Category: Wellbeing Community

The best way to create an online community is with email marketing. Our articles give you all the information you need to create an engaged following through both email marketing and social media.

Is Mailchimp’s free account still worth it?

If you’re a regular follower of our content, you’ll probably know by now that we rate Mailchimp as one of the best email marketing providers around. We explain why in our post 5 reasons why you should use MailChimp for your email marketing. It has loads of great features, is really easy to set up and use, and their Forever Free plan gives you everything you need – for free! Or, at least, that was the case until recently.

The Mailchimp evolution

Back in September 2017, Mailchimp announced they had a brand new look. They updated their logo, typeface, colors, and imagery, and even subtly changed their name from “MailChimp” to Mailchimp”. (I’m sure the lower case ‘c’ makes a lot of difference.)

I believe this marked the start of a bigger change for the company – at least publicly – as they started evolving from a simple email marketing provider to a much more comprehensive marketing platform. In May 2019, they officially announced that they’re now an “all-in-one Marketing Platform”.

Keeping up with the changes

As a marketing agency, we at Wildheart use a lot of different websites and online tools to help us in our work. These platforms are continually being updated and we often find ourselves logging in to a site to discover certain changes have been made. These are usually fairly minor changes, related to the design, layout or menu options, and are nearly always welcome improvements. If major changes are being rolled out to a site, the users and subscribers are usually notified.

But, what we’ve found with Mailchimp, is that over the course of a couple of years, lots of things started changing and evolving, so that almost every time we logged in we were discovering new features, changes in terminology, and updates we weren’t aware of. And, the more new accounts we started opening and managing on behalf of our clients, the more features we started realising were no longer included in the Forever Free plan. In fact, it’s no longer even called Forever Free anymore, as it’s highly likely that at some point you’ll need to upgrade to a paid account!

So, what’s changed in Mailchimp for the better?

So many minor changes have happened that it’s difficult to list them all. Some of the terminology has changed, for example Lists are now Audience, and much of the menu structure has been moved around. At one point the top menu was simply:

  • Campaigns
  • Templates
  • Audience
  • Reports
  • Content Studio

As of writing this, the top menu is now:

  • Create
    • Email
    • Ads
    • Website
    • Landing Page
    • Survey
    • Social Post
    • Signup Form
    • Postcard
  • Campaigns
  • Automate
    • Email
    • Ad
    • Postcard
  • Audience
  • Brand
    • Templates
    • Manage Website
    • Manage Domains
    • Content Studio
  • Reports

As you can see, they’ve had to completely update their site architecture to keep up with all the new features. You can now create websites, landing pages, ads, social posts, and even send printed postcards, all from your humble Mailchimp account!

This is all great news if you want your Mailchimp account to work harder for you and become a more rounded marketing tool. There are lots of other great improvements they’ve made too, such as: a more intuitive campaign builder; easier audience organisation using tags; improvements to their mobile app; the introduction of remarketing ads; organic social posting and scheduling; a marketing calendar; a subject line helper; and lots more.

Mailchimp changes we’re not so keen on

Of course, as marketers and yogis, we know that all things are impermanent. Products and services must continually adapt to keep up with demand, and none more so than in the digital realm.

However, as an agency that uses Mailchimp on a daily basis for our clients, there are certain changes we’re not so happy about too. Some features that were crucial to the way we work with our clients have now been removed from the free account. And these can create hurdles for our yoga and small-business clients…

No more scheduling

The biggest (and worst) change to Mailchimp’s free account – in our opinion – is that you can no longer schedule your email campaigns to be sent at a particular time. This seems like a huge oversight, as one of the main reasons for using email marketing software in the first place is to allow you to plan, and schedule, your emails!

You can of course still design and prepare your email campaigns in advance. But now – if you have one of the new free accounts – you’ll have to physically go into your account at the time you want to send your email in order to hit the send button. Not difficult, but not always convenient either.

Only one user allowed

In the free account, Mailchimp has removed the ability to have more than one user. This may not be a problem for most small businesses but if, like our clients, you need to give access to your trusted marketing agency (that’s us), this is now very difficult.

Until now, we’ve been able to manage all our clients’ Mailchimp accounts through a single login for each user. So, when I login for example, I can access all our clients’ accounts from one place, and easily switch between them whilst still being logged in.

However, for any new Mailchimp accounts set up from now on, we can only login using our client’s own login credentials. This poses challenges, not only from a security point of view (having to share login details across the internet), but also from a remote working point of view. As our team members work in various different countries, trying to login as our clients usually results in OTP (one time password) codes needing to be shared instantly via mobile or email – and when you’re working in different time zones, this isn’t always easy!

Multiple mailing lists are out

The final change we’ve struggled with is that you can no longer have more than one list (now called audience) in the free account. If this is the case for you, you’ll see this message on the audience page:

There have been instances where our clients wanted to manage two or three completely separate lists, for a variety of reasons, but this is no longer possible. In the free account, you can now only have one audience, which you can then organise using groups and tags. If you want to add any more audiences, you’ll need to upgrade.

What if you have a legacy Mailchimp account?

The good news is that if you have a legacy Forever Free account, you should still have access to all these features.

Our advice: If you already have more than one user or audience, and you want to keep these, or might want to use them in future – don’t delete them! Once you remove any existing users or audiences, you won’t be able to add them back in again later.

Even if you’re no longer using your Forever Free Mailchimp account, we’d suggest keeping it, just in case you decide to use it again in future. If you delete it and re-sign up, you’ll lose all those great legacy features you’ve been enjoying.

Will Mailchimp’s free account work for you?

So, what if you don’t yet have a Mailchimp account? We suggest it’s still worth signing up for the free version if you answer yes to the questions below:

  • Are you looking for an easy-to-use, intuitive email marketing provider?
  • Do you want a comprehensive all-in-one marketing platform that’s constantly evolving and adding new features?
  • Are you happy to send out your emails manually at the time you want to send them?
  • Are you ok only having one user login for your account?
  • Are you ok only having one audience (list), and using groups and tags to organise/segment it?

And, if you need more features than the free account offers, you can always check out Mailchimp’s pricing options to find the plan that’s right for you.

More help with Mailchimp

To help you get the most out of your Mailchimp account, check out these other useful posts:

Marketing tip #3: How to save money with MailChimp
4 steps to cultivating a high quality email list with MailChimp
How to grow your yoga community with email marketing

Our Email Marketing Package


How to use yoga images on social media

As a yoga business, you might not have pictured yourself being on social media as much as you are. If you’re not on social media yet, don’t waste your time trying to be on all channels — it’ll be too time consuming and draining for you. We listed the top social platforms in Which social media channels should your yoga business use? and gave suggestions on which platforms suit which types of yoga businesses, so this should help you prioritise..

When images aren’t properly formatted, your social media account could end up littered with blurry, poorly cropped images that look very inconsistent. In this article we lay out ways for you to avoid this so that you can clean up your account and have it looking more professional and engaging. You’ll learn how to edit photos individually per social media platform, as well as how to edit images in social media scheduling software like Hootsuite or Buffer.

Sourcing your images

First and foremost, you need high quality images of your business’s space, of you/your teachers in a staged class taken by a professional photographer. Tip: Maybe one of your students is a photographer and is willing to do a skill swap? If you can’t organise a photoshoot then the second option is to use externally sourced images.

If you find images from an external source, don’t simply do a Google search and grab images that you like, as this is going to be a copyright infringement of someone’s image. Instead, use a royalty free photo library like Unsplash, Pexels, PikWizard or Pixabay. When choosing an image from a photo library make sure that you choose a large version to download – around 2000px wide should do the trick. The next step will be to resize it, either in your scheduling software or in your individual social media accounts, so that it looks great on each platform.

Why does resizing my social media images matter?

It’s all about making a professional impression. If your images are strangely cropped or look blurry, people will most likely make an unconscious decision that your business is not professional. It’s a small thing, but first impressions count. And if you’re looking to attract a younger audience (under 30) then this generation are very social media and smartphone savvy.

If you don’t resize your images, you’ll also run the risk of the image not translating properly in your post. Why does this matter? Imagine that a potential yoga student found your social media account and saw nothing but poorly cropped, blurry images of your studio/yoga business. It could look like your shala is unprofessional or lacks the knowledge to post beautiful images.

Social media isn’t going to define your business or make/break it — being a good teacher with an approachable teaching style in a nice space is a lot more important. But, in the modern era, social media is your professional image, the first thing many new students will see. So, what you post sets up their expectations of your yoga business, how you teach and whether you take the time to make your images look good.

Also, ask yourself when was the last time you visited a social media account and saw blurry images that didn’t fit the posts — did that make you want to follow it? Then why should people follow your account unless you take the time to make it look professional?

How do I edit my photos on each social media platform?

In this section we cover how to edit an image on each of the 4 top platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Facebook

First, click the plus button to add a photo to your post and then click the paintbrush (edit icon).

From here, you can individually crop your image, add a filter to make it more visible, add text and/or ‘stickers’ like emojis, etc.

Next, schedule your post to be published on a future date. Why? So you can preview it before it’s published and check that it all looks ok.

Go to your page and click the ‘Publishing Tools’ tab at the top (depending on the device you’re using, it may be on the left-hand side of your screen).

Click on the post’s title that you want to view. As you’ll notice, there’s less space at the sides of the picture compared to the original, so the cropping worked and the image isn’t blurry as a result of the cropping. You can also test how the post will look on a mobile device, which is important because more than half of people access social media on a mobile device, like a tablet or smartphone.

Instagram

When you open your app, click the photo button as you normally would. If your image doesn’t fit properly, click the bottom left arrows that point away from each other.

After expanding the image, you can go through and find a filter that makes the image clearer to see (if it’s needed). Notice how Wildheart’s name and brand mark is cut off in the first image above. Now, look how it fits perfectly in the second image below — Instagram has several size variations (landscape, portrait, story-size, etc.), so you don’t have to worry as much about image sizing with Instagram.

LinkedIn

From your feed, click to make a post and from there, select the image button at the bottom.

As you’ll notice, LinkedIn may be the easiest platform because it automatically resizes photos to fit in a post.

You may be thinking, why use LinkedIn at all as a yoga business? We advised in our first post in this series that you may want to use your personal LinkedIn account to make informed, business-related posts and utilise your personal connections to grow your yoga business.

