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The Essential Guide to Streaming and Monetizing Online Yoga Classes

If there’s one thing 2020 proved, it’s that building a versatile brand and business model is essential. Across the globe, more people are learning that being online is good for business. 

And for yoga instructors and studios, creating an online yoga studio isn’t just possible, it can be lucrative. It’s as simple as following a series of steps, all of which are covered in this blog post. 

Creating a new revenue stream is a strong enough reason to create online yoga classes, but there are other benefits that no yoga instructor can afford to pass on.

Why Pivot to Teaching Yoga Online

Social distancing made it hard to share spaces. And for yoga studios and instructors, that was a tough pill to swallow. Brick and mortar studios are limited by a number of key factors. Here are four of the most pressing reasons why brick and mortar studios are hard to manage:

Venue size

The floor space you have determines how many people you can serve by the hour. With less space, you need to host more sessions to meet your revenue goals, making for more intense workdays.

Overheads, while fixed, can be expensive 

It’s no secret that location is a big deal when it comes to business premises. Being in a neighborhood that’s attractive or welcoming means more rent. You’ll have taxes, and utilities to pay for. You’ll also have to employ cleaning staff and any other team members to help manage customer interactions while you host classes. 

Must be present to run classes

The most obvious challenge is being present. As a yoga instructor, you need to be in front of students and hosting classes to make an income. More students mean more money, but unless you have a team of instructors (who you’ll need to pay), your days will be long.

Hard to scale

Growing your brick and mortar studio is an expensive exercise. In short, you need to duplicate your first venture in a new space. And if it took years to grow your first studio, your second may rely on your first (financially) before it can pay for itself.

Moving online is easier

Pivoting to online yoga classes involves far less. Sure, there’s a small technology learning curve, but today, it’s even smaller than you’d imagine (more on this below).

Launching online yoga classes doesn’t just save you from the expensive overheads, it can create more balance in your life. Here are four key benefits to moving your yoga classes online:

Reach more people

The internet is home to almost 4.66 billion people. That’s how many people were active internet users as of October 2020 -- a whopping 59% of the global population. Being online means you reach people beyond your geographic radius in your city or town. You have the chance to appeal to a global audience.

Image: Statista

Spend less to run your business

Unlike leasing a commercial space, taking your yoga classes online costs far less each month. Not only is being online more affordable, but you’re also able to leverage a collection of powerful tools like analytics applications and marketing tools to help steer your business in the right direction for greater success.

Become location independent

Owning an online yoga studio really does mean flexibility. With your audience accessing content from anywhere, you don’t need to be tied to business premises to host classes if you don’t want to.

Become time-independent 

Ever wanted more you-time? Video-on-Demand or VoD (recorded and live streaming video) makes that possible. This means you no longer need to be in class and in front of people to make money. Recorded video classes allow you to make your work available to anyone at any time of the day.

Exponential growth potential

Growing an online yoga studio is different from growing a brick and mortar studio. With access to a growing online population, you’re not limited by geography, size of your studio, or the number of people you can serve. You can make money online teaching yoga classes to people across the globe.

Sound like something you’d like to learn more about? Before we get into the details of how to set up and monetize your online yoga classes, let’s define what an online yoga studio is.

What is an Online Yoga Studio?

An online yoga studio is a virtual yoga studio. It gives yoga instructors a chance to leverage digital media to grow their brands and income. It uses Over-The-Top (OTT) technology to stream yoga videos that are pre-recorded or live streams to students anywhere in the world.

How to Launch Your Online Yoga Studio (Step-by-Step)

While the idea may seem complex, you can successfully launch an online yoga studio using a basic formula. Here are six steps you can take to launch yours.

Step one: Identify your audience

Like a brick and mortar studio, finding your ideal customer has to do with understanding what people want from yoga classes. Identifying your core audience will help you find the right classes to create. 

The smartest way to identify your ideal client is to create a persona. A persona is a document with a collection of characteristics of your ideal customer. It identifies where they are located, what their challenges and aspirations are, and what they want from a service like yours.

Getting this information will require research. You’ll need to speak to people to find out what they want. This part may seem daunting at first, but it’s the best way to learn about your ideal customer. 

If you’re never created a persona before, use this insightful blog post from DigitalMarketer to create one. 

Image: DigitalMarketer

Step two: Identify topics for your classes

Identify topics that can be transformed into yoga classes. For example, lower back pain may be an issue as more people work from home. If your audience is made of remote workers, creating a class with movements dedicated to relieving lower back pain is the perfect solution. 

As you explore topics, be sure to place your persona and what they want from a yoga studio at the center of it all. Your goal is to deliver value.

Step three: Plan your online class

Ideas in hand, it's time to develop them into classes. Here's a four-part blueprint process for your classes.

Part One: Introduction

Introduce yourself and the purpose of the class. Explain who it is ideal for and how it will help. 

Part Two: Warm-up

Share warm-up movements.

Part Three: Core poses/movements

Perform core movements.

Part Four: Cooldown

Perform cooldown movements. 

As you deliver your class, explain all movements you make. Doing so makes your classes feel more intimate, and narration also acts as a guide for students who may not be familiar with certain poses and what to look out for to avoid improper technique and possibly injury. 

