Marketing for Pilates Teachers and Studio Owners

You've invested in the best equipment, you've attracted the best instructors, and you've opened the doors to your Pilates studio. Now, it's time to get the word out.

Whether you are opening a new Pilates studio or resuming in-person instruction after a Covid-induced pause, you will need to invest time (and possibly money) in getting the word out about your business and what makes it special.

Recently, Pilates Anytime Vice President Gia Calhoun sat down for a Zoom chat with Lesley Logan, founder of Profitable Pilates and a business coach for Pilates professionals, to talk about marketing. We’ve gathered a few of Logan’s top tips in this blog post. You can watch the entire conversation here.

If you’re the rare Pilates professional who loves to work on marketing, consider yourself lucky. “For many of us,” says Calhoun, “the word marketing is almost taboo.” According to Logan, that’s because the majority of Pilates teachers are women, and a lot of women were raised to not brag about themselves.

“People think marketing is a form of bragging. You're literally telling people how amazing you are at what you do,” she says.

The problem is that if you don't let people know what you can do for them, someone else will, and you’ll not only lose a potential client, you’ll also have missed out on helping that person move better, feel less pain, have more energy, or all of the above. In fact, says Logan, “It's selfish to keep it to yourself.”

Marketing doesn't have to be scary. It doesn't have to involve standing on a street corner, handing out flyers. It can be done in a way that feels authentic to you.

Making Marketing a Priority

It’s not enough just to tell people about Pilates in general and how it can benefit them. “People find you because they know what you do,” says Logan. If you only talk about what Pilates is, then you're doing a great job of marketing Pilates, but you’re not showcasing what makes your teaching distinctive. Instead, turn the marketing conversation to what you do and how it helps your clients.

“We have to get past this roadblock that marketing is scary or that you're not good at it. No one's good at anything when they start,” says Logan. “But the worst case scenario is that people don’t see or hear your message, and the best case is that they do and they ask you a question. That can lead to a conversation about what you can do for them.”

Best Practices

Logan likes to say that when it comes to marketing efforts, “You either have time or you have money.” She doesn’t recommend spending on marketing until you have honed your message and come up with language that actually gets people's attention. Once you have good insights on what gets people to say, "Yes, I want that," then you can start to budget for marketing. That might look like paying your front desk manager who’s great at social media to handle the studio’s Instagram and Facebook accounts, for example, or it could mean hiring an outside expert.

Don’t think that expensive equals better, says Logan. “Free and organic can go a long way,” she says. In this case, “organic” refers to digital marketing that you do yourself, over time on social media, as opposed to paid posts.

Get the Word Out

  • Your Cell Phone: Logan points out that your next client could be in your pocket right now. She suggests going through the contacts in your cell phone one by one and saying, “Here's what I can do. Here are the problems I can solve. Who do you know who could use this?" It does take some courage to make the ask, but the only investment is just your time.
  • Put it in Writing: Businesses ranging from coffee shops to salons to fitness studios now place chalkboard signs outside their doors with attention-getting messages. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to test out what messages resonate with potential clients, and what words actually attract the clients to come in or call.
  • Nextdoor App: “Nextdoor is amazing,” says Logan. It’s useful for promoting existing classes or creating new classes geared to people in their neighborhood. It’s also free to use.
  • Facebook: Again, local Facebook groups are a great place to start. New mom groups are a particularly good fit for Pilates instructors looking to get their message out.
  • Collaborations: Don’t be so dazzled by the lure of social media that you discount the value of old-fashioned person-to-person word of mouth. “It is always better to have the local coffee shop and chiropractor and other businesses singing your praises,” says Logan. “And then social media can be a support for that.”

Yes, you read that right. According to Logan, your connections and your network are the best tools in your marketing toolbox. “I'm giving you full permission to enjoy using social media to stay in touch with your friends and family, and to find clients by really tapping into local community events,” she says. “If you don't tell people the problems that you solve and how awesome you are at it, you don't change people's lives.”

What are your tried-and-true methods for getting the word out about your Pilates business? Share your best practices in the comments below.

Alison Manheim
About the Author

Alison Manheim

Alison is a writer and Pilates instructor based in Santa Monica, California. Her Pilates practice has been a springboard to a brand new career as a fitness model and commercial actor at age 50+.


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