Seller Inspiration

Case Study: How to Build a Subscription Yoga Community

by Paula Rosenberg · August 2, 2016 · Comments

Find What Feels Good brings living room yoga to a whole new, communal level. We talked to this yoga and wellness network about their data, strategies, and building a video business around the idea that people are hungry for good, healthy vibes. (They are!)

In 2012, Adriene Mishler started offering free content on YouTube, and has since grown her fan base there to over 1 million subscribers. After finding success with selling an individual Yoga With Adriene video series, they setup a subscription network under her motto, Find What Feels Good. Learn how this small yoga business went from YouTube channel to successful SVOD network:


Strategy: Use Pay What You Want to Convert YouTube Fans into Customers

Find What Feels Good (FWFG) started building their audience by streaming free yoga lessons on YouTube. "Our mission is take free yoga to as many people as possible and more specifically to help people establish a well-rounded home yoga practice. Our YouTube channel is the first phase of that,” says Chris Sharpe, FWFG manager. Gradually they got requests for more video features and downloadable options, especially from people in international locations with less-reliable connection. “We started bundling some of our videos together with a few bonuses and offering them as Pay-What-Feels-Good packages. They were incredibly popular. They allowed people to easily get copies of our videos for keeps. But it also provided a way for people to support what we were doing.”

Adriene and Chris are committed to making their content accessible for everyone. So when they made their first 30 Days of Yoga series available for purchase, it was important that price wasn’t a deterrent. They utilized the VHX Pay What You Want feature, setting a minimum price of $1 and giving customers the option to pay more. And so many did! The average customer paid at least $5 for the series. Chris reports, “The vast majority of people paid $1, but quite a few people paid a lot more because they wanted to help support the mission.” Pay What You Want pricing is a great way to gauge how much people value your content — FWFG discovered they have a fan base that wants to support more content to enjoy. 

Strategy: Actively Engage Fans by Interacting Across Social Channels 

After seeing the success of their first series, Adriene and Chris built a subscription network to offer ad-free and exclusive content to their audience. They began slowly spreading the word through their YouTube channel and website’s mailing list. It started with a lot of experimenting: “Honestly, we didn't really have a strategy. The SVOD service was brand-new and we knew it would be awesome. Our members discovered it and started signing up before we had officially launched, so everything happened really quickly.” Over 2,700 of the visitors to Adriene’s VHX site came from YouTube and over 4% of these visitors converted into paying customers. 

Some other interesting numbers have come out of their jump from YouTube to their own subscription video network. Eight months after launch, FWFG had built up 3,000 paying subscribers, and earned 2X as much revenue compared to YouTube ads. 

On Find What Feels Good, they launched a community forum as a way for fans to chat with each other and directly with Adriene. Most of the forum boards are public, but there’s also a private board just for subscribers. It’s how they offer more members-only content, in the form of discussion. Chris say, “Community is at the core of everything we do, so it's great to have more than one place for our members to connect. We have several very popular private Facebook groups, but there are also lots of people who intentionally try to stay away from Facebook. The forums have been great for giving these people a place to connect. “

In addition to spreading the word online, Adriene met with her followers in person when she did a cross country roadshow. She visited seven cities where she has a large number of fans and set up yoga classes that they could register for on her site. Chris explains, “The real reward is meeting people in real life. Even though we will only meet a tiny fraction of the people who watch the videos, those real life conversations and interactions are incredibly important. We are always listening — to make sure we are serving our community.”

Strategy: Satisfy Subscribers with Branded Apps on Multiple Platforms

Since they started online classes, Find What Feels Good fans have expressed interest in watching FWFG videos on a TV — a more natural fit for practicing yoga. FWFG was one of the early adopters of VHX’s branded apps feature, and they now offer apps on Apple TV and Roku, plus iOS and Android devices. As Chris explains, “A few years ago, there were lots of technical hoops to jump through to get the video from the web to a television. The branded apps make this a very easy and seamless experience and the feedback has been incredibly positive.”

These branded apps put Find What Feels Good directly into the Apple, Roku, and Android marketplaces, opening up the potential for discovery by new audiences. We’ve also seen that potential customers are 33% more likely to sign up for a free trial in an app vs signing up on a website. “Our goal is always to make it as convenient as possible for members of our community to join. If they already have an Apple account, it just takes one click to get started so that's great for everybody,” says Chris. 

BEST PRACTICES

  • Build an audience early with free content
  • Pay What You Want pricing helps gauge value and gives fans the opportunity to give more
  • Experiment early with your SVOD strategy
  • Offer private features to subscribers that make them feel special
  • Make sure viewers can watch the way they want, on any device

Ready to get zen with Adriene and Find What Feels Good? Check out https://yogawithadriene.vhx.tv.