Twitter

Click the top right quill symbol to form a Tweet. Then, select to add an image (or it’s often already suggested to you to take an image with your camera, use a recent image, or click the mountain symbol below your camera icon to access your image library).

After you’ve selected an image, click the paintbrush (edit icon).

 

From here, click the crop button, which is second to the right in the bottom toolbar.

 

You can then edit your image to fit more precisely and, as you’ll notice, you can select what type of image you have — landscape, square etc. This can also help to simply cut away areas of the photo that are unnecessary, not just to make it smaller in general.

How to edit images with social media scheduling software

Wildheart’s advice: It’s a lot more efficient to schedule your social media posts in advance, rather than posting them on an ad hoc basis. This means you’ll be able to take control of how you spend your time on social media and also set an even schedule of posting. We recommend Buffer if you prefer using a mobile device and Hootsuite if you prefer using a desktop to schedule posts (a mobile device may be quicker, while a desktop will help you see the posts better).

Photo editing with Buffer

Click to add a post to share on social media — we chose Instagram as you can’t make any posts there unless they have a photo or video. From the post scheduler, click ‘Add photos or video’.

Click the ‘Edit Image’ icon at the bottom left corner of your image.

From here, the image automatically has the cropping ability on it. So, grab one of the corners and begin to drag — the background will begin to blur as you focus on the exact size you want. If you aren’t sure whether you really want to crop something, click the button second to the right and it will provide different proportions. All dimensions are set up so that when your post goes out, the individual platform will interpret the size and fit it into its dimensions.

Click the ‘Done’ button and there you have it. If you want to share a post from an outside source, like an article about the health benefits of yoga, drop the link into the post and then select ‘Add Media’ like you normally would — Buffer will give you ‘Suggested Media’ based on the post you’re sharing (the more images in the post, the more options Buffer will give you to choose from).

Photo editing with Hootsuite

From your desktop login, go to the ‘New Post’ button in the top-right corner.

Just like Buffer, you can either drop a link from an article you want to share, or simply select an image from the ‘Open Media Library’ if you want to make a post that’s paired with a visual.

Dropping a link gives you suggested images like Buffer, which makes it easy to create a post where you share an article you find interesting.

Click the ‘Edit Image’ button after you choose the picture you want.

From here, the great thing about Hootsuite is that you can visually see every major social media platform on the left-hand side of the screen. Depending on where you’re uploading to, select the dimensions for that platform that makes the most sense for your image or post.

As you’ll notice, each major platform is represented here and they all have different dimensions. Some of these platforms have a single, pre-set dimension they prefer. Most platforms want a landscape size, while Instagram has many options since their primary purpose is to share images/videos. As you might also notice, each platform has slight variations for its sizes even though most prefer landscape.

Over to you!

Now you know how important images are in your social media posts and how to make yours stand out. Keep in mind that if you want to save lots of time, scheduling your social media posts in advance is the way to go!

Of course, making sure your images look good is only one piece of the puzzle in creating unique, engaging social media posts for your yoga business. If you want to know how to make each of your posts distinct from each other, then check out our previous post in this series 6 tips to improve your yoga social media posts.

Or go back to Blog series: Social media for your yoga business.


6 tips to improve your yoga social media posts

It may seem that making one post for each of your social media channels is a quick and easy way to navigate social media. You can use scheduling platforms like Buffer, Hootsuite, HubSpot, etc. to write posts for the upcoming week, but that can quickly lead to scheduling the exact same post for each account. As it happens, Wildheart did this for a time until we learnt from Hootsuite that it’s better to not post the same message across all social media platforms, but re-write posts so they vary from each other.

If someone sees the same post on Facebook and Twitter, they may feel the post is less special and was simply churned out mechanically. In this article we share best practices for writing up social posts and how to avoid making all your posts the same. We offer six actionable tips that you can apply to your social media strategy straight away.

1. Tag people

Tagging people is the first step in diversifying your social media presence. If you want to share a blog post from another yoga business, an article on the health benefits of yoga, or to give a shoutout to a guest teacher at your studio, each of those businesses will have different accounts in use.

This is why if you just drop the name of the business or person in your post, they may never see it. Take the time to go through each individual post and tag them using the ‘@’ symbol wherever possible. Most companies’ username looks different on each account.

So, the easiest way to know whether you’re tagging the right person is to go onto their website and look for their social media icons. Typically, they’re in the footer of the website. If you can’t find these icons in the footer, you may need to do a manual search on each social media platform.

This is why a good logo and colour palette are important. Let’s say someone is searching for your yoga business’s social media, they’ll be looking for your logo and colours because they want to know that they’ve found the right account. Regardless, people are usually appreciative when you tag them on social media because it means that you care enough to take the time to look them up and give them credit for the post.

2. Change up your content

This is really quite simple and we’ll give you an example from our own scheduled posts. For each post, edit the words and phrases. What are you saying and how do you say it? Do you say that you’re, ‘excited for this special yoga teacher to come and visit’ your yoga studio? When you go to write the same post on a different social media channel, change it to, ‘we can’t wait for this amazing yoga instructor to visit our studio and teach their workshop’.

LinkedIn post example

Instagram post example

Notice how for LinkedIn we went with a more professional vibe versus a more casual approach for Instagram. So, we’re sharing the same link from the same post to add a coherence across our platforms, but we also make sure that each post is unique to the platform we’re posting on.

3. Watch out for the word limit

The word limit of your posts varies depending on the channel. Twitter only allows 280 characters, LinkedIn allows 1,300, Facebook 2,000 and Instagram at 2,200 characters.

A quick guide for social media word length: even if you have space in a post for more words, it doesn’t mean you should fill it to the maximum limit. More is not always better — carefully choose the words you want to use instead of putting down as much information as possible.

LinkedIn and Facebook posts can have more text, as people often gravitate towards those platforms for information. Twitter is the best place to practise featuring only the most crucial information. Instagram should also lean towards fewer characters — why, when there’s a larger character limit? Because Instagram requires visuals to accompany content, so followers focus on the image/video first and are less likely to read through a post with lengthy text (unless it’s from a celebrity or someone they’re close to).

So, a rule of thumb for the major platforms we’ve mentioned: when you upload videos, you may want your content to be shorter. If you have a dynamic photo, people will look for a description to find meaning behind the photo and that’s when you can expand the length of your content.

4. Edit your images

Edit your images to fit the particular platform you’re using. Don’t simply copy and paste without checking if the image looks good. If you aren’t sure how to edit your images for each platform, or how to edit an image using social media scheduling software (like Hootsuite or Buffer), then look out for our upcoming post teaching you how to do this.

One issue to watch out for is whether your image is landscape or portrait. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn prefer landscape images, while Instagram allows several different shapes. The bigger issue here is that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have different preferred image sizes. So, make sure you edit your image to the correct dimensions before posting to each channel.

5. Timing is everything

Knowing when to publish your posts on each channel will mostly depend on your audience, which can take some experimentation. Common factors can include the type of followers on each channel, their age, sex, region, type of yoga they practise, and of course time zone. If you have some followers in Europe and others in the US for example, you’ll need to take this into account.

The key here is testing. You should run tests by posting for a certain amount of time — two weeks or a month at a certain time of day — and then change the time you post. After a couple of weeks, take note if there’s a change. It may not be apparent straight away, so you may need to change the type of posts you publish.

Wildheart’s advice for posting times:

  • Facebook — people tend to frequent Facebook in their downtime when work is done. So, mornings before work, evenings after work and weekends are best.
  • Instagram — people use Instagram to show adventures, yoga poses etc., which means that people need downtime to take these photos and videos, so evenings, nights and weekends are the most popular.
  • LinkedIn — since this is a professional site, early morning before work and lunchtime is most popular (think of someone at work and looking for business-related information during their breaks).
  • Twitter — since Tweets are so short, their purpose is for quick snippets of information. So, before work, mid-morning and lunchtime are popular times.

6. What about emojis?

Our advice is to use emojis wisely — all internet goers are bombarded on a regular basis with advertisements. Many of these ads try to be flashy and approachable, which is why they’re often overloaded with emojis. It can cheapen your posts and accounts if you use too many emojis.

So, here are our tips for using emojis in social media.

Don’t use emojis on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a more professional network and emojis aren’t always perceived as being professional. On the other hand, emojis are used frequently on Instagram, often on Facebook and occasionally on Twitter. Since Instagram is highly visual, and Facebook added an option where people can post their moods, emojis seem to fit naturally. Twitter doesn’t have much space, so only use them when they’re pertinent to your post.

How do you know when a post needs an emoji?

Don’t use an emoji simply because you like it or because you think your post needs one without having a concrete explanation as to why. There are many types of emojis these days, so find one that fits the scenario of the post. Are you answering a question? There’s an emoji of a person raising their hand. Are you curious about something? There’s an emoji grasping its chin and looking upwards, mimicking someone deep in thought. Whatever you’re posting, ask yourself if an emoji fits in naturally or helps to convey an emotion.

Make each post unique

Our last tip is to make each post unique. Copy and paste the content from a post on one platform to another, then edit the words and phrasing until it’s an entirely new post. It will be more work than copying and pasting everything word-for-word, but less work than writing an entirely new post for each social media account. Let’s say you begin on LinkedIn: If you copy and paste all the words into Instagram, edit the words, switch around the sentences and maybe add an emoji if it fits with the post. Soon enough, you’ll have an entirely different post that’s still about the same topic.

Wildheart’s takeaways

  1. Tag people/businesses from a post you found on their site.
  2. Edit/rewrite your content for each platform.
  3. Edit your images to fit on the particular platform.
  4. Don’t exceed your word limit (and don’t fill out a post right up to it, either).
  5. Find a good time to publish your posts and experiment with it.
  6. Only use emojis if they make sense for the post and platform.

Finally, remember that no more than a third of your posts should be self-promotional. People like to read and watch interesting things, they’re looking for information and to be entertained, so if all your posts are about how people should come to your yoga studio, your followers may not be very interested.

So, follow the above tips and you’ll soon have a more unique, diverse presence on social media. If you aren’t sure which social media platforms you should be on, then take a look at the first post in this series Which social media channels should your yoga business use? to get some advice.

Read the next post in this series

Check out the third and final post in this series How to use yoga images on social media.

Or go back to Blog series: Social media for your yoga business.


Which social media channels should your yoga business use?

