How Can I Use Business Cards to Get More Yoga Students?

1Lights dim, cocktails in hand, a large number of young professionals bumped shoulders, exchanged business cards, hung out and then left. This event was on a short pier on the San Francisco Bay, but inside with the smell of alcohol, the warmth from all of the bodies and the dark interior, it could have been anywhere.

Full of energy, enthusiasm, a lot of determination and little business training I made my way around the crowd, with my usual mock-tail, a tonic water with lime, and spoke with as many people as I could proudly passing out my flowery one-sided home designed business cards. I am a clear speaker, however, this is how the conversations usually went when I was out attempting to promote my new yoga studio.

Potential Student: “What do you do?”

Me: “I have a yoga studio.”

P.S.: “A yogurt studio?”

Me: “No, a yoga studio.”

P.S. “Oh.” said with a look of non-comprehension.

After that the conversation varied. I can’t tell you how often in social situations, one-on-one or events – really whenever I was asked what my work was – even in the cosmopolitan city of San Francisco in the early 1980’s, a yoga studio was so foreign to most people’s everyday life that they translated in their brain what they heard into something that was familiar to them. At the time in the early 80’s frozen yogurt was the new fad and was very popular and I guess the closest word association people had with yoga!

I believe I had the first mom-and-pop style yoga studio in San Francisco – maybe in the country. At the time Ananda, Integral, Sivananda, Bikram, Iyengar and Baptiste Yoga all had established ashrams and yoga centers in the city.  My Marina Yoga and Health Center was novel and unique in ways that are commonplace today.

A lot has changed. A lot. Now in addition to the traditional yoga centers, there are mom-and-pop as well as chain yoga studios all over San Francisco and practicing yoga is very commonplace. And for several years now, September has become National Yoga Month in the United States.

One thing that hasn’t changed – passing out as many business cards as you can at networking events or other places and talking about you and your studio or lessons you give isn’t good marketing – it wasn’t then and it isn’t now.

Here’s what to do instead.

There are two sides to your business card!

Your business card needs to have a call to action and be of value otherwise it will most likely end up with a pile of other business cards gathering dust or dumped into the trash. It also needs to be simple and to the point on both sides.

Think of your ideal student when you design your business card. You might personally be into exploring the chakras, but if your ideal client is a middle-aged businessperson, a lot of esoteric symbols on a business card might be a turnoff. You can have a photo of you or a simple logo. However when you are starting out, just your name, credentials and how to reach you via email and/or phone, a physical address if you teach primarily at one place and your website address is sufficient for the front side.

Side two should be a special offer – something of value. This offer depends on what your primary focus is. Do you want more students in your class? Then have a first class free or bring a friend simple promotion on the back. If you are trying to grow your email list whether it be for workshops, retreats or online offerings, then you could send them to your website for a free gift. Once they opt in for the free gift they can become a subscriber to your list. You might also offer a discount to a regular class series or workshop you offer.

There are two types of people

You will meet people who will fall into one of two categories: ideal client or someone who could refer you to your ideal client. Avoid giving out your business card without first having some conversation which can lead into a compelling reason the person you are meeting would like to have your card.

Keep the conversation around them and what their needs are and how yoga can benefit them – or someone they know – rather than making it all about you which can be a turnoff.

First ask people about themselves. Do they sit all day? Have a long commute? Do they lead a stressful life? Find something that ties into the type of yoga that you teach. Then when it is your turn to talk you can either say something like this:

“I work with people like you who sit all day long and need to release their stress, breathe and move their bodies.”

Or if they don’t fit your niche and they don’t seem like they would be an ideal client for you (as far as you can tell at this point), then you can say, something like this:

“You know people who sit all day and are under a lot of pressure? Well I help them to release stress, breathe and move their bodies.”

This second one also works if they ask you first and you don’t know anything about them yet. This can then lead into a conversation about how you do this through your particular brand of yoga and if they aren’t your ideal client you ask if they know someone who fits that description.

Once you have determined if they either fall into the category of potential student or potential referral, then you can hand out your business card. When you do, be sure that you let then know the value of your business card, whether it be the free class for themselves or a referral, the discount or free gift on your website.

Two other ways to use your business cards

Having business cards with a special offer creates more interest and value to potential students. It also offers them a way to get to know you and try you out without too much investment on their part.  If you leave business cards at your local health food store, chiropractors office etc, leave them with the value offer side visible.

Another way to use your business cards is to offer them to your current students who know, like and trust you and ask them to give them to their friends, again pointing out the value on the backside of the card. This makes it easier for your currents students to refer you.

In honor of National Yoga Month, I am offering a limited number of 20 minute “What Should My Business Card Say? Yoga Business Laser Coaching” calls.

Here’s how to apply for your free session:

  1. Send me an email at and let me know what having more students would mean to you.
  1. Use the subject line: “How can my business card bring me more students?”

If you are accepted, get ready to learn about how to use your business card for marketing and what next steps I recommend for you and Your Yoga Business!

If I can’t get on a call with you, I have something else to offer you that will help Your Yoga Business, so go ahead and send me an email – you can’t loose!

Happy National Yoga Month!

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