Is Your Martial Arts Web Site Like Going on a Bad Date?

Your Web site shouldn’t be like a bad date that is self absorbed. Fix it before you lose the interest of more prospective new students. Ok, so we’ve all been on a bad date. But what does that have to do with your martial arts schools Web site?

Typically, there are two types of Web sites for martial arts schools:

  • Lead generation Web site
  • Information based Web site

A lead generation Web site is like going on a date with someone who wants to know about you and your interests, and spends little, if any, time talking about themselves. Then at the end of the night, they ask you on another date to do something you like to do. Who could say no to that?!

Therefore, a lead generation Web site speaks to your prospects needs, is all about them, provides compelling reasons to respond (usually in the form of an offer), makes it easy for them to say “yes,” then asks them on another date.

In contrast, an information based Web site is more like the date who wants to talk about themselves, their interests and accomplishments, then (thankfully) doesn’t ask you on another date but rather leaves their business card on the table hoping you’ll call them.

An information Web site, also known as a brochure Web site, just provides information like studio name, instructors name, what style is taught, years in business, and their contact information. It’s all about them and isn’t compelling whatsoever. Nor does it illicit much, if any, response.

KEY CONCEPT: Focus your Web site on your prospects needs and interests, give them a reason to contact you, then make it easy for them to respond.

You know when you have a lead generation Web site when …

  1. Your inbox is full from inquiries
  2. Your phone is ringing off the hook from people who said they were just on your Web site
  3. Prospects are coming into your martial arts school with print out coupons from your Web site

Transform your Web site into something worth responding to that focuses on your prospects. Use it. It works.

Do you have a lead generation machine or an online brochure? Leave your ideas in the form of a “comment” now by clicking the link below!

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?

Google Analytics – Is Your Martial Arts Site Measuring Up?

I’m a big fan of Google and think their website statistics program called Google Analytics is the best web stats package I have ever used. Period. I like even better than Omniture; which is a very expensive enterprise level statistical software package used by many fortune 500 companies.

What’s even better, Google Analytics is FREE.

We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Well, with Google Analytics, you can measure every meaningful web stat you can think of and start taking control of your website statistics.

I’m surprised at how many martial arts school owners I talk with don’t know the very basic statistics of their website. When asked how many uniques they get a day, I mostly get a blank stare.

I am in the online marketing business so it makes sense that I would pay more attention to this. I login at least once a day, sometimes more, to see what’s happening on my sites. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about this as it can give you much greater insight into your martial arts schools website.

Ever since Google Analytics came out, I have been using it to help measure what’s going on at my websites. I find it an invaluable tool that helps me to diagnose problems on my site as well as see what is doing well.

It helps me to understand where geographically people are coming from, what information is of interest (and what isn’t), what search engine or website referred them to my site, where they enter my site, where they leave it, and more.

What Google says about Analytics:

Google Analytics has been re-designed to help you learn even more about where your visitors come from and how they interact with your site. The new Google Analytics makes it easy to improve your results online. Write better ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives, and create higher-converting websites. Google Analytics is free to all advertisers, publishers, and site owners.

Google Analytics is simple and easy to add to your site!

  1. Sign up for a free Google Analytics account
  2. Cut and paste the javascript tracking code to every page of your website
  3. Wait for stats to start coming in (Usually takes at least 24 hours or so)
  4. Login and start measuring the performance of your site!

So, what should you be tracking on your site? Here are some basic things that Google automatically tracks:

  1. Daily count of unique visitors – Tells you how many people per day are coming to your site. Depending on your area, you could be receiving 30-150 visits a day.
  2. Pages visited – Find out which pages are popular and which aren’t. For example if your free trial program page isn’t getting much traffic compared to another less important page, it will at least alert you so you can find ways to make it more important on your site to drive more traffic to it.
  3. Page views – Total number of pages viewed by all visitors.
  4. Entry pages – What pages are people entering your site? You might be surprised to learn it’s not always your home page. Considering every page on your site is a possible entry point, you may want to take a closer look at which pages are getting the most traffic to make sure they are representing your business well.
  5. Keywords – Find out what keywords people are using to find your site. You will probably be surprised what people are typing in to find your site! Is it generic martial arts terms or city and state specific related? You won’t know until you set this up.
  6. Traffic sources – Find out what sites and search engines are sending your traffic (and which aren’t). If you discover the MSN search engine isn’t sending you any traffic, you can submit your link to be included to help spur things along.
  7. Bounce rate – Are people landing on your site and immediately jumping off the page? If it’s your free trial sign up page, this could be a bad thing. At least you know and can work to improve your results.
  8. Exit rate – Are people landing on a page then exiting the site completely? Hopefully not.
  9. Average time on site – Typically, the more time people are on your site, the more relevant and engaging it is and therefore more likely to convert the prospect.
  10. Geography – Where is your traffic coming from? Switzerland? If it’s not in your immediate local area, you need to do a better job of local search engine optimization.
  11. New users vs. returning visitors – This stat tells you how many new people visited your site compared to people who have been there before and come back. If you have a lot of people coming for the first time and leaving never to return, you should consider updating your content more frequently. Perhaps even start a WordPress blog so that you always have new content on your site.
  12. Average pages per visit – Average page views per visit is a great indicator of how compelling and easily navigated your content is. The more pages viewed on average, the more compelling your site likely is.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Google Analytics can track but will give you a good start. It tracks everything over time so you can slice and dice the information any which way you want to view it from hours, to days, to months to years (once you accumulate that information).

