Last week I shared martial arts business tips that focused on having the right attitude for success. This week in the second half of this article we’re going to discuss the actions you need to take to make this your best year ever. Tell me if you see a pattern forming here…
Tip #4: Write Your Marketing Calendar for the Year, Today
Do you have a marketing calendar? Do you even know what that is? A marketing calendar is a tool for planning out your martial arts school marketing for a business quarter or year, and it serves a very vital purpose in your overall marketing plan.
And that purpose is, knowing what your promotions are going to be well ahead of the date you run them. And why is this so important? For the simple fact that it keeps you from:
- Flying by the seat of your pants, and…
- Coming up with marketing promotions at the last minute.
If you’re struggling to come up with good martial art school marketing promotions, my suggestion is that you come up with one discount or other sales promotion for each month of the year, and that you theme them by holiday and season. This is a tried and true marketing tactic that can work wonders for improving your bottom line.
For example, what’s a good theme and promotion for January? That’s right, a New Year’s fitness promotion; something like “enroll for six months and get your first month, FREE!” I’m sure you can come up with something for the other eleven months – but do it NOW before the new year sneaks up on you.
Tip #5: Write Your Monthly Marketing Plans for the First Quarter, Today
Now that you have a yearly marketing calendar planned out, you should write your monthly marketing plans for the first quarter of the year now. A monthly marketing plan is a more detailed list and description of the SPECIFIC ACTIONS you plan to take each month to market your business. The purpose of each month’s marketing plan is to get the word out about your current promotion, whatever it may be.
So, the promotion is the offer, and the marketing is the advertising and public relations you do to get your offer in front of people. Your marketing plan should include both internal and external marketing, with the bulk of your internal marketing focused on referral programs and promoting your monthly in-school events.
However, your external marketing should be comprehensive, and include as many marketing channels as possible. These can include online marketing, social media marketing, website and search engine marketing, paid search engine ads, local direct marketing, and yes, even print ads if you have a local publication that delivers a good ROI on your ad dollars.
Write a monthly marketing plan for your first quarter now before the new year sneaks up on you. In fact, January’s marketing plan should have already been written and ready to execute by now. If not, get after it right away.
Tip #6: Stick to Your Marketing Plan, Without Fail
Having a good martial arts school marketing plan is no good if you don’t stick with it. Good marketing only works over the long haul when it’s done consistently. Remember my previous posts about having a daily method of operation? The need for a systematic, repeatable marketing system applies as well. That’s why you need to have a marketing calendar and monthly marketing plans written, so you can track what you’ve done in the past, and repeat what works.
Let me say that again: “Repeat what works,” over and over again, whilst refining those methods that work until you’ve optimized their efficiency (in other words, until you’ve maximized your return on investment). Incidentally, by doing the same marketing actions over and over again, you’ll naturally improve, so long as you have a kaizen attitude and work on constant improvement.
Tip #7: Improve Your Customer Service and Relationships
Marketing builds revenue, but customer service and relationship management maintains it. This year, you need to do everything you can to build and maintain relationships with your customers through exceeding expectations in every way possible. This is the core of retention management for martial arts schools.
Let’s start with the basics. Is your school spotless before classes start, each and every day? Do you greet every student with a smile and by name? Do you thank parents and students for coming to class every day? Do they leave each class with a smile on their face? Are you sending good job notes and MIA cards, weekly? Birthday cards too?
Of course, that’s all the stuff that every school owner should be doing already. Here’s where you can really exceed expectations and wow your customers:
- Do you have a character education program in place, and do you teach mat chats in all your kid’s classes? If not, get a curriculum and start ASAP.
- Are you holding regular special events in your school, and offering some free of cost? Customer appreciation is important – hold a free event for your students about every other month as a way of saying thanks to them.
- Do you call or message your students every so often, just to check in with them? Showing you care can go a long way toward making your relationships with your students last.
It’s a new year, filled with possibilities. Embrace possibility and jettison all the baggage and negative experiences you had in the past; they served their purpose, which was to make you stronger, and now it’s time to let them go.
Then, with your goals firmly set in mind, attack each goal systematically with dogged determination by following a consistent and sustainable plan to reach your goals this year.
One last thing… what else are you going to do this year to make this a banner year for growing your martial arts school? Feel free to post your own martial arts business tips in the comments below.