The following list gives you 27 martial arts marketing ideas.
Use them all or use just a few.
Many martial arts business owners are looking for the one magic bullet that will bring in droves of new martial arts students to their business. Of course there are ways to generate a whole lot of students at one time. But your martial arts business in better off if you implement as many marketing strategies as possible to get a new student.
Here you go…
1) Newspaper Advertising:
Yes. You might think it’s not a good idea. But community newspapers are still a great source of information in a local area. Most get delivered by mail. Most are free and supported by advertising. When planning your martial arts advertising you should consider the newspaper.
Ask the salesperson about circulation and readership. Make sure the ad for your martial arts business will also be displayed online. Follow the best practices for newspaper adverting. Use a good headline and make a strong offer.
Of course, you can’t survive in the martial arts business without a solid website. Your marketing website should communicate benefits, be well laid out and professional. Your martial arts business website must have lead-generation offers to invite site visitors in for a free trial.
Content marketing is what blogging really is. It’s when you use the news of your school to add fresh and new ideas to your website. You can post articles relevant to your expertise. You could post photos from testing days and other events. The key is to make it a habit.
4) Video Marketing:
Another form if content marketing. We recommend you use Youtube and “tag your videos” properly. You can build some rapport with your videos over time. Offer information and a glance into your martial arts business.
5) Search Engine Marketing:
Depending on how many martial arts schools are in your area your website and school might not be found without the right “Search Engine Optimization.” 66.7% of consumers will use Google to search for a local martial arts school. The growth of your martial arts business will highly depend on if your are found. The right strategy can make all the difference.
6) Pay-Per-Click Marketing:
Google Adwords or “PPC” marketing is another way to be found on Google. The truth is not many small martial arts business professionals use it or understand it. It is not a substitute for Search Engine Optimization but it can enhance your school’s presence.
7) Social Networking Sites:
There is not shortage of martial arts marketing ideas for social networking sites. Facebook is most-likely your best choice because it is the largest. The strategy requires you build a following of “likes” and provide those likes with content each day.
8) Email Marketing:
Another misunderstood but valuable martial arts marketing idea. When you generate a lead from your website or meet a potential prospect getting an email address and permission to stay in touch can make a huge difference. Done right you will notice results – but you have to stick with it.
9) Creative Direct Mail:
Postcards, letters the ideas are endless when it comes to using direct mail for martial arts marketing. Use direct mail to follow up on past leads or buy a list of potential leads in your area. Then, begin mailing them regularly.
More than just going to “Chamber of Commerce events.” Networking can be very helpful if you commit to building long-term relationships with those who can help you and who you can also help with their business. Networking done right can really help your martial arts business.
I have been published in newspapers and have done radio. I have appeared on TV and have also guided several clients to TV publicity. You can work to get publicity for your martial arts business but it must be focused on what the media outlet will get, not free advertising for you! Can you offer advice on fitness, self-defense, anti-bullying and more? Can you put an event together the media would be happy to cover. The take away is most “soft news” is placed using a well-done media pitch.
12) Community Outreach/Special Guests Programs:
This is another form of networking – it is just much more direct. The easiest example… If you have a kids program you can work with local day-cares, after-school programs and summer camps. It will take time to build trust. I recommend you start working with private day-cares and after-school programs before you attempt to get into the public school system. And NEVER try to solicit getting paid to provide classes for these types of organizations.
If you have a kids program the first place to offer yourself as a speaker is to local schools. Again, it may take you a little time to get “in.” The best place to start is with your current students. Get them to introduce you to their teachers. And, there are numerous organizations and companies in your area that would allow you to speak if you have the right topic. Which leads to the fact that talk topics and titles are key. Examples: “Goal Setting for Good Grades” is a great topic for the beginning of the school year.
14) Contributing Writer to a Publication:
This martial arts marketing idea is another form of “Publicity.” But in this case you offer your expertise in the form of “editorial” content on a given topic. You use the “bio” box to tell people who you are and how to contact you.
15) Author of Book:
In some circles having a book is considered to be an amazing business calling card. Of course a book can be so much more. But the truth is when you have a book as a martial arts business owner it can help (when combined with other things) elevate your status among your students and your market.
You can not promote your martial arts business by calling random people. But you can follow up on leads who have expressed an interest. You can also follow up on people you meet doing other forms of marketing. Just keep it very low-key
17) Endorsement from Local Celebrity:
Not easy and can be expensive at times. Or you can get lucky. The closest I came was having a popular radio DJ in my area train at our school. He did not stick around long enough to work out a deal. There are examples in the martial arts industry where the endorsement was simply a friendly one or an official contractual deal. A friend of mine had an informal relationship with a former NBA player who was native to his area. By no means was this player a super-star but it did score my friend some publicity and good will.
18) In House Events:
Events for your students can generate buzz for your martial arts business internally. You have to keep them interesting and encourage your students to invite their friends.
19) Free Seminars:
A “how to defeat the bully” seminar or “women self-defense seminar” or several others can help you meet new potential students if you conduct them properly. You’ll have to market the events on social media, your website and throughout your community. The best part is anyone who attends has identified themselves as having some interest in your martial arts school. Those leads can be followed up on.
20) Birthday Parties:
Martial arts marketing with birthday parties has taken on many forms throughout the years. You can charge for them or do them for free with the focus just on collecting contact info. But you need a strategy. For a complete article on Martial Arts Marketing Ideas for Birthday parties visit: Market with Birthday Parties when you’re done reading this.
21) Booth Space:
You might want to keep an eye out for community events where you can rent booth space. This can be done at movie theaters too if the movie is a good tie-in to the martial arts. Health related events and Chamber of Commerce events would also give you certain chances to rent booth space.
Most family oriented schools should eventually have a demo team. The fact is you have to be really careful. If your demo team causes the wrong perception of martial arts to “non-students” it won’t be very productive. The best idea is to have your demo team practice at belt promotion days for an audience full of current students. Gage responses and ask questions to gather feedback about your demo team.
23) Door to door fliers:
Pretty simple. It’s a way to hustle. It may or may not be the best use of your time. Be careful when dealing with neighborhoods.
24) Lawn Signs:
Get permission first! You don’t want to be known as the “Martial Arts Business” who clutters up the town with UN-wanted signs. At the very least you can negotiate a deal with your landlord to allow you some more main road signage using lawn-signs.
25) Car Magnets:
Not for everyone. When we had an after-school martial arts program in which we would pick up kids we used vehicle signs and lettering. It worked because of the constant exposure we received by being in the same spot every day.
26) Newsletter to Current & Past Students:
Not easy but a good old-fashioned print newsletter can go out to your current students. You’ll have to be good about being “current” and make sure you get it out on time.
27) Last Martial Arts marketing Idea: Mobile App for your current students:
To spring board the idea of communication with your students you might consider a mobile app if you have a solid base of members. Your app for your martial arts business can consist of updates, curriculum info and other engagement tools.