Why Everything Counts in Martial Arts Marketing

Hey, want to learn “psychic karate”?

Just the other day, I got an email from my brother with this subject line:

“How to know every one of your karate opponents moves…before they strike!!!”

Naturally, I wanted to see this deadly new martial arts style, so I opened the email to find this picture attached…

Psychic Karate

Post a funny comment about what might be going through the head of someone who is reading this sign for the first time and you could win a copy of my after-school or summer camp ebook...

He apparently snapped this off at a location near his work.

Of course, I’ve changed the phone number since I don’t want this poor person running this school to get inundated with prank calls asking for “psychic karate” lessons.

(Although, with the shrubbery blocking the phone number from view, it probably wasn’t necessary.)

My brother and I both got a good laugh out of it…

However, I think this image provides the perfect opportunity to discuss a topic that is near and dear to my heart when it comes to the business of running a martial art school.

And, that is, marketing and the image you project to your community at large.

The Scene of the Crime…

Let’s examine this image for a minute. For starters, you’ve got a karate school in the same shopping center as a pawn shop. Now, I know not everyone can afford to open their studio in world class digs when they launch, but honestly you have to consider your neighbors when choosing a location.

My last studio was located pretty close to a liquor store, which sort of gave me pause. However, the owner was a no-nonsense person who kept the store clean and the clientele on their best behavior… and we were next door to the police station. Otherwise, this would have been a no-go.

Anything next-door to any businesses of dubious repute is a no-go for the most part. Speaking of which, let’s discuss the psychic thing.

By all appearances, it looks as though the psychic and the karate school are sharing the sign, from which we may also infer they are sharing the space. Could they be the same business?

Maybe, maybe not. But, from a consumer’s standpoint if your advertisement is ambiguous as to the nature of your business you’ve committed the cardinal sin of marketing, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Some potential questions that might be going through a prospect’s mind when they see this sign:

  • Do they teach karate or give palm readings, or both?
  • Is this school going to be one of those “new age” things?
  • Is this a cult?

And so on. That “cardinal sin of marketing” being committed here is to confuse your marketing message. Your marketing should always be crystal clear as to the following:

  1. Who you are…
  2. What is is you’re selling or giving away…
  3. Which benefits you provide to the consumer…
  4. Why they need to respond, now…
  5. Where they need to go to respond to the offer
  6. And, How they do exactly that.

See a pattern here? It’s sort of like answering the “5 W’s” in journalism. Your marketing, whatever it is, should always tell a story that makes it dead simple for the prospect to understand what you’re selling, why they need it, and how to get it.

“KARATE” is crystal clear. And I’d say “PSYCHIC” is also pretty much self-evident. But, “Psychic Karate”, whether intended or not, is about as confusing and ambiguous as it gets.

Bottom Line… Everything Counts!

Everything counts in your business, because your image IS your business in the mind of the consumer. For the karate school owner this sign belongs to, this may be an unfortunate result of a lazy or cheap landlord. Maybe they didn’t want to pay for a better sign, or they were too lazy to do it right.

In any case, if this were my sign you can be sure I’d be pitching fits and bugging the heck out of the responsible party until it got fixed. And, this is just one aspect of this person’s marketing.

Today, I want you to go through your marketing and start examining it with a critical eye. Look at everything from your website, to your business cards, to your fliers and handouts, to your signage.

See anything that looks dated, amateurish, or that needs replaced? Find any ad copy or layouts that might leave the prospect wondering what your ad or offer is all about?

Fix it!

The last thing you want is for your advertising and marketing to be working against you, instead of for you… as is clearly the case for the “psychic karate” school.

Schools are shutting down right now, simply because the owners didn’t care enough to do everything in their power to make their studios successful. And, in this economic environment, you simply cannot afford to be lazy or do things halfway… the consequences are too dire to risk.

40 Comments

  1. Mike Massie on June 2, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Post a funny comment to the article based on what might be going through the head of a prospective student who is reading the sign for the first time…

    The best one-liner gets a free copy of my summer camp or after-school camp system ebooks (your pick).

    I’ll pick a winner and announce it Tuesday of next week. :)



  2. Mike Massie on June 2, 2011 at 5:32 am

    I’ll take a shot to start this off…

    “Darn, I was going to pawn my crystal ball, but I might need it for karate lessons.”



  3. Michael J Loveless on June 2, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Wow! To be able to see into the future to avoid getting may “A” kicked. What a Deal!!



  4. Mike Massie on June 2, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Lol Michael – if I had that skill I’d never have started karate!