Step four: Prepare to create your first video

Before we go live, we need to cover the tech side of it all. The good news is that I’ve included a simple checklist you can follow. It covers all you’ll need to produce your video classes. 

Choose your video streaming platform

A video platform is where you’ll store all video content that can be watched by students. Video platforms come with the right infrastructure (think hardware and software) to support viewing and selling videos -- without you having to worry about any of the technical stuff.

For example, here’s a look at what Uscreen a turn-key video monetization and streaming solution offers:

An online video player

While a basic component, video players offer more than that chance to showcase your classes. Your video player should offer quality video to all logged on. To make that happen, Uscreen works with content delivery networks located across the globe. This means no matter where your viewers are watching from, they won’t struggle with lag or buffering. 

Live Streaming

Broadcast live streams to students across the globe. 

Auto Record to VOD

When you go live, video is automatically recorded and stored. You can offer it for sale and include it as part of a monthly subscription.

Live Chat

Connect with viewers consuming content at hours you choose.

Community and marketing tools

Use the comments section below videos to answer pressing questions and to create a more inclusive and engaged community.

Payment options

Accept payment from across the globe without the need for coding knowledge or experience to make it happen.

Monetization options

Sell your videos as free trials, one-off purchases, rentals, monthly, annual, or quarterly subscriptions, bundles, and use pay-per-view live streams. Offer multi-tiered subscriptions.

Customization

Make your video player look unique by choosing your brand colors. You can also offer customers the option to personalize their profiles, avatars, and more.

A website builder

Uscreen also allows you to create a membership website where students can access all content for a monthly subscription. These come in a collection of beautifully designed and easy-to-use templates, saving you the time and money you’d spend on finding a hosting provider and website developer to put it all together.

Step five: Choose your video type

The video you opt to create can come as pre-recorded or live video. Pre-recorded video is video you’ll record, edit, and upload to your website. Live video is a live streaming video that’s broadcast using live video streaming platforms

Which is best?

Pre-recorded video is created once and can be sold in perpetuity. If you choose to only live stream video, you’ll spend more time hosting live classes. While live streaming is a great way to attract larger audiences, engage with them in real-time, and retain them. I recommend using both.

Offer pre-recorded video and host live streams once a week, or according to the schedule that best suits you. Because live streams are automatically recorded to VOD, you’ll also be able to sell the recording of the live streams as part of your subscription too.

You can also offer your live classes as an upsell and create a multi-tiered subscription, where the basic plans include your on-demand content and the higher plans include access to your live streams.

Let’s quickly go over the video equipment and gear you need:

Equipment

The quality of your online classes will be influenced by the equipment you use. But before you commit to expensive hardware, here’s a basic guide on what you need to get started. 

Quality video

Record video in HD at minimum to ensure that viewers get quality video. In many cases, today’s smartphone can easily record in HD, meaning you don’t need to invest in a new digital camera.

The right lighting

The right lighting makes video look professional. Make sure your room is well-lit, doing away with any shadows or dark spots that are easily seen on camera.

Quality sound

Sound quality is important. As you’ll be describing movements, you want your voice to be clear at all times. While live broadcasts will require an external mic, use a lavalier mic for recorded video. 

A clean environment 

Shoot in a welcoming, clutter, and distraction-free environment. Pack away any belongings that look out of place, and remove any items that could be distracting (including pets). 

Step six: Promote your online yoga studio

Promotion can be a complicated topic, but it shouldn’t. Your goal is to create content that can be shared in place (offline and online) where your ideal audience is. And when it comes to online promotion, here are four platforms to pay attention to.

Social media & YouTube

Use social media platforms to share content about your classes and even samples. These types of platforms have billions of users combined, a large pool of potential customers. 

Build an email list 

Create a lead magnet and offer it in exchange for an email address. As you create a list of subscribers, use it to make offers for various classes you have.

Paid ads

Paid ads may seem daunting because they involve upfront investment, but don’t dismiss them. Paid ads get you in front of ready-to-buy customers faster than organic social media or website content.

SEO

SEO is a long-term marketing tool, but still crucial. Be sure to create optimized content that search engines can show to interested internet users.

Important: promotion is a long-term practice. You must regularly promote your online yoga classes to attract more students because without letting people know you exist, they can’t find or sign up for your classes.

Bonus: Grow Your Online Yoga Studio Using Apps

Having your own streaming apps may sound like a dream, but it is possible and can be lucrative, too. Uscreen found that customers saw an average increase of 30% in revenue by introducing apps to their audiences.

Apps offer a more personalized experience, they are accessible on mobile and TV devices and the Apple Watch, making them easy to use. 

For example, Uscreen offers an Apple Watch fitness video streaming and app. Your students can use it to control the player from their wrists, without interrupting their workout. They can play, stop, and rewind your videos to match perfectly with their exercise. The app also monitors their heart rate and calories and displays them on the player alongside your stream. It’s also completely brandable, without the need for coding knowledge or experience.

Make your move

Online yoga studios are a smart way to grow a brand. Instructors can reach larger audiences and don’t have to trade more man-hours to be more successful. If you’re planning on growing your yoga practice, you need to be online. It’s easier than ever before, and you could create a new revenue stream.

About The Author

PJ is the founder and president of Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetization and live streaming platform that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their content and build thriving businesses around their videos.