A while back we shared a post advising businesses which social networks could benefit them the most, but as you know, a yoga studio isn’t any ‘typical’ business. Even among different yoga businesses, audiences vary based on what style of yoga you teach and whether you’re providing teacher training, community activities, retreats, therapies, etc.

Without social media, it can be a challenge connecting to a greater audience and maintaining casual contact with your yoga community. There are lots of social networks out there and being on all of them all the time can be draining when you’re busy running a business and teaching classes.

This post will help you avoid wasting time trying to manage social media accounts that aren’t serving you. We’ll cover looking at your audience, the function of social media, and summarise each social network to find the right channels for you.

Who’s your audience?

If you run a studio, what yoga styles do you teach? Are you a strict one-style shala, or do you have several teachers helping you to provide multiple styles? If you teach private classes in people’s homes, then what do you offer?

Do you know the general age groups that come to your classes? Do you have more classes for youths, parents or retirees? Do you cater more towards active styles or gentle styles? Do you teach at universities and businesses, or do you frequent festivals and parks? These are important questions and there are many more you could ask depending on your region, teaching background and personal yoga journey.

There’s never only one type of yoga for one type of person. On a large scale, it seems that younger and more ‘active’ people frequent Instagram, adults and retirees frequent Facebook, ‘professionals’ frequent LinkedIn, both middle-aged and younger home practitioners frequent Pinterest, and Twitter has a wide range of audiences.

Now, the above summaries aren’t absolutes — there are always exceptions and major differences for individuals. But it’s a quick way to glean what sites certain groups gravitate towards. Most importantly, think about what social media platforms your current students frequent and start from there.

Social media is the cherry on top of your marketing cake

At Wildheart Media we like to think of your marketing as a delicious, velvety cake. All cakes must have a solid foundation at their base, many will have a nice layer of icing on top of this, and some will even have a juicy red cherry on top! So, let’s find out what these delicious elements represent…

The cake

Your website has long-form content, which appeals to prospective students and also tells a story that new students can relate to. This is the foundation of your business’ online presence and therefore of your marketing cake. Your site most likely also provides class info, prices and a schedule; this is what will bring in new students, ultimately.

Your website has crucial information needed to convert someone from a one-time drop-in student to a recurring student. Websites can also take payments, host a blog and even provide an FAQs section.

Your website should be structured to take a new student on a journey with you so that they know what class they should try first and why. They can learn more about you and your community so that they can try to picture how they might fit into that story.

Social media simply doesn’t have the time or capacity to do all the above, let alone add a unique touch and style for your business (since all social platforms have only one kind of layout and design for everyone).

Website tips

  • Write specific content: don’t say ‘We teach yoga,’ say, ‘We excel in Iyengar yoga and emphasise holding poses longer with the assistance of props until you can reach the full extent of the pose.’
  • Have clear calls to action, e.g. ‘Sign up for a relaxing class here’ with a linked button.
  • Keep site structure simple, favouring clarity over too many options.
  • Publish regular content (like a blog or workshops) to show Google that your website is active and relevant.

The icing

The icing of your cake is your email marketing. Your website should have an area where students can subscribe to your mailing list. Remember, icing is sweet, so when you tell people they should sign up to your email list, it’s good to offer them an incentive, a goodie or two for subscribing. For yoga businesses, this might be sending a short video or PDF with a free yoga sequence.

If you’ve thought about email marketing, but aren’t sure how to get started, then check out our post on the 5 reasons why you should use Mailchimp for your email marketing.

The cherry

Social media isn’t meant to be the #1 tool to bring in new yoga students. Placing high expectations on that will lead to some big disappointments. That’s why it’s the cherry on top of your cake; it’s the perfect addition to the rest of your marketing efforts, but you can’t have just the cherry without the cake!

Put things into perspective and think about larger companies — have you seen certain Facebook or Instagram ads that feel cold or flat? There’s a reason for that — they’re trying to push out a product or service and that’s it; they’re not trying to make meaningful engagement with customers. Why? Because trying to make those connections takes time and effort when they’d rather use social media to push their sales.

Social media is a way to send out bits and pieces of your website’s content and show the world who you are, what you do and why you do what you do. It’s a way to build a community, interact with students outside of your studio and potentially reach new traffic.

Share relevant content about what you do — something that interests you — that way you can build an audience who’ll find that same content interesting to them. Sharing your interests will bring you a stronger base of followers, rather than people wanting to follow you because they like the aesthetic of yoga pictures.

Social media tips

  • Share relevant content to what you do.
  • Don’t make more than 25% of your content self-promotional.
  • Use a handful of relevant hashtags, not a heap of random hashtags.

Social media is a way to direct this new traffic towards your website, which will do the rest of the work of telling them why they should come to your studio.

The top 6 social media platforms

In this section we look at the pros and cons of the top 6 social media platforms, to help you decide which one is right for your yoga business. We consider the top 6 channels to be:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Facebook

Highly recommended for most yoga studios and yoga businesses. On Facebook, you can create a business page where you can add events, opening hours, location, contact information, and best of all — you can schedule your Facebook posts. So, if you want to post about a time-sensitive event or you just want to schedule some content to keep your Facebook page active, you can set this up in advance.

You can also see information on your published posts like whether someone clicked on an embedded link, e.g. grabbing an event’s link from your website and dropping it into a post will link a previewed picture and Facebook will tell you how many people clicked on that link.

If a post does particularly well, Facebook will bring attention to it and ask whether you want to pay to boost the post. Boosting a post acts as an ad, which can be very helpful if you’ve thought about making a Facebook ad before, but weren’t sure what would perform well.

If you’re hosting a special event or workshop, then putting that event on Facebook itself and not just in a post is extremely helpful because you can invite all your friends and acquaintances to attend it.

Facebook is also, without a doubt, the biggest social media platform in the world. It’s also known as a place where people relax on their downtime and engage with casual posts that interest them. So, posts about hobbies and fitness, like yoga, usually do well.

Instagram

Highly recommended for all yoga businesses. Now, Instagram can be tricky to navigate. There are celebrities and fitness-oriented people using this app to make glossy videos and photos. This can feel impossible to compete with, but don’t worry, it is possible!

Authentic accounts do much better on Instagram. Followers pick up on people and businesses that make authentic posts. Followers also enjoy it when you respond to their comments on your posts — this starts to build a community.

Instagram is the perfect place for you to upload pictures and videos of you teaching and interacting with your community. Instead of only publishing content about you and your practice, publish student-oriented posts. Potential students will see that and start to picture themselves as being part of your community.

The ability to upload ‘stories’ can help you better interact with followers, too. If you feel that you want more views on a particular post, you can share it to your story by selecting a post and then clicking the little arrow next to your comment and like button. There are all kinds of features you can use with your stories like small questionnaires, emojis and gifs. These stories stay up for 24 hours and are shown at the top of Instagram’s home tab, so they’re easy for your followers to see.

Quick tip: Links used to be active when you put them in a post, but since Facebook purchased Instagram, they don’t allow this anymore. You can add one link in your profile, which should be to your website. But what happens when you want to link to class info, events or a blog? We recommend using Linktree.

With Linktree’s free version, you can have up to 3 links in your profile. Then, in a post, you would direct followers to go to your profile’s description to click a specific link. If you publish a new blog post, you can prompt them to follow the “blog” link in the description. It’s not perfect, but it works well.

LinkedIn

Recommended only if you already have a sizeable amount of connections there. LinkedIn isn’t for a yoga business to post and connect, it’s a ‘professional’ place that talks strictly about business. You could set up your business on LinkedIn, but it isn’t a place to share funny yoga posts. So, as a yoga business owner, you could use your personal LinkedIn profile to engage with other people about the business side of yoga.

You can write articles with more professional and refined topics — posts discussing running a yoga business or maybe the health benefits of yoga. Topics that are more on the physical side would do best here. Philosophical posts most likely won’t land well on LinkedIn.

Having this professional edge will help if you want to reach out to your connections and ask them whether you could teach at their business. Since LinkedIn is a place for professionals, showing that you’re a yoga professional will give you certain credibility that channels like Facebook or Instagram can’t.

Pinterest

Recommended only if you own a yoga studio and teach multiple types of yoga. On Pinterest, you can create boards where you can add a collection of photos and/or videos. These boards could be yoga sequences or classes that you’ve taught or it can be a way for you to collect certain yoga poses centered around their posture type.

Pinterest allows you to share these boards with your students, so in an email campaign you could link a Pinterest board to give a new student a free yoga sequence for them to try at home. If you teach multiple styles of yoga like aerial (swing), Ashtanga and Iyengar, then Pinterest would be a great way for you to make multiple boards to share what kinds of poses and sequences each style includes.

Pinterest itself isn’t the strongest platform to try and connect with potential students. It’s mostly a place for you to showcase your class types and what yoga your studio offers, if you own a studio.

Twitter

Recommended if you take to Twitter well, you like the setup and function, you already personally have a large group of followers, or you know that many of your current students are on there already. Twitter is almost a combination of LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. There are professional audiences, audiences for leisure and passing the time, and audiences who follow niche subjects like yoga.

Since Twitter has such a mixed audience base, it can be tricky figuring out who to pitch to. The important thing is that Twitter will work for you if you like making lots of short posts, versus Facebook and LinkedIn where longer content is the norm. If you have a blog, then you can prompt people to tweet certain lines of your post that you think are tweet-worthy. So, it’s great for sharing short quotes and snippets of information.

YouTube

Recommended if you own a yoga studio and provide teacher training, any kind of non-traditional yoga or a very niche yoga style. YouTube is not the place to find new customers to come to your business, as people browse YouTube from all over the world. But what YouTube does well is give you the ability to link videos to your website.

So, if you provide teacher training, you can make a video where you or a fellow teacher is reading a section of the curriculum, teaching teachers in training, or demonstrating how you structure your lessons, e.g. if you teach students an adjustment class as part of their training, then you can showcase that. You can host your videos on YouTube and then use the share function to embed them on your website.

If you teach a niche yoga style like Kundalini or aerial, it may be hard for potential students to visualise what that class looks like. New, potential students can often be afraid of the unknown, so making a video to talk about the yoga style or show a sequence is a good idea for YouTube.

You can also make videos of your students giving testimonials about your business, or you can make videos of your fellow teachers and partners talking about your business. This will provide potential customers with ‘social proof’, which can be very powerful.

