Martial arts schools are often thought of as a destination product for people who want the instruction, but that’s just one part of the market. Some people might want instruction and could be looking for the best martial arts academy in their community. Others might not even know you exist! If you can provide value to your community and show that value through your marketing efforts, then you’ll begin creating higher levels of success.
The best place to start is to show your local community what you can really provide. Honesty is always the best policy, so just be forthright about what skills you can train and what you aren’t so comfortable doing. That foundation will help to drive all of your other efforts to a higher level of success.
Martial Arts Marketing Ideas for Your Business
1. Provide a Free Introduction
Many people love the idea of martial arts, but don’t necessarily love the work that is involved in learning their preferred discipline. A free introductory lesson can help a prospect see your teaching style, see their preferred martial art first hand, and get a taste of what to expect. If they like more, they’ll likely sign up right then and there for a series of lessons. If they don’t, then you’ve still got them inside your facility and can sell them on other services you might provide.
2. Have a Clear Product Display
If you see complimentary products for your martial arts, then put these items on display in a clear location on your grounds. This will let people be able to see the value in what it is that you provide and you can even let people try items before they buy if you want. Make sure to secure the items so they don’t disappear, but you can use existing materials for a no-cost method of marketing.
3. Sweat Equity Matters
Your customers are your greatest asset, so be sure to reward them for the work they do in promoting you. If they bring in referrals, then offer them discounts, free products, or other items that they might want. If they leave you good online reviews or share your information with others over social media, then you can offer a different series of benefits.
4. Create Business Partnerships
Creating a business of the month can help you create new excitement for your academy because you’ll offer a targeted group of employees a special discount each month. The way to make this marketing effort successful is to find a way to provide value to the business that you feature. You could volunteer to help them in some way, provide free lessons, or even offer a training session about discipline.
5. Become Kid Friendly In a Hurry
Many parents love taking their kids to learn the martial arts, but they don’t love waiting with the younger siblings of those who might be enrolled. If you’ve got toys, games, and books in your waiting area that can help keep the toddlers involved, you’ll create a family friendly environment that will encourage parents to enroll not just one child, but all of their children when they get old enough to participate.
6. Have a Monthly Fundraiser
Raising money for local charities helps the less fortunate in your community and gives your academy a way to encourage others to help out as well. You’ll get lots of free exposure for a job well done and that will help create a lot of goodwill. You can also create your own fundraisers, such has holding a charitable tournament or by giving paid demonstrations where the funds go directly to a good cause.
7. Harness the Power of the Press
Local media outlets are always looking for a feel-good story, so provide them with one by composing press releases about the results your students have achieved. Families will love seeing loved ones be recognized in their community for their accomplishments and the press will love having good content that will drive extra sales. In return, you get a lot of good free press that shows how great of an instructor you or your academy is and get more leads.
8. Focus on Self-Defense
A focus on providing low-cost or free self-defense classes can help to raise enrollment rates in other categories. People have a general feeling of unease in this modern world, but if they have a chance to learn how to defend themselves, they can feel more confident and have less anxiety about daily life. You’re also providing a good thing to your community that may generate free press about your events, which just enhances the power of this marketing effort.
9. Offer Classes All Day
If you’ve got classes at times when people are free, then you’re creating opportunities for people to become students. The average person isn’t going to be able to make a 10am class. If you want to focus on youth instruction, then have a bulk of your classes after school. Lunch classes can bring in a professional crowd, will classes after 5pm will attract most of your target groups. Even early morning classes have been successful in a number of markets.
10. Solicit Feedback
Talk to your parents and adult participants regularly to see what they like and don’t like about their experiences. Use this opportunity to find out about what organizations a household may affiliate with so you can focus more marketing efforts on similar target groups. It’s also a great way to form relationships because you can ask about presentations or help these groups might need and that will just foster goodwill in your direction.
11. Schedule a Buddy Day
Offer at least one class a month where a student can bring a friend for free so that even more fun can be had together. You might get more sign-ups in time, but you’ll get the immediate benefit of encouraging social interaction while getting a new household in through your doors to experience martial arts for maybe the first time.
12. Offer a VIP Program
If your students feel like ambassadors and have the power to hand out free VIP passes, then you’ll get a lot of extra exposure. When people have a good time, they want to share it. They’ll feel even more special when you give them the authority to hand out free stuff on your behalf.