How to successfully market your martial arts business
There seems to be some consensus that martial arts businesses are more likely to become broke than to succeed, but this does not mean that you can’t have every success with yours. Being broke should not be synonymous to running a martial art school, no matter how many excuses can be made…the economy! You can’t make money in this industry! There’s too much competition! Well, entrepreneur.com reports that martial arts as a sport is second only to golf in terms of number of new participants over the past decade, so if you’re familiar with the ancient rules of supply and demand, we think you’ll see the opportunities in this market! Excuses aside, it is all about mind-set, a good strategy and developing healthy business habits. Competing with established businesses may seem daunting when you’re starting out, but effective marketing can really pay off. Why not try the following marketing strategies to help boost your martial arts business?
1. Take stock and prioritise
You may know where you’re going but you have to start at the beginning with the basics – knowing these will help you to know your marketing budget. What are your assets? (Membership payments, savings, anything you own outright.) What are your liabilities? A successful marketing campaign needs a solid platform under it so you must have your finances straight – and be honest with yourself! Prioritise then where you spend your money. Is it a good idea to spend thousands on a big name instructor for a training session? If it’s not essential for generating profit – such as increased membership or a higher profile – get rid of it.
2. Set a marketing budget…
…and make it the second cheque you write each month, right after rent. Be sensible with this budget but prioritise it as an individual, separate budget. If it helps, why not make a separate account? At the end of each month, you know to spend every last penny before the month is out. When you set your marketing budget, think about your goals. How many new students do you need to sign up each month to start generating some profit? When you’re just starting out, your business goals need to be centred around promoting and selling, and so prioritising your marketing budget should come before other expenses.
3. Modernise your website
To compete with the best, you must have a website. It’s an interface accessible to all, can be made to look professional easily and inexpensively, and most importantly it represents your business online. Customers can find out all about you and your business so you need to make a good impression. Take advantage of your new position in the market – older businesses might have out-dated websites, how can you make your website fresh, exciting and appealing? What are other websites lacking that you can make sure yours has? What do you think your target market would like to see on your website? Make your site clean and clear as it needs to be easy for visitors to find out about your business, for example your team and your prices, and ensure your contact details are obviously displayed.
4. Community advertising
If your business takes you out and about in the local area, why not advertise with branding. This may be a van with your company logo, branded jumpers for your staff – anything that gets your business and brand in the public eye. If you regularly visit schools for example, having your company name visible will attract the attention of potential customers. It is also beneficial to attend any community events to promote your business. If your target audience was children or young adults, you could have a stand at school open days, summer fetes, with information about your business and promotional items to give out. Perhaps have incentives to attract people – martial arts demonstrations, a competition? Visual aids are always great and it allows you to interact, engage and advocate your services simultaneously.
5. Be professional
Being friendly, chatty and personable is great when drawing potential customers in, but it is important to establish a line between that persona and a professional one, so your customers feel reassured and comfortable while practicing martial arts with you or your staff. Your business’ professionalism is key to supporting this. The professional side of your business can be measured by whether or not you have comprehensive martial arts business insurance that covers third party liability and relevant qualifications, such as first aid training and certification, among others. Display these details on your website and any other promotional materials to demonstrate your experience.
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