Living just outside of Boulder I’m bombarded with yoga advertising all the time.
With so many different styles of yoga – and so many passionate instructors who teach in their own unique way – you’d think that yoga ads would reflect this diversity. You’d think you could read an ad and really see what makes this teacher or that studio special.
You’d be wrong.
From what I’ve seen a lot of the advertising in the yoga world is very similiar. Aside from the brand name off in the corner there’s nothing to distinguish one ad from the next.
Nothing to tell me why this studio or that retreat is hands-down the one I need to go to.
This lack of differentiation forces prospects to “shop around”. And that increases the likelihood they’ll go with the competition. Or worse, never get around to buying from anyone and miss out on all the benefits yoga has to offer.
To show you what I mean here are links to sales pages for 3 yoga retreats currently being offered.
Retreat #1 Corepower Yoga: A major chain and where I do my yoga http://www.corepoweryoga.com/node/26251
Retreat #2 Seane Corn: A big name in the yoga world http://satyaretreats.com/retreats/nicaragua-with-seane-corn/#tab-id-1
Retreat #3 Steph: An awesome instructor (and more awesome person) who I go to in Boulder. http://www.mandalamonkey.com/#!retreats/c19zh
Now for all I know these landing pages are working beautifully. Maybe all these retreats are selling out and nobody in this market needs harder-hitting copy.
But what if these pages weren’t converting? What if they needed to be more persuasive so the instructors could raise their prices? What could be done to make these pages generate more sales?
Glad you asked!
Here’s four things these ads (and many, many others in all markets) could use to boost their pulling power.
(BTW these are 4 of the 8 Elements of a Successful Ad I cover with my clients when doing Ad Critiques).
1) A Unique Selling Position
These ads are more-or-less interchangeable. They all talk about the features of this trip: Pretty beaches, friendly people, fun island activities, comfortable accommodations…. yoga…
But if I went to Steph or Seane and asked “Is your retreat the exact same as a CorePower one?” I’m sure their reaction would be “No way! It’s totally different experience!” (And that difference is deeper than “They provide salsa dancing while we provide biking”).
And yet, there is nothing in those ads that shows me how or why it would be a different experience than going to the CorePower retreat.
If you do something better/faster/more effectively/differently than the competition, the prospect needs to know!
To make this change some important questions to examine here would be: “How are you different from the competition?” And “What does that mean for your client? What is the benefit they get from the thing you offer that nobody else is providing?”
The answers to those questions should be stated simply and clearly in the ad.
The Corepower sales page uses one (though they don’t credit the quote to anybody, it’s just sort of floating there on its own). The other two don’t have any.
Testimonials provide “social proof” that allows prospects to see that others are already enjoying/benefiting from the experience. They build trust, desire, and can get the prospect thinking “Oh man, I’m missing out!”.
Testimonials can also make your selling points for you. It’s one thing for you to say why you’re different/better than everyone else. It’s another to have a client say that for you.
These sales pages could be littered with testimonials (complete with a head-shot of the happy person giving it) raving about the experience of these retreats (or at the very least, the experience of working with this teacher).
Here are the headlines used:
For Corepower: “Tulum, Mexico Wellness Retreat”
Ummm, what exactly is a “Wellness Retreat”? Is that the same as a yoga retreat? It’s important to be clear in the headline, because a confused reader won’t be a reader for long. (BTW there’s nothing in the body copy that differentiates a “wellness retreat” from a “yoga retreat”. Grrrrr.)
For Seane Corn: “Retreat to Little Corn Island, Nicaragua, with Sean Corn”
For Steph: “Winter Yoga ReTREAT in the Dominican Republic”
Now these headlines will work when the viewers are already thinking in the back of their minds “I’d like to go on a yoga retreat” . Those people will see those headlines, think “Yep, that’s what I’m looking for” and read on.
But what about everyone else? What about the high-powered CEO who could totally benefit from a yoga retreat but doesn’t know much about them – including why or how he’d benefit from one? What about the woman who is just looking for a relaxing vacation? Does she know that a yoga retreat could be exactly what she’s looking for? Perhaps she assumes yoga retreats are only for “super-yogi’s” and therefore she never reads past the headline. She simply doesn’t realize this could apply to her.