The downside with YouTube is that there are many professional ‘YouTubers’ for whom making videos is a business in and of itself. Also, to be successful, you ideally need to make videos that have a high-resolution, great sound quality and brilliant lighting. This takes more time and effort than all of the other social media platforms, so if you want to get on YouTube, plan ample time for editing your videos, or make several videos first before creating an account so that you can be prepared.

So, which social media channels should you choose?

Here’s what Wildheart recommends:

  • Definitely use Facebook.
  • Definitely use Instagram.
  • Use Twitter if you have a blog, if you know you have students/contacts on there, or if you personally have a lot of followers already.
  • Only use Pinterest if you own a yoga studio and teach multiple types of yoga, or you have another good reason to create and showcase different boards.
  • Only use LinkedIn if you personally have a lot of connections.
  • Only use YouTube if you offer teacher training and/or a niche yoga style(s) that you want to showcase.

No matter the type of yoga business you have, or what styles of yoga you teach, it’s a good idea to utilise social media. The most important takeaway is to not get overwhelmed and either choose every platform or think it’s too much work and be on none. Just pick 2 or 3 of the networks you like the most, you think will benefit you the most, and the ones you think are the best fit for your particular yoga business — then stick to them. Consistency is key to building up an online presence. You can’t simply post once a week and expect new students right away.

If your business is more traditional and likes to avoid social media because it seems like a fad or compromises your traditional approach, then we recommend you use social media to show people your business’ story and uniqueness. There are students and potential students on social media who may feel disenfranchised by ‘mainstream’ yoga, so be an authentic presence and try to connect with yogis seeking a business with deeper ambitions than just a few likes. Your vibe attracts your tribe, after all.

What next?

Now that you’ve read our advice, go try out the platforms that sound right for you. And, most importantly, have fun with it! If you don’t enjoy using a particular social media platform, this will come across in your posts, so choose the channels you feel most comfortable using.

If you have any questions or thoughts about our suggestions, then leave a comment below — we’d love to hear from you.

Read the next post in this series

Read part 2 of this series 6 tips to improve your yoga social media posts.

Or go back to Blog series: Social media for your yoga business


GDPR and email marketing: What you need to know

Disclaimer: The information in this article does not constitute legal advice in any form. These are our recommendations based on our understanding of the GDPR. You should seek legal advice for accurate compliance based on your own business.

What is GDPR?

As you’re no doubt aware, new EU data laws come into force on 25th May 2018 under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This new law aims to standardise privacy rules across the EU, giving individuals more control over how their data is used. It’s the biggest change to privacy law in 20 years.

GDPR affects every company that processes personal data from EU citizens. So, if you collect and store names and email addresses from EU citizens, for example, you’ll need to comply with GDPR – no matter where you’re based.

How does GDPR affect email marketing?

One of the key requirements of the regulation is that consent must be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”. This means the way you collect and store people’s consent for sending them your marketing materials (such as your blogs, newsletters, bulletins and other updates) might need to change.

The main concerns around email marketing under GDPR are:

  • Collecting & storing consent for new and existing subscribers
  • Lead magnets
  • Pre-ticked opt-in boxes
  • Privacy policy
  • Website cookies
  • Google Analytics

We will look at each of these in turn.

Collecting & storing consent

One of the key requirements of GDPR is being able to prove that you have your subscribers’ consent – not only to email them but to store their personal data too. In MailChimp this is recorded in the ‘Source’ column of your mailing list. If your subscribers’ listed source is any of the following, then you should already be able to prove consent:

  • Facebook Signup Form
  • Hosted Signup Form (signup form in MailChimp)
  • Embed Form (signup form embedded on website)
  • API – Generic (website signup form via third party plugin, e.g. Gravity Forms)

However, if the source for any of your subscribers is listed as any of the following, then you’ll need to re-obtain their consent:

  • Admin Add
  • List Import from CSV
  • List Import from Copy/Pasted File

Don’t use MailChimp? Whichever email marketing provider you use, similar data should be recorded when each subscriber joins your list. However, if you cannot find this information in your account, or it’s not clear how/where each subscriber signed up, then you’ll need to follow the steps below to ensure you’re compliant.

New subscribers

If you use MailChimp to embed signup forms on your website, you can switch on their new GDPR-friendly fields and use list segmentation to make sure you only email subscribers who have explicitly consented to receiving your emails. Read this article for more on this.

If, like us and most of our clients, you use a third party WordPress plugin to manage your forms, e.g. Gravity Forms, then we suggest adding a checkbox to each form with wording such as “I consent to my submitted data being collected and stored”. As long as this is a required field, then you have explicit consent, as the subscriber cannot submit the form without ticking this box.

A word of warning if you do use a WordPress plugin to collect form data from your website (e.g. Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, Formidable, etc.): this data is stored in your website database and in the email notifications that are sent to you, so the onus to safeguard that information is on your company. It’s therefore your responsibility to ensure your handling of that data is compliant with GDPR and any other current data handling laws. Ensuring your privacy policy is up-to-date will help with this (see below).

Existing subscribers

We suggest the safest way to ensure that every subscriber on your mailing list has given their consent for you to send them marketing materials – and to be able to prove this if you’re audited – is to do the following:

  • Start a brand new GDPR-compliant list in your email marketing account: you could call this “[Company Name] Mailing List (GDPR)” for example.
  • Remember to set up any groups in exactly the same way.
  • Send a re-consent campaign to everyone on your list, explaining that they need to re-subscribe to continue receiving your emails after 25th May (you may well have seen examples of these pop up in your inbox recently).
  • In that campaign include a link to your newly updated GDPR-compliant signup form (see above).
  • Send one or two follow-up campaigns reminding people to re-subscribe.
  • Just before 25th May, remove your old list from your account.
  • Use your new mailing list for all future email campaigns and enjoy peace of mind that you’ve explicitly gained consent from everyone on that list.

Don’t use MailChimp? The above steps are based on using MailChimp or similar email marketing software. If you use a different provider you’ll need to adapt the above process accordingly. For example, if you use Drip, you’ll need to re-organise your workflows and tags to ensure compliance, such as creating a ‘gdpr’ tag that gets applied to every new subscriber who submits your GDPR-friendly form.

Lead magnets

The GDPR will have a big effect on lead magnets – these are pieces of content you give away in return for an email address. You’ll no longer be legally allowed to add someone to your mailing list just because they’ve requested a download of your free eBook, PDF practice guide, or audio file, for example.

You can ask for their email address in order to send them the specific content you’re offering, but you cannot send them any further emails UNLESS they’ve specifically opted in. So, providing the free content has to be separate from opting in to your email list.

What we suggest is adding a checkbox to each lead magnet form inviting them to also sign up to your mailing list. This would need to be set as conditional logic on your form – if they don’t tick the box then they don’t get added to your mailing list. But you’ll still need a process for sending them the lead magnet they’ve requested.

Update: There’s some debate about whether this is strictly necessary. It may be ok to simply add some wording to your lead magnet form, explaining that by submitting the form they’re also opting in to your mailing list. Some further research is needed here.

Pre-ticked opt-in boxes

Under the GDPR, it’s not permissible to use pre-ticked opt-in boxes in online forms. For example, you might have a contact form with an additional checkbox for signing up to your mailing list. You should make sure this checkbox is not pre-ticked, as a person filling in the form might not notice and therefore be unaware that they’ve signed up.

Remember that consent has to be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”. Therefore, a person has to take an action in order to sign up and give consent, i.e. they have to tick the checkbox themselves.

Privacy policy

If you collect personal data, such as names and email addresses, via your website, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got an up-to-date GDPR-compliant privacy policy somewhere on your site. For more on this, here’s a useful article from TermsFeed.

At Wildheart we recently updated our own Privacy and Cookies Policy and believe this satisfies the requirements of GDPR.

Website cookies

Cookies are text files containing small amounts of information which are downloaded to your personal computer, mobile or other device when you visit a website. They’re useful because they can remember your preferences, improve your user experience and allow the website owner to collect important data about how their site is used.

Your website may already comply with the current EU Cookie Law, but you might need to make some changes in order to be fully compliant with GDPR.

The biggest change is that ‘soft opt-ins’ are no longer allowed. So, if your website cookie notice says something along the lines of “By using this website you agree to our use of cookies”, without providing a button or link to confirm consent, then this is NOT compliant with GDPR. You need to provide a button or link for your website visitors to click to explicitly confirm their consent.

Google Analytics

As we understand it, there are two main changes that would need to be made in your Google Analytics (GA) account, in order to be GDPR-compliant:

Anonymise IP addresses

If you’re not already anonymising your IP addresses in GA, you need to start doing so. As standard practice, customer IP addresses are not stored in your GA database, and they’re not accessible to any client specifically. However, technically speaking they can be accessed by a Google employee, and they do qualify as personal identifying information. So, even if you don’t have access to your visitors’ IP addresses, you need to make sure they’re anonymised.

Turn off User ID

If you use GA and you have User ID switched on, it’s best to switch this off in order to be compliant with GDPR, as this tracks individual users across devices and sessions. Google are rolling out various new Data Retention controls in line with GDPR, so you should be able to review and update these settings next time you log in.

At Wildheart Media we don’t use User IDs, we’ve anonymised our IP addresses, and we’ve reviewed all our GA settings accordingly.

How we can help

If you need help making sure your email marketing is GDPR compliant before 25th May, get in touch. We’ve put together a package that includes the following:

  • Mailing list:
    • Update signup forms (email signup forms, contact form, event booking forms)
    • Create and send consent campaign plus 2 follow-up campaigns
    • Reorganise/clean list
  • Review/update any other website forms
  • Review/update privacy policy
  • Install/configure GDPR-compliant cookies plugin
  • Google analytics – anonymise IP addresses & turn off User ID

Don’t take the risk – make sure you’re GDPR compliant before 25th May 2018.

Further reading

For more information about GDPR and how it affects email marketing, you might like to read these articles:

Contact us


How to attract more students to your yoga retreats and workshops

If you saw the last post in our Art of Marketing Your Yoga Business series, you’ll know that email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to build your yoga community. Building a community is really important, as your business will gain popularity and respect, and your students and visitors will be encouraged to keep coming back for more.

But, what else can you do to get more bums on mats, especially when it comes to yoga events? In this week’s post, we answer that all-important question every yoga teacher and studio owner needs to know – How do you sell more places on your workshops and retreats?