  5. Donavan Hernandez on June 2, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I think I can already see this school’s future.



  6. Natalie Meighan on June 2, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I foresee a black belt in your future…



  7. Mike Massie on June 2, 2011 at 9:17 am

    :)

    Keep ’em coming!



  8. James Nance on June 2, 2011 at 9:57 am

    …I wonder if I have to buy a crystal ball or if one is provided upon sign up…?



  9. Michael Celona on June 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Master No Name from psychic Karate looks into his crystal ball and tells me that he’s gonna rip me off..

    or

    “It’s your future…. I see…. Little Johnny quitting the first time he gets punched in the face while sparring! Sorry little Johnny, you forgot lesson one… You should have KNOWN he was gonna punch you!”

    I dunno, I tried.



  10. Kevin on June 2, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Dude, I didn’t know Miss Cleo knew karate! That’s where she’s been!



  11. Chris H. on June 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Hi!

    Strike your opponent with your madness – that’s the payday!



  12. Chris H. on June 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

    The fastest way to palm reading: Get punched and read in your face whose hand it was…



  13. Mike Massie on June 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Chris H. – nice one!

    Keep posting them…



  14. Jason Kifer on June 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Hmm… Psychic Karate… well, I guess they already know I’m not interested.



  15. Jason Kifer on June 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Is that school owned by the same guy who predicted the end of the world?



  16. Jason Kifer on June 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Man… Michael Massie will do anything to get new students. Kudos for always thinking outside the box.



  17. Jason Kifer on June 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Psychic Karate… Is that a new curriculum program offered by one of the big martial arts industry organizations?



  18. Randy on June 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Maybe they meant sic’em karate and misspelled it?



  19. Jason F. on June 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Wow… My children can become a Karate Jedi Psychic Master at that place and defeat an enemy just like on Star Wars.



  20. Kevin on June 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Hmmm, making sure someone’s palm is properly “red” is not good self defense, just punch them in the nose and make sure their nose is good and red!



  21. Mike Massie on June 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    :)

    Keep them coming!



  22. Mike Massie on June 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Lol, Jason – not anything…

    I’m still in the habit of firing clients if they aren’t a good match for my studio.

    Now, if I could just develop psychic abilities so I could know beforehand whether someone was going to be a good fit – that way I could just avoid setting the appt. in the first place!



  23. Rama on June 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    “This will go well with my Empathetic Tae Kwon Do”

    or

    “ESP front-kicks, FINALLY”



  24. Jason Kifer on June 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I hear you Mr. Massie.



  25. dave on June 2, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    “I’m sure they saw me coming…”



  26. samuel crespo on June 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    “Oh, my God, I thought that Power Rangers thing wasn’t real, But now I know the truth”



  27. Mike Massie on June 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Dave – lol!



  28. Mark on June 2, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Psychic Karate – the ancient art of prognostication. We know what you don’t know.



  29. Sara on June 3, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Psychic Karate?!? What will they come up with next, Karate on the moon!



  30. Mike Massie on June 3, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Nice! Keep ’em coming!



  31. Eric Perez on June 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

    If I was Psychic I wouldn’t need Karate



  32. Mike Massie on June 3, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Lol…

    Maybe one of the best yet, Eric.



  33. Sara on June 4, 2011 at 1:24 am

    I’ll kick your behind with only my mind!



  34. Mike Massie on June 5, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Lol, nice one Sara!



  35. Rob on June 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    We already know who’s going to kick our butt… Do you?
    Learn Psychic Karate



  36. Yvonne on June 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I can way see myself kicking butt!



  37. Sara on June 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Darn, I really wanted to get the after school book… :-( On the plus side I have went from 19 students to 41 students in 4 weeks by moving into a new building and offering a summer special. I learned a lot about business while I was a member of the site that has helped me grow my school DEBT FREE! Thanks.



  38. Mike Massie on June 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Sorry! But, glad to hear your school is growing… and DEBT-FREE! Woo-hoo! Keep it up, Sara.



  39. mrblackbelt42 on August 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    this is actually my school. unfortunately, i cant pick my neighbors. i wasnt happy when i found out that their was going to be a psychic place next to the school. especially sice the name of the school is the christian martial arts center. lol. please check out what we do on youtube under mrblackbelt42.



  40. Mike Massie on August 24, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I feel for you James! Honestly, I’d be on my landlord daily to get the sign changed. Thanks for being a good sport about my having some laughs at your (sign’s) expense. Sending you a download link for a free copy of Small Dojo Big Profits. Enjoy!



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