A large number of people who could benefit from these retreats are missing out because these headlines don’t call out to them. These headlines are simply stating what the product is. And if someone doesn’t already why they would need that product, then they aren’t going to read past the headline.
So what could be done?
Since most yoga-related advertising is so darn similiar (at least from what I’ve seen) I had to go to a different market to find some good examples.
Here is the headline from a sales page that was used to get business men and women to pay what I can only imagine was an obscene amount of money to go to Necker Island and learn from Richard Branson (among others). [You can see the page here: http://maverickbusinessadventures.com/necker/]
An Incredible Opportunity That Might Never Be Repeated…
“Only a Select Group of Maverick Entrepreneurs Will be Invited to take Part in this Unique Adventure, Mastermind and Brainstorming Session with Virgin Billionaire Sir Richard Branson…On His Very Own Private Island”
Check out the differences in this headline vs. the yoga headlines.
- This one is excited. The tone of the headlines is “Hey! There’s an awesome thing going on over here!”
- It immediately creates desire with a scarcity play (“only a select group”)
- It’s calls out directly to its target audience (“Maverick Entrepreneurs”)
- It touches on the benefits of the trip: 1. The participant will learn a lot (“Mastermind and Brainstorming Session”) 2. It will be an “Adventure” (on a “Private Island”!)
The above headline was from a trip that happened in 2011. The more current website advertising these trips is here: http://www.geniusnetworkmastermind.com/25k/neckerindex.php
This is the headline they are using today:
Welcome! Here’s a highlight reel from our most recent trip to Necker Island…
[Video showing how absurdly gorgeous Necker Island is, as well as Richard and other participants having a lot of fun]
Join Us In the Ultimate Entrepreneurial Paradise!
Enter your name and email address to be added to the notification list:
[box to enter email]
In the video they show what the experience is like: The adorable native animals, the beaches, beautiful women, and the non-stop fun people have (people on boats, dancing on the beach, dressed up for a costume party…).
The yoga websites do this to some degree. But they put the pictures throughout the copy – not in a collage/slideshow/video at the beginning (which is how the Branson copy “hooks” the reader and captures attention).
Also, stock photos of an empty beach doesn’t have quite the same effect as pictures of past participants on the beach having a hell of a good time.
You may be asking, “But what if these instructors have never done a retreat before?” No matter. There are other pictures they could use. Perhaps pics of them teaching a blissed-out class. Of them celebrating and having fun with students at some other retreat/program they did.
The idea is to have pictures that really show the prospect the incredible one-of-a-kind experience available to them.
These ads mostly just highlight the features of the trip (soft sand, morning meditation, snorkeling…). They don’t get at the deeper benefits of what a yoga retreat can do for an individual.
Why do people go on yoga retreats? They want a break from the hassle of everyday life. They want a chance to “reset” and start showing up in the world more fully. They want fun. Friendship. Peace. Freedom. Love. Healing.
The sand, the meditation sessions, the snorkeling… that’s all just a means to an end. Instead of putting all the focus on these means, more focus needs to be on the ends these things provide.
(There’s an old saying: “You’re not selling a drill, you’re selling the hole in the wall”)
How could this be improved? Easy. The instructor no doubt has plenty of stories (from her own life, from a student, from a friend) of the benefits of yoga. Ideally, the benefits of a retreat.
All they have to do on their landing page is tell that story.
“I was going through a divorce and my life was in shambles. Then I went to this retreat and everything changed. I had a blast, stayed up til 3AM multiple times having deep heart-felt conversations with people who became life-long friends… the yoga deepened my practice so much that every time I step on a mat all my troubles melt away… I came back and for weeks my friends remarked at happy I’d become”.
That’s just a bare-bones outline of a story, the actual tale would use a lot more detail. But telling a story of how other people benefited from this or something similiar gets the reader emotionally invested and engaged. It helps her to actually feel the benefits the retreat has to offer.
And getting the reader to feel those benefits is going to make the sales message far more persuasive than simply telling them about the superficial aspects of the trip.