By Guest Blogger: Mark Slane
I would bet that most of you have fairly decent sized kid’s classes and don’t do quite so well with the adult market. The main reason for this is you try to run youth and adult programs pretty much the same way. You use the same martial art, the same layout and the same curriculum for the most part. A youth program and an adult program are like night and day. Honestly, what works for growing a youth program is at times 180 degrees from what you must do to grow an adult program.
Classes at our gyms are fast paced, real world self defense and are a great workout. Members wear t-shirts and shorts or sweat pants. They don’t bow, don’t call me sir, aren’t treated like children if they are late or don’t want to do something in class. We do this because we are not marketing and competing against the martial arts business down the street. I am sorry to say this but you and I are unusual…most adults are not looking for martial arts. Martial Arts have a negative connotation for most adults. Instead of thinking that we are competing with other dojo’s we market and plan to compete against Gold’s gym, L.A. Fitness, Lifestyle Fitness and the other big box gyms. Think about this. If you ask 1000 people in your town if they are more interested in being able to punch and kick correctly or in losing 10 pounds I would bet 970 would say “losing 10 pounds!”
To this same end, add some fitness classes to your gym…CardioMMA, Crossfit or even the old cardio karate. This is very important. You are now not the “martial arts school” but a fitness and self defense Mecca!! Is this a sell out? If we believe that what we do is good for people and will keep people safe isn’t it better to help the most people possible?
One of the biggest mistakes martial arts schools make is that they throw new people into a regular class for their “intro.” In USKMA gyms prospective members get a 1/2 hour intro then take a class the same evening. After this class while they are totally worn out is the best time that we will ever have to sign them up. Do not do an intro week, intro month, two class intro, etc. They will never be more ready to join than after this first intro and class!
Adult Martial Arts Internet Marketing…
Your website has one job and one job only…to get people in to take your intro. Nobody cares who trained you, how great you are, or even what you teach. They want to know what it will do for them! On your adult site get rid of any pictures of uniforms, people hitting and kicking or being hit or kicked, classes standing in strict lines, etc. On our site our pictures are of a fitness model. You need to put your intro special on the home page and tell prospective members how they’ll lose weight and get into shape with a workout that could save their lives and help them protect their loved ones.
Beat the competition by offering a lot and charge only one price. We have a one price do it all philosophy. We go against the “experts” who tell you to be the most expensive gym in town…be the Rolls Royce. Anyone who has been to our classes knows that we are the Rolls Royce AND we are affordable. They appreciate this and tell all their friends.
Why have an exclusive clientele and small classes? Huge classes are so much more fun to teach, more energetic and prospective members think that you must really be the place to join because so many people are there!
In summary the way to get more adults in your martial arts school business/gym is to treat them like adults, make classes fun, give them actual fitness, show them the benefits over the box gyms and forget about forcing them into your style’s traditions and rules. Go after the box gym crowd who are growing bored with their workouts. You can show them real results unlike anything they can get on a treadmill!
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