For Shannon Paige Schneider, marketing locally to customers of Om Time Yoga, the popular yoga studio she founded in Boulder, Colorado, is about connecting. Schneider has found that her clients respond more to inspiring online content – which she posts daily on Facebook and Twitter – than daily deals and web-based promotions. Schneider recently responded by email to questions from Street Fight for its series of conversations with local retailers.
What does your business do?
Om Time is a yoga studio, yoga teacher training school, and a boutique of yoga essentials located in Boulder, Colorado.
How do you attract customers?
We have been established since 2003, so we try to leverage our client base through current clients. We are also continuing to build a community – much of it virtual, through Facebook and Twitter.
When we used to advertise in the [local newspapers] Daily Camera and the Boulder Weekly, the expense was upwards of $1,200 per month. We now do zero print advertising and minimal printing, though we still post some yoga schedules in key areas around town.
Have you ever used Foursquare/Facebook Places/Groupon or any neighborhood blogs/websites to market your business?
No, we do not use those. Groupon does not work for us, as we pay our teachers by the head and it is not cost effective to our business model.
In Boulder, people are looking for quality. They want to support those businesses that are walking the walk, no matter what type of business it is or what they are offering. We have found Facebook and Twitter to be the most useful platforms for connecting with people in this way.
What do clients seem to respond to most?
Our clients respond to inspiration, not deals. The more inspiring our Facebook and Twitter messages are, the greater the class attendance will be. Social media allows clients to feel like they are a part of something, rather than just showing up to do or buy something.
Facebook and Twitter, especially, have allowed Om Time Yoga to become a lifestyle. When clients connect with our online communities, they become emotionally invested.
We tend to use Facebook and Twitter somewhat differently. Some things cross over, but in general we try to be as inspiring as we can when we post on Twitter. On Om Time’s Facebook page (which has 1,881 fans), we post announcements of upcoming events, special classes and purchase deals, in addition to the inspiring content. People love our inspiring posts.
What do you know now about online advertising know that you wish you knew before?
That the content needs to be relevant. Whether the advertising is being done through print or online – either on Facebook or Twitter – the more relevant, the better. People want less gloss, less words, and more real. People invest in you when they become a consistent customer, and business owners need to serve that investment. One way they can do that is by putting up the type of online content that customers expect and staying relevant to their needs.