Standing out from the crowd

The problem these days is that everyone’s doing the same thing. You don’t need to look far online to find countless weekend workshops, multi-day intensives, retreats, holidays and other special yoga events being offered all over the world in any given month.

So, the trick is how to stand out. What do you offer that’s different? What’s your unique spin on this event? What makes your workshop special? Even if on the surface you don’t think your event is all that different, if you dig a little deeper, you’re bound to find the answer. As a teacher, you don’t teach in the same way as everyone else; you have your own unique style. Therefore, you naturally bring elements of your teaching style to your events.

We’d encourage you to spend a little time working out what makes your yoga business, or you as a yoga teacher, different. You’ll need these for your 3-pronged approach – all is about to be revealed!

The ‘trident’ approach to increasing yoga event bookings

In our experience, a single marketing method alone isn’t usually enough to reach a wide audience; that’s why we’ve developed a 3-pronged approach, aka the trident, to increasing your event bookings.

Remember our marketing cake? Well, our trident follows a very similar format. First, you need to have a good strong foundation in place for the base of your cake (your website and, more specifically, the page on your website for the event you want to promote); then you need to use the power of the email marketing icing to reach out to your loyal, engaged mailing list; and finally, you can pop the social media cherry on top, in the form of Facebook advertising:

  1. Event landing page on your website
  2. Email marketing campaign
  3. Facebook ad

So, let’s get baking and dive in a little deeper!

1. Event landing page

The first thing you need to do is create a strong landing page for your event. This is a page on your website that’s dedicated purely to this event, which has its own unique URL (web address) and includes all the details in a clear, easy-to-read format.

The best way to think of this page is as a sales page. Now, we know most people don’t like to think of ‘selling’ when it comes to yoga, but if you don’t see your yoga events as a service you’re selling, then you’re unlikely to be very successful.

Like any good sales page, your event landing page must focus on the WHY first. Most people tend to start with the WHAT and the HOW, but we think this is a mistake. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to feature the most important element first – WHY should people book your event? This is a chance to capture their imagination and get them excited!

So, this is where you need to bring in your ‘stand out from the crowd’ points. You could use a strong ‘one-liner’ at the top of your page to explain what lies at the heart of your event; you could feature a list of reasons why this event is different; or you could simply include a paragraph of text giving people a feel for what they can expect when they book.

Your landing page should include clear, easy-to-read text, broken into short paragraphs, with striking images to help break up the text and give a visual flavour of the event. The important details, like dates, location and cost can appear at the top and bottom of the page, and must be accurate. It’s a good idea to include some testimonials if you have some, of previous similar events.

At the bottom of the page you need a very strong call to action. How do people book? Is there a booking form? Should they contact you directly? How do they pay? Is there a deposit? How and when do they pay the remainder? Make sure this information is very clear and that all links and forms have been sufficiently tested. It’s surprising how the smallest of obstacles – like missing information, a broken link or a button that doesn’t work – can stop people booking.

And don’t forget the elements of the page that you don’t actually see on the front end. We’re referring to the SEO data, which stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Your website should have an SEO plugin that allows you to set elements such as a focus keyword, SEO title, SEO description and social media images. If it doesn’t, we recommend installing The SEO Framework. This is particularly important if your event is several months away, as your landing page can be a great source of organic search traffic, i.e. people naturally discovering the event through searching online.

So, in summary, each event that you want to promote should have its own landing page with the following features:

  • Unique URL
  • Striking images
  • Event details – the WHY, the WHAT, the HOW
  • Location/dates/price
  • Testimonials
  • Strong call to action – how to book
  • Accurate and relevant SEO data (in the back-end)

Here’s one we made earlier…
We recently did some work with Heather Elton of Elton Yoga to help promote her Teacher Training programmes. Here’s part of the landing page we created for her Teacher Training in London:

Elton Yoga - landing page

2. Email marketing campaign

Once you have your dedicated landing page in place, you can now start shouting about it! A good place to start is with your mailing list, as your subscribers are already engaged with your yoga business and interested in what you offer.

You can create an email campaign either for your entire list, or for a relevant group if you’ve set up opt-in groups. You should include a brief outline of the event – again, the WHY is the most important element here – with a clear call to action, i.e. a link to the landing page.

The subject line of the email should be enticing enough to encourage people to want to open the email to find out more. For help with this, check out How to write email subject lines that get results.

Your email should be short and sweet – don’t go into too much detail about the event here, as the action you really want people to take is to click through to your landing page. So, think of your email campaign as the teaser trailer and your landing page as the main feature. It’s a good idea to use the same image and other design elements as the landing page, as this visually ties the two together and helps to set people’s expectations when they land on the page.

If you have more than one event to promote, it’s fine to include them in the same email. But make sure you include the correct link to each landing page, and make sure the differences between the events are super clear.

In summary, your email campaign should include:

  • Compelling subject line
  • Brief summary of the event, primarily the WHY
  • Similar design elements to the landing page
  • Clear call to action – link to the landing page

The double tap
For bonus points… If you’re using MailChimp or Drip, you can duplicate your campaign and send it to a segment of your audience 2-3 days after you first sent it, i.e. only to the people who didn’t open your last campaign. This should give you around 10-20% extra opens. Remember this is not spam – your audience are just busy and it’s easy to miss an email, so they’ll probably appreciate the reminder. It’s a good idea to tweak the subject line so it’s not exactly the same as the first email, e.g. “In case you didn’t get this…” or “Have you seen this event yet…?”

Here’s one we made earlier…
Here’s a screenshot of the email campaign we sent to Heather Elton’s mailing list to promote her London Teacher Training programme. The ‘Book Now’ button takes people straight to the landing page we showed you above:

Elton Yoga - email campaign

3. Facebook ad

The final prong of your approach is to send out a Facebook advert, promoting your event to a far wider audience than your mailing list alone. We would recommend only focussing on Facebook for this, as it’s by far the largest social network and their advertising capabilities are actually very sophisticated.

In order to start creating adverts, you need to have a company Facebook page set up. This is a dedicated business page, which is completely separate from your own personal profile. If you don’t already have one, this is your first step. And something we’d highly recommend.

Again, when creating your advert, you should keep the copy short and sweet, but compelling – always focus on the WHY. Attracting more bookings for your event is even harder here because you’re trying to appeal to complete strangers, rather than your loyal, already engaged, email subscribers.

It’s important to get your targeting right, so think about the locations in the world where people are likely to book. Where do most of your bookings come from? Start there, then widen the reach if necessary. Think about the interests you want to include. If you only include people who are interested in ‘yoga’, your reach will be far too wide. So, come back to your USPs again and think about your niche offerings. Are there categories that cover these?

You can also schedule your advert to go out at certain times of day. So, thinking about your target audience, what are their movements likely to be? Are you trying to attract people who tend to work a 9-5 day and are therefore more likely to be looking at Facebook during their commute or at lunchtime? Or are you appealing to people who are likely to have a regular, early morning yoga practice? Perhaps around breakfast time, late morning, or early evening would be better for them?

It’s important to keep checking in on your advert and tweaking it if it’s not performing as well as you’d like. If you do make changes, we’d recommend only changing one element at a time, so you can test whether it makes a difference to the results.

For a more detailed guide to creating Facebook adverts, read How to create targeted Facebook ads for your business. And remember: social media is an important part of your marketing strategy, but you shouldn’t rely on this alone. The main purpose of social media is to drive traffic back to your website; in this case, specifically your event landing page.

In summary, your Facebook ad should:

  • Focus on the WHY
  • Include an amazing image
  • Link people to your landing page
  • Have the right targeting
  • Be frequently tested, reviewed and tweaked

Here’s one we made earlier…
This is the Facebook ad we created for Heather Elton’s London Yoga Teacher Training. Again, the ‘Learn More’ button takes people straight to the landing page:

Elton Yoga - FB ad

How Wildheart can help

Does this all sound like too much hard work? We can work on an hourly consulting basis, delivering exactly what you need. We’ll work closely with you to work out your priorities and goals, then get to work implementing these as efficiently as possible.

See how we’ve helped our clients

Read the next post in this series

Creating landing pages, sending email campaigns and posting Facebook ads is all well and good, but how do you know if your yoga marketing is actually working? That’s the question we’ll be answering in our next post of this series, as we get into some serious number crunching – because if you’re not measuring it, it’s not marketing!

Or go back to Blog series: The art of marketing your yoga business.


How to grow your yoga community with email marketing

The latest post in our Art of Marketing Your Yoga Business series looks at the next stage of the process, once you’ve got a great website set up with striking images, and have started blogging regularly – how to grow your yoga community through email marketing.

Why do you need to build a community?

As an independent yoga teacher or owner of a yoga studio or retreat centre, you know how important the teacher-student relationship is; you know how important word-of-mouth is; and you know that you need a steady flow of regular practitioners for your business to be a success. But it’s not all bums on mats, is it?

You probably know that there’s a lot more to running your business than what happens on the mat. That positive, supportive, uplifting energy you create inside the studio is just as important for what you need to do outside the studio. And that’s where the power of community comes in.

When you create and grow a yoga community, it takes on a life of its own. Your students become inspired and engaged; they feel connected, part of something meaningful. And this is self-perpetuating. The more people join the community and the more interaction they have with each other, the more the energy and excitement builds. Ultimately, this will result in your business gaining popularity and respect, and your students coming back again and again.

How can email marketing help?

Did you know that email marketing is still 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined, when it comes to acquiring new customers (McKinsey & Co)? You can blast out updates across your social media channels all you want, but there’s a very grey area around who owns the content you share, and it’s still pretty difficult to track real results.

With email marketing on the other hand, you can send targeted campaigns with relevant content to the right people, plus you can track who opens your emails and which links are clicked most often. By sending out special offers or early booking privileges, you can also create an air of exclusivity, which will help to build a list of loyal subscribers who are fully engaged with you and your brand.

As we explained in Are you ready to market your yoga business?, email marketing is like the icing on top of your website cake. The cake (your website) has to come first, as this is the foundation, or heart, of your marketing. You want it to be moist and fluffy – or, in the case of a website, well structured with clear navigation and calls to action!

But, no cake is complete without icing, right? So, you need to spread that delicious email marketing on top, to make sure your audience keeps coming back to your website. Social media is like the cherry on top – it’s a nice-to-have and is great for brand awareness and community, but it’s not so effective when it comes to converting visitors into customers (and can be hard to swallow if you don’t like cherries!)

