Top 5 Questions to Develop a Rock Solid Unique Selling Proposition for your Martial Art School

Ask These 5 Questions to Create a USP that Cuts Through the Clutter!

With so much competition out there, you need to have a targeted statement that helps you stand out and helps prospects understand who you are, what you do and what’s in it for them. It’s called a Unique Selling Proposition.

Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to help make sure you’re going the right direction.

  1. What are your biggest benefits? List out everything that can be a perceived benefit to your target.
  2. What do your competitors offer? List out everything that could be perceived a benefit. Then compare against your list.
  3. What do you offer that no one else is promoting? Is there gap you can fill?
  4. Is it unique? Does anyone else claim the same thing (or similar)?
  5. Does it solve your target markets problems?

You can also listen to your students and see what they tell you over and over as to why they chose you. If there is one thing that keeps coming up, start there first. If you don’t know why, just ask them (a topic of another post coming soon). Then step through questions 4 and 5 above to see if it’s a good candidate.

Follow that process and find the one thing that makes your stand out. Then put that key statement into your website, business card, sign, windows, brochure, or anywhere you market your martial arts school. Use it on everything.

Remember, a good USP makes all the difference in communicating the how you’re different and makes it easy for people to get an idea of who you are an what you do.

What additional questions would you add to this list? Can it be improved upon?

How to Get Testimonials that Influence Prospective New Martial Arts Students to Join

One the most common marketing recommendations you’ll read about is how you should add testimonials to everything you do to establish credibility. I couldn’t agree more. However, getting testimonials has always been a challenge for many martial arts school owners.

You can either wait for them to come to you or you can ask for them. That said, many people think they have to wait to for people to send them and that if they ask for them that it somehow cheapens things.

On this, I couldn’t disagree more.

Read on to learn about six questions you can ask to get higher quality testimonials.

If you don’t ask, the reality is that you will likely wait a long time before they come in. And, what’s more, is that you don’t always great testimonials that help influence prospective new students when you leave it up to your students to write them on their own accord.

Sure I appreciate and use testimonials I get from those who send them without me asking, but I don’t sit around and wait for them to come to me. I like to be a little more proactive.

Here is how I structure my request for testimonials. I simply ask them six very targeted open ended questions in the form of a questionnaire.

Six Questions To Get Better Testimonials

  1. What are your reasons for taking the martial art?
  2. What convinced you that this was the right place for you?
  3. In what ways has training in the martial arts affected your life?
  4. What do you like most about training here?
  5. How would you describe your training at our studio to your friends?
  6. Is there anything else you would like to add?

As you can see from my questions, I am asking questions that get them to open up about why why they joined, what they like about my martial arts school, how training with me has helped them in their every day life, and more. They are all open ended questions and get people to give you great insight into things you wouldn’t have likely gotten any other way.

Don’t be afraid to ask, oftentimes, you get a better testimonial because you guide things by asking the right questions. Ask for them. It works.

How do you go about getting testimonials for your martial arts school? Share your ideas in the form of a comment below!

9 Ways to Show You Care About Your Martial Art Students

This site isn’t all about recruiting new students… its also about keeping the ones you have. In fact, this is just as important, if not more important, than being able to bring new students in.

If more are leaving out the back door than those entering in the front door, you need to buckle down and work on retention. An often overlooked way to retain students and way to create a loyal following is to show you care.

I love the statement “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”In fact, this quote inspired this post.

Here are 9 ways to show you care to help you retain more students:

  1. Truly appreciate your students. Get to know them well… what they do… where they work…their kids names… spouses name… even the dog’s name.
  2. Call your students once and a while. Some instructors do this every week, some every month or once a quarter. The purpose of the call should be to pump them up and to tell them how well they’re doing in class and that you’re glad they train with you.
  3. Send birthday cards. I know, you’ve heard this a million times. However, that’s because its a great personal touch.
  4. Call, email or text when students don’t show. I do this all the time it really helps get people back into the studio.
  5. Give a surprise gift. Buy gift cards to restaurants, movie theaters or coffee shops and then give this to them whenever they just accomplished something big. You could even give a gift certificate to your pro shop or a tshirt.
  6. Send them a custom video just for them. If you have a computer with a built in camera, this is pretty simple. Then upload to YouTube then send it via email. This could be a simple thank you or an encouragement video.
  7. Hold a student appreciation cookout with a free seminar. This can also a good time to get testimonials along with photos and video clips. Tell people to bring their friends and family who might be interested in lessons.
  8. Take a candid photo with your student then print it out and print a personalized message on it. You can hand these out before or after class as well as drop it in the mail to them.
  9. Send them a thank you card. I know this has been said a million times. However, if you’re not doing it then it’s time to take action. You can just have your logo on the front and leave the inside blank. This way you can keep the cards versatile.

The secondary benefit of doing this consistently is that it can also get you new students.  This  can be a great way to start some good word of mouth buzz that gets you new students once people know you really care.

The most important thing is that no matter what approach you take is that you must genuinely care in order for people to know you really care. It’s not about just going through the motions.

What are some of your favorite ways to show your appreciation to your martial arts students?

8 Essential Qualities of Growing Your Martial Arts School Quickly in a Crowded Town

Every martial arts school owner I know wants their martial arts business to succeed—myself included.

As more and more martial arts schools spring up, it becomes increasingly difficult to grow quickly and get ahead. Every day there seems to be a new martial arts option in town. Krav Maga, BJJ or MMA gyms seem to be popping up in strip malls all over the valley everywhere I look. Successful martial arts schools are expanding or opening new locations.

