Having a good, clear message is the foundation of successfully figuring out how to create a retreat that sells.
You need more attendees. That’s a fact. There are very few retreats out there that sell out, and the ones that do are either taught by a rockstar teacher that has spent years cultivating their skills and brand, or have marketed themselves well into a uniquely successful niche (e.g., Big Sky Yoga Retreats has done well combining yoga with women’s love for horses).
To fill up your retreat, you could spend tons of money and time with advertising. This would work, but it is much faster, easier and cheaper to just increase your conversions. This means increasing the percentage of people signing up, making your existing message more EFFECTIVE.
The number one way to do this is to provide and display a great value proposition.
A clear and compelling ‘value proposition’
A value proposition should be the first thing a potential retreat attendee sees on your website, retreat flyer, or whatever form of advertising you do.
When distilled down, most retreats advertise to offer highly overlapping value to their clients. Especially when talking about a particular field of retreat like wellness or yoga retreats.
Peace, tranquility, transformation, and advancement in the physical, spiritual, and/or mental. Add these to a beach setting and you’ve captured 75% of yoga retreats out there.
These values are of course what people want, but they are so universal that they don’t work well alone as a selling point. They’re a bit too vague.
What a value proposition is NOT:
1. It is not a welcome mat or an introduction to yourself. This in fact, is the biggest mistake you can do in selling your retreat. Retreat attendees have very short attention spans, care about what’s in it for them, and won’t hesitate with the back button if they can’t quickly find it.
2. It is not a slogan or catch phrase:
Offering only the best!
Because you’re worth it!
Helping to share the power of yoga!
I read these and ask: “Yes, but what is it that you OFFER!”
A good value proposition should offer the potential attendee relevancy, specific value, and differentiation from other retreats. It should be in the ‘language’ of your client base, and it should be CLEAR! It’s there for people not to spend too much time on. They should read it and immediately know what you offer and how it differs from other retreats. This isn’t easy and takes time to get right. But it’s a great investment of time to get it done right, because it can make the difference in creating a retreat that sells out.
4 steps to find your value proposition:
1: Know your clientele
Who are they?
What do they enjoy?
What common problems do they have?
2: Know your service
From the point of view of your potential client:
“How does the retreat solve the problem or offer improvement in my situation?”
“What value and specific results does it offer me?”
3. Know your competition
Again, from the point of view of your retreat attendee:
How does your retreat create more value than others?
What specifics does your retreat provide that others don’t?
4. Put it all together
Bring in the information from above, put yourself in the sandals of a potential retreat attendee and complete these three sentences:
- “This retreat will solve my problem or improve my situation by…” Relevancy
- “The specific things I value most about this retreat are…” Specific Value
- “This is better than other retreats because…” Unique differentiation
Here’s a suggested “Value Proposition Formula” for how it should be structured.
- Headline. Very short attention grabber describing what your offer, when and where.
- Sub-headline or a 2-3 sentence paragraph. This is where you elaborate a BIT on details.
- 3 bullet points. key benefits or features.
- Visual. A video is the best, but pictures are a close second. Images speak much louder than words. This is VERY relevant for a retreat business where you’re trying to sell paradise or a particular state of mind.
This post is inspired by my web conversion expert friend, Peep Laja at ConversionXL. I’ve adapted some of his writings to apply to retreats. Thanks for what you do Peep!
This is also the second in a little series I’m putting together, for now titled “How to create a retreat that sells”. The first in the series was “How to create a retreat that sells: 3 helpful realizations”
Hopefully it will help you market, sell, and lead a successful retreat! Let me know what you think!