MA Business Success 46: How to Host a Martial Arts Event & Increase Student Numbers

Watch the video below Listen to the podcast below Phil: And we're coming at you once again with another amazing podcast, helping you guys get to the next level of business and personal life. Graham, I believe you got a pretty cool topic for us tonight? Graham: Already, this one's quite a big one, Phil, events and marketing. Now, chatting with lots of the different clients over the many months and years that we've been involved with them, they're talking about marketing for the future, what's changing. The old traditional market from years ago is definitely still valid, but you've got to innovate. And I guess what we're looking at is events and marketing - we would find out at our WAIMA schools they both go hand in hand - and understanding what are they for. Really, what is the event for, and how do you market that? Is it for a retention of students? Because, again, that's something that is really, really important. If you are starting new people up, but you're losing just as many, you're not going to go anywhere. And I know that it's...jeepers. Nowadays, the cost that it's going to cost to get a new member, you know, far out wide is the cost involved to actually keep a new member or keep an existing member. So retention is one of the things that you need to identify. Is it for making money, or is it for new students? Which one are you going about? Understanding that is very, very important. But I guess the first and foremost thing is when you're putting together a marketing calendar or an event planner for the year is a clear plan. So what do we tend to do, mate? And when do we do it? Phil: Sure, before we go into it, I just want to clear it up. Events and marketing sometimes are together and sometimes they're separate. So you want to have an event, and now you marketing for that event, or are you just marketing for the sake of marketing? So you've just got to understand that, because you should be marketing just for the sake of marketing all the time, and then events are certain things that you do throughout the year, one, to get new members, two, for retention, and three, to create hype in your school. But just keep that in mind, that it is a little bit different. So don't think events and marketing is just all about events or all about marketing. There's two scales to that as well. Graham: Yeah, good way of explaining that. We have found that our marketing system that we use is great to just continually get leads coming through the door, but some of the big events that we've ran and the things that we've done is a greater way to get those referral memberships from that. So, again, having that clear plan around, one, your marketing calendar. So as Phil pointed out, understanding when are we consistently marketing. We know in the background that machine is just running by itself. Phil: That's right. Graham: And overlaid on top of that is the events. So, again, understanding what marketing you're putting into your event, or, again, is that event just for a retention event? Therefore, marketing externally may not be as much. Phil: When it comes to events at our schools, what we want to try and do is, just like we section our age classes and belt levels, we want to do the same thing for our events. We will do whole school events as well, but throughout the year, we want to go, "So month one, let's do a little kids event." So that could be five to nine-year-old type of thing or a little bit higher, and then month two, we're going to do a teenager-style event, and then month three, we're going to do an adult event. And then what we're going to do is repeat that again, not the same event, but then month four, littler kid event. Month five, teenager-type event. Month six, adult event. So we know that we're getting a good gap between it, because I think, what we've found, a lot of parents say, "You're doing too many events. There's too many to choose for, and we want to do that, but it costs too much. It's juggling everything." So if you have a good gap, say, every two to three months, there's an event for that particular age group, then that works really, really well. Then you also have your calendar split in obvious school terms, school holidays, Halloween, all those type of things that you just know, within a calendar year, you've got to take advantage of. Graham: Yeah, look, I think it's really important, though, to understand, like you said, mate, is using those events to really identify those holiday areas. So, for example, you can run things like a Halloween event, as you said, like a Mother's Day or a Father's Day event, whatnot. But, again, I really think about, for us, we run a really great one. This one can be run at any stage. We had a parent's date night. So that was something that we just ran recently. And for those guys who are listening, this was an absolute gem of an event. It was a four-hour event that we ran, and what we did is we said to the parents, for...oh, jeez, I think it was $20 per child, or there was a family rate there if they were over 3 kids in the family But what we basically did is we said, "Look, we will take the kids from 5:30 in the afternoon to 9:30 at night." It gave mom and dad an opportunity to go out, have a nice romantic night for themselves. But what we did is when they came to the event, we basically had some food, we had a disco guy on, and, again, really depending on the age group, there were certain things that you have on these parent date nights that some kids will embrace and they'll have a great time, other kids will just think, "Well, I'm a little bit too big for that." But on that particular night, we knew it was a date night. That was the focus. But then we got to think about how we ran it and what was it for. So, again, you've got the opportunity. This was mainly a retention tool for us and just, again, another way to generate a little bit of income then. It wasn't a new member drive, because their parents are happy because they got to go out and socialize, and the kids are happy because they got to have a blast. Like I mentioned, we had a little mini disco for the hour in there. There was also opportunities to play some martial arts games, the good old Nerf gun battles. That's always a great one. You mention that to the kids, and then they're screaming at mom and dad to come. So that was one that we ran recently. But understanding, too, when you do your events, well, how do you internally market in and around that, how do you promote that. So, again, there's some factors in there, but what I want to really go is, you touched on it before, Phil, how often are we running these events. And you mentioned that not overdoing them, making sure you got that