A New Era of Growth
Your Martial Arts school is under a new era. And if you were planning on things going back to “pre-pandemic normal” — it’s time to scrap those plans.
The Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t like throwing a rock into a still lake, with ripples that move outward until they finally disappear and the stillness returns. Rather, the pandemic was like a storm that morphs and shifts a lake’s landscape, permanently.
The marketing strategies that used to work for your school might not work in 2022 and beyond because the landscape has completely changed. Your plans need to be adapted, reimagined, or even scrapped entirely to meet the new expectations of today’s customers.
As we look ahead to this year and the future, it’s important for schools to invest time, budget, or resources into the Five Martial Arts Marketing Strategies we have detailed below for your school to grow.
No Gimmicks, No Marketing BS!
No gimmicks, no fluff, and no ‘100 students in 30 days’ marketing meat head bullshit. We are talking about attracting and keeping the members you want who are seeking out your style. And consistently growing every month to build a legacy, not just a business.
So here are three reasons why we have chosen the 5 areas below and why you should read closely:
a) These are proven: This isn’t the next platform that you have to start dancing in front of a camera for… sorry TIK TOK not today! No! these are tried and tested proven strategies that consistently, month after month, bring in new members who seek you out, rather than you having to chase them… or worse… trick them into signing up. Let’s face it, if you have a promotion and it is not martial arts related, you might get people in for an event but it is unlikely they will join as members and go on the martial arts journey.
b) They are strategies, you may already know or have heard of, but we are not just going to remind you of them but tell you how to perform them seamlessly or when necessary, how to outsource them to professionals so you aren’t wasting your time.
c) Your online martial arts marketing presence should be easy for people. No complicated funnel, no downloading endless spammy emails or calling them for months. They should be seeing you online and seeking you out when ready, so they come to you wanting to join, and not wondering how they got there in the first place!
So, let’s get into it!
The 5 Strategies outlined >>>
1. Get found Locally (Google My Business, Your Location Listing on Google)
The number one way people find a Martial Art School is by Google searching ‘Near Me’ which is one of the most common search phrases. But here’s the thing, to be found on the most obvious and stand out results for local searching is through your Google Business Local Profile. Your Google Business Profile on Google My Business helps you drive customer engagement with local customers across Google Search and Maps, and the best part about it is, IT’S FREE.
Once you have an account, you’ll need to verify it, make sure you have filled in all your details correctly and your name matches the name on your Facebook and Website (I can’t believe how many people don’t do that because it is important for your ranking) and finally make sure you have plenty of reviews (get your current customers to write reviews for you as a completion or at the least as a favour).
This is way more crucial than people think to not only drive new members seeking you out to your website but also help your search ranking as Google sees you are a verified business.
Just look how much these top 3 Google Business Listings Stand out in a Sea of Jiu Jitsu locally! As you can see the map results (Google Business Listings) get prioritised even above the advertising… and it’s a free strategy!
2. Get found through Search (SEO AKA Search Engine Optimisation)
Getting your website to come up first on google when searching your location. As you can see below our own Martial Arts School (Life Martial Arts) comes up first because our SEO strategy is out competing everyone else locally!
So how do you achieve this. Truthfully, we could go through the 120+ specific strategies to work on your SEO but no one should be spending the time doing this themselves. This is one to outsource to another company. Who wants to spend hours each week checking web speed, H1,2 and 3 tags, writing blogs, and creating backlinks when you can have someone do this more effectively and efficiently!
3. Get found Socially (Social Media)
While you can wait for people to search you, you have no control on how many people are going to make that search each month. And a lot of people may have no idea you exist locally, that they can even learn to defend themselves or that you have kids classes. This is where social media comes in. By people seeing you over and over on social media locally shows you are an exciting community, allows them to share a little of what you do, and get to know you before you even meet.
This is super powerful when they finally walk in the door. The school or your style and especially you are already familiar to them which gives you authority in their eyes as an expert martial artist and school owner.
But what is key with social media?
While we don’t advise endless exhausting posting across many platforms, we do advise you do as much video and imagery of your community and location as often as possible. A key rule of thumb is as much as possible but minimum two times per week on your Facebook page. It allows people to see that the business is thriving and alive. And communicates your value, seeding the idea they may come along and begin martial arts.
In our research we have found that over 93% of people that join as members have seen multiple social media posts from the school, they are joining within the last 14 days. From where they usually then search the school website which is why it is so important to have your SEO and google business listing above match your social media information!
It’s also worth noting that if you can have a staff member or virtual assistant, have them spread the content you share on your main social media of choice (usually Facebook) onto another 3-4 platforms, the results you will get out of it become exponentially better.
4. Get found Again – Advertise (Re-marketing)
Direct advertising on Google or Facebook can be very effective and we certainly use those strategies extensively. But they don’t work all year and are more effectively used in specific time periods (New years for adults or School Holidays and Back to School for Kids). But a staple of your year-long rolling advertising should be low budget but constant re-marketing.
So, who do we re-market to?
Here is a list of the audiences that any good online marketer will set up for you. And this task is a bit technical, so you need someone who knows what they are doing.
Hot audiences – People you advertise to join
a) People who have just Visited your website Specific pages or Opted into your newsletter or forms (Send them adverts as reminders to contact you or enquire again to get started in a program)
b) People who have applied via a form on your social media or messaged your page (Send them adverts as reminders to contact you or enquire again to get started in a program)
Warm Audiences – People you advertise to enquire
a) People who have visited any page of your website in the last 180 days (Advertise your current offer and service)
b) People who have engaged with a post or advert on your social media in the last 180 days (Advertise your current offer and service)
If you are well versed in social media advertising you can do this yourself, but in most cases it’s better to get the TIMA team or a local advertiser to do it for you.
5. Get Details (Website Design and Offers)
If you put these 5 key martial arts marketing fundamentals in place, and really have a great product, the rest will take care of itself. I’ve seen the world’s worst salespeople in Dojos crushing sales by simply providing a great product and having the right people coming through the door in the first place.
Ultimately, if you have amazing marketing but have people turn up to classes or greetings feeling disjointed, it will be hard to keep those members long term. Martial Arts is about inspiring people to grow through challenge. And you want them to be challenged on the floor and not with poorly run or confusing administration. So, when we say ‘Great Product’ sure it means on the mats, but also the organisation itself and how smoothly you manage your members.
If you have an amazing product, it’s simply getting these first 4 ducks in order and your growth is guaranteed!
If you would like to find out more about how the TIMA Team can help you grow your Martial Arts School feel free to contact us through our website below:
Article by Eddie Skerritt
Co-owner and Head of Digital Marketing - TIMA The Institute of Martial Arts
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