After seeing a post from a martial arts business owner about how a software company handled his website… (He was talking about how he “lost” his website when he canceled)… my reply was…
This is the main problem with many “martial arts business website services” in the martial arts industry. If you allow a company to build you a website on a proprietary software platform… that means – the platform can’t “go with you” when you leave (example you gave) or a “cookie-cutter” thing where you are basically “licensing” the website, the images — etc… you really Don’t OWN it. The answer for some is to understand the difference — and the ultimate answer is to build custom. When you a hire a professional firm (shameless plug) to build custom – you own the site. You might pay more in the short-term but you will avoid issues like this.
I remember when the negative energy of the “recession” was in full swing.
There were certainly a large pool of school owners who were impacted big time.
The typical problem…
“I’m losing my job so I have to quit.”
“Mom got laid-off so we need to pull little Billy from classes.”
“If I were working full-time I could afford your classes, but my hours have been cut.”
The reality is you will hear this stuff in any economy.
I remember operating my school’s in the “boom-times.”
The top of the Real Estate market when some people treated their homes like ATM’s.
STILL – I’d hear these problems.
The key is to have enough prospects.
Enough martial arts marketing funnels sending you students so these issues represent only a small portion of your overall situations.
Meaning – In any economy… for most people… it’s gonna be “business as usual” and the big economy will not effect their “little economy.”
Of course no matter what – we have to show value.
One mistake I’ve seen a few martial arts business owners make is to “lower their tuition” when the economy gets week.
It’s a bad idea for sure. For many reasons I will not go into here.
But the true reason you NEVER lower your tuition at your martial arts business is because as time goes on – you only get…
More knowledgeable: You keep learning new things to teach your students.
More successful: As you continue to learn to operate your martial arts school you learn things about life, people and business. You can actually take those lessons and transcend them to your students. Especially if you are teaching life-skills.
The bottom line…
As you stay the course of improving yourself and your martial arts business you become more valuable to the world.
Have an awesome week!
I’ll admit – I was being a bit of a Facebook creeper.
No – I was stalking anyone.
But I happened across the profile of a former martial arts business associate.
Before I get to the creeping – a little background.
Over the course of ten and a half years I owned two martial arts schools
One from 1998 to 2006 and the other from early 2007 to mid 2008.
Both were sold when life told me it was time to move on.
I saw a “wall-post” from a parent.
A guy I got to know very well over the course of almost five years.
His kid started in “Little Ninjas” and eventually received his black belt.
This kid was shy. He was young and not very athletic. So confidence was an issue too.
Of course martial arts is not about “natural athletic talent.”
But what I remember most about this kid was his dad.
His dad “trained before.”You know how that goes, right?
Exactly … most of the time it makes for UN-realistic expectations.
But after a year or so he finally came around and stopped the crazy talk.
His kid was doing OK.
But he was the kinda kid who was never going to be “gung-ho” about classes.
You know the type.
In these cases the parents are so – so important to their success.
I became somewhat close to the dad.
Because we had things in common?
Not really – just his kid.
I became close to him because I had so many conversations with him about NOT letting his kid quit!
This kid wanted to quit so many times within a two-year period I lost count.
He had many “low-points” in his training.
But at one of his high-points I enrolled him on “Black-Belt Club.”
His dad was hesitant but made the commitment.
During many of these conversations with his dad I thought the kid would be lost.
The dad was so close to “giving up!”
The talks helped!
Each time he came back stronger.
And eventually the “he wants to quit conversations” stopped.
His Facebook post – that I was “creeping on.”
Him telling one of my former instructors about how good his kid is doing, getting ready for college and how he really credits his training with shaping his future.
Wow! That’s worth the price of admission isn’t it?
And isn’t impact like that which makes it worth your while to learn how to be persuasive?
You can be a master at Martial Arts Marketing, but if you can not enroll a student your martial arts business will not grow.
In fact – if you have something that good and don’t have the skills to help your “future success stories” enroll and commit to your programs you are doing everyone a HUGE dis-service.
I learned to be persuasive and was able to enroll 9 out of 10 intros.
1- A ton of experience.
I learned my first “phone script” (what to say on the phone) when I was 15 years old.
Three years later I was taking phone call inquires at my first little martial arts business.
I was doing intros and enrolling students from day one. Learning what to say – what not to say.
Even if your programs are dirt cheap martial arts is still something your prospects need to be convinced of.