The benefits of building your mailing list

Depending whether you’re an independent yoga teacher or you run a studio or retreat centre, your goals and aspirations will be different. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

Independent yoga teacher

If you’re a yoga teacher based in one or two locations, attracting regular students to your classes is key. You need to convey what you offer that’s different from other teachers around you. What’s your teaching style? What’s your approach to the practice? What tradition or philosophy do you follow and why? Sending out regular news, updates and links to your blog posts will help to get this information across to your audience. You’ll be able to develop a strong following of local students who are interested in your unique style and want to keep coming to your classes.

If you’re a travelling yoga teacher, your focus will be slightly different. You’ll need to think wider and appeal to a more global audience. Which areas of the world do you travel to most? What content would appeal to people in those areas? It’s super important to plan ahead for your events and make sure you communicate clearly to your audience about where you’ll be, on what dates, what you’ll be offering and how they can book. It’s surprising how the smallest of obstacles – like missing information, a broken link or a button that doesn’t work – can stop people booking. Through email marketing you can build a loyal following of students around the world who will be eager to travel to wherever you’re teaching next.

Yoga studio owner

If you run a yoga studio in a physical location, you need to build your email list to attract regular students to your classes. It’s super important to build a loyal audience, as you want them to come to your studio above all others. This means asking for regular feedback, listening to their concerns and making changes wherever you can.

Your email list is crucial for communicating with your customers, as it’s the most direct way to let people know about any changes to your class schedule, any news updates and any new services you might be offering. You can ask your subscribers for testimonials via email, or ask them to leave a review on your Facebook page. You can also send out special offers and priority booking opportunities to keep your audience engaged and help them feel part of an exclusive community.

If you run a retreat centre, you also want to build a community for returning visitors. The centre has a physical location and you want to inspire people to see it as a special destination for them to return to again and again. Getting feedback from your visitors via email is important. Social proof, testimonials and recommendations via word-of-mouth will all be key factors in the success of your business, all of which you can encourage via your mailing list.

Which email marketing provider should I use?

There are many options to choose from when it comes to email marketing, but one of our favourites is MailChimp. Find out why in 5 reasons why you should use MailChimp for your email marketing, which includes a free video we made showing you how to get started. You can easily set up a free account and this will remain free until you go over 2,000 subscribers, after which you might want to do some list pruning – see below!

Another provider we use regularly is Drip. Drip doesn’t have an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor like MailChimp, but they are masters of email marketing automation! To put it simply, email marketing automation is led by your audience’s behaviour – they receive emails from you based on actions they take, e.g. web pages they view; emails they open or don’t open; and links they click in emails and on your website. This means you can create email campaigns and workflows that will ‘drip-feed’ your content to your audience at the right time, so you can ‘set and forget’ – once it’s set up it’ll keep working for you. For more on this, read our Comprehensive guide to marketing automation.

If you’re a digital yoga business offering online courses and other digital products, you’re going to want a provider with good automation features. This way, you’ll be able to set up a series of emails to go to your customers when they buy a product, if they add a product to their cart but don’t buy, to ask for their feedback, to send special offers and to send re-engagement campaigns if they haven’t bought from you in a while.

Segmenting your email list

Whichever email marketing provider you use, it’s important to keep your mailing list neat, tody and up-to-date. One way to do this is to prune your email list from time to time, to make sure the subscribers on your list are still engaged with your content and your brand.

It’s also important to nurture your community by segmenting your email list. You can use opt-in groups to divide up your subscribers and then send out even more targeted email campaigns to those groups, with only the information they’ve asked for.

As a teacher attached to a particular location, you might decide to set up groups for beginners and more experienced practitioners, or for different types of classes. If you’re a travelling teacher, you might want groups for different areas of the world in which you teach, or for different types of events you offer. A yoga studio could have opt-in groups for the various services offered, e.g. types of classes, times of day, therapies, etc.

Some real-life examples

We’ve helped many of our customers grow their yoga businesses through blogging and email marketing.

Working closely with Yoganatomy, a well established US yoga business with a global audience, we restructured their website and helped them launch new digital products using their website and email marketing. Their email open and click-through rates are now way above average for their sector, they continue to receive an average of 300 new subscribers a month, and currently have an email list of over 15,000 subscribers.

We’ve been building a trusted and successful working relationship over many years with Stillpoint Yoga London, a busy Ashtanga yoga studio based at London Bridge. Recently we’ve been focussed on helping them build a valued community. Relaunching a monthly blog – and sharing it across their email marketing and social media – has given their audience a reason to keep coming back to their site. As a result, the number of returning visitors has increased to 40%.

Over the past year we’ve been working with Maria Boox, a travelling yoga teacher from Sweden, creating a new website, helping her launch a blog and sending out her newsletter each month. This has been very successful and she now has over 1,000 subscribers. Each month we resend her monthly email to all subscribers who haven’t yet opened it. This has proved a very worthwhile tactic for engaging her mailing list and driving good traffic back to her website.

How can Wildheart help?

When you sign up to our Email Marketing Package, we’ll set up your email marketing account or refine your existing one. We’ll set up your mailing list, or carry out important maintenance on your existing list. We’ll create a beautiful branded email template. And we’ll even send out your first email campaign for you.

And that’s not all! We’ll also design and create a lead magnet for you. This is a useful piece of content you give away in exchange for an email address, which is one of the best ways to start building your list. Plus, we’ll make you a tutorial video so you can learn how to do your own email marketing moving forward.

See how we’ve helped our clients

Read the next post in this series

In the next post of this series we’ll be answering that all-important question every yoga teacher needs to know: How do you sell more places on your yoga retreats and workshops? You won’t want to miss this one!

Or go back to Blog series: The art of marketing your yoga business.


A comprehensive guide to marketing automation

In our latest Content Kitchen video, Guy tackles the question What is email marketing automation and do I need it? He introduces email marketing automation and offers 3 tips for getting started with it in your business.

Email marketing automation is a complex subject and you won’t really know if it’s right for your business until you understand more about it and what it can do. So, in this post we share 3 practical examples with results, so you can get an idea of what’s involved.

What’s the difference between email marketing and marketing automation?

In its simplest form, email marketing means sending email campaigns to your mailing list at times of your choosing. Email marketing automation, however, is led by your audience’s behaviour – they receive emails from you based on links they click or web pages they view.

Email marketing could be referred to as ‘push marketing’ because you push your content to your audience according to your own schedule. Marketing automation, on the other hand, could be called ‘pull marketing’ because your audience pulls the content towards themselves by taking some action that triggers the automation.

Why is this important? Because it makes your emails highly relevant – they’re delivered when people are already looking for something or interacting with your business. This relevance in turn leads to higher conversion rates and engagement.

So, email marketing automation shouldn’t be seen as something completely different to email marketing. Instead, it should be considered an evolution in email marketing; how email marketing is re-inventing itself. Pretty much all email marketing software now offers at least a few automation features so automation is definitely here to stay.

Core concepts of email marketing automation

So, what exactly can marketing automation do? Well, email automation software does two things:

1. Create emails

All the tools you’d expect in traditional email marketing software. This includes creation of one-off emails, email sequences, email templates and merge tags or shortcodes that include personalised information, e.g. first name and email address. This is typically what is delivered to your audience.

2. Automation

This is the brains of email marketing automation and includes triggers and workflows. Triggers are actions that your audience takes which cause something to happen. Workflows are collections of triggers, emails and decisions that represent the steps in a specific journey your audience is following. This is how your content is delivered to your audience.

Decisions, decisions

At its heart, automation consists of conditional logic. This is also at the heart of computer programming and it goes like this:

If (something) then do X
else
if (something else) then do Y

So, the ‘if’ is the trigger and the X or Y is the action performed based on that trigger.

Here are 3 examples of triggers:

  • Visited a page: triggered when a subscriber visits the desired web page.
  • Performed a custom event: triggered when a subscriber performs a custom event you specify.
  • Made a purchase: starts a workflow when the subscriber makes a purchase through a payment platform.

If you’d like to know more about triggers and see more examples, check out the Drip Triggers knowledge base.

Email marketing automation in action

To give you an idea of the kinds of things you can do with marketing automation, and how it could benefit your business, we set out below 3 real-life case studies from our work here at Wildheart Media.

These examples are only the tip of the iceberg – there’s lots of very cool stuff you can do! But hopefully they’ll give you a little flavour of and better insight into the power of email marketing automation.

1. Automated welcome email

This is a great place to start if you’re new to email marketing automation and involves sending an automatic welcome email to your subscribers when they sign up to your blog.

As an example, this is the welcome email you get when you sign up to the Wildheart content marketing blog:

Wildheart welcome email

Why do we do this? Because it allows us to set expectations, introduce our categories and give away our lead magnets all in one place. It also enables us to engage with our audience and help them feel valued.

The following metrics demonstrate how effective welcome emails can be. The higher the open and click-through rates, the more relevant your content is for your audience.

Welcome email metrics for Wildheart Media:

Wildheart welcome metricsWelcome email metrics for one of our clients:

Client welcome metricsAs you can see, the open and click-through rates for both these campaigns are very high, indicating a very good level of audience engagement and proving the value of sending an automated welcome email.

2. 30-day free trial sequence

This is essential for anyone offering free trials of online courses, digital products or Software as a Service (SAAS). This sequence of lead nurturing emails is aimed at the leads who’ve signed up to your free trial. It’s designed to keep them coming back and, ultimately, encourage them to convert to the full paying product.

In this example we send 6 emails over 31 days:

30-day trial client campaign

Notice the increase in replies in the last 3 emails. This means the audience is replying to these emails – exactly the kind of behaviour we want before people make a final buying decision.

The metrics for this entire email sequence are consistently high for this type of campaign, as you can see in the averages below:

30-day trial metrics3. Customer re-engagement sequence

This is great for getting product suggestions, feedback or testimonials from your audience.

In our example we use 2 campaigns in a workflow. The first campaign is a series of 5 emails:

Customer re-engagement campaign

Once completed, this is followed up by a single email that’s delivered every 6 weeks in a loop, as you can see from this workflow:

Customer re-engagement workflow

This allows you to keep in touch with your existing customers and prompts them to re-engage with your business.

Tips

Hopefully these 3 examples have given you some ideas of how you might be able to use email marketing automation to benefit your business and better engage with your audience.

