6 Sleazy Marketing Tactics & How To Avoid Them As A Yoga Business Owner

Buckle up my friend, because this is a topic I’m super passionate about: Sleazy marketing!

Even though I get all fired up about this topic, it's taken me a long time to share this. There are two main reasons for waiting: First, I wanted to make sure I shared this episode with passion but also compassion. Second, I think this is a really great time of year to talk about crappy marketing tactics - because they are everywhere! They happen all year long but for some reason they are amped up during the holidays.

Most of my job is spent telling people “marketing isn’t bad, some people just do it sleazy”. So we’re tackling all kinds of crappy marketing today, why these tactics don’t work, and better ways to achieve results for your yoga business.

Special note:

Marketing is all about trying things and seeing what works and what doesn’t, so if you’ve tried any of the marketing tactics I’m talking about today, please know that I’m not trying to shame you.

I applaud you for trying things, period. But most of the time we are looking to “experts” to learn from and they will encourage us to try a specific marketing tactic and immediately we have a gut feeling that it’s a bit sleazy. That’s the red flag, but it’s important to note that once we pay for someone’s expertise through a course or coaching, it’s really easy to ignore that red flag! So no shame here - this is a learning experience, too.

**This was also a podcast episode (episode #124). Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.

If it feels sleazy to you...do this.

If a strategy feels sleazy to you, do your best to find out WHY that person is teaching that specific method and WHAT RESULT is that they are going after. Once you know the why and result, you can decide what tactic to use to get that result.

"Something that feels right to someone may not feel right to someone else. If a strategy feels crappy to you, figure out how to get that result in a different way." - Amanda McKinney

I want to note that it’s important to me that you walk away from this episode knowing that you get to market your business in the way that feels best for you. So if you learn something from myself or others and it just doesn’t feel right to you, you don’t have to do that particular thing. And that doesn’t mean that tactic is a sleazy marketing tactic, it just means it’s not right for you.

For example: I like to use countdown timers when I’m running a special sale or offer. In my mind it makes it super clear when the sale ends, but I only use them when they are real. But I know many people don’t like to use them at all, even if the sale really does end. And good news: You don’t ever have to use a countdown timer if you feel that way! But it doesn’t mean that particular tactic is sleazy.

Sleazy social media tactics

While there are tons of sleazy marketing tactics that happen, these are the most common I’ve seen lately and have strong feelings about. Let's dive in!

Selling in other people's Facebook groups

This may look like any of the following - please don't do any of these things!

  • Posting outright promotional posts. If it says in the rules: "Do not promote your own stuff" - then please respect the rules!

  • Posting leading questions inside the group to get people to talking to you so that you can direct message them. Sometimes this may not be so obvious right away. What gives it away to me is when I see the same question posted in multiple Facebook groups.

  • Posting comments that encourage people DM you. Sometimes this sounds like: "Send me a DM and I'll send you my freebie!" or "Send me a DM if you want me to share my thoughts on this with you."

  • Sending unsolicited DMs to people. Period.

So these are your "Don'ts." Overall, DON'T join Facebook groups with the intention of selling (rather than learning or being part of a community).

Better ways to use Facebook groups

Facebook groups are a wonderful resource that you can definitely use to help your yoga business. Just do it in the right way!

  • Don’t join groups with the intention to sell. If you find yourself doing this, leave the group. Don’t tempt yourself.

  • Go into Facebook groups with the intention to learn and support, but make a promise to yourself that you won’t abuse that opportunity. Put yourself into the owner of the Facebook group's shoes and imagine that you have spent years building it up. Ask yourself how would you feel if someone else came in and started spamming the group members. Answer = it feels awful!

  • Join groups that are actively asking for your support and resources. For example: Local Facebook groups allow for promotional posts for local events.

  • Reach out to the admin of the Facebook group and ask if you can provide extra value to their group. Acknowledge that you don’t want to promote your business without their permission, but that you have some resources that you’d like to share to help their group members. For example: Stepmom FB group, you offer a free breath technique video for moments when they are feeling super stressed out. Give it for free, no sign up. If people want more, they can find more through you.

  • Start your own Facebook group! You can promote the heck out of your own stuff.

These are your "Do's!" Check yourself: Are you doing this with the right intention? DO think through how you can use Facebook groups in the right way that doesn't feel sleazy.

Selling in Instagram DMs

Selling in Instagram DMs is very similar to Facebook groups in terms of sending messages, but there are some specific differences when it comes to Instagram that can feel icky sometimes.

Here are your "Don'ts":

  • Sending an auto-message to everyone who follows you and selling something right off the bat. Not all auto-messaging bots are bad, but ones that sell immediately are.

  • Messaging anyone and everyone who comments on a post (with the intention to sell).

  • Cold-messaging people who you aren’t connected to at all and selling something or sending a leading question that leads you to selling something. The ones I get start off something like: "Amanda, we love what you're doing on your account - and we know you could do even more!"

  • Watching people’s stories and/or posts and sending a DM with a sales pitch to “fix” them. When I said that, I bet you just cringed a bit. As a yoga teacher, you're trying to support people, you're not trying to fix them. However, this strategy is taught all the time. I get these messages about my face or my hair. Here's an example: On Instagram, I use filters sometimes, but sometimes I don't. If I don't use a filter and I have a zit on my face, I almost always get a DM from someone trying to sell me a magic potion for my skin. It feels absolutely crappy. Let me tell you - that is so incredibly rude. If someone ever teaches you this method, do not do this. It's a crappy sales tactic.