Yoga retreats have enjoyed increasing global popularity in the last five years. This is neatly demonstrated by the search interest for this term on Google, shown below.

As an owner or organiser of a yoga retreat, once you have found a venue with a suitable ambience, developed the programme and chosen the menu it's probably time to think about how you're going to find your yogis. This can be a daunting task, especially if you don't have a marketing background but don't worry we're here to help.

What is a yoga retreat?

Before we get too deep into the marketing side of things, it's worth creating a clear definition to describe a yoga retreat. Below is a definition paraphrased from Yogapedia.

A yoga retreat is a withdrawal to focus on the practice of yoga. Western retreats can resemble holidays in luxury resorts, but the eastern concept of retreats are more humble and can be much more affordable. The purpose of a retreat is to allow yogis to deepen their experience without life's distractions.

Yoga retreats attract a variety of different individuals - most of which will have this picture in their head when they perform their online research. Some will spend a very long time comparing different offerings looking for their perfect sanctuary and you need to make sure you make the shortlist.

Who is your target audience?

If you're going to succeed, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your audience. Yogis come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and you need to know your market like the back of your hand - you might find the reality is different from your original expectations. The best way of getting to know your audience better is to talk to them directly - ask them what they are hoping to get from a retreat and start to understand their expectations. Online questionnaires are another good way to gain this insight - you can use tools like SurveyMonkey to send via email or via social channels.

Marketing students will understand the concept of segmentation, targeting and positioning. It's the simple process of dividing up your potential audience into groups based on their preferences, demographics, or other relevant criteria. Once the groups have been defined it easier to focus your marketing efforts on a particular segment with relevant messaging and an offering which has been designed to appeal directly to them.

For a yoga retreat, you may choose to target different groups with more specialist activities, such as specific yoga styles or activity, or you might branch out into other areas such as paddleboarding to enrich the experience.

Once you're happy that you understand who you're targeting it will be much easier to develop an online strategy to reach them.

Developing an online strategy

If 'online strategy' sounds like a term you've spent your whole life trying to avoid, there's no need to switch off your computer just yet. It just means having an idea of how you are going to reach your audience and to be willing to try different approaches until one starts to work.

One of the great things about the online world is that it's very easy to write content, develop a website, send a mailing list and do everything you need. Most online tools have a cheap or free offering, and sometimes you can get discounted prices if you're a small business or startup. Due to the overwhelming number of options, it's time to prioritise.

Online marketing channels

Here are a few ideas which might be useful:

  • Create a beautiful website - Wix or SquareSpace both have a selection of nice templates.
  • Develop your social presence - Instagram is particularly effective.
  • Build a mailing list - host a signup form on your site and give something back in return.
  • Use search engine optimisation - write relevant content which will appeal to your audience.
  • Consider paid advertising - Facebook Ads tend to get the best results.
  • Add a listing on a yoga retreat platform - in exchange for some commission, you can boost your visibility quickly.

Each one of the above requires further exploration - we'll be providing more depth in our newsletter.

Positioning your retreat

Now your voice can be heard it's time to tune your messaging. Yogis now have a lot of different options to choose from (bookyogaretreats.com has 7,705 individual listings at the time of publication).

How will you stand out?
Why should people choose you?

If you have an answer to these two questions you already know how to position your offering. Use language which reflects the passion and enthusiasm you have for yoga demonstrates your unique values, and clearly communicates the experience your guests will receive.

This concludes our whistle-stop introduction to online promotion. Finally, here is our yoga retreat market research article, which examines data from 20,000 retreats - we think you'll find it interesting.