Before you get started, check out our top tips:

  • Defensive design: This is the most important tip we’ve learned when designing automations. Defensive design means that any break in the logic chain results in a stop, so that no actions get triggered. In most cases it’s better for your audience to receive nothing than to continue receiving incorrect emails until they unsubscribe in frustration.
  • Start simple: This is a rich and complex landscape. Start small and build up slowly over time with lots of testing.
  • Warning: Watch out for dependencies. This means combining automation with manual actions that your team or customer has to take. For example, we had a renewal sequence that relied on a customer being manually tagged in order for them to continue on a workflow. So what would happen if we forgot to tag them? At best the customer would get no emails from us; at worst they’d get an incorrect email saying ‘sorry to see you go’. Oops, not great marketing! So, follow our tip on defensive design.

Who you gonna call?

Ready to get started with marketing automation? Your existing email marketing provider may already have automation features built in. If not, or if you’re new to email marketing, you might want to check out these providers:

Good luck on your email automation journey! If you get stuck, contact us and we’ll let you know how we can help.

Contact us


Content Kitchen 11: What is email marketing automation and do I need it?

Brought to you on the first Friday of each month, Content Kitchen is a series of videos in which our co-founder Guy answers your content marketing questions. Why Content Kitchen? Because they’re recorded in Guy’s kitchen of course!

What is email marketing automation and do I need it?

You probably already know about email marketing, but have you heard of email marketing automation? What’s the difference? Do you need to automate your email marketing? And if so, why?

This month Guy introduces the topic of email marketing automation and offers 3 tips for how you can start using it to benefit your business.

What next?

This month’s video is just the tip of the iceberg. In our follow-up post we offer a comprehensive guide to email marketing automation, looking at different providers, best practices and real-life examples. Check it out here.


How to nurture your community by segmenting your email list

]If you’re an avid reader of our yoga marketing blog or a subscriber to our email list, you’ll know by now how important email marketing is. In fact, it “remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media – nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined” (McKinsey & Company).

You’ll also know that you need to quickly grab the attention of your subscribers in order to stand out above the noise of email traffic in most people’s inboxes. And you can do that by learning how to write email subject lines that get results.

Your email campaigns also need to include links to fresh and relevant content on your own website. So it’s a good idea to learn how to write a great blog post too.

But sending emails is only half the story.

What about your email list?

Most businesses spend so much time thinking about the emails they want to send, they forget who they’re actually sending them to!

Remember your audience!

It’s a good idea to regularly review your email list. It’ll need a little care and attention from time to time, as we saw in our recent article 4 steps to cultivating a high quality email list with MailChimp. This involves cleaning, or pruning, your list to ensure high quality growth, i.e. growing it with people who are actually engaged and interested in your content, not with people who never open your emails and just haven’t bothered unsubscribing.

The second reason to review your list is to make use of segmentation. When we talk about segmenting your list, this is basically marketing speak for reorganising it in a useful way. Just as it’s useful to divide an orange into bite-size segments, you also need to divide your subscribers in a relevant and meaningful way. In fact, segmenting your email list is essential for nurturing your community.

How should you reorganise your email list?

There are 2 ways you can reorganise your email list in MailChimp: using groups and segments. Let’s take a closer look…

Groups

A group is a category within your list that organises your subscribers by their interests and preferences.

You can invite subscribers to opt-in to certain groups on your signup form, to ensure they only receive the information they’re interested in.

So, groups are categories you set in advance that subscribers can join themselves.

Segments

A segment is a specific set of subscribers from your list that have common qualities. For example, you might want to create segments according to location, engagement or activity criteria.

Subscribers don’t opt-in to segments; they can only be created internally in MailChimp. So, you create segments from your list in order to send more targeted email campaigns.

As MailChimp explains “Subscribers can join groups when they sign up for your newsletter, and you can segment by those groups when you’re ready to send. Add hidden groups if you want to segment by internal data.”

Using groups and segments

To get your head around this, it’s helpful to use some real life examples. Here are some examples of how we’ve helped businesses use groups and segments to better engage with their audience.

Case study #1

We set up a simple group structure for this busy London yoga studio offering classes and workshops, as follows:

Group title:

  • What are you interested in?

Group names:

  • Regular practitioners
  • Workshop notifications

These groups are displayed on the signup form and subscribers are invited to opt-in to one or both groups. When we send email campaigns we segment by these groups, depending on the content of the email – updates on regular classes or information about upcoming workshops.

Segmenting your email list works very well for events and workshops, because events generate revenue. Your email marketing will start making you money because you know that when you send out an email you’re sending it to people who’ve expressed an interest in those events, so you’re far more likely to get people signing up.

Remember: you must have your landing pages in place before you send out your emails. So, if you’re sending an email about a workshop, make sure you’ve created a page for the event that you can link to from your email.

Case study #2

We also set up a simple group structure for a Sussex-based organic, ethical clothing company:

Group title:

  • What are you interested in?

Group names:

  • Womenswear
  • Menswear

And in addition to these groups we also segment the data when we send out email campaigns, e.g.:

Segment 1: Subscribers who have never purchased (new customers)

Segment 2: Subscribers who have purchased (existing customers)

We then send different content to these segments, for example, special offers, product updates, company news, etc.

If you’re a retail business, segmenting your list is crucial for getting the right products in front of the right people. If your subscribers have expressed an interest in certain products, they’re far more likely to buy from you when you send them promotional emails about those products.

Again, make sure you have the content in place to support your segments – you should always include a link to every product you feature in your email.

How to create groups from your MailChimp list

Follow our step-by-step guide to creating groups from your email list.

  1. From your MailChimp account, go to Lists and select the list you want to work with.
  2. From the ‘Manage Subscribers’ menu, select Groups:

    MailChimp screengrab - selecting groups

  3. Click ‘Create Groups’ on the next screen and you’ll see the following options:

    MailChimp screengrab - creating groups

  4. You can decide whether to show these groups on your signup form, or whether they’re for internal use only. You can also decide how the groups will be displayed.
  5. Enter a group title and the names of the groups you want to create.
  6. Click Save.

These groups will now be displayed on your signup form, if requested. You can view, edit and import subscribers into your groups by selecting Groups from the Manage Subscribers menu within your list.

How to create segments from your MailChimp list

There are 2 ways to create a segment from your email list:

  1. From a list
    • Go to your list > Manage Subscribers > Segments > Create Segment.
    • Set the criteria, preview and save.
    • When saving, there’s an option to auto-update your segment, which means all subscribers matching your criteria are pulled into the segment before each send. If you don’t select auto-update you’ll create a static segment that includes only those subscribers in the list at the time of creation.
  2. From a campaign
    • Go to Campaigns > Create Campaign.
    • In the Recipients tab, choose your list and you’ll be presented with 3 options: Entire list; Saved or pre-built segment; Group or new segment.
    • You can choose a segment that’s pre-built in MailChimp, or set your own criteria, including any groups you’ve created.
    • Click ‘Update Recipient Count’ to see how many subscribers your campaign will go to based on your segmentation.

Updating subscriber preferences

If you’re adding groups to an existing email list, it’s a good idea to send a re-engagement campaign asking your subscribers to update their preferences. Otherwise, only new subscribers will be able to opt-in to your new groups.

We’d suggest sending an email campaign to your entire list explaining that you’re making some changes and that you want to make sure they only receive the information they’re interested in. This way, your subscribers will understand that it’s in their best interests to opt-in to the relevant groups.

In your email you can use the merge tag *|UPDATE_PROFILE|* instead of a URL for your button link and MailChimp will handle the rest.

Sound like too much hard work?

Don’t panic! When you sign up for our Email Marketing Package we’ll take care of all this for you.

We’ll set up your MailChimp account if you don’t have one, create or review your email list and work with you to create relevant and meaningful groups and segments for your email campaigns. We’ll even create and send a re-engagement campaign to all your contacts asking them to update their preferences.

So you can rest in the knowledge that your newly organised email list will be helping to nurture your community.

See how we’ve helped our clients


4 steps to cultivating a high quality email list with MailChimp

Did you watch this month’s Content Kitchen video What’s the best way to grow my audience online? If you did, then you’ll know that email marketing is still by far the best way to grow your audience – in fact, it’s almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined (McKinsey & Co).

But your email list can’t grow on its own. As well as giving away lead magnets, writing great email subject lines and creating awesome images for your campaigns, your email list also needs a bit of care and attention from time to time – we call this pruning.

Why your email list needs pruning

You’re probably aware that many people frequently change their email address. They want different addresses for different purposes, they might be assigned a new account by their work or for a new project they’re involved with, or their account might have been hacked and they need to close it down and start again.

With all these different email addresses flying around it’s no wonder people forget to check them all, forget what they’ve signed up to, and don’t always remember to unsubscribe from mailing lists that no longer interest them. And to add insult to injury, Gmail’s tabbed inbox tries to filter out email marketing into the Promotions tab – making email marketing engagement just that little bit harder.

So you need to periodically prune your email list to improve your open and click-through rates. Just as you need to remove the dead wood from a tree to help it grow, you also need to remove the ‘dead’ subscribers from your email list to keep your delivery rate high.

Wondering what a high delivery rate is? As a benchmark, at Wildheart we get average open rates of around 50% and click-through rates of around 15% – these are both very good figures to aim for.

But surely the bigger the list, the better?

Actually, no. When it comes to both your email list and your web traffic, quality is far more important than quantity.

There’s no point having subscribers on your list if they’re not opening any of your emails. You need people to be engaging with your content, otherwise why email them?

Pruning your list will slow down its growth but it will also refine it. So, just like focussing on helping the healthy branches of the tree to grow stronger, you’re focussing only on your engaged audience so that you’re marketing to people who are actually interested in what you have to say.

So, how big should your list be before pruning? We would recommend starting to prune your email list when you have around 1,000-1,500 subscribers.

How to prune your MailChimp email list

So, how do you go about pruning your list? Simply follow our 4-step guide below.

1. Back it up

The first thing you should do before carrying out any list maintenance is to make a backup of your entire list. That way, if anything goes wrong, you still have the original data on file.

  • Login to your MailChimp account, go to Lists and select your main mailing list.
  • Click Export List just above the list of subscribers:

MailChimp screengrab: Export List

  • MailChimp will let you know once the export is ready and you can then download it as a csv file.

