, tips, and ideas can you give them post-retreat to stay inspired and motivated?
How can your students stay in touch with you and their fellow retreaters post-retreat?
Recommended Strategy: Facebook Groups
This is great way to have your retreat community stay in touch and continue to "glue" post-retreat.
Here is where they can share their favorite retreat moments, pictures, and ideas on how to continue growing and learning. FB groups take work to maintain but can be so great when it comes to building a loyal retreat tribe.
#6 Ask + Listen
A community is only and strong as its leader is.
As a retreat leader, it's your job to continuously ask for feedback and improve your retreats as you grow your business. It shows that you are committed to creating the best retreats for your people.
Asking for feedback and ideas to improve your retreats will help you hone in on creating the best experiences for your community.
It means that you care and that you are listening to your retreaters.
Did they like the workshop you offered at the retreat?
Did they enjoy the extra activities you included?
Did they approve of the catering?
Did they think you should include more free-time?
Was the location too far?
Knowing the answer to these questions will help you plan a better experience next time, and that’s essential to creating a loyal tribe.
Recommended Strategy: Community and Customer Surveys
Validation Phase Survey: Before you decide on what type of retreat to create to validate your initial idea
Planning Phase Survey: In the planning process to help you make decisions about your retreat content and logistics
Post-Retreat Survey and Testimonials: At the end of your retreat to get valuable feedback on the experience from your students