NOTE: Google analytics will only track from the day you start forward. It can’t go back in time to tell you anything.

I find it to be very intuitive and easy to understand. Their dashboard is also very easy to customize making your key stats that much easier to track and manage right when you login.

Google Analytics can’t tell you everything about WHY things are happening on your site, it only tells you WHAT is happening. However, this can be very useful in diagnosing say low converting sites (for example visitors to free trial sign up ratios) and can give you some preliminary ideas on where you should start making changes to get better conversions.

Features of Google Analytics

Out of the box, Google Analytics comes with some great features.

One feature is the tracking of goals. Once you enable this, Google Analytics will also help you monitor and measure what pages lead to the greatest conversions on your site.

They also have another great feature where you can track your internal site search to see what terms people are typing once on your site (if you have a search box on your site). Then you can work at making those pages easier to find on your site.

If that’s not enough, you can even have any report listed above emailed to you on a certain day every week if you’d like to remind you to look at things each week. How’s that for convenience?!

So, there you have it – a quick look at Google Analytics. Hopefully you can start to see the benefit it can add to your martial arts schools website. I find it all very addicting and love having this information at my finger tips. Using this information has literally put thousands of dollars more into my studio that I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Who else uses Google Analytics and what do you like about it? Share your insights and opinions in the form of a comment below!

Top 8 Pages Every Martial Arts School’s Website Should Have

You know you need a website, but what kind of content should you have on it? You’re not alone. Many martial arts school owners struggle with what to put on their website. Do you focus on your style? Your training? How many pages is too many? This article cuts through the fog and gives you simple recommendations so you can include all of the key information people need to evaluate your martial arts school and help convert them into paying students.

Here are the top 8 pages every martial arts school website should have.

1. Home page
This is the first page most of your website visitors will see first. The job of this page isn’t to sell, tell your whole story, or replace the content found elsewhere on your site. Rather, it’s primary purpose is to filter and direct visitors to the content that will help them make the best decision for them. If you teach both adults and child, segment them out with distinct calls to action to help filter your audience into the right areas. Be sure to clearly emphasize your most valuable content and also clearly state what makes you different than your competition.

2. Contact Us

This page should provide all the various ways people can contact you. Include your address, email, phone, fax, and a map to your location. As an option, you can also have a contact form for people to send you messages. I often include a statement above this information directing people to my FAQ page and free trial.

3. About Us
This page should give the nuts and bolts of your operation and instructors. This is the best place to tell your story of how you got started, your training history, and why you started your martial arts school. Don’t make it boring. This is the place to communicate your philosophy and history with some personality.

4. Frequently Asked Questions
Save yourself some time answering the same questions over and over on the phone. Having answers to the common questions will help prequalify people better before they call leaving you more time to get them signed up for an appointment. For a list of ideas, be sure to visit my post “Using Frequently Asked Questions to Attract More Students to your Karate Dojo.

5. What You’ll Learn
This should be positioned as the kinds of things that people will they will learn when they join your program. Please note, this doesn’t mean you should sell your style here. I would recommend that you sell them the benefits first then support with facts from your style or system (a distant) second.

6. Training Schedule
If you offer a robust schedule, I recommend that you create a single page that has a simple grid that spells out your schedule by day, time, and program. Make this so easy an 5th grader could understand it. If you you only teach one or two days, you might just want to include your schedule on the frequently asked questions page.

7. Why Train Here
I highly recommend having a page that outlines the most important reasons your prospect would want to train at your martial arts school. Put yourself in the frame of mind of your target prospect, what they want, and how your martial arts school matches their needs. Then, address those needs.

8. Offer Page
This can be a trial sign up page, a newsletter sign up page, a free guide download page… whatever kind of offer you want to make. Just be sure to collect a name and an email so you can start building a list to follow up with over time in exchange for your offer. Learn more about “How to Create an Irresistible Offer Your Prospects Can’t Refuse.”

What other pages do you use that help you sell? Add your experience below in the form of a comment!

Top 7 Reasons Why I Love Blogs as Websites for Martial Arts Schools

I love writing blogs. I love reading blogs. I love blogs.