split. But what about marketing to external? When does that run? How often are we running those things? Phil: It depends what medium, I guess, you're using to market to external. We do all types of it, and we talked about before what kind of marketing is in and out. There's the old style marketing, and then there's the new style. I think you still need a blend of it. If you're a big school and you want to grow to big numbers, someone has to see your brand 16 times before they make a buying decision. So you want to make sure that you're out and about being visible, whether that's just a sign on the road, like a grass sign. They see it driving past. They might see your car all stickered up. They might see you at a shopping center, all that type of stuff. So your marketing should be very, very consistent. But in saying that, it needs to be very, very focused and targeted as well. There's no point putting an ad, let's just say a flyer ad or whatever it might be, that has all the things that you do on it. I would rather have three of four separate flyers, and that particular one flyer will be targeted to that age group. So it has the buzzwords for the parents if it's a child ad. If it's an adult wanting to do Muay Thai or fitness, then that one flyer is targeted to that person. Because if I looked at a flyer, and I wanted to do Muay Thai kickboxing, and I saw just a dot point that said, "We do Muay Thai kickboxing," and then it had kids stuff all over it, I'd be like, "Yeah, not really for me. It's probably just a little thing on the side." So it's very important that we make sure that our marketing is targeted, and you might even go to the extreme where, say, "Well, for the next three months, we're going to target just kids," or whatever age group that you want more students in. Start targeting that. Because I daresay that most family-orientated schools will have a bunch of the bulk of it younger. Generally speaking, the teenagers are a little bit thin, and then adults are there as well, depending on your focus. So if you're having a struggle with a certain age group, then you might want to go, "All right, for three months, I'm just going to really target this age group." Let's say it's teenagers. Make sure you've got your classes down packed for that, and your curriculum, and lesson plans as always, because there's no point targeting, and marketing, and saying one thing, and then they get there, and the classes aren't what you're marketing about. So making sure that you're targeting those things. And look, nothing will beat this day and age's online marketing, which is social media type of stuff: Facebook ads out there; you can do Twitter type of stuff; you can do Instagram. It's all out there, all for relatively low cost, but the good thing about it, it's very, very targeted. So I can specifically go, for example, on Facebook or Instagram now, target a particular suburb, a particular age demographic, and really target ads to those people. So if you're not doing it, I'd definitely suggest try it. Have a play with it. There's a lot of people out there doing really well with it. Graham: I told you this was going to be a deep topic. We've only just scratched the surface, if at all. I know that running events, that can be a big challenge in itself, and the how-tos, and, again, marketing, the how-tos. Phil, where do the guys who may be listening to this go, "Jeez, it sounds great, guys, but how can you help me do this for me or at least assist me to shorten the time invested into it?" Phil: Yeah, well, look, we try to take the guessing work out of it for everyone out there. So online, on our membership area, we have an Events section, where we actually have a list of events that we've run that have been successful. And in there, you'll be able to find maybe a flyer, a booking form, more importantly or most importantly, an event planner. So this is a five, six-page document of a planner on how to plan an event and all the things you need to think about, ROI, what instructors are doing it, what equipment we need. It's a detailed event plan. It's really, really, really good. So we pretty much got basically drag and drop style events that you can use, and if we don't have something, and if you have any questions about a particular event, I'm sure we've run one at some point, we'd love to help you guys out. So, yeah, jump on board. And if you're not a member, then come let us know, drop us an email. We do have that special deal where if you're a podcast listener, for $99 you can jump on silver and gold level. Get access to all that sort of stuff there, and we'd love to hear from you guys. If there's something that you want or that you haven't tried yet and we may have or have known someone who has, we'd love to get you that feedback, because at the end of the day, we're all here helping each other. And what works for me might not work for you, but with a little twist, it could. Graham: Most definitely. So, team, don't forget if you've got those questions, [email protected], and so Phil will answer them and get back to you guys, plus if you want to, you can throw it out. We have a section here, "Questions for the boys." So if you've got a question there, and it's a relevant one that we think that plenty of people will benefit from or face that same challenge, we'll put together a podcast and answer them directly, and that way you guys are going to lobby to not only assist your questions, but it may be something you can help your team with, your staff with, whatever it may be. Phil: Yeah. Definitely, the worst-case scenario after this podcast, if you're not doing something consistently, then start doing it. Doing it ad hoc is not a good way of doing things. So look at your calendar for the rest of the year, through the last six months of the year or thereabouts, and look about how can you maximize the last six months, and do a consistent events and marketing plan, so you can get results. Because, as Graham said before, you got to think about it. Is it to bring new members in, or is it retention-based? And you should be doing both. All right, gang? Well, it's been another great podcast. It's been an absolute pleasure to share some of the things that we know and have tried and tested, and all that's left is for you to get out there and doing it. We always say that information is free, implementation generally costs you, but at the end of the day, if you're not implementing, if you're not taking action, you will never get the results you want. So I will see you on the flip side, guys, and it's Phil Britten signing out. Graham: And Graham McDonnell. Phil: Take care, guys. We'll see you soon. Announcer: TIMA, innovating the martial arts industry.

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