Scheduling, sticking with it, “will this really work for us?” Prospects have a way of talking themselves out of your training if you don’t handle the intro process correctly.
Retention… I have had so many of the “he wants to quit” chats. Of course – you can’t win ’em all but I have won my share!
2- I kept learning. I have always studied “the greats!” Zig, Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins and others. Self-education and then applying the new-found knowledge will make you “super-sharp.”
3- Be convinced yourself. This is key – the reason you keep learning and do your best to enroll everyone is because you KNOW how great your program is!
Make it work!
A summer special for you…
I packed all of my knowledge about ethical and powerful persuasion for the martial arts business into my…
“Martial Art of Selling – Magic Intro” program.
It’s everything you need to enroll 90+% of your intros on day one.
And we’re talking a committed program – not some “short-term trial course.”
It usually goes for 297 but right now you can get it for 20 bucks.
Here’s the link to learn about the course…
Martial Arts Business Ethical Persuasion System
When I was 18 back in 1998 and started my first martial arts business my little mind was focused on my little 600 square-foot world.
The big world was coming to the end of “The Dotcom Bubble.”
My school grew (no thanks to dotcom companies) and by late 1999 I was in a 2800 square-foot location with 200 active students, afterschool martial arts, summer camps and fitness kickboxing.
Despite being being still somewhat naive to both my small world and the big world – we were doing pretty good!
In 2000 the dotcom bubble burst, 9/11 a year later and a recession was happening in the big world.
Aside from seeing my mutual-fund statements (I bought my first mutual-funds at 17 – not knowing mutual funds are not great investments – but what did I know at 17?) bleed red I had no idea we were in a recession.
My martial arts business kept growing.
I also learned it was my choice to be lazy or do what I had to do to drive my team and build the school.
I could look you in the eye and honestly tell you the recession did not matter to me.
We had some “boom-years.”
These “boom years” certainly had an impact (to an extent.)
Sure… we had a few folks who must have taken home-equity loans or sold some real-estate and chose to pay a 6k – 8k membership for 39 months in full. We did not do many of those – but I know most of them were “boom-fueled” because my school was not in area where people had that sort of dinero lying around.
Fast forward…End of 07.
I do remember a few parents telling me they were “hurtin.”
So I guess the start of our last “great recession” had an impact on things.
After 10 years martial arts businessl operations (ages 18 to 28) I sold my second school after this new biz was stable.
Once again – If you asked me about the recession I’d have to say…
Like the first major “recession” of my career I was pretty much operating a “new business” and I am thankful that I have seen steady growth. I guess I have not “felt” the recession.
I hope you feel the same way!
Pay attention to your little world.
Don’t stick your head in the sand – stay informed – but don’t let all the noise get you down!
Right now consumer confidence is the highest it has been in years.
Home prices are rising.
The Dow is at an all time high.
If you have a brokerage account and paper assets – open your statement – it’ll bring a smile to your face.
Just be careful of the rollercoster ride!
As you know it swings both ways.
Keep focused on your goals and do your best to steadily grow your martial arts business.
Make an Impact!
Is there a “secret” to acquiring new students for your martial arts business from Facebook?
Like anything else you can break it down into a couple of categories…
You can do the occasional “gimmick” or you can use “martial arts marketing principles.”
I do not mean “gimmicks” in a bad way either.
Just in a sense that gimmicks get old and stop working.
Gimmicks could be contests with the idea of getting students to share your martial arts business in a few different ways with their friends.
Thus, getting you some exposure, new “likes” and some traffic to your website.
But what if you don’t want to run the “gimmicks” all the time?
What can you do?
First step is to work hard to attract the right (targeted) page likes.
I have said it before…
The more targeted page likes you have is comparable to having a decent location.
Your Facebook page becomes your “window.”
If you have a couple of thousand people walking by your school every day you’ll be able to get their attention if you have some stuff going in your school.
Of course you have to be willing to “show.”
The reality is pictures get the most attention on Facebook.
Your content strategy MUST include “visuals.”
But the facts remains…
The more Page Likes you have.
The better targeted those Page Likes are the more likely they will be to poke their head into your “window” and ask about your school.
Yes – this idea is not super cool. It’s not a gimmick.
It is a reliable formula based on…
Getting a massive amount of targeted page likes.
Engaging those page likes with content.
Being strategic about how you use the content to generate interest and students.
The image below is a good example…
- Page like was acquired through targeting.
- Content strategy in place to generate interest.
For information on getting more Likes for your martial arts business on Facebook Go Here
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.