Let’s explore the difference between “Organic Search Engine Optimization” and PPC/Google Adwords Marketing for Your Martial Arts Business.
SEO really starts with how your martial arts business marketing website site was/is built. It must be built with search engine friendly technology. It must be structured with keywords that represent your programs and your location.
After your site is built there are steps taken to make the site relevant to search engines like Google and Bing. One of these elements is called on-site optimization which is the building block of a long-lasting and successful SEO campaign. This is like making sure you pivot and point your toes down when doing a sidekick!
Once the foundation is in place it is a process that never ends because there is not a moment where change is not happening in the SEO game. It is crucial to stay on top of these changes so your school does not get left behind. You also have to consider your competitors. Schools in your area have the same goal as you do… Get ranked! Their efforts will effect yours if you stop working at it.
Because your martial arts business is “Local a “Local SEO” strategy is a must. This strategy takes place “off-site.” It is how your website and school is seen by the “local internet” around you. In order for Google or Bing to consider your website “worthy” of a decent ranking it wants to know how other websites consider it. For this it checks to see how many websites link back yours. One strategy for this is submitting your school’s website to search engines, directories, industry directories, etc. Each one of these submissions adds a “back-link” to your martial arts marketing website
However – these directory “listings” are not maximized unless they are “owner-verified” and they are in sync. For this you must determine the best NAP (business name, address, phone number and website) you want to use. Every detail counts! And you must ensure all your listings are exactly the same. When we run our “48 Point Internet Marketing Inspections” the common mistake we see is problems with listings.
Having a review infrastructure is also important. A review infrastructure is an easy way for your students to review your business on their favorite review sites. Reviews help!
Next… Content Strategy…
When it comes to your organic SEO the question you have to answer is…
“What is our content marketing strategy going to be and how are we going to implement it?”
Your blog plays a key role. But you can also get published on other sites. The better those sites – the more weight a “back-link” from that site will have on your SEO.
Now… PPC. (Pay-Per-Click Marketing)
The king of PPC is Google Adwords. Google Adwords is not a replacement to an organic SEO strategy. PPC is a compliment. With a good PPC campaign and a sufficient budget your website can come up on the first page of Google almost immediately. Not so with SEO where rankings will take longer to achieve, but once achieved and maintained your site will most-likely keep decent ranking. Of course, this depends on many variables. Whereas with Google Adwords once you stop paying for advertising, your site will no longer show up on the first page.
PPC means that you will only pay when someone clicks on your ad. If you have set up your campaign correctly, are targeting the right keywords for what you are offering and sending those clicks to a page on your site that matches your keywords – your ad will have a pretty good chance of converting a prospect into a new student.
The beauty of Google Adwords is that it is easy to set up an account and get your campaign going. Unfortunately this ease is a double edged sword and you risk throwing away money if your campaign is not properly set up. You’ve been warned! I had a new client once ask me to take a look at his Adwords account. He had this set up prior to us working with him. His campaigns were set up all wrong and he was spending $1000 more per month than he had too.
The cardinal rule in PPC is relevance. Your keywords must be relevant to your ad which must be relevant to your landing page. This makes Google happy! Google rewards you by giving you a high quality score. A decent quality score means that you will pay less for the same ad position than your competitor if they have a low quality score. This means that even if you don’t have a huge budget, with all things in place and optimized you can compete against competitors with larger budgets!
With Google Adwords you should at least test out a few different campaigns and collect data for about 120 days. Then, study the data and adjust your strategy.
I’m not a Social Media guru! There are plenty of “Social Media Gurus” & “Martial Arts Marketing Gurus” out there so I just let them be.
There are so many aspects to Social Media Marketing that in all honesty – how could someone be a “Guru” in all things Social Media anyway?
Let’s talk some basic social media marketing for your martial arts business.
I spend my social media time updating my blog.
Then – I jump in to LinkedIn a couple of times per week to confirm connections and and add some content.
But like you (assumption) and everyone else (assumption) most of my social media time is spent on Facebook.
I manage a couple of pages and run some ad campaigns for a few clients. And yes – I get sucked in and 4 minutes later – wonder what the hell am I doing??
So let’s make this about Facebook because that’s where everyone is.
And here is the shift in thinking…
You need to treat your Facebook page as a marketing tool for your martial arts business – not just a place to update students.
Think of your page as a physical location.
Some locations are better than others.
Some locations get more foot traffic than others.
The more targeted page likes you have the more possible “foot traffic” you have.
If your goal is to have 100 people walking by your school each day with most of them being your current students – don’t change anything about your Facebook strategy. Keep doing what you’re doing. But don’t expect many new students to come out of it.
But – if you want to (and this is very doable) have 500, 1000, 2000 possible prospects “walking by” your martial arts business every day what would you change?
Wouldn’t you have to shift your thinking a little?
If you had more people walking by your front door each day – what would you do differently?
If some of that traffic had a reasonable chance of becoming students – how would you respond?
