Friday, February 27, 2015

Beyond the Big City: Small Town Zumba

Today's post goes out to all the fitness instructors outside of big cities. Building a Zumba reputation and career in small towns or rural areas is no easy task (not that it's "easy" in a city, but you know what I mean).

Luckily, I have some advice for you from three successful instructors who are all from small towns. Thank you to Angela, Lisa, and Alice for sharing their insight!

Angela tells me she purchased Mary Beth Nishime's marketing book but didn't use any of the tactics, finding that the majority of them weren't designed for people in small towns. She said, "Given that, I had to venture out on my own and walk the path less travelled. Now, I'm living the fitness instructor's dream - making $100/class, sold out with a waiting list!"

Here's how Angela did it, in her words:
1.  Word of mouth is king.
2.  Be a bad*ss fitness instructor.
3.  Events have worked the OPPOSITE for me - they do not attract new people - so I only do them for fun. What attracts people is when they reach their individual HIGH NOON and tell themselves, it's time to come.
4.  Run a business - not a hobby - even if you teach one time a week. Be professional, consistent, and responsible at all times.

Lisa got creative and tweeted to a local newspaper about her class. A writer contacted her for an article, which she considered to be free advertising! She also mailed flyers to schools and small gyms, making it easy for them to post her schedule.

Alice is a 58-year old instructor, getting licensed in April of last year. She teaches at The Healing Arts Center, a brand new business. She told me, "I'm just keeping enough money from my classes to pay for my ZIN license upkeep, and the rest I donate to the Center and a local food co-op. One thing I do is serve a healthy snack after every class... having that little 5 minutes of snack and bonding time afterwards has been a real draw."

Alice charges $5 per class, but also offers a 10-class punch card for $40 - so students get two free classes. She says, "I don't have an expiration date on them. I tell them they expire when I expire! I've been keeping their "punched out cards" and at the end of the year 2014, I held a drawing using those cards. The winner got a free punch card." She also gives prizes each month to keep students engaged.

She also came up with a clever strategy. "In January, I had a special. Bring in a friend and you and your friend get a free class that day. Well, to my utter surprise, I've been getting 16 to 18 students each class! Many of the new ones are coming back AND buying the 10-class punch cards. Yehaw!!"

What advice do you have for small town instructors?

1 comment:

  1. Talk to everyone....and I mean EVERYONE about the awesomeness that is Zumba, and tell them to just give it a shot! That's what I'm doing. I'm the third (maybe fourth) ZIN in my area, so it's tough, even though I'm the only one who is doing classes.