Competition is getting incredibly fierce.

What prompted me to write this post was that a martial arts training facility is expanding into my area from the next valley over. And, they are paying through the nose to enter into the market and get noticed in paid search ads on Google. They’re #1 right now on a lot of terms and have bumped my ads down because they are willing to spend the money. It caught my attention and made me think about next steps.

So, here are some tips to help you persevere and grow you martial arts school in a crowded town. I’ve used many of these ideas for years and has helped me grow each and every year since I started. And, I’ll be using these same ideas to help me grow when I have more competition than ever. Maybe they’ll help you, too.

1. Find Your Hustle

If you’re sitting back and waiting for business coming to you, you’re already doomed. Deep down you know you need to get up off your chair, stop watching reruns of Steven Seagal: Lawman and take action. Every single day you should doing at least one thing to move your martial arts school forward. Just do something. Plan events. Brainstorm promotions. Make your classes better. Raise your energy. Be relentless. I have some competitors that seem to be every where. They clearly have hustle. However, so do I. And then some.

2. Never Give Up

It’s easy to push marketing your business when you just got a crop of new students. Just as when you spar, don’t drop your guard. In fact, that’s one of the best times to double your efforts and leverage your momentum. You have to keep pushing to be successful and can’t stop just because times are good today. Tomorrow, you may have 5 people quit or move out of town. I know of so many martial arts school owners who have just stopped trying because it can be draining and difficult. They gave up and are on autopilot as their martial arts dream dies a slow and horrible death. Being a small business is hard. We all know this. There are no easy ways to make it. However, you didn’t give up on getting your black belt. You can’t give up on making your business grow. We all know it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s just easy to forget when the phones aren’t ringing. You must persevere.

3. Stretch Yourself

Stretching is something every martial artists is familiar with and an important part of our training. The same thing applies in business. Stretching what you know, who you know, and how to do things are three great ways to stretch yourself. Obviously, you want to avoid stretching yourself too thin (that’s where tip #4 comes in). I try and learn one new thing a day. Sometimes two. I try and meet a new business owner every week. I visit martial arts website’s all over the world. Same with Facebook fan pages. I get so many ideas from doing this. I visit related (and none related) businesses and pick up ideas all of the time. I am constantly learning. More importantly, I’m always trying to grow and actively seek it out. For example, I never thought of myself much of a salesmen. So, I started reading books. I started applying what I learned. I got better. So can you.

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

4. Get Some Help

Are you a control freak? You can get more done faster and easier with other people helping you. You know this. But how many of us really leverage OPT? Some use this to mean “other people’s talents” while other’s see this as leveraging “other people’s time.” Either way, it works. All you have to do is ask and you’d be amazed at how many people want to help you. Let them. I am so much farther ahead now than ever because I just asked for help. You can quickly get ahead, too. Just ask.

5. Be Bold

You can’t be boring in business and expect to stand out. I once saw a martial arts school in town teach outside near the sidewalk during rush hour. Believe me, they got noticed. What are you doing to stand out and get noticed?

6. Say Yes More

Saying no can be good for business. However, it can also hurt it. Once I started saying yes to things more often, I quickly realized I could help more people if I just loosened up a bit. And you know what, it worked. Years ago I had a student ask me if I could start doing automated payments. I was reluctant because it meant I had to research things, invest time in calling around, weighing options, learning a new system, etc. But you know what? I’m glad I did and it changed my business. Had I said no, I’d still be chasing down someone’s monthly payment and hating every second of it. What a drain! Are you saying no when you should be saying yes? If so, rent Jim Carey’s “Yes Man” this weekend. It will not only make you laugh but also put this into better perspective. Who knows, it might even inspire you?

7. Become Remarkable

This one is easier than it sounds. One of the best way to grow is be remarkable enough to get people excited to talk about what they learned in your classes. Getting started with this idea isn’t hard. Just look at a few key areas. For example, how are you teaching your classes? Are you energetic or dull? Are they fun or predictable? Do they push people or can everyone slide? Are you constantly introducing new ideas or are you having everyone do the same old? You’d be surprised at how much people love you challenging them, giving them new ideas and making them think.

Push your paying clients in new ways and they’ll in turn help push your business to new levels.

So, I’d really like to know how are you standing out in crowded market. How do you do it?

Make Your Martial Arts School More Successful in 2020

Welcome Martial Arts School Owners!

If you are scratching your head about how to get more sign ups in the New Year so you can increase your martial arts school’s profitability, here are some solid marketing ideas to help you hit the ground running for 2020.

Here are twelve things you can start working on today to help make your martial arts school more successful in 2009:

  1. Buy a domain name, get some hosting, and start a blog as your website.
  2. Be sure you have the top 8 pages every martial arts school website should have.
  3. Work on search engine optimization to make your website more easily found.
  4. Start using Google analytics to track and measure the statistics on your website.
  5. Fix the top 10 common mistakes on your martial arts school’s website
  6. Develop a marketing calendar and get ahead of your marketing.
  7. Submit your martial arts school to local online directory websites.
  8. Try marketing your martial arts school on CraigList.
  9. Build a plan to get more referrals.
  10. Make it easy to compare your martial arts school against your competition.
  11. Possibly join a martial arts marketing association.
  12. Break through by doing what other karate schools aren’t doing.

Remember, marketing your martial arts school isn’t easy. Hopefully this list makes it a little easier to get started.

Another thing I recommend is checking out the Small Dojo, Big Profits program. It’s a great system that provides a business model for how to maximize revenue for your martial art school.

What are you going to do differently to make your 2020 better than 2019?

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?