Just something to think about…
Shifting your Thinking on Social Media -in particular… Facebook
This experience was so key to my martial arts business career. In fact, if it had a different ending starting my martial arts school might have never happened.
When I started my martial arts training at a local TKD school back in 1993, like you I quickly became pretty jazzed about my classes.
In three months my dad enrolled me in “The Black Belt Club” when the school owner simply asked him to do so.
It went like this…
Instructor: Mike, do you want to get your black belt some day in the next three years?
Me: Yes sir!
My Dad: Are you sure, because I am gonna pay this in full!
Me: Yes Dad!
I started my training at a “Professional Martial Arts School.” At the time – I really did not know there were “UN-professional schools” I could have trained at.
This school had introductory lesson scripts.
There was a way to answer the phone.
They did martial arts marketing for their programs
As you can see they had an “Upgrade program” in place.
2 months after I joined BBC my dad said… “….go ahead and quit…”
Now let me put that in context for you.
There was a dude in my neighborhood that taught a few private classes out of his basement.
We ran into each other and got to chatting.
At one point he trained at the exact school where I did.
As we were talking he went into “recruitment mode.” Telling my young 14 year old ears why the school I was going to was “inferior.” Why they were “money grabbers.”
You were 14 once right? Well, guess what – I am almost joined his school.
I told my dad – all the “propaganda” and asked my dad if he thought I should switch schools.
He said “NO!”
Still… NO. In fact…
“No way Mike! But you know what… Go ahead and quit if you think you are training at the wrong school, but then make sure you get a job and pay for your own f***ing classes!”
I wised up.
My dad is the best!
I strengthened the bond with my instructors and class-mates.
That summer I spent days and nights at that “professional school.”
That professional martial arts school gave me an alternative for hanging on the streets and getting in trouble.
That professional martial arts business was able to paint the picture of how martial arts was so much more than just coming to class.
At 14 I understood martial arts could actually be a career (even though no one else did!)
At 15 I learned how to answer the phone professionally and book intro lessons.
Something some 35 year old school owners still can’t seem to do!
Many folks have fun “hating” on professional schools.
The guy I was telling you about…
He flopped around for many years.
He taught out of little “hole in the wall” places.
He had a location inside of gym for a few years.
Finally – almost 9 years after he tried to convince me that I was making a mistake training where I was – he eventually opened up a nice “professional” school.
It’s all good – different strokes for different folks Willis.
By the time he FINALLY opened – I had my school for 5 years already. It had already grossed well-passed 7 figures.
Just goes to show you…
Choose the professional route and get professional results.
Tell your students: “Leave it better than…”
I can’t take credit for this one.
That’s because I heard it several years ago from another successful martial arts business owner.
I’m sure he heard it somewhere else too.
It’s the lesson…
“Leave it Better Than You Found It.”
This concept is worth sharing with your students, leadership team and your staff.
For students it makes for a fun “mat-chat.”
Teaching them how important it is to always look for ways to improve themselves and their surroundings. To make an impact.
Blood and Guts Story…
Several years back I had instructor who came to work for me in my martial arts business for about six months before he hatched his plan. The plan was to leave and take the students with him. I foiled his plan for the most part. But he did do some damage.
The week of his drama I taught my students the concept. I pointed out how his intention was certainly not to “leave our school better than he found it.” In fact – he tried to destroy it.
It was nice to hear he ended up out of business pretty quickly. Sweet Justice! He did not pay attention to the many martial arts marketing lessons I shared with him. LOL
It works great for staff too (if they actually listen!)
Everything from being aware of things to interacting with students.
No toilet paper in the bathroom? Re-stock it! Leave it better than you found it!
Brighten up a student’s day! Leave her better than you found her!
I hope this is a nice reminder for you or a good way to start your week!
I know you can use this great concept of… “Leave it Better Than You Found It.”
We like to use the “Leave it better than you found it” approach when helping schools with their internet marketing.
The first step is to request your complimentary 48 Point Internet Marketing Check Up.
An easy but often under-utilized tool that can help you with your SEO and Martial Arts Business Internet Marketing is video.
But I want you to think about it in a different way.
Don’t worry for now about producing some fancy videos.
Of course, for branding and professional image, fancy videos can help.
For now – think – Happy Students and Social Proof.
Happy Students and Social Proof can help you with your Search Engine Optimization.
Here’s what to do…
Step 1: Be on the look out. When students compliment you make sure you get most of them to go along with your request to record their happiness. Nothing fancy, just a minute or less.
Step 2: Post the video and optimize it properly.
What happens is…
You get double the marketing bang!
What I mean is…
Done right your videos can show up in search results. Plus! Those videos contain proof elements to help persuade searchers that your school is a good thing.
Don’t Let Your Internet Marketing “Limp Along”…
Visit: Website Inspection
to Grab our 48 Point Check Up and See Where You Can Make Some Major Improvements.