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…
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:
- Who you are…
- What is is you’re selling or giving away…
- Which benefits you provide to the consumer…
- Why they need to respond, now…
- Where they need to go to respond to the offer
- 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?
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.