How to Build a Marketing Calendar for Your Martial Arts School

Some martial arts school owners plan their marketing efforts each and every month in advance while others just do a yellow page ad waiting for the phone to ring.

If the later sounds a little too familiar, it’s time to get more proactive with your marketing efforts. It’s time to develop a marketing calendar!

Develop Your Marketing Calendar

With the new year is coming up fast, hopefully you are starting to consider your marketing calendar for 2021. Planning your marketing efforts in advance is one of the greatest things you can do for your business.

Planning in advance helps you keep focused so you can begin to project when you will get new students into your martial arts school. This helps you to create reasons for people to start training which can be a great recruitment tool.

I usually break out my calendar sometime in November to start looking for natural holidays, events, or dates that make sense in the New Year. Getting out a head of this has always paid off.

Marketing Calendar Ideas

Not sure where to start? Start out by tapping into these annual events.

January

  • Super Bowl
  • New Years Eve
  • New Year’s Resolutions

February

  • Mardi Gras
  • President’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day

March

  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter
  • March Madness
  • First Day of Spring

April

  • April Fool’s Day
  • Tax Day
  • Earth Day

May

  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Mother’s Day
  • Memorial Day

June

  • Father’s Day
  • Graduation
  • 1st Day of Summer

July

  • Independence Day
  • Dog Days of Summer

August

  • Back to School
  • End of Summer

September

  • Labor Day
  • First Day of Fall

October

  • Columbus Day
  • Halloween

November

  • Election Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday

December

  • Christmas
  • Hanukkah

You can also build promotions around anniversaries, grand openings, new locations, and other events that make sense.

With so many promotion opportunities available there really is no excuse why you can’t build your own marketing calendar.

Now that you have a lot more opportunities to run a promotion, does that mean that you should do them all?

Frequency of Promotions

Here are some common approaches to consider:

  1. One promotion a month
  2. One promotion a quarter
  3. One every six months
  4. One time a year (should be a big promotion)
  5. Run one promotion for an entire year
  6. Run multiple promotions across different mediums at the same time

For some martial arts schools, this process can be overwhelming. How many promotions should you do? How many promotions is one too many? Questions like this can take hold and stop you dead in your tracks. Perhaps consider starting small and work your way up to a more robust marketing calendar.

I do have one caution for those considering running monthly promotions, there is a flip side to this approach.

When your martial arts school offers a ton of frequent promotions with irresistible offers, you can start to become the bargain hunters choice (assuming you’re offering discounts) which means you may run into problems renewing these people for higher fees or if when trying to upsell.

It can also mean that people will just wait to join when they can get the best deal; sometimes holding out for months waiting for the best offer. Meanwhile, your bills continue to pile up, you still have to pay for the promotion, and your classes aren’t as full as they could be.

Remember, bargain hunters who come in on discounts usually want to renew at a discount.

On the other side, there are plenty of large retailers who only do one or two sales a year because they don’t want to become the bargain of the week. These retailers make their sales more exclusive which means bigger sales all year round; especially when they do offer a sale.

Whichever approach you take, there are things that will make your planning a little easier.

Tips for Building an Effective Marketing Calendar

  1. Plan ahead
    Don’t wait until the night before to get going. Start planning at least 3 months in advance.
  2. Put it in writing
    If it’s not written down, it probably won’t get done.
  3. Develop a realistic budget
    Make sure you have some money set aside for each promotion. Get multiple estimates (if necessary). Negotiate everything you possibly can.
  4. Set realistic goals
    Start keeping track of your cost per acquisition so you can begin to forecast better in the future. How much did it cost you to get each student?
  5. Execute your plan
    Now is the time where all your planning culminates into action.
  6. Track results
    After each promotion be sure to do a cost benefit analysis so you know whether it truly paid off or not.

How do you plan your marketing calendar each year? What works and what doesn’t?

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