Help, My Ads Aren’t Working!

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Here’s How to Get More From Your Martial Arts Marketing

No response on your website, print ads, door hangers, or direct mail pieces? Doesn’t surprise me; I study martial arts marketing pieces all the time, and generally most of the martial arts marketing I see doesn’t give anyone a reason to call or respond.

You see, that’s the number one mistake martial art school owners (and small business owners in general) make when they create ads and marketing pieces. And that is, they assume that their business, products, and services are inherently of interest to the consumer. Big mistake.

Obviously, if every ad was automatically of interest to every person no one would get anything done… especially considering the massive number of ads we see every day. Conversely, considering that vast amount of marketing that the average consumer is exposed to, every time we create an ad we have to make it stand out. But how?

The good news is that this question was answered in the early days of direct response marketing. Direct marketing pioneers discovered early on how to get a good response from an ad. To this day, all good marketing follows the same basic principles these early marketing visionaries discovered.

The Basic Components of a Successful Marketing Piece

Every successful ad follows the same basic format:

  1. HEADLINE (attention grabber)
  2. BODY (state a problem, offer a solution, state the benefits of your solution)
  3. OFFER (give them an offer they can’t refuse)
  4. CALL TO ACTION (tell them what to do to respond and give them a good reason to do it)

Now, based on the above information let’s critique your failed marketing piece based on the above basic components of a successful ad.

  • Do your martial arts marketing piece have a strong headline?
  • Does the body of your ad state a problem, offer a solution, and explain why your solution is the right one for the reader?
  • Did you feature a strong offer?
  • Did you end with a strong call to action that conveys a sense of urgency (expiration on offer, limited space, etc)?

With regards to your piece, if the answer to any of the above questions was a “no”, will that piece get a response? No! No matter how slick the design and printing, if your piece doesn’t include the above four basic components it simply will not be successful.

So What’s the Difference – Isn’t Print Marketing Just an Exercise in Ego-Stroking?

Not even. Besides “Massie’s Rule of Thumb on Ad ROI” (2x cost), it just makes sense to only spend your money on advertisements that actually work. And, the opportunity cost of lost revenues on a wasted ad makes it seem utterly stupid to spend money on poorly executed marketing.

Let’s take the venerable door hanger as an example. A good door hanger will get a 1/2 to 1% response. Seems like it’s not much, but that’s 5 – 10 leads for every 1,000 you distribute. Ten leads converted to members at a 50% conversion rate easily comes out to many thousands of dollars in lost revenue for every ad you run that sucks.

So, go back to the drawing board and redesign your marketing pieces based on the above four criteria. Don’t worry about how ugly your ads are – just focus on good content and copywriting, because that’s what sells.

Remember, have fun with it! Once you get the basics down, you’ll likely find that planning and executing your martial arts marketing campaigns is the brightest part of your week.

And if you need more guidance on setting up your martial arts marketing campaigns, a good place to start would be reading my course on martial art school marketing. Click this link for more information.

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