Allison Dearling is the owner of Live and Breathe Yoga in tropical Townsville, in far northern Queensland. A former accountant who lived and worked in Scotland for a number of years, Allison started her studio when she returned to Australia (with her new husband!) in 2009.
“I wanted to see if I could teach yoga full time instead of being an accountant, so I sent a few emails to friends and taught an introductory course in my loungeroom, which only fit nine people. That first class quickly sold out and I went from there! Over the years, we’ve grown, had our studio flooded, and are now established in a beautiful studio in central Townsville.”
Allison has been on my email list for more than 10 years and had corresponded with me on and off over the years. In June 2022, she made the leap into the Hustle & Heart program and in September, we finally met face-to-face in Townsville, when I went to Magnetic Island for a creative business retreat by myself.
Changing the structure of the business
Allison engaged me for a VIP Strategy Intensive in December 2022 because she was stuck with making a big decision to change her business structure, from year-round classes, to classes on the school term, from being known as an Ashtanga Yoga studio, to theme each term on the elements and offering different yoga styles, including Pilates, while staying true to her Ashtanga lineage.
“I was sick of arguing ‘round and ‘round with myself, and not making a decision. It was a big change, and it was scary to think that I might lose clients or annoy people. I’d also watched an Insta story where she explained how much she was able to get done in one day and I was impressed!”
Allison was keen to make the transition in the new year, but first she needed to educate her students why this change was in their best interests.
Creating new sales pages, new timetable and new pricing
Allison filled out an extensive preliminary questionnaire before our first coaching session, which was an hour first thing on a Tuesday, to discuss the timeline from post-Christmas 2022 to the beginning of term one, in late January 2023.
Like most yoga studios, Allison’s pricing was overly complicated, which puts the onus on the client or prospective client, to figure out what’s what. A key principle of pricing and sales is that confused people don’t buy. The fewer pricing options you have, the easier it is for people to make a decision to become your new client.
We started by simplifying Allison’s pricing structure while encouraging clients to commit to coming regularly, while also taking a break from face-to-face classes during school holidays, and accessing Live and Breathe Yoga’s virtual studio of online classes.
“The whole process was quick and painless,” says Allison. “In a very short timeframe, you walked me through the crucial decisions to transform my business structure.”
After the pricing structure was streamlined, I started writing two key sales pages: the membership page (called ‘Join us’) which outlined the membership, and ‘One-to-one yoga’, which asked for more commitment than students had been giving, while going into more depth and detail.
By starting with the sales pages writing, we could use these as the basis for the marketing campaigns.
Allison and I also used our one-to-one coaching time together to brainstorm a new timetable that made more sense to both her clients, her teachers, and her lifestyle. Based on my 15 years’ experience of redesigning yoga studio timetables, we simplified the weekly times to encourage students to come along at the same time every day without needing to check to see if a class was on.
Creating the marketing campaign to introduce the new structure
We met the following morning for our second one-to-one, during which Allison approved the new sales pages, and then I moved onto creating her marketing campaign.
Within 36 hours of our first one-to-one, Allison had an overall 2023 marketing plan for each term and its corresponding element, and a breakdown of different emails to be sent, on different dates, for her five different email list segments.
Allison also received another, more detailed email marketing plan, which ran from December 27, 2022 to a week after term one began in 2023. This plan was an email funnel for each of the five different email segments, including a reactivation funnel for former members and non-members.
I migrated Allison’s email marketing software, from Mailchimp to Reach Mail, designed a new email template, and set up these five email segments for her, so all she needed to do was copy and paste each email.
“It was so valuable having all the marketing communications plan done, so I could just cut and paste without thinking, while on holidays with my family in January,” says Allison. “There were many moving parts to the changes, and this made it so easy.”
Making the change
The final asset for our VIP Strategy Intensive was her Action Plan, ordered by priority, to keep Allison focused on the most important things, including finalising terms and conditions, liaising with her website designer on a list of changes, tracking her key business metrics, and creating social media assets for use throughout the year.
So how did her students react to the changes?
Says Allison, “It was such a big change! I was scared and worried about it, but also so excited! I did have members cancel, though these tended to be students who didn’t come often anyway, but feedback from my ideal clients has been wonderful.”
“I feel so invigorated and excited by my business all over again after feeling a bit burnt out by the end of 2022. It felt so good to trust in my decision to change the way we were doing things.”
“I’ve been feeling that our community needed more from us, and I wanted to bring purpose and play back into the studio, to keep things fresh and fun. I also wanted to ensure our members are inspired to progress their practice while feeling confident, and fully supported. Our classes are far more full now, and students are reinvigorated and recommitted to their practice.”
Live and Breathe Yoga’s changes came after the successful launch of their first yoga teacher training program, which means that, although the studio has more weekly classes available, Allison has more support from her new teachers, to give her greater freedom, flexibility and time off.
In January 2023, in the midst of the studio transition, the business turned 13, celebrated by her loyal community of students and teachers. (Happy Business Birthday to you!)
Says Allison, “It felt so good to have the courage to try a new way, despite the worry and fear of negative pushback and judgment, with Brook’s practical help and coaching support. Brook always gets shit done, while reminding me that I don’t have to do it all myself.”
Ready for a big leap forward, in a short timeframe? Inquire about a VIP Strategy Intensive.