Should You Ever Cut Back On Marketing Your School?

samurai with sword cutting back on martial arts marketing banner

G.W., a Small Dojo Big Profits reader, recently emailed to ask me the following…

Q: We have slow months, in those months that we know are slow should we bump up our advertising or should we save our dollars and advertise in the busier times of the year ?

A: Just the opposite, in fact. Your marketing activity should remain at a minimum constant level throughout the year, but you should increase your activity just before those slow times in order to yield increased enrollments to carry you through the “slow times.”

The reason is because martial art school marketing works on momentum. You’ve heard the old saying that someone needs to see your ad a minimum of seven times before they buy? Well, that’s because a customer doesn’t typically have an immediate need for your service at the time they see your ad.

However, weeks or months later when they finally do develop a need or desire to take martial arts, the first business they are able to contact will likely be who they purchase from… So, if they were impressed by your previous marketing but don’t know how to contact you, then someone else is likely to get their business.

That’s why you need to keep advertising and marketing all the time to keep getting that business. You need to be seen over and over again by potential customers in your community, so you become THE business that comes to mind when they think about taking martial arts.

And, you need to be easy to find when they start looking for you… that means you need to have referral programs, internet marketing, direct marketing (mail or door-to-door), and a host of other marketing methods running 24/7/365 for your school.

Also, be aware that internet marketing is more effective and important in this day and age, but don’t discount other methods. As the poll we did just a few weeks ago indicated, plenty of school owners are getting good results with guest pass referral programs and door-to-door advertising.

If you want to get started on your internet marketing, but are confused as to where to begin, Facebook marketing is a good place to start. It’s low-cost, and when done right it can be a high-yield marketing activity.

Check out my comprehensive martial art studio marketing course for more marketing and management tips to help your school grow!


  1. Keith Sonnenberg on August 10, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you for this excellent pep talk, especially the part about a potential customer needing to see your ad seven times before they react. I forget this and I’ll bet others do too.

  2. Kevin Geary on September 6, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    This is good, but it doesn’t address the type of marketing people are doing. If your marketing is garbage, old-school, unprofessional, and unintelligent then it doesn’t matter how much or how little you market.

    This is a huge topic so I can’t go into specifics, but just thought I’d throw that out there.

    I’d say the majority of martial arts marketing is ineffective nonsense that people “think” is marketing or that NAPMA or MAIA told them to do. And in that case, an increase in volume isn’t going to help.

  3. Mike Massie on September 7, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Kevin, I think that most of what you said goes without saying.

    Yes, many instructors use ineffective marketing. I don’t know if I’d blame that on NAPMA or MAIA, though. At some point, instructors need to take responsibility for the success or failure of their own businesses.

    Thankfully, my site members receive a very effective marketing plan with specific instructions on how to market effectively, each and every month. The comment I receive most often from my members is, “It’s information I can actually use.”

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