THOUGHTS AND INSPIRATION FROM A RETREAT OWNER :: Part 4
I hope you are finding this series helpful! I began writing all this as a potential article a couple years back, but have since decided it better blog-fodder. I am now noticing more and more information out there pointing the way to organizing successful retreats. The retreat industry is booming and there is a plethora of information on the subject. I encourage anyone who is considering retreat work to research and read as much as possible, talking with other teachers about their experiences andasking for and following up on referrals.
Ok, so as promised last week - moving on to:
YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS
Keep in mind the below is just a portion of what can be done to create visibility for your retreat. The point is to make your reach as vast as possible. Be creative, imaginative and don't forget to point out what sets YOU and YOUR RETREAT apart from others!
First off, give yourself ample time for your marketing efforts to pay off. 9 months to a year is a good lead time. Giving yourself only 4-5 months to get your word out and pull it all together is a little over-ambitious, unless you are a highly visible and popular teacher/leader with a good sized following.
1) If you have a web site, set up a specific web page detailing your retreat. Make sure you use captivating photos of your retreat location as well as your own bio and good quality photo(s) of yourself - a nice head shot and a photo of you “at work” is always nice. Make sure your bio includes all your experience, list your teachers and talk a little about your philosophy. Make it professional, but on a personal note - in the end - you are not just selling the venue/retreat - you are selling YOU. And, remember to let people know what they are signing up for. Make sure that potential attendees have a clear picture of the week and the pace of the program. Have your schedule (or a sample daily schedule) ready when you begin promoting your retreat. Don’t wait until the week before.
But don’t stop there. Links are everything to get the search engines finding you:
2) List your web page/retreat description on as many retreat venue sites you can find/afford, such as YogaFinder.com, retreatfinder.com, retreatguru.com, bookyogaretreats.com. Some are free, some require costs and some have mixed options, but the wider you spread the word, the more chance for potential participants can find you.
3) Get your mailing list together for all your potential attendees and start a regular newsletter to promote once every 2-3 weeks. Keep it simple, but enticing enough to get people to click on the links to your web page. Regular intervals and consistency is key.
4) Social Media: *Regularly post to Facebook, create an “Event” and “Invite” your friends. Create Instagram posts, twitter, etc. Call people in with a thought-provoking "quote" related to your retreat that leaves them wanting more (and gets them to click on your link!) Find associated groups/pages that you can join where you can post your info. There are several apps that can help you create animated adverts, quickly and easily: Ripel, Splice. Be creative, make it interesting and keep it fresh. Try not to be too redundant. Give people reasons to want to attend and point out what sets you and your retreat apart. *Remember, it's important to be consistent. Set yourself a reminder to post at a minimal of once a week.
5) Dazzle your potential attendees with captivating flyers. They don’t have to cost a ton and you can make two out of one sheet of letter size card stock. Place them around town in coffee shops, leave them behind in restaurants, airports, any public place! Pass them to friends and ask them to do the same. Any community bulletin board is a free advertisement venue
6) Be patient. I've noticed more and more the trend for people to sign up last minute. I've literally seen people sign up DAYS before a retreat. You cannot predict who has had your retreat on the back burner waiting to see if they can make it happen - and many DO!
All in all think VAST, think CONSISTENCY and remember, response rate is super important! There are lots of other retreats and trainings out there, and if potential attendees/inquiries don’t get quick responses, they will most likely be off checking into other trainings.
Next time: YOUR RETREAT WEEK IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!
Until then, Peace&PuraVida!
Playa Garza - 3k from AHKí Retreat