There. I said it.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking here let me explain what a blog is.

What is a Blog?

A blog is something that allows you to make posts and presents them in reverse chronological order. It’s basically an online content management system that allows you to put your thoughts out there for the world to read hourly, daily, weekly or whenever you feel like it. Think of it almost like an online journal, only everyone can read it.

This site, however, is 100% running on a free blog platform from WordPress.

I pay for website hosting ($6.95/month) through BlueHost.com and they have a free auto installer that allowed me to load a copy of the latest version of WordPress – a free user supported blog platform. It’s the easiest way I’ve ever seen to get a fully functioning website in a day.

To clarify, WordPress offers two versions:

  1. A version you can install on YOUR web server
  2. A free hosted version which resides on THEIR server

I recommend option #1. This way, you’re building an asset you control and own. Think of this version as digital real estate where you own the property. Option #2 is more like living at your parents house where at the end of the day, it’s their place.

Top 7 Reasons Why I Love Blogs

  1. They Are Easy to Install. Most web hosting companies offer and auto installer for WordPress blogging software. It’s never been so easy to get a website!
  2. They Promote Fresh Content. From a search engine optimization standpoint, you’re giving the search engines fresh, valuable content to spider on a regular basis; which they love! If you’re posting three times a week, you’ll have produced over 150 pages of new content onto the Web.
  3. They Allow Pinging. Every time you post an entry, your site “pings” sites such as Google to tell them you have new content for them to spider. These little alerts have changed the way the search engines behave. Gone are the days waiting for them to come to you!
  4. You Can Easily Change Designs and Structure. You can change the theme with a click of the button. There are literally thousands of free templates and dozens of companies who now specialize in low cost but ultra cool designs.
  5. They Are Easy to Update. It’s an easy to use content management system you can update day or night and from any computer in the World with an internet connection.
  6. They Are Incredibly Extendable. There are so many plugins available that allow you to enhance the functionality of your site that don’t come with the default version. Everything from SEO plugins to video to statistics are all available at virtually a click of your mouse.
  7. Posts Can Be Time Released. You can write ten posts and set a timer on when they go live on your site. This way, you don’t have to remember to publish them everyday. WordPress does it for you! Going on vacation? Set it and go!

If you’re scratching your head on how to get a blog, I recommend that you sign up for hosting with BlueHost.com today and use their auto installer to set up your blog. They’ll even give you a free domain name for using their hosting if you don’t already have a domain name.

So who else out there likes to blog and why?

How to Choose a Good Martial Arts School Domain Name

Securing a Domain Name is a Great Investment for Your Martial Arts School

Getting a good domain name for your martial arts school is the first step to having a Web site. A good domain name can help communicate professionalism, benefits of your school, and starts to tell a story.

Ideas for Selecting a Domain Name

There are many ways to go about choosing a domain name. Most martial arts school owners think they are limited to just using the name of their school as their domain name. While that is one good idea, it’s the not the only option available.

Here are some ideas you might also want to consider:

  1. Benefit Driven
    • www.getfitwithkarate.com
    • www.defendyourself.com
  2. Geography Specific
    • www.denvermartialarts.com
    • www.coloradomartialarts.com
  3. Style Based
    • www.jujitsulessons.com
    • www.kenpoclasses.com
  4. Student Base Focused
    • www.karateclassesforkids.com
    • www.martialartsforadults.com

It’s good to have a list of domain names to consider in case your desired domain name isn’t available. By using this list, you have more options to make a selection from and will help you find the perfect domain name.

Why buy more than one domain name?

It never hurts to have a lot of domain names as you might want to use them later to help track different marketing efforts. I own over 50 domain names and use them for all sorts of projects.

Domain Name Tips

  • Preferably, register a “.com” for your business. This is the most recognizable business extension.
  • Keep it short and to the point. If it’s too long, you increase the likely hood of typos.
  • Keep it easily pronounceable. If you have to spell it often, it’s probably not a good domain name.
  • Avoid acronyms as they aren’t always memorable and too easy to mix them up.
  • Avoid dashes as they are hard to tell people in conversation.

Register Your Domain Names

  1. Make a list of domain names you want to investigate.
  2. Visit GoDaddy.com to see if your domain names are available.
  3. Register as many domain names as you’d like.
  4. Be sure to have them automatically renew so you don’t end up loosing them in a year.

Why Buy from GoDaddy.com?

GoDaddy.com sells domain names for just $9.99/year. This is a great deal and far less than the $35 of some other domain name registrars. A domain name is a domain name no matter where you buy it so it doesn’t make any business sense to pay more.

Having a good domain name is one critical element to having a successful website. Choose it wisely.

Once you have a domain name, you will need to get hosting, which is the next topic for discussion. Stay tuned.

What method did you use to register your domain names? Let me know in the form of a comment below.