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Marketing & Sales: What’s The Difference?

Conversation with Mado Hesselink

When you think of marketing do you think “selling” or “sales”?

If you feel like you’re always ‘selling’ then most likely you’re selling instead of marketing. This is what most people think, so if you’re the same, you’re in good company.

But the truth is, marketing isn’t selling. Marketing is different from sales.

In this conversation, my friend Mado Hesselink and I discuss the difference between the two and how it’s actually better to market your yoga business much more than you sell to your audience. And she even shares a seasonal marketing plan just for you!

Marketing vs sales in your yoga business

"When I've looked at what other yoga teachers are putting out there for their marketing, a great portion of the time it's actually sales copy. It's always the invitation and not enough of the groundwork that makes the invitation really exciting and welcomed." - Mado Hesselink

Goals of marketing

Marketing is about getting people to know, like and trust you.

"Marketing is moving people from never knowing about you into being eager and ready to work with you on a deeper level." - Mado Hesselink

There should be three main goals to your marketing strategy. When you are doing something that's purely marketing (not sales related):

  • You want people to get to know you, to understand your values and what you stand for.

  • You want them to like you and highlight the ways you might be the same as the people in your audience.

  • You want them to trust you. You can build authority or more of a vulnerability type of trust.

And there are generally three ways that marketing can help people. Marketing can:

  • Inform

  • Inspire

  • Entertain

You're building relationships and growing that know, like, and trust factor. This is so important. We do this by communicating and getting to know people on the other side of the screen, not selling.

"This is what yoga teachers love to do! If you're spending time out there with your audience teaching them, inspiring them, and entertaining them -- that's marketing! And that can actually be pretty fun." - Mado Hesselink

Goals of sales

Sales is about getting you paid.

"Sales is the conversation around how we make the offer happen. The timing, the price, what structure and format is going to be best for you? Marketing leads you to the sales. When you've done a good job with your marketing, then sales is easy. It's just details, basically." - Mado Hesselink

You have to earn the right to sell.

There's a metaphor that is used a lot in the business world: Cold, warm, and hot audiences. Your audience is cold when they don't know you at all. Slowly through marketing, you build a connection with them (and "warm them up") until they are your hot audience.

Hot audiences sign up for anything you put out. "The hot category is where the gold is. These are your repeat audience who sign up for everything you do and tell their friends about you. The more people like this that you have relationships with, the faster your business will thrive." - Mado Hesselink

**This was also a podcast episode (episode #102). Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.

Seasonal marketing in your yoga business

"Think of marketing and sales as happening in seasons. You don't have to be doing all of it all the time, because that's exhausting. That's confusing and overwhelming." - Mado Hesselink

If we try to plan out our business and marketing a whole year at a time, it can be overwhelming. Planning in seasons is a lot more doable. These smaller chunks make it easier to envision and make plans.

There's a time for marketing, and there's a time for selling. Consider breaking this up into seasons.

"If you're selling all the time, it's really exhausting. But if you know there's a difference between sales and marketing, and you get to focus JUST on marketing for a period time, that's actually pretty fun, because marketing is part of how you help people." - Mado Hesselink

Each year you go through four seasons. Each season can roughly be broken down into three months.

  • 1st month: Get out there as much as possible! This is when you network and dive into visibility strategies. Podcasts, webinars, guest blogging, etc.

  • 2nd month: Serve your new people. Nurture them. Share things that will help and inspire them.

  • 3rd month: Invite them to the party! It's time to get paid. This is where you sell your workshop, membership, or course.

When you have this strategy, you don't have to constantly wonder what you should focus on and what's the next step, but instead you just follow the system.

How to shift away from the weekly drop-in yoga class

The weekly drop-in model is really tough. It can feel like you're always on a hamster wheel.

Based on what is going on in the lives of your students, they will either make coming to your class a priority or not, but you haven't asked them for a commitment. You're making the commitment to be there every single week, but you haven't asked them to commit. - Mado Hesselink

Consider changing this up. The easiest shift is to change to a class series or a membership model. And you can still teach your drop-in classes, but don't make them your main offering.

Think of your weekly classes as the top or middle of your funnel where first you get to know your students and nurture them. The people who are most excited to really go deep with you and get the most benefit you have to offer will move down the funnel and take advantage of your more in-depth offerings.

"I think of weekly classes almost like a lead magnet. I think of them as being a taste of what you can offer. But I advise the teachers that I work with to have a deeper and more comprehensive offer available." - Mado Hesselink

How to decide on an deeper yoga offering

How do you know what kind of course, workshop, class package, or membership to offer your students beyond the drop-in class model?

You need to understand the people you really want to work with before deciding on the right offer: their learning styles, their priorities, and the language they use.

There is something called "the curse of the expert". "Once we've made progress in an area, it's very difficult to put ourselves back into the mind of a beginner and what our thoughts and concerns were earlier in our path." - Mado Hesselink

This is why market research is so important. You can't talk to your students in the same way you talk to another yoga teacher. This happens all the time and they won't resonate with your messaging if you don't put yourself into their shoes.

Ask yourself: What can I learn about these people I want to help?

Your students are dropping a little nugget of market research into your lap every time someone emails you, asks you a question after class, or comments on a social media post.

Listen, take all of that in, and you'll start to understand them better.

Read between the lines and ask the right questions.

  • What do they care about?

  • What have they tried already?

  • What hasn't worked for them?

"You can combine what you learn through your conversations with them with your bigger perspective, and that combination together is how you can create an offering that really helps people." - Mado Hesselink

Marketing is experimenting

When things don't work, it can be disappointing. Try switching your mindset. Make a note of the fact that it didn't work and get some data around it. Think of yourself as a scientist.

"It's all data. It's all information. It's all ways we can learn to serve out students better. We can learn as much (if not more) from the things that don't work as we do from the things that do." - Mado Hesselink

  • Step outside the experience and analyze it.

  • Ask yourself - why didn't this work?

  • Try sending out a survey to those who didn't sign up for your offer, and see if you can find out any bits of information that will help guide you.

When something works, consider: What was in alignment? When something works, there is alignment between what your people wanted and what and how you were offering to help them. That's why it worked. So what pieces were in alignment here? Why did they sign up? Was it this piece or this piece?

When something doesn't work, consider: What was out of alignment? A lot of the time we think it's the price, but it's not usually the price. It could be so many other things: the time of the class, your messaging, or some other detail.

Your next step

Now that you’ve got this information, it’s time to take some action.

Your next step is to figure out what your next offering will be so you can use Mado’s seasonal marketing plan for yourself.

How can your students go deeper and learn more from you? Not just your weekly classes but something else. Decide on something so that you can use this 3-month seasonal plan for yourself.

Until next time, give yourself permission to know the difference between marketing and sales and grace along the way.

Get More Done with Less Screen Time with Shailla Vaidya

"This is what yoga teachers love to do! If you're spending time out there with your audience teaching them, inspiring them, and entertaining them -- that's marketing! And that can actually be pretty fun."

- Mado Hesselink

About Mado

Mado Hesselink, IAYT and E-YRT 500 helps yoga teachers integrate their heart-centered mission with practical business & teaching strategies so that they can make both an impact and a living. Mado has been teaching yoga since 2005 and has been devoted to online continuing education for yoga teachers since 2018.

Through her podcast, “The Yoga Teacher Resource” and online courses and memberships, Mado shares relevant stories, practical tips, and down-to-earth advice to guide participants to leverage their unique perspectives, talents, and vision to build a successful and sustainable career that makes a difference in the world.

Mado's Links


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