2. Create a segment

Next, you need to create a segment of the subscribers you want to prune. As a guide, we would suggest you remove all subscribers who haven’t opened your last 5 campaigns. Not opening 1 or 2 might mean they were away or very busy, but not opening the last 5 indicates they’re no longer interested in your content.

  • From the list page in MailChimp select Manage subscribers, then Segments.
  • Click Create Segment and you’ll be shown a number of options in dropdown lists.
  • Select ‘Campaign Activity’ from the 1st dropdown, ‘did not open’ from the 2nd and ‘All of the Last 5 Campaigns’ from the 3rd:

MailChimp screengrab: create segment

  • You can then preview your segment to see how many subscribers it contains.
  • In the dark grey toolbar above the list of subscribers, click Save as segment. You should untick the Auto-update option on the next screen, as we want to create a static segment, rather than a continually updating one:

MailChimp screengrab: save segment

3. Back up your segment

Again, it’s a good idea to create a backup of your new segment before you completely delete these subscribers from your list.

  • From your segmented list, just click Export Segment and follow the instructions as you did for exporting your list.

4. Delete your segmented subscribers

The final stage is to completely remove the subscribers you’ve segmented from your mailing list. However, simply deleting the segment will only remove the segment conditions, it won’t remove the actual subscribers. So here’s what you need to do:

  • Go into your segmented list (Manage subscribers > Segments > select segment).
  • Scroll to the bottom and change the view to 100 per page.
  • Scroll back up and click the arrow to the top left of the list, then Select Visible:

MailChimp screengrab: select visible

  • This will select all the subscribers on the page and you can now click the Delete button which will have appeared above the dark grey toolbar.
  • Repeat this process, deleting each page of 100 subscribers at a time, until the entire segment has gone.

And, hey presto, you’ve pruned your list!

What if you make a mistake?

Don’t worry! As long you’ve exported both your original list and your segment, you’ll be able to restore these to how they were by going to Add subscribers > Import subscribers and re-uploading the csv file.

How often should you prune your email list?

This depends on 2 things:

  1. how often you send out emails, and
  2. your open and click-through rates.

If you send monthly emails and your average open rate is less than 40% then we’d suggest it’s time to prune. On average, most people should prune their list once or twice a year.

How does Wildheart help?

As part of our Email Marketing Package we’ll review your existing mailing list and carry out any required pruning and other maintenance to keep your delivery rate as high as possible. So you can rest safe in the knowledge that your list will gain long-term growth with an audience that’s actually engaged in your content.

What next?

The next stage in maintaining your email list is more detailed segmenting – so that you can send targeted emails to sections of your audience who’ve expressed an interest in specific topics. This results in even better audience engagement, and therefore raises the quality of your list even further.

In our follow-up post we’ll be sharing how you can nurture your community by segmenting your email list, so keep an eye on our yoga marketing blog.

Better still, why not sign up to our mailing list? You’ll get a series of 9 curated emails packed with everything you need to know to grow your business with content marketing, followed by our regular blog posts as soon as they’re published on our website.

GDPR Update

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a great opportunity to do some all-important pruning of your email list. Read our article GDPR and email marketing: What you need to know to find out more.


The anatomy of an awesome Tweet

As we saw in our post Which social networks should my business use? Twitter now has over 320 million active users worldwide. So if you’re not already using Twitter for your business, it’s worth signing up.

But with only 140* characters to play with, it’s actually harder than you think to write effective Tweets. How do you get your message across effectively and in the right tone? How do you include a compelling call to action? And how do you start increasing your followers to drive more traffic to your website?

*Great news! As of December 2017, Twitter doubled the maximum characters to 280.

Two types of Tweet

In our experience there are generally 2 types of Tweet:

  1. broadcasts
  2. conversations

Broadcasts are Tweets in which people simply share their content or broadcast their message to their followers. These kinds of Tweets are very common and often created by those who don’t ‘get’ Twitter, as they lack the power of a conversational Tweet. We’re not saying there isn’t a use for broadcasts, but it’s generally better to focus more on conversations.

Conversations on Twitter are much more powerful as they’re about sharing value in the context of a conversation. These can typically be a question to an individual/company or sharing content that is relevant to that person/company. If you hit the mark you’ll get likes, mentions and retweets off the back of your Tweet, which has the network effect of being seen by a lot more people!

There’s no hard and fast rule, but generally conversational Tweets are preferred.

Crafting your Tweet

With only 280 characters available, EVERY CHARACTER COUNTS! Each character is like gold dust, taking up precious space in your Tweet.

Whether you’re sending a broadcast or conversation, here’s our 5-part breakdown to writing an awesome Tweet:

1. The hook

This is the main part of your Tweet and should be a question or statement that is interesting, fun or intriguing enough for people to read on.

Twitter users are generally looking to be informed and entertained. They want news updates, interesting content, discounts and special offers. So you need to make sure your Tweets are engaging, represent your brand personality, and include a compelling call to action.

The call to action is the most important part of your Tweet. What action do you want your followers to take? Click on a link? Retweet your post? Whatever the call to action, make sure it’s clear and simple.

2. The link

More often than not, the goal of your Tweet will be to drive your followers to a blog post, a web page or some other landing page. So you’ll need to include a link, or URL.

Courtney Seiter of Buffer claims that:

“Link clicks are by far the biggest way users interact with content, accounting for 92% of all user interaction with Tweets.”

“But how do I fit my URL in with only 280 characters to spare?” I hear you cry! Well, that’s where URL shorteners come in. These are handy tools that compress your URL into far fewer characters, no matter how long it is to start with.

One option is to use Twitter’s built-in shortener, http://t.co, which automatically shortens any URL you enter. But this will alter a URL of any length to 23 characters, even if the link itself is less than 23 characters long. So you may end up losing some of those precious characters.

A better alternative is to use a URL shortener like Bitly, Ow.ly or TinyURL, the first 2 of which allow you to track your click-through rates as well as saving your character count.

At Wildheart we use Bitly to shorten our links when sharing them on social media. Many consider Bitly to be the No.1 choice when it comes to URL shortening, so it’s good to know we’re on the right track!

3. A relevant hashtag

Hashtags are a way of relating your Tweets to a specific topic. They’ll help your Tweets get found more easily (when people search for the topic), and allow you to more easily engage with wider discussions occurring within that topic.

You can search for existing hashtags using the Twitter search field, or if you’re writing on a broad topic that’s likely to already have a hashtag, just go ahead and apply it, e.g. #contentmarketing or #socialmedia.

You can also start your own hashtags if you want to encourage activity in a niche area, or if your business is running a promotion. For example, we might invite our followers to enter a competition by using the hashtag #wildheartgiveaway.

A word of warning: you should never use more than 2 hashtags in any Tweet. Also, if you’re sending a conversational Tweet to someone new, you might want to leave out hashtags altogether, as they can come across as a bit ‘spammy’.

4. Mention someone relevant

Another useful tool to use in your Tweets is the @mention. When you mention another Twitter user they will see your Tweet, allowing you to give them public acknowledgment or to promote them or their Tweet to your followers.

If you don’t know someone’s username you can search for them using Twitter’s search function and their username will be displayed in the search results.

Influencers

A good strategy is to mention people or companies of influence. This is really really key to building a great network on Twitter. There’s little point starting conversations with random users that have few followers.

You need to actively research the influencers in your field and then target those people – starting friendly conversations that add value, interest or fun to their day.

Just make sure you keep your Tweets relevant and professional. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of your influencers by publicly slating or offending them on social media!

5. A relevant image

Images and videos can significantly increase the engagement rate of your Tweets. If you’re already a Twitter user, think about your own activity on Twitter – are you more likely to view Tweets and click links that include images or videos?

Images and videos can significantly increase the engagement rate of your Tweets.

In Kristina Cisnero’s Hootsuite article, she gives an example of a test they carried out on one of their CEO’s Tweets. They posted the same Tweet twice, but the one with the image had a 79% higher engagement rate than the one without the image.

Any images you use should be relevant and high quality. Remember our Social media image guide for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Make sure you’ve sourced your image ethically, you’ve resized it to the optimum Twitter dimensions (1024 x 512px), and you’ve compressed your image to save space, particularly if you’re uploading it to your WordPress media library first.

Leave space for retweeting

Finally, as if all that wasn’t enough to cram into 280 characters, you should always leave space for retweeting.

It’s generally accepted that the “magic retweet number” is 20, i.e. leaving 20 blank characters at the end of your Tweet so that others can retweet with room to add their own message. This means your entire Tweet, including text, link, hashtags and @mentions, should ideally be 260 characters or less – yes, even shorter than the original 280 that you thought was hard enough!

Our top tips for awesome Tweets

Follow our top tips for writing awesome Tweets and you’ll be tweeting like a pro in no time!

  1. Absolutely don’t use all 5 elements above in every Tweet!
  2. Mix up the format of your Tweets. It’s very easy for someone scanning your timeline to see you’re blasting out the same format all the time. This is a big no-no because it feels impersonal and formulaic. Twitter works better the more personal it feels.
  3. If you’re sending a conversational tweet to someone new, you might want to leave out hashtags, as they can feel ‘spammy’.
  4. Only include an image if it’s super relevant, e.g. related to what you’re talking about in your Tweet. Pictures that are too polished or professional-looking can come across a bit salesy.
  5. Don’t be too pushy but don’t give up either! Hang in there when targeting your influencers, even if you get ignored 2 or 3 times. As long as you’re being genuine and helpful you’re likely to see some engagement eventually.
  6. In most cases avoid sending PMs (private messages), as they lose the network effect of the public space – unless of course you want to have private conversations and it’s relevant!
  7. Tweet and retweet alike. If you want others to retweet, reply to and mention your Tweets, it goes without saying you should be doing this yourself too. Don’t go crazy but do engage with the Tweets that interest you. Keep it casual, helpful and friendly.

Practice, practice, practice

Writing great Tweets doesn’t have to be as challenging as it might seem. Just remember to always think about your audience first, and you should see an increase in your Twitter engagement.

And how do you know if a Tweet will suit your audience? Practice, practice, practice! Plus of course, diligent tracking and constant refinement based on your engagement metrics.

Now go forth and get tweeting!

To find out how Wildheart can help dissolve your marketing headaches, including devising a content schedule to effectively share your content across social media networks like Twitter, take a look at the packages we offer, then book a free consultation to go through your options.