Advertising & Marketing Ideas for Martial Arts Schools
Running a martial arts school can be very rewarding (at least spiritually). However, if you can't find new students, you are likely to go out of business. Therefore, here are some advertising and marketing ideas that will help martial arts schools to find new students. However, if you overcharge and provide poor instruction, no amount of marketing will overcome these negatives.
For other ideas for martial arts instructors and schools, please visit the main Martial Arts Instructor Tips section.
- Give great service! You will retain existing students and attract many new students through positive word-of-mouth referrals.
- Make sure you have an attractive and professional website. Use it to announce introductory discounts, class schedules, types of instruction, student success stories, etc.
- To build your brand nationally or globally, you can advertise on a wide variety of martial arts websites and blogs. For example, you can advertise on Black Belt Wiki. However, for most small martial arts schools, it is much more cost effective to advertise only in your local community.
- Advertise locally with online services such as Google's Adwords. However, you need to focus on only marketing to your town/city and surrounding area. No need to advertise to potential students in California if your school is in Florida.
- Get your school listed on Google maps (which is part of their Google Business offering).
- Get listed in online martial arts and sports directories. First stop, list yourself on Black Belt Wiki's martial arts school directory. It is free.
- Try to get listed in the Open Directory Project (DMOZ). This is a very popular free directory but it can take months and even years to get listed. Black Belt Wiki isn't even listed on this directory yet.
- Create some instructional martial arts videos and place them on Youtube, Don't forget to add a big blurb about your school at the beginning or end of the video.
- Write a martial arts blog. You can list it in the Black Belt Wiki martial arts blog directory. It is free. However, you should not focus on your local school activities. Rather you should make it THE SOURCE for information on your martial arts style. Potential students will come out of the woodwork looking to be trained by a "master".
- Become a Black Belt Wiki member and add information to this martial arts wiki. Your school will be listed in the reference section of every page that you create or where you add significant content. More pages equals more links to your school website… which equals more potential students.
- Be active on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.
- Add social "sharing" buttons to your website and blog for online content referrals. You can get individual buttons from social websites (such as Facebook) or many different buttons from social sharing sites (such as Addthis.com and Sharethis.com).
- Collect email addresses on your school website with an email contact form. Send out a monthly email discussing your school, martial arts techniques, etc. Some good email firms include MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, etc.
- Give low-cost entry-level classes at your local YMCA. Use this as a feeder into your regular more advanced classes.
- Offer very low cost introductory trials (i.e. $25 for a month). Get people to "sample" your classes as they are more likely to join.
- Hold special seminars (i.e. self-defense for women) in order to attract more students.
- Print advertising (i.e. ads in local newspapers) should be a low priority. It is costly and lasts only for a short-time.
- However, contact your local newspapers to announce important events (i.e. local students who won gold at a martial arts tournament).
- Post fliers in libraries, community centers, coffee shops, etc. It is usually free,
- Place a big sign outside your door in order to attract locals who walk or drive by your school.
- Focus on existing students. Get their friends and family to join. Give rewards for referrals.
- Give martial arts demonstrations at local fairs and community events.
- Throw martial arts birthday parties. It might not match your macho image but many of the kid "guests" could become excited about learning martial arts while at the party. Make sure to offer exciting martial arts events at the party (i.e. breaking boards). Give small goody bags (i.e. with candy and your business card).
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